Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League ★★★★

This is what it was meant to be. Its so clear that this was the sole artistic vision of one man.

It took a bit into the first part for me to really get into it, but then I was sucked in for good. There were very few scenes that felt unecessary, otherwise everything contributed to character development and emotional story beats that made me care for each member of the Justice League by the end.

The pacing felt very natural for the most part, there were some things that were dwelled on for a bit too long but the story and visuals are actually coherent this time and everything Zack was going for made sense. I only saw the 2017 cut once in the theater and just didn't really give a shit for what I had seen, but this was something else. Even some of Zack's scenes that were used in the theatrical cut felt brand new. That revamped score by Junkie XL was fantastic and so euphoric I loved it. There are so many splash page shots throughout the film, the new color-grading of the cinematography was gorgeous. Zack's signature desaturated look was back and used effectively in conjunction with color to balance out the visuals. The 1:33 ratio worked very well for me showing more of the vertical screen, but there were many moments when I wanted it to fill my screen where I just switched to the zoom in option on the TV so the sides expanded out to the edges for the 16:9 ratio and it worked out great.

The heart of this story is about family, loss, and reconciliation for these characters. Especially Victor Stone and Barry Allen, who finally have complete story arcs in this cut that really make us feel for the Cyborg and the Flash during the end battle sequence. Their stakes in the fight were the biggest, and getting their due in this definitive cut of the film was much needed. Bruce Wayne's arc that comes full circle from BvS is fulfilling with his faith restored in humanity, making him the Batman we all know and love again. Clark Kent comes back being more certain about his purpose on Earth and where he fits in as Superman. Diana learns the history her people were involved in and how to honor them as the Wonder Woman, and Arthur comes to terms with who he represents for Atlantis and how best he could take up that mantle while being the Aquaman. Each one of these characters goes through an arc that makes us feel for them when they finally develop a sense of camaraderie and come together to defeat Steppenwolf. Now Steppenwolf in this cut is a real dimensional villain with a sensible motivation. He is in debt to Darkseid, and is on a quest to pay it off while proving his worth to Darkseid, DeSaad and the rest of Apokolips. There are a few moments when I even felt bad for Steppenwolf, knowing that he had an insurmountable task at hand. Ultimately, the additional dialogue scenes this 4-hr runtime allowed really helped the characterization to breathe and develop, all of which was absent from the theatrical cut.

This is Zack Snyder's epic, magnum opus. You can see the sheer heart and effort throughout the whole movie. I'm on board if there's any chance of Zack coming back to complete the sequels, but with the budgetary and time commitment implications for him and the whole cast, it does seem unlikely at this point. I'll be rewatching Zack Snyder's Justice League many times, it was so satisfying to see this film come to fruition in it's true form from what Snyder had intended while filming it in 2016.

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