by Hans A. Carpenter
Mister Marquee Says:
put on a pot of coffee…
Oh boy is this one of the strangest cases in recent memory. In 2017, Warner Bros released Justice League, the culmination of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Wonder Woman, and it was awful. How a movie that expensive could look so bad I still don’t get. The story of its troubled production has become more legend than the forgettable mishmash that hit theaters.
Zach Snyder (architect of the DCEU movies) stepped away from the project to grieve the loss of his daughter. Joss Wheadon of Avengers fame stepped in and, at studio urging tossed Snyder’s movie over his shoulder and tried to make a light-hearted Marvel romp out of Snyder’s dark Homerian effort. The result was a tonal disaster.
After several years of rumors of a Snyder cut of the film, a public battle between cast member Ray Fischer and Joss Wheadon, and a few Twitter fits later, WB gave Snyder $70 million to finish his movie and stream it on HBO Max. The result is a flawed, overlong experience but one that is at least cohesive and much, much stronger in the character department.
Unlike Marvel, who had stand alone movies to build up their characters prior to Avengers, Snyder had the unenviable task of introducing and developing Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg out of the gate. Snyder succeeds in that regard, making Aquaman more than set dressing, giving Cyborg some great character moments he never had in the original. The villain Steppenwolf is also greatly improved with a motivation overhaul and an appearance much less silly than the original cut.
The biggest barrier to this movie is the length. At three hours it would have been much more palatable. There is a lot of fluff, particularly early, and Snyder’s addiction to slow motion gets really annoying and pads the runtime. Flash may be the fastest man alive, but his scenes are the slowest in history. Do we really need to listen to Scandinavian women sing folk songs while they sniff Aquaman’s shirt?
In the end, it was nice to see the creative vision Snyder had finally come together, both for viewers and for the personal tragedy he endured, surely the worst thing a person can deal with. The ending after ending puts Lord of the Rings: Return of the King to shame, but I suppose with free reign Snyder wanted to cram in as much of his DC movies he’ll never get to make as he could in this release.
Justice League is a historical curiosity as an event, and a flawed but enjoyable movie.