Saturday, October 16, 2021

'Zack Snyder's Justice League': A comic lover's review

March 22, 2021
Wajeeha Kamal's personal collection of DC Comics.
Wajeeha Kamal's personal collection of DC Comics. —
Photo by Wajeeha Kamal | The State News

The theatrical cut of 'Justice League' released back in 2017 was a disaster. And that's putting it lightly.

In fact, the whole Detective Comics Extended Universe, DCEU, is a menace to comic book or superhero movie lovers. It is objectively horrible. And it doesn't make much sense canonically.

Sure, movies like "Wonder Woman", "Shazam!" and "Aquaman" were good. I liked them. But "Wonder Woman 1984", "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Justice League (2017)" fell far below the expectations. That's coming from someone who prefers DC comics over Marvel.

So when "Zack Snyder's Justice League" — aptly deemed “Snyder Cut" — was announced, I was looking forward to it. I was optimistic.

That being said, I don't like Snyder's interpretation of these characters, but I think that's what a lot of people forget. It's just that. An interpretation. I, for one, don't like his vision. However, a lot of people don't read comics, so it probably doesn't make sense to base a movie on decades worth of comic books that vary in the interpretation themselves. If you want to get into DC comics though, I recommend starting with "DC Rebirth."

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I also think, if the studios can emulate its animated movies and shows into live-action, it could join Marvel in the ranks of wonderful adaptions. I highly recommend the "Justice League: War" series, if you want to watch a phenomenal Justice League movie series. It begins with "Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox" and concludes with "Justice League Dark: Apokolips War."

This was the animated DC Universe Relaunch that began in 2011. This is what the DCEU should have been, but alas.

Regardless, I enjoyed the Snyder Cut. It should have been the version released in 2017 because the audience deserved better. This was better. Let's dive into the details.

Warning: this contains spoilers for the "Snyder Cut."

Parts one to three are quite slow. Pacing is a larger issue in Snyder's version, but it's four hours — it's to be expected. Although, I wouldn't consider some of those scenes as filler either. The plot is well developed and so is the character development. Think of it this way: we have no solo movies for Batman, Cyborg or The Flash as of now for DCEU. In 2017, when the theatrical cut was released, we didn't have a solo movie for Aquaman either. So the long runtime was necessary.

But you know what wasn't necessary? The astronomical amount of slow-motion scenes. Sure, with the Flash, it makes sense. Sometimes though, we don't want to see it. Otherwise, the action sequences were great. Snyder may or may not be a good storyteller, but he is amazing at cinematography. Part six, especially, left me in awe. That isn't to say the pacing wasn't an issue because it was.

The issue with the director Joss Whedon's version was that it wasn't a Justice League film, it was Superman and friends. He might as well have named it that.

Meanwhile, "Snyder Cut" flushes out the heroes. For instance, the opening scene with Wonder Woman or scenes like the Amazons fighting Steppenwolf, Aquaman facing off against Steppenwolf and the Flash manipulating time through the speed force not only portrayed each character's power but their worth. They are in the Justice League for a reason, right? So show it to the viewers. That's what Snyder did. We even got to see Ryan Choi — pre-Captain Atom — and Martian Manhunter!

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Let's talk about Cyborg now. Wow. I love Ray Fisher. He is the heart of this movie and that's an understatement. I grew up watching "Teen Titans", so I was ecstatic seeing Fisher's Cyborg get the story arc and character development he was owed. We get to see his internal struggle and the nuance of the relationship with his father and how his emotions are his strength. It makes him human and a hero, capturing the complexity of being a Cyborg.

"I'm not broken, and I'm not alone."

I need a stand-alone movie starring Cyborg. I was looking forward to Fisher being in The Flash (2022) too before the news hit that he was fired from the movie. Side note: I support the movement #IStandWithRayFisher.

Also, I am glad we got to see the Flash's character being useful. When he reverses time so Cyborg and Superman can separate the mother boxes... yes!

There is not much to say about Superman. That is the problem. Enough said. We saw a lot of Lois Lane as well. That is because, in Snyder's originally planned trilogy, a love triangle would have probably occurred between Superman, Lois Lane and Batman. It's a good thing we don't have to see that.

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I enjoyed seeing the dynamic between Aquaman and Wonder Woman and that we get to see more of them. We see their power, strengths, weaknesses, personality and teamwork. This was heavily diluted in the 2017 version.

Also, the action sequence of Aquaman and Cyborg — where Aquaman said, "My Man" — was thoroughly enjoyable. I especially loved seeing Green Lantern earlier too.

I think more could have been done with Batman. I don't really like Snyder's interpretation of him. He fought parademons the whole time, but he also killed in "Batman v Superman." His transition to Justice League founder and leader was nice, but that was it.

I don't have an opinion on the epilogue Knightmare sequence. The interaction between Batman and the Joker was interesting.

Overall, I liked "Zack Snyder's Justice League", and I am happy he completed his version, and we got to see it. It was what I expected plus more.

So where does this movie leave the DCEU? That's a story for a different time. For now, enjoy.

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