After years of fan campaigns and hashtags aplenty, Zack Snyder’s Justice League—also known colloquially as The Snyder Cut—has finally been released in all of its 3 hours and 52 minutes of indulgent glory. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no.
Anyone who has ever watched a Zack Snyder film would note that he has a very particular style and directorial vision for his films. That vision and style come to its natural endpoint here, in what is both Snyder’s magnum opus and a love letter to himself. This is without a doubt one of the most self-indulgent films perhaps ever released. With the shackles of Warner Bros. executive oversight removed, Snyder makes the most Snyder-esque film he possibly could have. There are slow motion shots in excess, very few (if any) moments of levity, and a dark colour palette that is ultimately personified in the film through a Superman costume change.
If you are a fan of Snyder and his work, this may be the greatest film you’ve ever seen. However, if you found his previous work to be not to your particular tastes, you may actually find the Joss Whedon cut of Justice League to be a bit more palatable. While the Whedon cut undoubtedly left a lot of Snyder’s vision on the cutting-room floor, it basically serves as an abridged version of Snyder’s cut—with added Marvel-style humour and some brightened tones. That said, it cannot be understated that this is a much more cohesive and coherent film with Snyder at the helm.
The movie simply makes more sense in Snyder’s version: the characters get room to breathe, in particular Cyborg and The Flash—both of whom have fully realized characters and arcs in the film. However, there is still many of the same issues that plagued Snyder’s previous instalments in the DC universe. The Justice League here have no qualms with killing and gratuitous violence. Wonder Woman in Snyder’s version completely vaporises a terrorist, which is rather unnerving when you consider the fact that this all occurred within the view of children.
Without spoiling the twists and new footage in the Snyder cut, one of the major differences is the way in which Snyder presents these heroes. There is very little humanity to them; very little relatable qualities. That’s not to say you can’t understand them or their motivations, it’s just that Snyder views these characters as gods walking among men; they are above the small issues of humankind; they deal in the grandiose, and that’s exactly how Snyder likes it.
Ultimately, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a creator’s vision fully realised. It may be painfully long at times, but it is truly an epic film. It may be self indulgent on Snyder’s part; but, unlike the Joss Whedon chop-job that was the theatrical release of Justice League in 2017, this feels like a complete movie with one true vision. Fans of Snyder will love it, but it may prove to be a difficult length to overcome for the casual audience. Where the DC film universe goes from here is anyone’s guess, but I, for one, am happy that Snyder and his fans got to have their moment in the sun.