Joe Bro’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Fly, son. It's time."
You want the truth? This is why we watch superhero movies. Plain and simple.
How do you write a review of a four hour movie just moments after experiencing it? Let alone one with as much baggage and history as this one. Probably poorly, but I'm gonna give it a shot anyway.
My first watch, I didn't wanna take notes. I didn't want anything pulling my attention away from the screen for the entire runtime. I didn't want to experience anything other than what Snyder wanted me to see, hear, and feel. And it was so beyond worth it.
It's grandiose. It's epic. Sprawling. Hopeful. Incredibly long and filled to the brim with CGI, most of which hits but it does have a few misses. But at its core, at its very heart, is a burning passion and desire from Snyder to do everything in his power to show what's in his head. Whether or not that's something you agree with or want to see is up to you, but there is absolutely no doubting that this movie is 110% Snyder at his best.
It all comes down to the characters. In the months and even years after the 2017 theatrical version was released, I remained unconvinced there was any version of this movie that could present a coherent and satisfying story, with compelling characters and satisfying arcs. Every line of dialogue in the theatrical cut is simply meant to move us to the next action piece, or to be "comedic relief." I've never been happier to be wrong. Every single character ets their moment to shine emotionally, not just as part of the main battle at the end. When Snyder said that Victor is the heart of this story, he completely meant it. Fisher's performance and how much Terrio and Snyder clearly LOVE Victor Stone is what carries the entire emotional crux of the film. Every single character has clear motivations and purpose, including Steppenwolf which was a shock to me. Not that he's the best CBM villain of all time or anything, but the fact that we knew what he was doing and the emotionally driven reason behind it was a fantastic touch. A friend of mine says that it has a feeling of prime era Spielberg, and I'm inclined to agree. The dynamics, pushes and pulls, and naturally epic culmination all have the feeling of an artist who truly, deeply cares.
It's paced wonderfully, too. I normally don't care for movies with "chapters," but I loved how they were utilized here and they definitely added to the pacing. I was shocked when three hours had gone by, I was sure I was only halfway done. It takes an insane amount of directorial, writing, and editing power to make your four hour movie feel like two, but that's exactly what they did.
There were also times when I felt myself get viscerally angry too. Not at the movie, but at the fact that there were SO many times where a line present in the theatrical cut was used, but it was a different take. Proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything Whedon did when he took over the film was not an attempt to "save" anything, but a purposeful rewriting of another artist's work. I genuinely can't believe WB dropped the bag so severely, this movie COMPLETELY would have answered all of the general audience's complaints and concerns about BvS if it were released as it was meant to be. We should have all calmed down and been patient, waiting to see the bigger picture. Everything here feels like a beautiful, natural continuation of those themes laid out over five years ago. I'm glad I'm here now so I can appreciate them.
I loved it. I cried. It feels, looks, and sounds exactly like it should. The colors are fixed, the shots are gorgeous, and the character work is miles above what the theatrical cut had. It doesn't miss a single beat as a continuation of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. There are more than a few problems I have, but those are mostly quibbles and not tied to the narrative or the overall emotional impact. And I don't want to talk about those today. Today, I want to talk about why I love this.
On a rewatch I'll go deeper into the themes, the imagery, and the gears behind why this movie works so well. But for now, I am content to sit here and bask in its greatness and hope that we get a continuation in some form one day.
As a guy who misses his dad, I'm grateful for this movie and this 3 film arc. As a guy whose own life has been personally impacted by suicide, I feel deeply for the Snyders and I'm so happy and grateful that Zack got to finish this passion project of his. If you feel so inclined, I would ask you to maybe donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, at this link. No one is alone, and more of us need to remember that.