Justice League (2021), a Mixed Bag

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Opening with tragedy, we witness Superman (Henry Cavill) struggling with Doomsday (Robin Downes). Doomsday’s bright, orange, electrical force begins to encompass the beloved hero, slowly but surely killing him. From the get-go, the audience has a form of unity with the protagonists of the film; the viewers in mourning of their favorite hero, and the characters in mourning of their great friend. Despite commendable elements as such, Zach Snyder’s Cut of “Justice League” shows a long-awaited attempt to salvage a low-caliber film in the most overly indulgent manner possible. 

The Nature of Alteration  

The ‘Snyder Cut’ aims to show a completer and more satisfactory version of the 2017 ‘Theatrical Cut’ of Justice League. This being after the director’s initial vision for the movie was cut short when he had to quit production for a family loss. However, requests for his version to be completed and released became numerous over the years, leading to present-day with the new Snyder Cut. By nature of Snyder’s delayed development, the issues in the 2017 version now have a sort of bandaged-like quality to them in the 2021 film. This makes the major issues of the new film ones that are only observable by looking at its structure as a whole.  

This to say that when comparing the 2021 cut of the film to the 2017 one, you notice all the different complaints of the first film are seemingly ‘fixed’ in the newer one: Flash’s powers are more extensive than mere quick-reaction time slow-mo shots, Cyborg has an origin, Wonder Woman has a new intro song with a guttural choral chant instead of the classic riff we all know, and a personal favorite, screen-on time with black-suit superman. While these changes do make for a more enjoyable movie overall, they play into the larger issue at hand. 

The Issue of Time 

Snyder’s Cut is no short-film, the movie runs an incredible 242 minutes onscreen. Asking any person to sit and watch a 4-hour film is an incredible request, one that Snyder does not successfully justify. An entire hour of this film’s absurd runtime could be dissected, and it’d have no negative impact on the plot. Filled to the brim with incredibly long (and sometimes cringey) transitional scenes has an audience member feeling the need to take frequent breaks from their drawn-out viewing experience (can’t consider built in bathroom/snack breaks as a total downside though). 

Characters Overstaying their Welcome 

Lots of fan complaints over lack of character development in the Theatrical Cut were over-fixed in the Snyder Cut to the point to where there are several unnecessary and boring sections of the plot continuously throughout the film. Cyborg (Ray Fisher), for instance, was a character in which everyone had great interest in for the 2017 version but whose presence and backstory were completely looked past within the film, causing for a rough insertion of his character into the plot. In the Snyder Cut, there are parts of the viewing experience where you begin to question if you’re actually watching the DC-rumored future “Cyborg” movie, a running joke from Justice League fans. The same occurs with other characters such as Aquaman (Jason Momoa), of whom already have movies to their name but were introduced extensively in this film once more, exemplifying a lack of significant plot and a reliance on preexisting character arcs.  

A Functioning Superhero Mashup 

While some of this film’s technical aspects are damaging to the quality of the movie, its functionality as a superhero movie remains intact. A crisp and vibrant auditory and visual experience full way through, amazing performances of an ideal team of extraordinaries played by extraordinary actors, as well as massively entertaining action scenes all act as very redeeming qualities to the film. When you find yourself having one of those days where you literally have nothing better to do, load up this mammoth of a movie on HBO Max and give it a try.