Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League ★★★

I am no Snyder fan and spent a long time making jokes about how this film looked from the teasers, but I have to admit I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. It’s hard not to become a little swept up in just how audacious and ambitious this whole affair is. I should also say that I’ve not seen the original cut of the film through lack of interest. 

Snyder succeeds where a lot of superhero movies fail in that it creates a consistent atmosphere and feels like the vision of one person rather than by a committee. The 4 hour runtime almost feels warranted (you could still probably cut half an hour from it). The build up in the first hour and a half in particular was really well done and creates a sense of impending doom unlike a lot of Snyder’s other ventures which often create a sense of tedium. When compared to his other comic book films the self seriousness of this doesn’t weigh it down half as much. For once I actually felt like I was on board with Zack Snyder’s vision. 

With that being said this is far from being great in my eyes though. The dialogue is consistently barely tolerable (WHY IS NEARLY EVERYONE TRYING TO BE COOL SO BAD?) and a lot of what people assumed were Joss Whedon’s contributions in terms of bad jokes are remarkably still here. There are some set pieces which are brilliantly done, especially in the first half, but unfortunately in the second half of the film there are some uncreative and visually bland ones to counteract it (the underground tunnel fight scene bored me to death bar one Flash scene). The villain, though I hear is better in this than in the original cut, still feels like something out of a mid-2000s comic book movie, and every line of dialogue of his feels like a ‘cool bad guy’ platitude which can make the story harder to get into (especially when you compare it to something like Thanos). DC has the best villains in their comics yet in their films they’re always so dull. The score is also not the best which is a shame considering Hans Zimmer’s score on BVS was the best thing about it. Typical Snyder tropes that grind my gears the hardest are also here like his OBSESSION with needless martyrdom as a storytelling prop. He’s also fascinated with over the top masculinity, which at least is a little less mean spirited here than it has been in his other films. He at least attempts to rectify this with his own version of a glorification of femininity, despite it coming off as rather ‘girl boss’ at times. 

Cyborg is a character who I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I did and was one of the only characters who actually had a really great character arc. On the flip side I found Flash’s character to be annoying every time he opened his mouth, but he was often the best thing about the action sequences. All the other characters serve their purpose and are given a fair amount of screen time each (needs more Aquaman though). As a team they actually gel fairly well together, and they’re frequently given quiet moments to work through character beats which I can imagine was something completely non existent in the original cut. They’re not the best character journeys in the world but at least there’s something there. 

Although this is deeply flawed, I would probably watch it again. It is definitely a unique experience in the superhero genre in that it takes itself seriously enough to try to be the biggest and boldest version of itself that it can be. This isn’t a movie overly concerned about character’s journeys by the end which can make it hard to get into at times, but the sheer scope of it makes it enjoyable nonetheless. This is probably one of Zack Snyder’s best outings into the comic book genre. I’m also really happy that this movie represents giving power to the director instead of the studio executives (and Joss Whedon), who completely butchered his vision while he was grieving the loss of a family member.

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