Zack Snyder promised fans an epic return to the age of heroes in his Justice League ‘Snyderverse’ and delivered a Mammoth spectacle. The ‘Snyder Cut’ is Zack’s full unadulterated vision – No apologies, no excuses, no compromises.
I grew up DC. Batman and the Justice League were all I really knew. Marvel were more of a pleasant side note- a spiderman cartoon and the incredible Hulk TV show were all I knew of them. They paled in comparison to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the league. So, the first time I saw my heroes United together on screen in 2017s Justice League, it was the fulfilment of an almost lifelong childhood dream.
But once the smoke cleared and ecstasy faded, I couldn’t fight the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. It was more than just Henry Cavils bad digital mustache removal, more than the absence of the previously advertised Superman black suit. Infact, under closer scrutiny there was a lot that just didn’t fit together right.
Looking online, there were thousands who felt just like me. An online movement was born which achieved something never before done in Hollywood. Convincing a major studio to re-invest in a million-dollar blockbuster that had already suffered critical and commercial failure. The reasons they finally agreed to do it aren’t really important anymore. There is every chance that without Covid, cinema closures and the launch of HBO Max, this would have never happened. And with life fighting to return to normality, it’s unlikely this will ever happen again.
So, the legendary Snyder Cut is finally with us, over three years since the theatrical release. Some at first claimed there was no alternate Snyder version of the film to complete. Even after it was greenlit by the studio, there were those who claimed it would be the same movie as before, a waste of money and they still wouldn’t like the results, regardless of what was added.
Well, here’s the truth bomb: This is THE SAME Movie you already watched-it’s the same story and plot, same characters, and same conclusion. The difference is, this is just put together in a far superior manner, in every conceivable way. This is the true continuation of the stories started in Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman. If you didn’t like those movies then you might as well move on now, this was never made for you.
For the rest of us, this is what we asked for, why we never gave up hope and why we waited patiently. This is a project born out of pain, passion and persistence. I’m not going to waste time going over the story and plot, you already know those things. The first thing I’d say is be ready for a long movie, bring a big back of popcorn and lots of snacks.
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Zack has constructed an epic which will sit in the top five of the longest Hollywood releases of all time, it’s half an hour longer than Ben Hur! I think if Zack had finished this back in 2017, he would have had to make more cuts and concessions himself to fit into a more comfortable running length to appease the studio and audiences at that time.
What he has been given here is free run to not only tell the story his way, but also do massive fan service to those who have supported him through this long arduous process.
While It was amazing to see some of the true story elements restored and expanded, there were parts I felt that in reality weren’t essential to the broad story.
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For example, the Barry Allen and Iris car crash sequence which featured heavily in the trailers really added very little to the story other than giving Barry an extra scene and linking into Iris West in the forthcoming Flashpoint movie.
From the parts cut from the theatrical release, the most significant were Ray Fishers storyline with Cyborg. Zack Snyder described him as the ‘heart’ of the film, which was a dramatic way of saying he was a central part of the story. His position in the film has now been fully restored with Cyborg’s journey and emotional arc being an element that runs through the whole movie. He is dealing with issues around his father and family, death, survivors’ guilt, loss of identity and finally finding his place in the world. Having watched this, it is more understandable how Ray Fisher felt massively sidelined.
There are more than enough extra scenes and bonus characters to satisfy even the most ardent fan. Every location is painstakingly pictured and explored. Locations, communities, and characters are given life. The environments suddenly appear alive.
There is no dodgy Henry Cavil moustache to mock, no awkward cheesy moments like flash falling on top of Wonder Woman, Cyborgs ‘Booyahs’ or Superman asking Batman if he bleeds. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman quite possibly had the least change as he seems pretty much the same in both versions of the film and in his own franchise. Surprisingly, his Aquaman co-star Amber Heard appears to have been given more to do rather than less, (despite recent petitions to have her removed) and there were even hints of further development for her within the ‘Snyderverse’.
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Ben Affleck and Henry Cavil were also not given much more to do outside of the parts we have already seen. Quite possibly because Zack Snyder felt he had already done a deep dive into their mythology of them both in his previous films as they were the headliners. Patty Jenkins and Zack Snyder both have a love for the character Wonder Woman and for now Gal seems happy to ‘serve two masters’. Patty is more interested in the compassionate and human side of Diana Prince while Zack sees her as an ultimate Warrior, always with sword and shield close by.
This is a sprawling DC superhero movie that values its mythology deeply. There is no rush to action or sense of urgency. Every character is given breathing room and space to develop. The scenes we have seen before have different significance and impact now they are fleshed out and put into context.
Everything happens for a reason and Zack Snyder has managed to turn the personal tragedy he suffered while originally making the film into a triumph he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to achieve 3 years ago. There is no cliffhanger ending in my opinion. He brings this film to a satisfactory conclusion.
What he does offer in the epilogue is the acknowledgement that the overarching story he created is far from over. He had a lot more to say and the threads and plots he started with Man of Steel are still there to be told if Warner are interested and willing. #restorethesnyderverse is already a twitter trend! That possibility will firmly be attached to the level of success this enjoys on the HBO Max service.
Zack Snyder has a deep routed love for these characters. He personally developed this story and cast these actors in these roles. It’s right his name now appears in the title as this is his legacy.
The films score, now back in the hands of Junkie XL, better reflected the action and emotion Zack was trying to convey. They’ve worked together successfully in the past so have a better understanding of each other’s style and sound requirements. Having said that, I still missed ‘Everybody Knows’ by Sigrid and ‘Come Together’ by Gary Clarke from the original cut. I can’t help feeling they weren’t included just to ensure nothing of Joss Whedon remained.
Zack Snyder has always been a divisive film maker and this film won’t change that. When you create art, there is an acceptance that not everyone will like it. If you can’t accept that then you shouldn’t be in a creative industry.
As for Zack, I firmly believe that whatever happens from this point, and even if he never makes another superhero film in his life, I believe he will walk away proud with his head held high, he has done what he wanted and what he believes. Unlike most, I don’t blame Joss Whedon for the failures in the first film. It’s hard to come into a project halfway through and complete someone else’s vision. He was also given strict criteria to fulfil from the studio at the time, told to just get it done.
Love it or hate it, Zack Snyder has made history with this film. He has been given the chance to rectify and, in his eyes, perfect what is likely the biggest film of his career and poured his entire soul into it.
Justice has finally been served and is available for no additional cost on Sky Cinema in the UK and HBO Max in the US