Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Everybody knows that old adage. Warner Brothers and DC’s recent presentation (and home release) of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof positive of that old adage. Released through HBO Max after years of protest by Snyder’s minions, the movie was released this summer on DVD and Blu-ray. Given, the original 2017 cut (which used only part of Snyder’s work before his departure from the project) was hardly memorable, it is far better by comparison than the Snyder cut. This four-hour presentation is even worse than the movie’s original 2017 cut, and that is saying something, too. There is little if anything to like about this take of Justice League. The most prominent problem with the Snyder Cut is its story. This will be discussed shortly. The story ties into another prominent problem, the pacing. Rounding out the movie’s problems is its general presentation. This item will also be discussed later. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. All things considered, they make the movie the least memorable of DC and Warner Brothers’ DC titles to date.
Warner Brothers and DC’s presentation of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof positive that people really should be careful what they wish for. That is because while its 2017 predecessor is not necessarily the greatest of the companies’ offerings, it is also not their worst. That dishonor belongs to the recently premiered (and home released) “Snyder Cut” of Justice League. The movie suffers from so many problems, not the least of which being its story. The story, which runs four hours, two minutes in length, is marred right from the get go. The first two hours are spent building up the background for each member of the Justice League. The story plods along as a result of this, leading to an issue in the pacing, which will be discussed a little later. It is not even until almost two hours into the movie that audiences finally get the movie’s first fight scene between the Justice League’s members and Steppenwolf. This critic is a lifelong DC fan, but this approach to the movie’s first half is completely counterproductive. By comparison, Marvel Studios did create a number of movies for each member of the Avengers. There is not denying that. At the same time though, those movies do all of the buildup for the key characters, thus allowing more time for more important elements in the big final presentation that was the Infinity Saga. This is the model that DC should have used from day one for its Justice League buildup. DC and Warner Brothers sort of tried that with Wonder Woman and Man of Steel (which was terrible to say the least in itself) but what with so many batman movies out there, it was next to impossible to figure out how to build up his back story and make it work for this story. The companies also tried a setup for Green Lantern in 2011, but that movie flopped, with even star Ryan Reynolds decrying the movie in hindsight. It likely explains why the Green Lantern Corps was mentioned only in passing in this movie. Add in everything from the story’s epilogue and things get even more problematic. The whole just adds too much to the whole. Perhaps the only true positive (or really positives) is Steppenwolf’s acknowledgement of the multi-verse at one point in the story and the Joker’s mention of alternate timelines in the movie’s epilogue. Considering all the talk of the Flashpoint crossover and the Crisis on Infinite Earths in the DCEU’s television world, it all actually ties together at least a little better. Though, the use of what is apparently a Lazarus Pit in Superman’s ship and everything else that went into the story of his resurrection offsets all of that, too. Simply put, the whole of the movie’s story is forgettable. It simply tries too hard and falls flat.
As noted already, the pacing tied in to the story makes for even more problems for this presentation. Because of all of the brooding and buildup in the movie’s first half, things really do plod along at nearly a snail’s pace. Again, if that buildup had been relegated to the standalone movies for the JL’s members, then the story could have just gotten right to the point and moved along at a much more pleasant pace. What’s more, the epilogue involving Bruce Wayne’s dream (what proves to set up an alternate reality story line) and everything involving Cyborg’s story slows things down even more, as does the completely random meeting of Deathstroke/Slade Wilson and Lex Luthor. It’s like Snyder just threw that in like so much more and thought it would work. Sadly it just slows things down once again after the movie could have ended following Steppenwolf’s defeat (not to give away too much). Simply put, the movie moves too slow too often and just the right speed at too few spots. The result is that the pacing proves just as problematic as the movie’s story.
As if the negative impact of the story and its pacing are not enough, the general presentation is also problematic. Audiences who are familiar with Zack Snyder’s work will easily catch the over the top slow motion effects, and the blood and gore. He follows the same stylistic approach throughout this movie, with more than enough bloodshed (and even Superman holding a skeleton at one point) to appease the most bloodthirsty viewers. Such approach really is disappointing, as is the unnecessary use of so much foul language and dark, gritty look throughout the story. People go to movies to escape the grim reality of reality, not to be exposed to even more grim, brooding presentations. Snyder needs to realize and just accept this. When and if he ever does, it will hopefully change his ways. Otherwise, audiences are just going to get the same kind of presentation from Snyder from one movie to the next. Hopefully, keeping this in mind, DC and Warner Brothers will employ Snyder less as time goes on. Between this realization and that of the negative impact of the movie’s story and pacing, all three elements leave the movie a nearly complete failure. The introduction of the Martian Manhunter (a.k.a. J’on Jonzz) is about the only positive, as it and Darkseid’s determination to get the Mother Boxes sets up more Justice League movies; movies that hopefully will not be written or even helmed by Zack Snyder.
Warner Brothers and DC’s recently released presentation that is Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a problematic new presentation from the companies. There is little if anything to like about this movie. Really the only positive that it has is that it sets up another Justice League movie that hopefully will not be helmed or written by Zack Snyder. There was also the acknowledgement of the multiverse and alternate timelines, which aligns it (to a point) with DC’s television offerings. What with the new Flash movie coming, it would seem that said presentation will take those mentions into account. That is because the Flashpoint storyline did in fact involve Darkseid and Steppenwolf following its events in the comics. Other than that, the movie fails with its story and pacing, as well as its general presentation. All things considered, Zack Snyder’s Justice League proves to be the worst of DC and Warner Brothers’ superhero offerings to date.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other DC titles from Warner Brothers is available at https://www.facebook.com/DECU2013.
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