Hocus Pocus

Zack Snyder's Justice League Review

s Justice League

I still remember the date. 17 November 2017 when I woke up excited because that was the day Justice League released and I had booked tickets for the first day first show. And after coming out of the theatre, I was so angry and pissed off. The trailers promised a totally different movie but the movie I saw was nothing like that. There was zero character development. Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman felt like cameos and the villain’s motivations were not clear. Moreover, the movie didn’t feature almost 50% of the footage from the trailers. Of course, Henry Cavil’s CGI mouth didn’t help.

Fast forward to 18 March 2021. The original Justice League which Zack Snyder made was finally released to the public. To be honest, nobody expected that this would ever release. And yet, here we are. At 4 hours, 2 minutes of runtime, it is the longest superhero movie to be released. Now, this movie isn’t perfect either. But if I were to compare this with the theatrical release, it is a massive improvement.

This is the movie that actually makes sense. It actually gives purpose and motivations to all the characters. Like Steppenwolf is a guy whose motivations are finally clear. He is here to conquer earth to please his master Darkseid and gain his forgiveness for his betrayal in the past. Darkseid wants Earth because in his opinion freedom is a curse and Earth is the only planet that has managed to resist him in the past. And during the movie, he gets another motivation on why he wants Earth so badly - for the Anti-life equation. Compare this to the theatrical cut, where Steppenwolf literally called the Mother boxes as his mother and the only thing he wanted was the Earth to fall for no reason. He did utter ‘Darkseid’ once but at this point, it seems like, it was left in the print by mistake.

Cyborg’s relation with his father is strained. That part was clear in the theatrical cut too to an extent but was never fully explored. Here, you are shown the responsible accident and the relation with his father before and after the accident is shown in detail so you can better understand the character of Cyborg. The first meeting scene with Cyborg and Diana was reshot for the Theatrical cut which wasn’t a very good portrayal but here you get to see the original shot which was a much better testament to his character and why he hesitated to help in the first place which made the later scene when he appears worth it.

Coming to the Flash, the theatrical cut really showed him to be a worthless hero and was included just for the funny bits. In the final battle, all Flash did was save 1 family. Compare this to the Snyder cut where he had to run faster than the speed of light to reverse the time to save the world. The stakes are much higher and Flash’s contribution to the conflict was worthy of his powers.

Coming to Gal Gadot’s character, again Joss Whedon reduced her character to a sexual object which Aquaman thirsted over, Barry felt awkward around and Alfred pointed to her that Bruce is lonely. There was one more instance where the theatrical cut made his character fall on Diana’s boobs. It really shows you the mindset of Joss Whedon and the fact that Gal Gadot felt uncomfortable during the scene and yet they felt that this would actually look funny. Joss Whedon did the same thing with Bruce and Natasha in Age of Ultron which was again unnecessary but you can see how the movie industry uses women as props and for humour by using their body and the same was done in the Theatrical cut of Justice League. Joss Whedon’s portrayal of Wonder Woman was highly sexist. There is a much more detailed article about the blatant sexism in the original Justice League which you can checkout.

This movie definitely respects its characters and gives them a purpose and an arc worthy of their capabilities. There is no telling if Zack will ever get to finish his universe the way he had originally planned but one can only hope. Though I truly wish Zack’s Superman had a lighter tone and not as dark and brooding. But sure, everyone has their own interpretations so I guess it’s just a nitpick. This was a movie worthy of a cinema release but the fact that we got this at least is great itself. Hoping for better movies from DC for the future. If not for the Snyder verse, I hope they keep Zack around for other project or they could even make him a head like Kevin is for Marvel because they surely need someone who understands and loves comics and has the vision to see them through.

Note: There are a lot of things I wanted to talk about - like the choice of 4:3 Aspect ratio, Martian Manhunter’s tease, the future sequels or the cliffhanger ending, Amy Adam’s character and few more things but at this point of time I think I have said what I wanted to. Maybe some other day. At this point, I am truly grateful to be born in an era where I can see so many comic book characters live on screen, something which I would have never thought would be a possibility about 15 years back. I am here for the ride and having fun with all the stuff that is coming out.

— Mar 24, 2021

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