Written by Luke Barnes
The Snydercut or as it is sometimes more formally known Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, serving as a remastered cut of the 2017 Justice League film that Snyder had to step away from due to personal reasons. The plot focuses on the formation of the Justice League in an attempt to fight off the invading forces of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and Darkseid (Ray Porter).
So as many of you know, I have thought for a long time that this film was going to be bad, or at the very least unnecessary. However, I can admit when I am wrong and am pleased to tell you this film is a vast improvement over what we got in cinemas 4 years ago: now I am not saying it is perfect, but I am saying it is a marked improvement, buckle up this is going to be a long one.
Firstly I want to address something that for me was a glaring issue with the film and that is the overly sexualised nature of the female characters. Sorry Snyder fans this is going to upset you, but there is a recurring theme in Snyder’s work of ogling women and that is very much here as well. Wonder Woman’s (Gal Gadot) skirt seems shorter, the Amazonians are basically just wearing fancy metal underwear in some cases with their midriff fully exposed, because that is wise in battle? Iris West (Keirsey Clemons)is included just as a plot device and a damsel to be saved by Barry (Ezra Miller), and of course I would be remiss if I did not mention the camera’s fascination with Gadot’s behind.
Though Cyborg (Ray Fisher), is given more to do, his look and crucially the CGI aspects of it are still quite a ways off and are distracting throughout the film, if they could remove the light in his forehead it would look infinitely better. The same can be said of Steppenwolf the other major CGI character who looks like he has come straight out of a videogame and is again distracting.
The film does benefit from better pacing with the 4 hour runtime allowing the film to feel grander and more epic. I feel that by stretching the film out more a lot of things that didn’t make sense the first time around through lack of context suddenly do, and the world as a whole feels better explored and created.
Oddly enough despite the sexualisation Snyder seems to understand Wonder Woman better than Patty Jenkins, and after watching this I think the reason the first Wonder Woman film was so good and the second was so bad was Snyder’s involvement. Snyder gives Wonder Woman a lot of good character work that makes her feel far more central to the narrative, and also far more interesting. Moreover, by redoing the bank scene and the Amazonian battle scene Snyder it able to make both more inspiring and appear better on screen; the shortening in the Whedon cut really hurt the film.
Similarly, Snyder finally seems to understand Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill), here as well, moving away from some of the edgy aspects of their characters from his previous films and giving us a more comics accurate portrayal.
I think the tone is much better here than it has been in a lot of the other DCEU films as there are moments of levity amongst an otherwise serious affair, but they aren’t treated like dumb cringey jokes like in the original version of Justice League here they feel far more natural to the characters and importantly work.
I think this film is improved by being a Snyder film and from having his sensibilities applied to the project, I think his trademark use of slow motion is often used to great effect especially with the Flash stuff. I also feel like this film could be viewed as somewhat of a spiritual successor to Watchmen,also directed by Snyder, and think it would make for an interesting double bill.
Ezra Miller’s flash does still stand out for all the wrong reasons, and I do hope in future films they tone down the character and his awkwardness as it does become cringe at times, but not as much as in the previous version. Likewise, I also found the amount of problematic people cast in this film off putting as you have Miller (who choke slammed a fan allegedly), Amber Heard (who is the internet boogeyman) and Jared Leto (look it up), all rubbing shoulders with each other in a troublesome trifactor. Though I will give Snyder the benefit of the doubt the incidents involving two of them didn’t come out until it was too late to change it, but it is a shame.
The score by Junkie XL is terrific and really does bring the film together, with the music really adding a lot to the fight scenes in particular; with the new motif they have for Wonder Woman probably being my favourite.
Sadly, there is a large amount of product placement in this film that really does cheapen the film to an extent, admittedly only brief sections feel almost like adverts within the film.
The things added that have made this film R rated are a mixed bag, the blood does add to the intensity of the battle scenes, though the swearing really adds nothing and on the whole the film does not need to be R rated.
Moreover, the reach around line from Joker, is creepy and needless and should have been left out of the film.
Finally, I just want to talk about some of the stuff from the end of the film. Batman’s attempted self-sacrifice does still feel needless though it is handled better here, and the Nightmare section feels forced in at the end for no real reason. With the nightmare section it is clearly Snyder setting up for another film that he does deserve but most likely won’t get. Furthermore, the film does not really neatly address the Flashes’ warning from the previous film, and there are a number of other outstanding questions left to be answered as well.
Overall, a moment of triumph for the DCEU, something far better than the recent offerings (BOP and WW84), though sadly let down by sexual objectification, poor CGI and product placement.
Solid world building
Good character work
The battle scenes are far more intense
A lot of the scenes flow better with more context which is allowed for with the longer run time
The sexualisation and using of women as a plot device
The reach around line
The poor CGI
The product placement