To achieve an ultimate vision is to fight for it, and that is what director Zack Snyder has done, in more ways than one, with the completion and presentation of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a four-hour cinema epic that brings to life his true vision for superhero blockbuster Justice League and it’s AWESOME.
Following the death of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman and Wonder Woman recruit the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to form the Justice League and protect the world from Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons, who seek the three Mother Boxes.
As a director, Zack Snyder is one of the most polarizing figures to step behind-the-camera. Right from the beginning, he has done things his way, and he’s always worked to make movies that carry his own unique artistic expression. And this is a director who will not compromise on his artistic vision. But through no-fault of his own and a deeply personal tragedy, he had to walk away from 2017’s Justice League and so could not bring his ultimate vision to life. But through a commitment and desire from the fans, who held a burning desire to see Snyder’s true vision for this movie come to life, we now have Zack Snyder’s Justice League…and it has been well worth the wait.
If you are a Zack Snyder fan you’re going to love this movie. With the presentation of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, our director gets to show-off his unique visual presence, and all of his trademark calling cards are present here. From his unique grim dark setting to the exploration of mythic archetypes, to the frequent use of slow-motion action sequences and impressive, grand visual effects, all of it is present in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and Snyder dials it all the way up. While audiences may have seen this film before, Snyder’s new presentation presents the film in a far different light, and we get to go much deeper into the story he is telling and are able to gleam new insights, narrative points and character developments because of the new cut.
At just over four hours long, Snyder really takes his time in crafting this cut of Justice League, and it’s an entirely different watch. Snyder is able to pace out the gigantic presentation through the use of an innovative chapter system, and this gives the film a rhythm and energy that keeps the film moving forward. While I won’t go into any type of strong specifics around the narrative, I will say that he places his attention of capturing the mythic quality of the Justice League and the characters that make up the DCEU. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have always been presented as iconic, archetypal characters, and Snyder presents them so in this way in this cut. And the appearance of these characters, as they are truly meant to be, makes for a far more engaging viewing experience as an audience member.
Along with presenting a new side to this story, Snyder also presents it in a whole new way thanks to his use of the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which leads to a much fuller image. Snyder has long been a fan of this aspect ratio and it takes the scale and scope of Zack Snyder’s Justice League to a whole new level. The images are fuller, with more detail being captured, and the result is a far grander presentation of an epic blockbuster cinematic event. Snyder’s focus on capturing these iconic characters in this new format creates an experience that I can relate back to the grand vision of David Lean and cinematographer Freddie Young, and their ability to inspire epic cinematic moments, and that’s exactly what Snyder has done here in his new cut of Justice League.
One of the most exciting parts about witnessing Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the new presentation of the core six members of the Justice League. Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) are all presented in a bold new light, and these new narratives and character developments are very fun to watch. But it’s the villains that keep things interesting in this one. Not only do we see a far more aggressive and demonic presentation of Ciaran Hinds Steppenwolf, who mercilessly hunts for the Mother Boxes, but we also get a deeper look into the sinister character of DeSaad and the world of Apokolips, and Jack Kirby fans will be pleased with what’s on offer. But it’s Ray Porter as intergalactic tyrant Darkseid who really steals the show and let it be known that Darkseid Is.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League also delivers heavily on the spectacle and action fans will be very pleased with the result. Snyder dials everything up, and the outcome is a bigger, meaner action push that is sure to give you a rush. Plus there’s also the helpful addition of a coveted R-rating, and this gives the film’s fight scenes some serious edge. Snyder doesn’t over-do his R-rating, and he’s certainly not aggressive with it, but like everything else present in this film, an R-rating is beneficial to Snyder in that it allows him to go into greater depth within this narrative and push it further. Snyder presents previous action scenes from the 2017 film in a completely brand new light and this again leads to a far more engaging and complete experience for audiences.
While I won’t go into any specific points on actual scenes from the film or dispel any serious plot points I will say one of my favourite parts of the film was a brand new ‘Knightmare’ sequence. Following in the footsteps of the Knightmare sequence from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, this Knightmare sequence features a meeting between two legendary characters, and it’s utterly epic. This scene, and in fact the whole film are a tribute to Zack Snyder’s immense creativity and desire to push the envelope with the possibilities of the narrative of Justice League and the result is a very exciting watch for long time DC Comics fans and for those who want to see these characters portrayed as the icons that they were created as.
But ultimately, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a gift from a father to his daughter. It was during the production that Zack Snyder lost his adoptive daughter Autumn to the tragedy of suicide and it was a shocking event that rocked the production to its core and had an immense impact on Snyder’s family in the most devastating way possible. But through a strong sense of resilience, determination and love, Snyder was able to complete his vision for this epic film, and the final result is a way for the filmmaker to honour his daughter. It’s this ultimate act that makes this film so compelling and heroic and you can’t help but be moved by the director’s actions to honour his daughter this way.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a massive film of breathtaking scale and epicness and is the result of a filmmaker’s grand vision brought to life. It’s an utter masterwork, and fans will be extremely pleased by the final product and the experience of seeing these icons re-envisioned in all their heroic glory. It’s simply awesome.
Catch Zack Snyder’s Justice League on NEON and SKY GO on Thursday 18 May.
Image: SKY TV