“Zack Snyder's Justice League“ (2021)
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder, Will Beale
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Ray Porter, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, Ciarán Hinds, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Morton
Rated: R for violence and some language
Runtime: 4h 2min
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Country: UK | USA
"Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes -- Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash -- it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions."
You might like this if you like: Zack Snyder, DC Comics, Comic Books, Justice League, Film History, Superheroes, Action Movies, Adventure Movies, Epics, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Ben Affleck, "Batman", Gal Gadot, "Wonder Woman", Jason Momoa, "Aquaman", Ray Fisher, "Cyborg", Ezra Miller, "The Flash", Henry Cavill, Superman, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Ray Porter, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, Ciarán Hinds, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Morton
NO SPOILERS HERE UNTIL LAST PARAGRAPH
Ben Affleck (left), Gal Gadot (middle) & Zack Snyder on the set of "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
As expected, here is my Gem Mint 10.0 review of "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021). I know it's a long video, but if you're interested in my background / hype leading up to this film, explaining WHO Zack Snyder is, WHAT the #SnyderCut means, and my fandom of Zack's work over the years; check out the video I made titled "How Zack Snyder Changed My Life & What His Justice League" Means to Me". I created it BEFORE the film released so there are no spoilers in that video. Just is a nice introduction to this review.
Before I sat down to watch this film, I knew no matter what, I was just damn happy this exists. That’s the enjoyment for me. It’s the fact that it’s out. That Zack’s happy and his vision is out there for the world to see. I knew going in, I already love everything Zack does, I love him as a human being and filmmaker, he really could do no wrong in MY book.
Ray Porter as Darkseid in "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
I watched the film start to finish by myself, 80 inch+ screen, it was late and I watched it with some big ol’ headphones. I took like 2 bathroom breaks and maybe a 20 minute intermission to make some food, but overall I was immersed in the experience as much as I could be.
I think I started crying from the start. Not even believing it was happening. Immediate thoughts were; “This is an entirely different movie”, “I wish I never saw the theatrical cut from Joss Whedon” and couldn’t help but hear Kevin Smith’s voice ringing in my head; “This is a FILM. It’s an epic FILM. They will study this in film class for years to come.” and my god, it is. Less a movie, less a summer blockbuster, it feels like an EPIC MOTHER F***ING FILM! Keep in mind, I had ALL of those thoughts in my head within the first few minutes over the opening credits. Forgot how much I loved and forgot Christopher Nolan is a producer on this along with Emma Thomas, his wife. Seeing their names definitely got the water works going. That they were cheerleaders with us all along too. Also remembering Zack shot this on FILM which I know Mr. Nolan loves. So do I.
Ezra Miller (left) & Ray Fisher (right) in "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
I really started crying hard in Chapter 2. I was just in awe and was reminded of sitting in the theater watching “300” (2006) FIFTEEN years ago, I was taken back to falling in love with Zack Snyder’s visionary directing style, memories of my late mom emerged of her supporting all of my love for this and getting me a “300” collectors edition DVD so I could watch all the behind the scenes that only deepened my love for Zack, I was getting overwhelmed with emotions. It reminded me of every opening I went to go see of Zack Snyder’s films. The two I missed in theaters were “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” (2010) which I caught later at home. It was my love for his work over the years all culminating in one gigantic epic Snyder painting. This is art on a cinematic scale that I don’t think has ever happened before. Again, this is all going through my mind during Chapter 2.
As the story went on, I fell more and more in love with the CHARACTERS. My god, I felt LOVE for them beam out of Zack Snyder’s lenses onto their beautiful faces. I didn’t feel the love as much from Joss Whedon’s Theatrical Version. I almost felt as if he was making fun of the characters. Zack loves, respects and is almost living these characters. He built the mythology for the DCEU with Chris Terrio, and his wife Deborah Snyder. These are his babies.
Ben Affleck in "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
Parts of the original I didn't like, I ended up loving in this version. I actually LOVED the character “Steppenwolf”. “Cyborg” holy sh*t. ALL of these characters got the love, attention and introductions they deserved. For what Snyder set up, this was the ONLY way to continue it. No matter who touched it, it could’ve been someone we loved and who wasn’t abusive to his co-workers and it could’ve been decent, but this truly is Zack’s story continued. From the moment “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) ended (by the way, if you watch that I recommend the Ultimate cut) we get to see, in full STYLE and TONE that was started, whether you liked it or not, I respect that commitment and honesty. It’s what the characters deserve. Finish what you started. Let him complete this vision.
There’s room for other adaptations, versions, stories by other wonderful storytellers. These characters should be treated like Shakespeare characters. They’re that respected and loved, why can’t we see hundreds of different versions like we do in plays? I’m ALL for it. Everyone can add something interesting to it. In this case, the characters of “Justice League”. I thank Marc Bernadin from Kevin Smith’s “Fatman Beyond” podcast show for pointing out that there were actually some good moments Whedon had shot or put in the original theatrical version like Batman understanding Louis Lane and using her as the secret weapon. I think, if Whedon had done it his own way from the beginning (going back to “Man of Steel” 2013 and he gets to do everything from scratch) it would make a lot more sense and just be Whedon’s version. Instead, we got a theatrical release of a HALF Whedon and HALF Snyder movie. Which are polar opposites. But again, Zack had two movies of mythology worth that introduce this one, so they just should’ve put it on pause instead of releasing a very strange version of “Justice League”. Clearly Whedon saw parts of Zack’s he liked and kept in, I just wish I could’ve saved those moments’ introductions for the way Zack intended in his movie. Bravo to Zack for NEVER watching the theatrical version.
Ezra Miller in "Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
Every frame was gorgeous, I really did love the 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s so unique for a superhero movie and gives it such a different flavor. Hearing the music Zack picked also gave me strong memories of “Watchmen” (2009) and “Sucker Punch” (2011) which he also did. Halfway through, or maybe during Chapter 2, I remembered that this no longer has Danny Elfman’s soundtrack from the theatrical version, Junkie XL aka Tom Holkenborg (#BorgLife, lol Holkenborglife sorry just entertaining myself), did an entirely new score for this movie. He was the original composer that Snyder hired for this. It was such an epic, redemption score. So beautiful, badass, glorious and took me back to “300”’s (2006) soundtrack by Tyler Bates. So many homages, it felt to me, to Zack’s past work. I loved it. It really was for the fans. Junkie XL was able to bring familiar favorites back with an awesome twist.
I kept thinking about Kevin Smith’s “they will study this in film class for years to come” and how much I agreed with him. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever had to study before. Never before could you SO clearly see TWO different directors styles and tones side by side. Again, for you to judge whose you prefer, but regardless it is a fascinating study. I am much more a Zack Snyder fan when it comes to “Justice League” incase that wasn’t clear. I don’t want to get political with the Joss Whedon thing behind the scenes, but from a filmmaker’s standpoint I think it was disrespectful to the story and characters. Although again, I do respect what Marc Bernardin said. Maybe Whedon does have some love and respect for Batman. Side by side though, it allows for me to see my own taste more clearly, and look at other cinematic work differently too.
"Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
Just a huge shoutout to Ray Fisher! New favorite actor who I was so impressed with! Even though I set the bar pretty high for how they were building back his comeback, like did they really have that much for us to fall in love with him? Yes, yes they did. In my book, at least. Made me go out and buy a Cyborg comic. Seriously, made me fall in love with that character as a whole. Completely credit Zack and Ray for that. I did NOT feel that way from the theatrical cut.
This is a cinematic feat. I’m just so f***ing happy this exists and is out for the world to see! I understand too though that this is not for everybody! If you did NOT like “Man of Steel” (2013), “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) you most likely will not like this one. Marc Bernardin thinks if you enjoyed the theatrical version of “Justice League” (2017) you’d enjoy this even more. I sort of agree, I think when it came out I thought it was “OK” I just wished it had been better maybe. It just feels like more of what we got in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016) and is an organic continuation of THAT story. So if that’s what you’re looking for you will definitely like this. Though in some ways, I think this film could be entirely enjoyed without knowing anything else. It worked on Kevin Smith’s wife. She said it played just like a mini-series. She didn’t see any of Zack’s previous contributions to the DC universe that sets up this story and she was still able to enjoy the hell out of it. Bra-f***ing-vo Zack Snyder!
I am trying to keep this spoiler free, but this paragraph below IS FOR SPOILERS so SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH if you have NOT SEEN “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” (2021). WARNING - STOP READING THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED YET (TRAILER, OTHER REVIEWS AND WHERE TO WATCH ARE PAST THIS PARAGRAPH): Okay, one my favorite scenes that sticks out the most was definitely the Amazonians protecting the Mother Box from Steppenwolf. I loved all of Wonder Woman’s scenes, first time you hear her theme song from Junkie was insanely epic, Barry Allen’s scene with the hot dogs was strangely beautiful, all of Alfred’s scenes I loved, Cyborg’s father was fascinating just that whole storyline, I loved getting to see more of J.K. Simmons, Martha as Martian was so rad, sure I wanted some more Darkseid but going into the film I was expecting more of a conclusion. More closure. I did not occur to me until looking up afterwards, or frankly, when the credits rolled was I like; “Holy sh*t. There could be WAY MORE OF THIS. Oh my god, release the Snyderverse please!”. So I was left wanting so much more. I realized the parts I did NOT like was only because I realized this will get explained in future stories. Or it was purposely meant to be vague like that. I’m excited at the thought one day we could see his whole trilogy fleshed out. Looking it up afterwards, I really respected Zack wanted to release it EXACTLY as planned, even though they have not been greenlit for a sequel. Leaving it, once again, almost up to fans to decide? I’ll be the first in line!
- SPOILERS ABOVE PARAGRAPH (AVOID IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS MOVIE) -
"Zack Snyder's Justice League" (2021)
Written by Sam Gall on 03/20/21
CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0
"The essential point of Snyder rebounding from a career catastrophe and making it right is demonstrated in the personal dilemma of each superhero. ZSJL's restored vision reminds us of pop art's value." - Armond White, National Review
"A thorough and epic story that gives every main character the time and development they deserve. A cohesive vision that is realized in the justified 4 hour runtime. Cyborg is a standout." - Chauncey K. Robinson, The Twisted Girl Next Door
"Zack Snyder pulls off everything that was missing from the original Justice League. The Snyder's Cut is the best decision DC could have made in revitalizing their superhero universe." - Vincent Schilling, Indian Country Today
"It's perhaps the best DC film of the current cycle, and certainly the one that most embodies the inherent thrill of that publisher's canon. It's also one hell of a redemption story." - Kyle Pinion, Screen Rex
Behind the Scenes:
Available on HBO Max
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