Unlike Zack Snyder, I’ll try to be brief. Yes, the new cut fixes many of the mistakes of the original 2017 theatrical release of “Justice League,” but it’s still far from being a perfect film.
The whole story of how this four-hour-long “Snyder Cut” got here is probably more dramatic and interesting than the film. Snyder stepped down from post-production duties on the 2017 version after the death of his daughter. The studio then sent in Joss Whedon to finish up and give it a lighter, more hopeful tone than Snyder’s previous DC Extended Universe films.
Whedon put his own style in it, reshooting scenes and cutting the massive runtime down to two hours, leaving sour reactions from audiences and critics alike failing in terms of pacing, style, story and performance.
Fans almost immediately began calling for the Snyder Cut of the film, which the director admitted existed. After a few years back and forth, and the cut achieving almost mythic status, it was released in all its glory (there is even a “grey” version) on HBO Max.
The general plot remains the same: Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) begins assembling a team of heroes after the death of Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) to be ready to fight against any meta-humans or aliens who decide to make Earth their next battleground.
Well, the fight comes sooner than he thought when the alien being Steppenwolf begins a quest to find the Mother Boxes, devices that, when unified, will create a portal for his leader Darkseid to arrive and lay waste to the planet.
When Steppenwolf finds one box hidden in Themyscira, home of the Amazons, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) joins with Bruce to find others to join them, including Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Barry Allen/The Flash and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher).
Because of its length, the film is broken into six parts and follows more of an episodic pace. It makes the film as a whole much easier to follow and allows viewers natural breaks to go to the bathroom, grab a snack or even watch it like a TV series if that’s more your speed.
The film is packed with information at every turn. Special effects are more cohesive and impressive. The epic battle sequences have been revved up and tone adjusted from an awful burnt orange to the more Snyder-esque steel grays and blues.
But the best addition to the film is the expansion on Victor Stone/Cyborg’s character arc, in that he actually has one and it has depth.
It does, however, suffer from the things that have plagued the DCEU since the beginning, namely bad writing and length.
Instead of allowing actors to, you know, act and emote like what they’re supposed to do, the script, penned by Chris Terrio, basically just tells the audience what is going on at every turn, leaving little room for nuance.
And even with it separated into different parts, there is still way more packed into one movie than really needs to be in there.
While this new version certainly improves by leaps and bounds the problems of the original theatrical cut, it never manages to be anything more than is expected in this universe of comic book movies, and places it just above average.