Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League ★★★★

Zack Snyder's Justice League was my first exposure to Justice League. I didn't want to watch the compromised version that was released in 2017. I was a huge admirer of Man of Steel on its release and still feel it is the best single superhero film of the modern era. I thought Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had a lot of interesting ideas but didn't fully come together. When I watched the Ultimate Cut of Batman v Superman I was really quite impressed and it felt like a fully rounded Zack Snyder experience. This is Zack Snyder on another level entirely - both good and bad.

I thought Zack Snyder's Justice League was an exhilarating experience. It is at its very best moments a fully-realised mythological sledgehammer. It batters you with folklore, it assaults you with legends. There is no gentleness to this four hours spent with gods and demons. Yet, I felt that the first hour of the film, the saddest hour of the film and of Snyder's career, was the best hour of the film. So morose that he allowed himself two lengthy Nick Cave songs over moments of misery. Two Nick Cave songs! Directly comments on the action. They told us our gods would outlive - they lied. Indeed, Nick, indeed.

That first hour really hit my Snyder sweetspot. His sense of visual storytelling is pretty great, he really knows how make a scene feel ecstatic, even when he is trying to make the film dour. If there is a problem with the film (and there isn't in the first hour) then it has too many climaxes, too many highpoints. It doesn't build like a film; the chapter help this, but I think it needed a tighter control. Not a shorter run-time - give more slow-motion, give more sad pop songs - but less exuberance. This wouldn't have been the film Snyder would have released in 2017, but now I have seen it, I wouldn't want it any other way.

The film has tremendous potency. It is basically a really miserable Lord of the Rings film. A film for those who think Peter Jackson's biggest mistake with that series was to inject it with humour and fun. It is, there is no other word for it, mythological in its intent.

However, that is not to say the humanity in lost in the film, because it really isn't. Snyder wisely lets Ben Affleck do most of the heavy-lifting, leaving him with nearly all of the reaction shots and much of the dialogue. Affleck is really great and I never tire of his sad-take on Batman.

Ezra Miller gets to be comic relief and he is fun, though I am not sure all of his scenes sit smoothly within the film. Gal Gadot as the second lead of the film is better here than she is Wonder Woman. Ray Fisher is interesting as Cyborg, though his motivations are a little flimsy. Jason Momoa is having a lot of fun.

I hoped that given the film was a four hour cut that I would get a good chunk of Henry Cavill's Superman, however that clearly was not to be with this story. I really hope we get another Cavill Superman film, but that does seem unlikely at this point.

Talking of unlikely, the Epilogue. Well, I didn't know that was coming. I am not even really sure what it was? If that was Snyder's plan for future films, then I am absolutely fascinated. I assume it isn't going to happen, but it was a tantalising glimpse.

I really cannot wait to watch this again.

Wilson liked this review