'Zack Snyder's Justice League' review: The director's cut is truly a new film -- and a knockout

spaminator

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'Zack Snyder's Justice League' review: The director's cut is truly a new film -- and a knockout
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Owen Gleiberman
Publishing date:Mar 15, 2021 • 1 hour ago • 5 minute read • comment bubbleJoin the conversation
Justice League (2017) Directed by Zack Snyder Featuring: Poster art, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot.
Justice League (2017) Directed by Zack Snyder Featuring: Poster art, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot. PHOTO BY PF1 /WENN.com
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LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – It takes an extraordinarily diverse skill set to direct a great comic-book movie. You’ve got to be a visual-effects wizard; a maestro of story and pace; a popcorn humanist who can find the relatable dimension of a bunch of freaks in capes and breastplates and spandex; and enough of an artist to tie the whole thing together into an indelible Big Vision.

It’s no wonder that in the years since Hollywood got eaten alive by comic-book culture, the superhero movies that have achieved a genuine sweeping transcendence can just about be counted on one hand: “The Dark Knight,” “Spider-Man 2,” “Black Panther,” a few others.


To that hallowed list I would now add “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” the thrillingly restored four-hour-long director’s-cut version of the 2017 DC Comics extravaganza. The new movie — and make no mistake, it really is a new movie — is , a team-of-heroes origin story that, at heart, is classically conventional, yet it’s now told with such an intoxicating childlike sincerity and ominous fairy-tale wonder that it takes you back to what comic books, at their best, have always sought to do: make you feel like you’re seeing gods at play on Earth.

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It was online fans who first dubbed this project “the Snyder cut.” In March 2017, Snyder, after creative conflicts with the studio (and the suicide of his daughter), walked away from the film and saw it handed over to Joss Whedon, who rewrote and reshot more than half of it.

In the minds of the Warner Bros. executives, still reeling from the bumpy launch of their DC multiverse, Snyder’s version was too long and too dark. Whedon chopped out the backstory, and a fair amount of the front story, swapping in jokes and glib patter and a kind of brightly lit gee-whiz aura. In other words, he churned out a hastily shot “audience friendly” version of “Justice League,” synced to the processed beats of corporate storytelling, that wound up pleasing next to no one.


Timing, they say, is everything, and there are two ways that the new “Justice League” turns out to be karmically well-timed.

It’s premiering a year into the pandemic, which means that audiences have now gone for 12 months without experiencing the primal joys of high-flying fantasy escapism on the big screen.

We’re starved for it, and though it’s true that “Justice League” will be seen, by and large, on HBO Max, the film is such a feast of bravura eye candy and emotionally serious spectacle that it seems to be delivering all the excitement we’ve been missing. As someone who has never been shy about dissing the global obsession with comic-book cinema, I found that the film totally tapped my inner fanboy. The four hours of it glide by in an addictive trance.

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But the other way the experience of “Justice League” is shaped by timing is that now that Snyder has restored the film to its pop operatic grandeur, it strikingly echoes the sinister extravagance of the “Avengers” saga, notably the last two installments of it, which hadn’t come out when the bowdlerized, trimmed-to-the-bone “Justice League” appeared in 2017.

“Justice League” accomplishes in four hours what those films did in nine. It unites a team of superheroes, but never forgets that each of them is seriously worthy of his or her own story. It pits them against a humungous slab of rock-jawed evil — in this case the molten Darkseid (who got trimmed out of the 2017 version) and his loyal demon henchman Steppenwolf — who seeks to control all life in the universe. And it’s finally a startling tale of death and resurrection

The five members of Justice League, gathered up by Batman and Wonder Woman, realize that they can’t save Earth without Superman, who is no longer with them. So they use one of the three Mother Boxes, the sources of infinite energy everyone is fighting to possess, to raise Clark Kent from the dead — a plot twist that was there in the 2017 version, but that’s the thing, it was just…there. Here, the hard-won reawakening of Superman becomes a transporting saga of its own.

The new “Justice League” exudes a majestic sense of cosmic historical evil. Its tone is less reminiscent of other DC or Marvel movies than of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

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The camaraderie among the superheroes is vastly deepened — with the cheeseball wisecracks excised, they develop a moving affinity for each other. In one of many examples of how sharpened Snyder’s filmmaking is, Ezra Miller’s Flash is introduced with far wittier dialogue than anything Joss Whedon came up with, followed by a mesmerizing bullet-time sequence in which he saves a young woman from a car accident — an episode that beautifully sets up the hidden empathy of his speed-of-light character.

Gal Gadot’s Diana has the stalwart but tensely trepidatious presence that got fumbled in “Wonder Woman 1984,” Ray Fisher’s Cyborg has acquired the resonance of a half-machine Hamlet, and Ben Affleck’s Batman is like a different character: With all that Ben-friendly banter gone, he embraces the gruff-voiced, dread-tinged, sinister Bruce with sterling command.


Beyond that, this has to be one of the most visually spellbinding comic-book movies ever made. The clashing battles never give you that weary, here’s-some-more-CGI feeling, because they’ve been staged with a supreme conviction that’s more “Seven Samurai” than super invincible. Ciaran Hinds’ Steppenwolf, with his horns of evil, is still the prime antagonist, but while he seemed a trifle effete in the 2017 version, here he has been reimagined as a splendid hulk covered in gleaming herringbone platelets that bristle with his emotion, and he’s also a disgraced assassin who will stoop to the unspeakable.

“Justice League” ends with what may be the best post-comic-book-movie teaser ever, as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and then Jared Leto’s Joker hold court in twin lectures of doom that make you hungry to see the movies they promise. It’s not just that these characters are back. So is the thing that too many comic-book films have destroyed: the sensation that something’s at stake.
 

Nick Danger

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I’m looking forward to that one, l have the HBO add-on with my Crave account and it’s apparently coming on there on Thursday. A four hour commitment I’ve heard.
 

spaminator

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'Justice League' rebooted: Zack Snyder chats DC superhero epic, Jared Leto's Joker and more
Author of the article:Mark Daniell
Publishing date:Mar 16, 2021 • 4 hours ago • < 1 minute read • comment bubbleJoin the conversation
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ezra Miller, from left, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in a scene from "Justice League." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via AP)
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ezra Miller, from left, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in a scene from "Justice League." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. via AP) PHOTO BY WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. /AP
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WATCH BELOW as Zack Snyder speaks to the Sun about the most important addition to his four-hour director’s cut of Justice League, the return of Jared Leto’s Joker and more.

Are you excited to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League?


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Zack Snyder’s Justice League debuts March 18 on Crave.
 

Praxius

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Well I'm sure if someone had four damn hours to flesh out their plot/story and characters, there's a good chance it would be better than the hacked up version that ended up in the theatres that had to adhere to those type of time limits.

I mean, four frigging hours?

The Godfather and Lord of the Rings movies all float around the 3 hour mark & we're already long as hell.

Four hours is like watching two movies back to back.... Maybe three.

I watched Justice League when it was in the theatres. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either. I'm sure this version would be somehow better, but I'm not going to sit and watch it again for four hours. Any improvements to the story/plot/characters would be cancelled out by me being burnt out after 2 hours of slogging through this Bible of a Movie.

I'll pass. First impressions and all that.
 

spaminator

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'Justice League' original director's cut sought by fans debuts Thursday
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Rollo Ross
Publishing date:Mar 17, 2021 • 14 hours ago • 1 minute read • comment bubbleJoin the conversation
Justice League (2017) Directed by Zack Snyder Featuring: Poster art, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot.
Justice League (2017) Directed by Zack Snyder Featuring: Poster art, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot. PHOTO BY PF1 /WENN.com
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LOS ANGELES — Fans disappointed by 2017 film “Justice League” will finally be able to see the original director’s vision for the movie that united several DC Comics superheroes on screen for the first time.

Zack Snyder’s cut of “Justice League” debuts Thursday on HBO Max, a subscription streaming service launched last year by AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia.


“This movie would not exist at all without the fans, without the fans’ pressure and without their constant drumbeat and without their dedication on such a level that you can’t even imagine,” Snyder told Reuters in an interview.

Snyder and his wife Deborah, a producer, left the original film before it was finished following the death of their daughter. The movie was completed by “Avengers” director Joss Whedon and fell flat with critics and fans who thought the storytelling was disjointed and the visual effects messy.

Fans began lobbying for WarnerMedia to release Snyder’s version of the film. They even bought a billboard in New York’s Times Square in October 2019 to promote their cause.

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In an unusual move, the company agreed and let Snyder rework a black-and-white version that he had completed in 2017.

The new movie goes into greater detail about many characters, which include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, and explains the motives of their enemy, Steppenwolf. Stars include Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.


Critics have generally applauded Snyder’s version. The film scored a 77% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates reviews, as of Tuesday, compared with 40% for the 2017 movie.

The new film runs four hours and is divided into chapters of around 30 minutes each to give options for viewers watching at home, Deborah Snyder said.

“They can watch it, binge watch it all the way through or they can watch it in parts,” she said.
 

Danbones

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So...will using the "stop" "pause" or "play" buttons effect the blinking 12:00 12:00 12:00?
 

spaminator

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Zack Snyder's Justice League gives DC fans the film they wanted: 'This is a love letter'
Author of the article:Mark Daniell
Publishing date:Mar 18, 2021 • 1 day ago • 7 minute read • comment bubbleJoin the conversation
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ezra Miller, from left, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in a scene from "Justice League."
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ezra Miller, from left, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in a scene from "Justice League." PHOTO BY WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. /AP
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Zack Snyder honestly doesn’t know what’s different between his new four-hour director’s cut of Justice League, now streaming on Crave, and the version that was rushed into theatres in 2017 to critical disdain and audience indifference.
“It’s hard to say,” the filmmaker says in a Zoom call from Los Angeles. “I’ve never seen the theatrical release of the movie, so it’s hard for me to know what’s different.”
In 2010, Snyder, 55, was hired by Warner Bros. to direct and plot out an interconnected series of films featuring the company’s biggest superheroes from the DC universe, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg and more. He kicked things off in 2013 with Man of Steel, a new origin story that cast newcomer Henry Cavill as Superman, and continued with 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a darker take on the iconic characters that featured Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight and also introduced Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. That film planted the seeds for an on-screen team-up of even more heroes and an alien invasion led by Steppenwolf and Darkseid.
The idea that we were going to finish the trilogy without Joker and Batman doing a scene together felt wrong to me.
ZACK SNYDER ON HIS DECISION TO INCLUDE JARED LETO'S JOKER IN A NEW SCENE FOR HIS DIRECTOR'S CUT OF JUSTICE LEAGUE
But with pre-production already underway on Justice League in the first half of 2016, studio heads and Snyder began to clash on what the final vision was supposed to look like. In January of 2017, he delivered a version of the film that ran 140 minutes, and was asked to make edits to bring the running time closer to two hours.
After a family tragedy, Snyder and his producing partner and wife Deborah stepped away from the film altogether. Joss Whedon, who directed the first two Avengers movies for Marvel, was parachuted in for a hurried rewrite and reshoots that took place over the summer of 2017.
That fall, the team-up Warners had dreamt of for years landed with a thud, earning just $658 million globally, a number that was dwarfed by what Marvel had put up just weeks before with its third Thor movie.
A planned sequel was shelved and the tumultuous shoot led Affleck to exit a proposed Batman spinoff. Elsewhere, Ezra Miller’s solo Flash movie was beset by delays (it’s now due out next year), while the Cyborg standalone was shelved altogether. (Ray Fisher, the actor who played the half-man, half-machine, got into a public dust-up with Warners over allegations that Whedon bullied some of the cast on set.)
Feeling they were robbed of a potentially great movie, for years afterward, fans continued to champion Snyder’s version of Justice League, with #ReleasetheSnyderCut a regular call out on social media. The more die-hard followers of the director commissioned a billboard in Times Square and hired a plane to fly over Comic-Con with the rallying cry.
Some of the movie’s stars, including Affleck and Gadot, also shared the hashtag on their official Twitter accounts, while the filmmaker himself released never-before-seen images from the film. In an interview with the Sun in 2018, Jason Momoa (Aquaman) said that Snyder had a specific vision of how he wanted the interconnected series of DC films to play out.
“He had it all planned out,” Momoa said.
Elsewhere, Jesse Eisenberg, who played the villainous Lex Luthor, endorsed the mythic release, telling the Sun last year, “If there’s a movie he wanted to see released, I’m sure it would be great.”
#ReleasetheSnyderCut became one of the most-tweeted hashtags about a movie that had been made, but was never released.
“That’s a weird thing,” says Snyder.
With solo spinoffs centring on Wonder Woman and Aquaman worldwide hits, DC broke away from Snyder’s roadmap, continuing its extended cinematic universe with films focusing on Shazam and Harley Quinn, and recasting Robert Pattinson as its next on-screen Batman. This summer, the studio will shoot Black Adam with Dwayne Johnson and Miller’s Flash movie is finally revving into action.
Meanwhile, Snyder turned his attention elsewhere, shooting Army of the Dead, a zombie heist thriller coming to Netflix in May.
But seeing an opportunity to boost subscribers to its upstart streaming service HBO Max in the U.S., Warners approached Snyder with a plan to complete Justice League the way he envisioned it. The news was announced last May, and Snyder was given a budget to finish the special effects and shoot new sequences, including one with Jared Leto’s Joker, whom the filmmaker had planned to use in a Justice League sequel, and a cliffhanger ending featuring a surprise cameo from a Silver Age hero.
Snyder also got to fashion a new look for his villain, Steppenwolf, and include additional scenes with the alien tyrant Darkseid and his henchman DeSaad — two antagonists who would have figured prominently in future movies.
“There were a lot of awesome and cathartic moments in revisiting this,” Snyder says. “But I think probably the most satisfying thing, or the wow-this-is-fun moment, was getting to reveal to the fans that the movie was going to come out.”
With acolytes able to decide this week if it was worth the wait, Snyder reflected on this new incarnation of Justice League and told us why you shouldn’t hold your breath for a sequel.
This director’s cut of Justice League is twice the length of the version fans saw in theatres. What’s the most integral addition to this revamp?
I will say that the most important thing for people to see is the Cyborg arc. For me, Cyborg really answers the ‘why’ of the movie. His origin film is wrapped in Justice League and Ray does an amazing job. I can’t wait for fans to see his full journey.
#ReleasetheSnyderCut was such a huge movement with the fans. What does it mean to you that they finally get to experience your version of Justice League?
The fans have worked so hard behind the scenes, whether it’s billboards or airplanes flying around the studio, all this amazing work they’ve done to volumize this cry and allow me to finish the movie the way that I intended, is huge. They’ve also taken part in a fundraising effort for suicide-prevention awareness and mental-health awareness. That work is so important. So really, this is a love letter to thank the fans for that incredible work.
One of the most talked-about additions is the return of Jared Leto’s Joker. That was something new that you shot last year. What prompted you to add the character into this film?
There was always a plan to do a little bit with Joker in the post-apocalyptic world, if that (sequel) had ever happened. So, the idea that we were going to finish the trilogy without Joker and Batman doing a scene together felt wrong to me. I called Jared out of the blue and said, ‘Hey man, I’m finishing up my version of Justice League and the only thing I want to add is a Batman-Joker scene.’ I pitched it to him, and we went back and forth, and it was just amazing that he agreed to do it. Ben (Affleck) has always been a huge supporter and a great guy, so he was happy he got to dig into it with him. That was fun.
Your Steppenwolf has been given a makeover. Can you talk about his expanded storyline and the inclusion of Darkseid?
If you see (Batman v Superman), at the end, when Lex is in the genesis chamber, you see him with the Steppenwolf that you see in this movie. That’s always how I thought we’d go forward with him. But the studio thought he was too scary and too weird, and they wanted him to look more like a person. So, they did what they did … But Ciaran Hinds is an amazing actor, and he was able to voice him with real personality and show the struggles and the issues he had with Darkseid. I enjoyed digging into that. But Darkseid is the king daddy, and without the Darkseid threat you don’t have a real villain. Even though Steppenwolf is the villain of this movie, Darkseid is the storm cloud that’s coming to lay waste to all of humanity.
I know people are going to watch this and immediately think about the follow-up movies you had planned. I never thought this would happen, so I’m wondering is there a chance we’ll see your Justice League sequels some day?
I always say, famously, that it was more likely that they’d make a sequel to the movie that got released than resurrect this movie. But the truth is, Warner Bros. has told me that the theatrical version of Justice League is canon. That’s the movie they’ve used to go forward to build that cinematic universe. You can see, clearly, that I don’t agree with that point of view, but it’s their IP. Like you said, though, who knew we’d be here talking about this, so …
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming now in Canada exclusively on Crave
mdaniell@postmedia.com