Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League ★★★★

What a pleasant surprise. 

I came in having zero expectations. The countless reviews were all over the place. People loved it, hated it, and everything in between. And apparently some of the Snyder lovers AND haters "bot-stormed" Letterboxd creating accounts just to add a 1/2 or 5 stars.

Thankfully starting where BvS left off (vs. the infamous CGI-stached Superman), almost EVERYTHING is different.

One of the first action scenes with Wonder Woman is just a great example of the differences between the two movies. 

ANATOMY OF A SCENE: WONDER WOMAN
In both movies, Wonder Woman intercepts a luddite terrorist group planning to blow up a museum. I don't think there were any re-shoots in this scene so it's a great example of how the editing and score are exponentially improved by Snyder. The scene begins as a bunch of these suited terrorists storm the museum. In the original, that setup is brutally cut short while the Snyder cut has vibes of the tension building opening of The Dark Knight. The actual Wonder Woman scene goes from about one minute to three minutes in the new cut, from a sneeze-and-you miss-it of mediocre action into one of the most badass Wonder Woman action scenes in all of her movies combined. Every shot is paced meticulously (things are slowed down AND sped up seamlessly), all to a fantastic score, and with the cuffs off with no PG-13 rating, it was just fabulously brutal and visceral. 

The movies extra time doesn't feel like filler. It's used effectively for building critical character arcs and establishing the narrative of the threat of Stephenwolf and Darkseid. 

And what a massive improvement to the CGI and the special effects. It was difficult to enjoy most of the Whedon cut due to the utterly distracting and horrible CGI. As an example, in the theatrical version, you couldn't look at Steppenwolf without cringing at his mouth movement. In the Snyder cut, that's fixed and his shimmering spiked suit is fairly interesting to look at it. 

Unfortunately, not everything is fixed, especially Ezra Miller's Flash. His introductory scene which is new is unfortunately muddled and oddly uncomfortable. 

ANATOMY OF A SCENE: FLASH (minor spoilers)
Barry Allen is introduced while walking into a store where he bumps into Kiersey Clemons' Iris West (future love interest clearly). They googly eye each other for what feels like five minutes, but her gaze at him is just ... weird. Love at first sight? Then Ezra Miller's manically speed-talks for an interview and then there's that scene from the trailer where he saves her from her car crashing into a truck. But before he saves her, they give each other more googly eyes in super-slow-mo but this time her stare is corpse-like. And then he lovingly caresses a monster weiner of a hot-dog (no bun) that is floating in front of her face and then -- puts it in his pocket. 🤮

I have so much more to say about the movie:

The pluses: how vastly improved the soundtrack and score is, Cyborg's critical extra time on screen, the massively better finale, etc.
The minuses: the multiple endings, endless exposition, over-use of slow-motion, etc.

But I need to close this review out because I feel like I could just write endlessly -- and I am not that great of a long-form reviewer.

AFTERWORD:
I am very happy for Zack Snyder. To have that horrible tragedy happen and then have his movie essentially destroyed and pilloried, then to have that most rare opportunity to reintroduce what he originally intended, without studio interference. I feel like this is the justice (no pun intended) he deserved.

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