To answer your most immediate question – yes, to Zack Snyder Justice League is better than its version from 2017. It would be hard not to be. Joss Whedon is not aggressively bad, but he’s not there with the best superhero movies of all time. It’s nothing like a movie burger, a useful team of superheroes whose team doesn’t have a voice or a vision. Snyder’s version retains the same main plot of the six members of the Justice League who come together to fight the great bad Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), but is a stunning example of how the same material in the hands of two directors can led to such strikingly different results. Despite some bloody bombs, two f-bombs and Henry Cavill without the awkward face with CGI, here are the main ways in which Snyder cut differs from its predecessor:
There is a real person
You know what you’re up to when you watch a Snyder movie – intricately arranged sequences that play out in slow motion, a dozen different drops with a needle and aesthetics, so slippery, so all-encompassing, that it threatens to crush the substance. Yet his exceptional voice and distinctive style make him Justice League a cut feeling as if it were made by a human being with a real person instead of a soulless corporate machine.
Snyder likes to ask philosophical questions about his characters and their environment. IN Man of Steel (2013), he asked if superheroes should think it’s worth fighting for a world that can just turn against them. IN Batman vs. Superman (2016), the world had he turned and he asked what it would cost to keep fighting. Justice League is for superheroes who have been alone for too long, realizing that part of what it means to save the world is to let others into theirs. It infuses the film with the warm glow of friendship that the 2017 version gave up in favor of an effective team and download.
Snyder described his DCEU trilogy (Man of Steel,, Batman V Superman and Justice League) as “epic-level mythology,” which is exactly what you get here. At 242 minutes, this is a little more than twice the length of its previous incarnation. Scenes that can be edited in montages are downloaded in full-length sequences – Batman (Ben Affleck) doesn’t just travel to a Scandinavian bar in search of Aquaman (Jason Momoa). He travel, on horseback, in the biting cold, past glaciers set against sweeping for two whole minutes. The fact that its search is not easy gives it a mythical meaning. Aquaman doesn’t just swim, the inhabitants of this fishing neighborhood gather around and sing a mourning farewell, inhaling the scent of the sweater he left behind.
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Is Snyder condescending? Yes. But heck, he knows how to create a reverent atmosphere. His stretched canvas and bombastic photos are in the service of a certain brand of heroism – his characters are not connected, nor are they meant to be. They are gods among the people who should be looked at with awe. A low-angle shot of the six members of the Justice League towards the end, in which they calmly look at the world they have just saved, with benevolent faces, encapsulates this brand of hero worship.
At the same time, the characters in Snyder’s universe initially carry their heroism as a curse, not as a sign of honor, using it to care for needy people, but at the same time hiding it from the prying eyes of the public (Aquaman), wondering if they can at all to help people without being discovered and deceived (Superman) or to hide completely (Cyborg). This idea was cut off by Whedon Justice League he failed to grasp, causing his characters to slip and wonder. The fact that it was reported that the director was hired to lighten the film led to its uneven tone in 2017 and makes even less sense now, given that Snyder’s film is not completely gloomy and in fact quite funny when the situation requires humor.
It adds context to several scenes
That Batman V Superman and Justice League Snyder cut both start with a climate scene from the previous part, shown from a different perspective, making them feel like part of a shared, cohesive universe. Snyder’s excision begins with the scene of Superman’s murder by Doomsday Batman V Supermanbut adds Superman (Henry Cavill), emitting an echoing mortal sob. Then, as a good measure, add a few more. .
Aquaman, who rushes to defend Atlantis against Stepnulf, although he has never set foot there before, is a less accidental case of “the right place, the right time”, as suggested by the 2017 version, and the direct consequence from his mother’s friend Vulco (Willem Dafoe), who asks for his help. These are crucial to establishing sequences, and removing Weedon from them creates a disjointed view, while reducing the 2017 film to a series of plot conveniences.
The cyborg gets the screen time it deserves
Snyder’s cut is as much an ambitious cross-country event (the formation of the Justice League) as it is an incredibly exciting story about the origins of Cyborg (Ray Fisher). If the 2017 film focuses more on its cybernetic aspects, adding value to its machine as a combat advantage, Snyder embraces the man with all his rage, injury and confusion. Victor Stone’s busy relationship with his father takes on an extra dimension. Flashbacks portray him putting a touchdown in college, his abundance interrupted when he sees the empty space where his father was supposed to be. Near death after a car accident, his father decides to resurrect him, a monstrous enough decision that gives more weight to their common history. – Dad didn’t show up at my place when I was alive, what right does he have to control my death? is the subtext. Stone’s initial distrust of his father and his hatred of what he has become against his will set the stage for a full arch, the only one that any of the superheroes in this film receive. This is his film to the end and he, his beating heart.
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It would be foolish to talk about Cyborg’s abbreviated role in the 2017 film, without mentioning Fisher’s claims that Weden was offended by him on set. In the alternate timeline, in which the Snyder cut is the only cut Justice League, Fisher’s role is not backed by Whedon, and he gets the big, stellar turn he was destined for. That’s what he deserves now.
The wonderful woman is not crawling
The camera does not sneak ominously to the ass of Gal Gadot, as in the 2017 film, and I am grateful for that. There is no sequence from the fall of Lightning (Ezra Miller) with her face first on her chest (a move that Weden pulled straight from his 2015 MCU film) Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which Scarlett Johansson’s The Black Widow is subjected to that awkward maneuver in Mark Ruffalo’s The Hulk). Fortunately, there’s also no violent romance between Bruce and Diana (What about Weden and writing horrible superhero romances?) Alfred doesn’t blame her for not having a romantic relationship, nor does he encourage Bruce to watch her more than a teammate. Bruce and Diana have a working relationship based on mutual respect, unlike the 2017 film, when he throws the death of her boyfriend in her face like a cheap shot during an argument and she hits him in revenge, both uncharacteristic moves.
Lois Lane (Amy Adams) gets a better deal in this film as well. This does not humiliate her by using her as bait to make the wild resurrected Superman calm down and does not make Batman demonstrate a stunning lack of judgment about putting her in this position.
A villain gets a better deal
The good news is that Steppenwolf is no longer a single-use CGI villain with a formidable tendency to growl at his mother. The Snyder cuts out his background – having betrayed his master in the past, he is now desperately trying to crawl back into his good graces. This is the hero’s motivation, rooted in an arch of redemption, which makes more sense than attributing his motives to a blind thirst for power. Snyder makes him more convincing, not by making him more powerful or threatening, but by turning him into a mad employee who is just trying to meet his boss.‘requirements. Unfortunately, as with superhero movies with several villains, one of them gets the short end of the stick. Darkseid (Ray Porter) has the texture of an avocado skin and ultimately less motivation than one.
There is a slow movement. Yes. A lot. Slowly
The slow-mo, Snyder’s specialty, really works when Flash is on the screen, on a practical and thematic level. The first time we meet him, he saves Iris West (Kirsy Clemens) from a car accident by pausing to move a lock of hair from her face. It’s a complex showcase of his strength, but also a clue to his feelings – when you look at someone you are in love with, shouldn’t the whole world slow down?
He gets a second, stunningly slow sequence towards the end. When he decisively turns his time to gain a tactical advantage, he is both the slowest and fastest character to ever become an adult in the film. This is also a great example of how Snyder can combine aesthetics with an emotional core.
However, the slow effect doesn’t work as well when applied to Wonder Woman or Victor Stone, who celebrated a touchdown in the days before Cyborg, extending an already very long film.
There is no conflict about bringing Superman back
Wonder Woman’s resistance to resurrect Superman is one of the few bits in 2017 Justice League it actually makes sense. Many unknown variables can make the plan fail and make the bad situation worse, something the earlier film acknowledges, but the film is silent.
There is an epilogue
The film is officially divided into six chapters, but the 20-minute epilogue, which appears as the seventh, is the weakest. I may be addicted, but I find that DCEU villains Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg, great otherwise, but he’s wrong here) and the Joker (Jared Leto, for whom I have no compliments) decide and both appear in different segments. Nowhere is it more obvious that Snyder’s 2017 film is intended to create a larger universe than in this last chapter, which exists solely to irritate (non-existent) future films, while adding nothing to this which‘s in, except for swelling.
The Luthor segment depicts a scenario in which he escaped from Arkham’s sanctuary and hired Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) to kill Batman. The Joker segment is developing the Knightmare sequence from Batman V Superman, defining the importance of Lois Lane as a person on whom the future depends. There are references to Robin and Martian Manhunter’s cameo, but Snyder’s decision to include all of this in the film instead of releasing them as separate fragments is a bit bitter. This is not just an epilogue to Justice League, but to a shared universe of superheroes that never had a chance to start.