Movie Review – “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”

Snyder Cut

By Tony Parker

When I was young, I discovered the Superman Homepage. I profess, I was not as into Superman back then, which I find to be very disappointing. But I remember fondly that I was enchanted by the reviews, the news articles, and the images. As a budding comics fan, it felt like home. And how I wished that one day, I too would write a review.

One year into my time here, and I’ve been given the honor of reviewing a whole movie for this site, and not just any movie… the much anticipated “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” better known as that title that sent shockwaves across the internet: The Snyder Cut.

For what feels like a decade, this movie was hyped, prayed for, fought for, and finally, released against seemingly all odds. In what has been a tough year for us all, seeing the Snyder Cut is like mannah from heaven.

Now, I must confess, dear reader, that I am NOT a fan of Zack Snyder’s films. With all due respect to those who love his take (and yes, dear reader, there are those who do, and their view is as legitimate as those who dislike his take), I have not been sold. I find his movies dreary, meandering, dare I say, pretentious, and misguided.

But, you see, I knew that if I approached my review with gray colored glasses, I would be doing a disservice to the site I love, and to the readers I serve. The work of a critic, after all, is not to dash it all with wit and exuberance, wielding a sword of negativity and superiority, quashing ones opinion with the tone of a scolding parent who knows better.

No, a critic must approach every work of art, even those he has no affinity to, with an open mind, and more importantly, an open heart.

So, you ask, what DID I think?

Well, seeing as this movie is 4 hours long, it will take some time to express my thoughts, but I shall try to keep myself from droning on.

First, I would like to assure you: It is miles better than the 2017 version. The 2017 version can barely call itself a movie, and, to Snyder’s credit, this one is, this one is well paced (for the most part), well structured (usually), and truly an artistic vision.

However, this vision can be muddled, or, well, unclear: While usually one can tell EXACTLY what Snyder is trying to say, it is in this pseudo finale to his saga that one feels a little lost at times. Gone are the cynical admonishments of heroism and selflessness. In fact, this one is not only lighter than his previous efforts, it might have more jokes than the 2017 version (and I say this with as much disbelief as you administer reading this).

With Superman dead, the world is in disarray. Much like the previous version, this is exhibited through the sadness of Lois Lane and Martha Kent, not to mention the crimes that occur in the vacuum he left. The beginning of the movie, to be honest, is quite different though, with a clear tonal shift, and many scenes we never thought we’d see, like Barry Allen saving Iris West, and Darkseid’s original invasion of the earth.

While Bruce Wayne (who, at least, is more of a character in this than in the 2017 version, even if he quips more than one would expect) and Diana Prince (ethereal as ever, Gal Gadot excelling once more) search for the others, we are also treated to a new and somewhat improved Steppenwolf. Don’t get me wrong, he is a lot better here, with a clear motivation, and even a dramatic moment or two, but this is no Zod, no Joker, not even a Jesse Eisenberg Lex. He is still cookie cutter, but the cutter is at least handmade.

It is around the two hour mark when the team joins together, and it is that moment when you make an odd realization, one that threatens to ruin the experience: for all the talk of how different this cut is, it shares a lot with the 2017 version. Again, do not misunderstand: These are two very different movies. But many many lines, jokes, moments and shots are one to one, sometimes to surprising degree (who would have thought that the “I’m rich” joke, or the “Kal El, no!” lines were not Whedon’s own creations?).

It would be foolish not to mention certain improvements, and also the biggest change: Cyborg. Nearly a footnote in Whedon’s cut, Cyborg operates as a sort of heart to the film (though this reviewer felt that The Flash may have taken over that role by accident). He has an arc (albeit rushed), and his moments are grand and at times quite tragic. I would hope after all he went through, that Ray Fisher gets another stab at the role. He has a lot to offer.

Wonder Woman plays a well done, if not always spectacular part, Batman is lacking, but at least feels more in line with the original vision, Flash arguably provides the film’s two best moments (his rescue of Iris and traveling back in time are beautiful, no strings attached), Aquaman is sadly quite underwhelming.

But we all know what we’re here for: Superman.

And how is the Man of Steel, so controversially handled by the director, so split in the fan’s opinions?

Well, while again not much is changed from the 2017 cut (he might even appear less), Superman DOES feel like Superman. I did find the addition of the beloved black suit a little disappointing (it seems to only appear for the easter egg), but I cannot lie that my heart flies just a little at the sight of the iconic look.

I have spoken of details big and small, of characters and plot, but I have not spoken of what truly this is all about: My thoughts.

For that’s what we all came for, no? To see one man’s thoughts, one man’s feelings, to see me praise this movie to the ends of the earth and back, or to curse it for its daring to exist, to be.

But, my dearest reader, I shall not.

In my heart of hearts, I felt a little let down. I did not hate the film, I thought it did a few great things, truly, but I did not love it. I felt as if too much was similar with the 2017 cut, that too much was meandering, that not much was even said. Did the League truly form? I’m not sure.

But, and this is an important but, I will not finish this review with a shake of my head, but rather, a smile on my face.

In a year like this, in a year where people needed hope, happiness, escape, the Snyder Cut provided. Perhaps I was not meant to enjoy it, but does that make it empty of value, of worth? No. No, I say.

Right now, around the world, maybe even right next to you, maybe even you, you, have felt touched. You felt joy, wonder, awe. You flew with Superman, you cheered at the victory, you laughed at the jokes, you cried at the restored faith.

Perhaps you spent your time demanding for this movie. Perhaps you needed it. Who am I to say? Who am I to dictate that your enjoyment was false, wrong, that you should be ashamed of liking a silly little movie, when in this vast universe of loneliness and despair, you found, for 4 wonderful hours, hope, once more?

So, my dearest reader, my faith in humanity was restored today. For you, yes you, enjoyed this film. I recommend it wholeheartedly, for it is worth your time, even if you hate it, even if you find it to be a waste of time. And why?

Because art is art, even when it is not to my taste. Because there is something beautiful in any work, even one that I do not find myself appreciating.

I can only hope that when you watch this movie, like me, you will forget for a brief, golden moment, that life can be hard, terrifying, and unfair.

I hope that like me, for just the briefest moment, you will smile and feel hope spring eternal.

Happy viewing, dear reader.

Tony Parker

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March 18, 2021 11:39 pm

What does AP mean? Everyone in the watch party chat was saying it.

March 18, 2021 11:45 pm

I want to know which executives called the film ‘unwatchable’. This wasn’t a perfect film, but nothing about it was unwatchable. The more and more information that comes out the more it Sounds like they just had something against Zack. Geoff Johns sounds like he was more a liability than anything else and the other ones involved at the time seemed clueless.

March 19, 2021 5:52 am
Reply to  sundevil82

There are entire segments of the film reshot for no good reason and reshot to be actually worse. On one hand, perhaps the studio wanted something even safer, something for the lowest common denominator.

On the other hand, it could be Johns being an insufferable fanboy that thinks he has ownership over these characters and how they should be delivered to a wide audience. In retrospect, his Superman in that movie is a terrible, one-note, joke-spewing, inconsistent mess of an action figure.

March 20, 2021 7:10 pm
Reply to  sundevil82

I think that was taken out of context. They most likely were talking in terms of market availability for theaters. Also, at the time Kevin Tsuijihara was only thinking show the movie as many times as possible to make as much money as possible. He was a toxic and horrible leader. Infidelity wasn’t the only thing that got him fired. Jon Berg was fired as well. On that note, Since JL TC and JL SC are pretty much the same story beat for beat, why didn’t WB just edit down SC to two hours and not go through the drama… Read more »

March 19, 2021 2:24 am

Honestly… 6.5/10. I think the majority of the back half is better than the theatrical version, but the first half isn’t “new” so much as “padded”. And I’ll say it, Whedon’s Superman is more like Superman. Come at me, bro. The early reviews moved the needle enough to get me to actually subscribe to HBOMax to give it a shot, and I tried to be fair, and that’s what I’d call the film, fair. The Henry Cavill/Zack Snyder combination makes a Superman I don’t care for. As someone who used to religiously read the Titans books, I think Cyborg, while… Read more »

March 19, 2021 6:09 am

The movie’s had pretty good reception overall, but there are some negative takes, especially on Youtube and Twitter, that baffle me (not referring to this review, by the way). Man of Steel, I get. It’s marred by a broken script and it’s very uneven, the second half of that movie is loud and exhausting. Even I have replaced it with a fanedit. BvS, I also get. I think it’s great, I think the first ten minutes of that movie are a masterclass in film-making and it doesn’t let up; but it’s weird and dense and convoluted and it comes crumbling… Read more »

March 19, 2021 5:02 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

well said☺

March 19, 2021 11:19 am

I have nothing but love for this movie.Yes, it’s a long watch that at times reminded me of watching ‘Return of the King’ – same sense of grandeur, same sense of self-indulgence. But I let myself get swept up in that world, and even the slow portions of the movie felt luxuriously slow, not annoyingly so. I’ve been on board with Snyder’s vision since ‘Man of Steel’, which I will defend to the death, although there are parts of ‘Batman v Superman’ that still make me cringe. So that made it nothing but a pleasure to just relax and enjoy… Read more »

March 19, 2021 11:38 am

Are we talking spoilers yet? I have some thoughts but I don’t want to spoil the movie if we’re not talking spoilers yet.

Last edited 1 year ago by Superman2878
March 19, 2021 5:39 pm

I apologize for the length of this review/comment. I will give fair enough spoiler warning before I begin. Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! Please don’t read my comments if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Ok, now that I’ve given fair enough warning here goes my thoughts on Zack Snyder’s Justice League. First, I want to say congratulations to the director on releasing his version of the film and to the cast and crew as well. Everyone involved in the making and production of this film worked hard in making it. Especially Zack who worked hard to release his… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Superman2878
March 19, 2021 8:45 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

A lot of your questions are, unfortunately, things that were meant to be answered in future installments, not just of Justice League, but the DCEU in general. The Lex scene, for example, was supposed to lead in to the Affleck solo Batman movie (which isn’t happening now), which was was going to have Deathstroke as the antagonist. J’onn didn’t show up earlier, because he didn’t think it was worth showing up. He displays distrust for the human race and their ability to band together. It’s sloppy, because Swanwick wasn’t really supposed to be Martian Manhunter originally, but the idea is… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by NeoRanger
March 19, 2021 9:48 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

Thanks. It does help answer those questions actually. I do think though Bruce should have at least said something to Martian Manhunter about helping out at the end of the film, but it is what it is. Still, it was a good film to watch. I’ll probably watch it again at some point in the near future. I just remembered The Flash meets the Flash scene from last year’s crossover. So maybe that multiverse theory is kinda in play. I guess I’ll just have to wait till the Flash movie to find out even though it might not actually be… Read more »

March 19, 2021 10:58 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

I also wonder how Lex knew Bruce Wayne is Batman and how did he know Clark Kent is Superman in BvS? Was there a spy in Wayne enterprise? Did he have someone tail Clark until he changed into Superman and meet his mom? If I can think of any more questions I’ll be sure to ask. But for now, I think I’m out of questions.

March 19, 2021 11:17 pm
Reply to  Superman2878

Everybody does love to scream “CLARK!!” at him when he’s wearing the cape, so let’s call it his “not-so-secret-identity”.
And I’m speculating, but Lex doesn’t say Batman is Bruce, but that Deathstroke should start with Bruce. He may have noticed through corporate espionage that a lot of Wayne Enterprises RnD is ending up in Batman’s arsenal. Too much for there to not be a connection.

March 20, 2021 1:12 am
Reply to  afriend

No, Lex knows Bruce is Batman, he says as much in BvS.

March 20, 2021 9:58 am
Reply to  afriend

Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Clark! I mean Superman! …….I’m pretty sure no one heard me say Clark.
Yeah. Smooth recovery. Lol 😀

March 20, 2021 1:12 am
Reply to  Superman2878

Eh, the how doesn’t matter in this context. Lex is Lex, he’s clever, he has inexhaustible resources, he found out. If we want to be brutally honest, neither Batman nor Superman are particularly good at covering their tracks, all it takes is someone obsessive enough to follow the trail. Lois did it in Man of Steel.

March 20, 2021 9:11 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

I have some more questions. Steppenwolf mentions at one point that the earth had no Kryptonians and no Green Lanterns. I understand why he said no Green Lanterns, but what about Kryptonians? Is it possible that Zack’s version of Supergirl from his MoS prequel comic fought in the first battle against Darkside? If so then what happened to her? But if it wasn’t Supergirl that he was referring to, then how did he know that Superman was dead if he arrived after his death? Did he spy on earth until the death of Superman? Could the codex have a connection… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Superman2878
March 20, 2021 10:18 am
Reply to  Superman2878

He was talking about Superman (he said “Kryptonian”, singular). He knew it, because the mother boxes told him. The Mother Boxes wouldn’t call out to Apokolips, even if they were activated, before Superman’s death. That’s why the Mother Box that made Cyborg was activated, but didn’t ping Darkseid and company. Superman’s “death scream” at the start of the movie was the Mother Boxes waking up.

That aside, it stands to reason that if he goes to a planet to invade it, he has done enough of his homework to know what he’ll face.

But mostly, it’s Mother Boxes.

March 20, 2021 10:50 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

I see. Thanks for answering those questions. I can’t think of any more for now. If I do, I will be sure to ask. I’m going to have give this film some more thought and see if there is anything else for me to ask about.

Last edited 1 year ago by Superman2878
March 19, 2021 8:14 pm

Loved, loved, loved this movie!!

March 20, 2021 2:10 am

Four hours of really good entertainment! I enjoyed experiencing Zack’s vision!

March 20, 2021 4:33 am

Very philosophical review – and to a certain extent agreed. Personally, I’m generally not a fan of the Zack Snyder movie ‘dark style’ either, and that includes MOS, Batman vs Superman. (but I will watch the movies and ‘try’ to enjoy them) But if I have to take off the ‘style’ hat for a moment – I at least, enjoyed this 4 hour cut much more than the original Joss Whedon version – which was appalling. At least Zack got a bit of closure on this movie. I wonder if he’ll get a chance to complete his original film series… Read more »

March 20, 2021 5:22 am

I have nothing much to say but a big fat WOW. Hat’s off to Mr. Snyder for delivering such an artistic, bombastic and a true down to earth earnest and enjoyable cinematic experience. I was hooked from start to finish. The wait was worth it. Alone seeing the Fourth World charachters interacting just literally gave me chills down my spine. The only issue that I had was not sitting in the movie theater to watch this. It would have been much more epic. But…..I appreciated pausing for bathroom breaks and preparing snacks. I even ordered pizza at some point hehehehee.… Read more »

March 20, 2021 12:40 pm

I really wanted to like the Snyder version. I’ve been a fan of the big blue boy scout since I was a kid. I remember buying the 10 cent comics and the 25 cent annuals from my corner drugstore, enjoying the television series after school and marveling at how a man could fly in the late 70’s. I have found positives in every Superman movie (yes, even The Quest For Peace) and really liked Henry Cavill’s portrayal in both Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman. My problem is the Snyder version of Justice League, in my opinion, is a… Read more »

March 20, 2021 1:16 pm

This overall was a good movie. I am one of the few who actually liked the theatrical cut of Justice League. This was better. But as A Superman fan, I feel Zack either is not really a Superman fan, or he just doesn’t like to hear Henry Cavill talk. Superman said less in this movie then he did in the theatrical cut. In the big fight scene.. Not Impressed….was his only words…well I am Not Impressed with the way Zack gives Henry less lines then Martian Manhunter. Who by the way had less screen time, but got to talk more.… Read more »

March 20, 2021 6:24 pm
Reply to  sman1938

Not like his dad??? Low blow deluxe. And that laugh scene in JW’s JL, one of the dumbest parts as well. The only redeemable part to what your refering to was Cyborg calling him “Superman” to his face.

March 20, 2021 7:32 pm
Reply to  sman1938

I don’t know what relationship Zack had with his dad, but he is a dad. Of eight children. Four of them adopted. Yes, that includes his late daughter. I can’t imagine him hating dads.

But no, dads dying is considered standard for a super-hero journey, for better or worse. Removing the father usually means the child (usually, son) has to be their own person and have to deal with the world without a safety net. It’s a dramatic shorthand to “growing up”. Plus it tugs on the heartstrings, which is always useful for audience engagement.

March 20, 2021 7:21 pm

Just talking Superman, he was a bit too stoic and showed signed of inherent evil. Waking up evil and how brutal he was beating Steppenwolf with an evil grin, like he enjoyed doing it. The fact Snyder wanted to make him decide to turn evil just because Lois died to help Darkseid get the anti-life equation doesn’t jive with me either. His moments were cool, but nothing we haven’t seen in MoS. Why so few lines? If you took all of Clark’s lines and double spaced them in size 12 font it wouldn’t take up one word document. He doesn’t… Read more »

March 20, 2021 7:41 pm
Reply to  Clark_Jo

He didn’t wake up evil. He died a very violent death at the end of one of his most traumatic days. In the midst of his brain rebooting, he gets blasted by Cyborg and then it’s a crescendo of violence against him, from the heroes to the military. He was operating on instinct and hazy memories. You should see how I operate in the morning, before I remember where the coffee is. More importantly, he was “the superman” when he woke up; not the hero, the alien demi-god. There’s a reason he doesn’t connect, until he remembers his childhood in… Read more »

March 20, 2021 9:04 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

I’d argue he died willingly.
He made peace with himself, you are my world, and died knowing he did what he could to keep the person he loved alive.

So no I don’t accept that. He comes back and with evil intent.

Let’s say ok, you’re right, he died violently and is just acting on instinct and haze. Why does he seem to get pleasure out of it? Why does he smile at delivering pain?

The same with Steppenwolf. Why does he seem to enjoy the punishment he is dishing out?

March 20, 2021 9:23 pm
Reply to  Clark_Jo

Dying willingly doesn’t mean dying peacefully. The last thing the man experienced was Doomsday’s breath in his face, while his heart was pretty much pulverized, followed by a loud explosion. Then immediately cut to another violent explosion, his resurrection. There is no in-between. No cherubs bathing him in divine sunshine in the meantime. Brain camera cuts from one moment to the next. It takes a while to get your bearings. Also, I’m sorry, when have you seen Superman in a fight weeping in despair he has to punch someone? Since when is Superman a pacifist? Superman absolutely celebrates his power… Read more »

March 20, 2021 9:33 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

And I don’t know why you’re dodging my question.
You have valid points, but it still doesn’t answer my question to you.
Snyder was setting him up to be a villain. He has signs of evil incarnet when he comes back to life and when he’s pounding Steppenwolf to the point of torture.
You keep diverting to “oh he died violently.”
Ok, so that means he should enjoy the pain of others?
Because that’s what SC is showing.

March 20, 2021 9:58 pm
Reply to  Clark_Jo

I’m not diverting, quite the contrary. You read “evil incarnate” or “inherent evil” in Superman smirking while beating the bad guy– something that, by the by, was also in the Whedon cut. Superman is not a pacifist. Being satisfied with winning a battle does not make him, or Wonder Woman, or anyone in this movie or the real world, evil. You’re ascribing character traits to him in this movie, because you know what was going to happen in the next. But these traits don’t exist here and what exists here is very much in line with Superman across media since… Read more »

March 20, 2021 10:22 pm
Reply to  NeoRanger

The satisfaction of winning? What kind of shill trip are you on? So grinning and trying to kill Flash is the “satisfaction of winning?” Being headbutted by Wonder Woman then smirking back with a “is that all you got for me” look on his face, just the satisfaction of winning? When seeing Batman, then a bloodlust look on his face and what looks like a rush of adrenalin from trying to kill him the satisfaction of winning? When beating Steppenwolf, while over him with a huge grin and beating him more and heat visioning his horn off with a big… Read more »

March 20, 2021 10:48 pm
Reply to  Clark_Jo

Ohhhh and I thought we had resolved the post-resurrection conundrum. Why yes, when a bunch of idiots try to attack you and you’re stripped of all reason and your emotions are in a flux, grinning when they fail to kill you is the appropriate response. I’m starting to think you don’t much care to empathize with these characters. Hmm. Also, you should probably go back and recheck those scenes, because you have them a bit backwards. Especially the climax, in which Superman smiles exactly twice, once when he lands on top of Steppenwolf (before heat-visioning off his horn) and once… Read more »

March 21, 2021 5:26 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

“Inherent evil.” “Evil incarnet (sic).” I swore I’d seen it all. Sorry for this “novel”, but I have a lot to say and brevity is not my strong suit. Thanks in advance for bearing with me. In brief, I used to be an active poster on this site’s forum from 2001-2005. I never stopped following the site, or the conversations, but I had to step away due to a combination of computer problems and the fact that for as much as so many people here swear up and down that they love and respect and “understand” the Superman character –… Read more »

March 21, 2021 6:31 am
Reply to 

I don’t have anything to add, but since you acknowledged me, I thought it’d be rude not to say anything. But yeah, I pretty much agree, obviously. People will like what they like, but I wish people would also see things for what they are and not for for what they aren’t. I’m one of the very few people that really really don’t like Chris Reeve’s Superman, but I’m not going to watch Donner’s “Superman” and pretend it’s bad or invalid, because it’s not– and, in fairness, I can understand the sentiment, I used to do this myself when I… Read more »

March 21, 2021 7:32 am
Reply to  NeoRanger

“Shill trip” is what finally broke me. No disrespect whatsoever intended to ClarkJo – as I said, I’ve been following the discourse on this site for longer than most of the currently active posters have even been here, and I respect everyone and their individual opinions; we all obviously care about Superman or else we wouldn’t be here, so it all obviously comes from a place of “love” regardless of a person’s interpretation – but that was about as dismissive a comment to a valid point of view as I’ve ever seen. It felt very unfair, very unwarranted, and I… Read more »

March 22, 2021 12:22 am
Reply to 

So I’m not allowed an opinion based on what I see?

March 22, 2021 12:20 am
Reply to 

Why does it always go back to “OH you only want Reeves” as an excuse to dismiss criticism?
So I can’t see something and evaluate what I see?
I have to be labeled because what I see on the screen communicates a message?
A message that even Snyder himself says is true?
Sure, ok, I’m an idiot, thanks for that.

March 23, 2021 1:20 am
Reply to  Clark_Jo

Kindly take a breath, sir. At NO point, anywhere, at any time, did I call you “an idiot” or say you “aren’t allowed” to call what you see. I didn’t say that, nor would I say that. What I actually said was: Others obviously see some of these things differently than you do, and that you may be projecting some of what you choose to see into the material, when the material perhaps isn’t actually meant to be taken the way that you see it. Furthermore, if Snyder actually said that we are supposed to see Superman as “Evil Incarnate”… Read more »

March 23, 2021 9:54 pm
Reply to 

I said what I meant and was validated to be right from Snyders’s comments. I said “shill trip” because I was so thrown off about how combative Ranger was of my assessment. Now you’re saying what my assessment was is right? Sorry for being combative, I was just trying to stand up and present evidence for what I saw. I meant no offense, I just felt attacked. I just love this character, when I see things I don’t agree with I get defensive of it. When I see portrayals of that character, and what he means to me, I get… Read more »

March 21, 2021 1:31 pm

Wow… the dad’s comment really hit a button. I only meant it because two fathers died unnecessarily in just 3 movies. I know Zack is a dad, and sarcasm does not come across well when typed. As for the amount of talking done by superman in the movie which was the real focus of my comment, to redcape, I know you are a Snyder fan which is great, but Superman has a voice, and he did not speak enough period. The only redeemable part to your comment was about the father remark. Which as I said was sarcasm.

March 23, 2021 1:34 am
Reply to  sman1938

Misunderstandings certainly do seem to come easy and often, given how tone cannot be properly conveyed through text. This is unfortunate, but such is the nature of forums in general. With regard to the criticism that Superman doesn’t speak enough in these films… I think it’s fair even though I don’t fully agree on how big a deal it is. I admit it would be nice; I personally don’t let it bother me TOO much – Fleischer’s Superman rarely spoke when he was acting as Superman, for example, so I can accept a Superman who is big on action but… Read more »

March 22, 2021 6:30 pm

This movie was absolutely amazing! 🙂

I had fun and enjoyed the theatrical version of Justice League. I absolutely love Zack Snyder’s Justice League! Absolutely amazing! 🙂