The Snyder Cut is finally here. That is to say the official – original – director’s cut of “Justice League” released last week. By now a myriad YouTube channels and online blog sites have commented and commentated on it ad nauseum.
While this article feels a bit delayed, time was needed to process this singular cinematic event. The film has a runtime of four hours and two minutes after all. What else is there to say?
A lot actually.
It’s important to start with the praise. The film is good. Far better in fact than the theatrical release from November 2017. It’s not award-worthy. At least not by the Oscars’ overtly political standards. The special effects — while vastly improved — aren’t groundbreaking, either.
It’s good because the story stays true to the filmmaker’s intended creative vision. It’s good because the pacing — as long as it is — far surpasses its theatrical counterpart. It’s good because it is a labor of love instead of the half-baked cash grab by a studio desperate to keep up with its chief competitor.
The sheer fact that this movie was reassembled from footage whose existence was vehemently denied by the studio alone warrants a viewing even if big budget, CGI-laden superhero flicks aren’t your cup of tea.
The story is more or less the same as the 2017 cut. An alien invader serving a greater master arrives on earth to conquer it and regain his glory only to be deposed by a dysfunctional team of heroes led by a billionaire and a living symbol of hope.
Where have we seen that before?!?
The 2017 cut was plagued by issues. For one, DC Comics and Warner Bros. shoehorned additional characters without giving them proper backstory. Character development, arcs, and motivations were sorely lacking.
The studio also took advantage of the Zack Snyder’s grief at his daughter’s passing by pulling in Joss Whedon (“Avengers”) to finish the film. This resulted in rewrites and reshoots of eighty percent of the movie, cutting out major characters, and trying to make it more Marvel-esque.
And it failed.
Speculation about a “Snyder Cut” circulated through social media and the blogosphere for years. Toxic DC Comics fanboys (and -girls) got #ReleaseTheSnyderCut trending across multiple platforms until Snyder himself eventually announced he recovered the footage and was going to finish the movie out-of-pocket because the studio refused to back it.
This is toxic fandom done right.
Fans rallied behind a man betrayed by the company he worked with for over a decade. Their hash tagged battle hymn resonated even among naysayers simply to see if the finished product lived up to the hype.
And it does. The tone and cinematography are consistent throughout. It filled in the major plot holes that stymied 2017 audiences, and it does away with the God-awful use of CGI to remove Henry Cavill’s unshaved mustache.
It doesn’t have the fun colorful tone as the MCU, and that’s perfect because this isn’t the MCU. Especially when you have central characters — like Batman and Superman — with severely tragic backstories.
It’s not a perfect film, but it is perfectly entertaining… especially for longtime fans deserving of a film that properly respects the source material.
Garrett K. Jones is a local fantasy author. He currently has four books released in his ongoing series, and he produces a vlog on YouTube and the Creator's Corner podcast (available on Spotify, Google, & Apple). www.archivesofthefivekingdoms.com/ IG/Twitter: @gkj_publishing
Feel free to contact him with title suggestions of films you’d like him to review.
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