When Zack Snyder had to drop out of 2017’s Justice League due to personal reasons (his daughter tragically committed suicide), he was replaced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator and Marvel darling Joss Whedon. On the surface, the move seemed inspired, considering the dire situation DC found themselves in and Whedon’s pristine track record bringing The Avengers to the big screen. While The Avengers and its sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron were such massive critical and financial hits, Joss Whedon’s Justice League was an unmitigated train wreck of a film that was scorned by critics and met with venomous outrage by DC’s impassioned fan base.
Word quickly spread that Zack Snyder had indeed finished the film and his version was drastically different. The hashtag slogan #releasethesnydercut quickly took over the internet and a genuine movement to get Whedon’s Justice League cancelled and Snyder’s version released was born. Mix in a worldwide pandemic, a cinematic shutdown, and a salivating fan base and you get the perfect recipe for studio executives succumbing to pandering petitions.
After four long years, Zack Snyder’s vision for Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Superman uniting to save the world from evil meta humans finally hit streaming service HBO Max in a whopping 4 hour and 2-minute opus that more than doubles the run time of Whedon’s cut. What a difference a new director and an additional two hours makes. While Whedon’s version often seemed incomprehensible and uninspired, Snyder’s version is the exact opposite. Each character has his/her backstory completely fleshed out which benefits previously discarded characters like Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (a hilarious Ezra Miller).
The end result is a rousing spectacle that has Snyder displaying his full visual effects arsenal while simultaneously dropping numerous Easter eggs for an expanded DC universe that sadly, we may never get to see. Much has been said about the 4 hours plus run time, but the film hurtles along at a brisk pace. The film is also separated into six different parts making it convenient for numerous snack breaks. Zack Snyder’s Justice League isn’t perfect, but it’s that historically rare instance in which the director and his film’s ardent fan base took to the internet and singlehandedly willed a better product into fruition. We are all the better for it.
By SCOTT PETERSON