SPOILER FREE REVIEW of Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE – Rated R – 4 hrs. 2 mins. –

DIRECTOR/WRITER:  Zack Snyder

WRITERS:  Chris Terrio (screenplay/Story by), Will Beall (Story by),

                   Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster (Superman created by)

STARRING:  Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Claran Hinds, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, and Ray Porter

The DC World ignited in grandeur last Thursday, as the fan requested release of Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE – was finally released on HBO Max. 

And even though I enjoyed the theatrical release in 2017 of JUSTICE LEAGUE, as of course I couldn’t wait to see if Superman had truly met with his demise, which was detailed in Snyder’s creation of BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2015) – I can also say part of the reason I enjoyed the 2017 theatrical version so much, was how different it felt, with its not so dark undertones, and occasional comedic relief.  These elements were apparently what happened when the project was viewed through Joss Whedon’s eyes, once he took over the helm of the film, after the death of Snyder’s 20 year old daughter Autumn, earlier that year.  I was anxious, and a little apprehensive too, to see where Zack Snyder’s fan-demanded film would take us, once he had the ability to recreate this film his way…

As I’ve shared before throughout the last 7 years, I’ve spent critiquing films, I didn’t grow up reading about DC or Marvel Universe comics for hours on end.  So keep in mind that I come at these films with the knowledge I’ve learned over the years via the extensive cinematic releases that Warner Brothers and Disney keep releasing, and not from the underlying storyline knowledge that most Comic Book connoisseur’s bring to the table. 

With that said, as I sat down to take in this over 4-hour endeavor (which I had to digest in two sittings of 2 hours, due to my trying to catch it on Friday evening after a really longggggg day, which didn’t play out so well…), it was quite apparent from the start, that Whedon’s 2017 version of this film, was going to become nothing more than a faint memory, in the eyes of the true DC Comic and Zack Snyder fans!  Back was the ever-enveloping darkness in the cinematography of Snyder’s creation as a whole, which totally plays into the sequel “that should have been”, immediately following Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Back as well is the way that Snyder intertwines these characters, and their reverence for one another, and how their team, works together so seamlessly.  Also formulated perfectly, and way beyond what you see in Whedon’s 2017 Justice League, Snyder’s film gives us more back story for each character, assisting in the formation of some pretty awesome, and essentially more extensive  storylines, which for viewers like me who don’t have a lot of history with these characters, beyond what I’ve experienced on the big screen, this additional material becomes a real positive in understanding the DC Universe as a whole.  Snyder also manages to formulate more real-life personas for these Superheroes along the way too, which only feeds into the fact that Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince, Arthur Curry, Clark Kent, Victor Stone and Barry Allen, do live amongst us, as one of us, much of the time.  My only wish throughout as I took in this film, was that we could have left a few insignificant scenes on the editing room floor.  I know that having a film that is 4 hours and 2 minutes long is pretty impressive, and that when a Director is given ultimate control to do exactly what he wants, he’s going to do exactly what he feels is necessary to tell the whole story, and more power to Snyder for running with the concept, and the studio giving him free reign to do his thing. I just think that it coming in closer to 3 hours, would have made for a much more enjoyable viewing experience, as some of the storylines throughout seemed to drag a bit, not giving us anymore needed information or action sequences that may have been vital to the story at hand.   And I know that DC and Marvel lovers hate it when film critics compare the two franchises~ as they are totally different comics~ in every way, and I get that, but I think if I’m going to be critical in my assessment of the length of this film, I should also explain the reasoning behind it.  The fact is, when I sat down to watch Avengers: End Game in 2019, I knew it was running a minute over three hours before I entered the theater.  The amazing part with that film, was time literally flew by, as I couldn’t believe I had sat there for 3 hours already.  Maybe it was that the Marvel characters don’t seem to have such dark paths to walk.  Maybe it’s because the Writers and Directors of the Marvel franchise, see the necessity to interject humor into their films, thus making them more lighthearted, as the battle of good vs. evil plays out.  And not that I want things to change for either franchise, just know that with this DC creation, time flying by is not in the cards, regardless of how you dissect it.  Not to take away from Snyder’s vision, I just think that between the darker feel of this entire film, the transcendently darker storylines throughout, and all the back stories everywhere, we should have condensed it all just a bit, to keep the viewer thoroughly engaged from start to finish.  But, now that I’ve shared what I didn’t like, I again must attest that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a farsuperior film than what Whedon’s take was in the original 2017 theatrical release, as this film is absolutely the perfect sequel to Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as we see it now materialized through Snyder’s eyes. I am still astonished too, by the fact that when enough fans of Snyder’s work started a social media campaign, that Warner Brothers heard them, and stepped up to allow Snyder the ability to produce his masterpiece, and with an ending that leads us to believe that another film might be just around the corner – even though Warner Brothers hasn’t signed off on making it just yet.  I was also very moved too while catching the end, and credits of this film, which only adds to all the emotions you will experience, while watching this film.  In the end, if you haven’t had an opportunity to catch Zack Snyder’s Justice League yet this week, just note that it is one of those films that ALL MOVIE LOVERS , not just SUPERHERO Lovers , should definitely take the time to catch on HBO Max, even if you find yourself having to take it in 2 hours at a time, just like me!

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