Zack Snyder's Justice League Still Sucks (2021)

Zack Snyder's Justice League Still Sucks (2021) Cover

Slow-motion does not an epic make. Zack Snyder is a director that I increasingly dislike despite his amazing talent for visual composition. He is the bluntest hammer that is lacking in any kind of nuance. What's worse is that he will fetishize his insultingly simple characters and scenes and then make you wallow in them as he draws them out without any consideration for pacing or structure.

A new extraterrestrial threat looms over the earth, one that is too large for any single hero to stand up against. The ancient alien lords have returned to crush the planet that had fought them off in the age of Greek gods. No individual hero (Except Superman, to be honest) can stand up to them alone. Seeing the futility of the coming war, Batman attempts to bring together a collaboration of the world's greatest heroes to stave off oblivion until Superman feels up to stopping the threat on his own.

It's amazing that this version of Justice League even exists. In many ways, this is a cinephile's wet dream. After Zack Snyder had to step down from directing the original cut of Justice League, Joss Whedon took over and brought the project to completion. He trimmed significant portions of the story while also trimming down the action to produce a theater-friendly 2-hour piece of garbage. Plotlines were dropped left and right while characters regularly acted contrary to their established motives for the purposes of driving the story forward.

After a significant fan campaign to release Zack Snyder's original cut of the film after long-standing rumors that he had a complete alternate version that was already complete. This narrative was backed and supported by members of the cast as well as Snyder himself. And, when backed into a corner due to theaters closing down and looking for ways to drive attention and revenue... Warner Bros. Pictures spent the extra millions of dollars to complete a 4-hour long alternate cut that more closely aligned with Zack Snyder's vision.

As a fan of both the art of constructing film as well as the business of filmmaking, I should be thrilled about the chance to see how wildly two directors are able to diverge a film that is fundamentally built with the same core scenes. With both directors having enough budget to reshoot some scenes and complete the special effect on alternate versions of scenes that better match each of their visions, Justice League is a literal study in the art of editing and film construction.

And all I can think is that I wish this had happened to a better movie. The foundation of this one is broken. It was always broken. It was broken in the exact same ways as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. Sure, the Snyder cut better maintains the plot and has characters that are more consistent, but these plots and characters are still bad. They're banal, indulgent, thoughtless, and boring at best. They're downright thoughtless at worst. Cyborg is one of the characters most cited to have improved dramatically between cuts, however, he goes from having no backstory to being a grumpy deus ex machina. The angsty overpowered super robot is arguably an improvement, but it's so cliche that the film might actually have been better without it. Even if it is an improvement, it's so minor of one as to not have been worth the extra screen time portraying it. When the big bad villain first arrives in the original cut he punishingly murders Amazons for a whole minute and now he punishingly murders Amazons for a whole 5 minutes.

The entire discussion has been around whether or not this is a better version of the film and it misses the forest for the trees. Slightly less awful garbage is still garbage but now there's twice as much of it. It took me a week of trying before I was able to slog through the entire thing. It's big and it dumb, and it's more boring than ever before.

Final Verdict:4 of the most boring hours of my life. Give it a pass.