After all the talk, all the longing, all the campaigning by Snyder fans demanding for its release, the definitive version of Zack Synder’s superhero mash up is finally here….but does it finally give the much publicised hype, the justice it fully deserves?
“With great power, comes great responsibility“….is an iconic line from the MARVEL Universe, but at this moment in time, its more fitting for the world of DC, as someone within the walls of Warner Bros had the power to say “lets do it?“, when the endless demand from fans became overbearing and reached a feverish peak that the studio granted the release of Zack Snyder’s vision of Justice League.
Lets start with the 2017 film. A movie that was mostly recut, edited and totally changed by Joss Wheldon, yet bizarrely kept the name of Synder as the director, who had to walk away from production after a family tragedy made it impossible for him to continue.
The first film is a total mess from start to finish, so bad that even the most infamous scene of Henry Cavill’s non CGI removed moustache, not being the worst moment of the entire running time, a superhero movie devoid of energy, originality and dare we say it, a soulless CGI crap fest that has to be a contender for one of the worst ever put to film, even making the now defunct CANNON Films, smile with content as it made fans look back on Superman’s Quest for Peace in Milton Keynes with a new found affection.
After we saw Superman and The Flash go for a little run, I had no wish to ever watch that film ever again and I wasn’t the horde of fans demanding for the “true” vision of Justice League to be released, as I was more than happy, never to spend time with these characters again, especially as I was one of the many who was left disappointed with Batman Vs Superman a few years before.
I had already been let down twice by this world and had no wish to follow it with a third bout and so when it was announced that HBO Max were giving the fans what they want, then I wasn’t exactly thrilled, even though I admit I felt a tiny bit curious.
But again, as a long time DC Fan, I was suffering from a severe case of Deja Vu as many years ago, fans were demanding for the Richard Donner release of Superman II and when it finally did, it didn’t really improve on its original, which is still one the best Superhero films of all time.
Going in with low expectations, from the off, I felt like I had inherited the powers of Patricia Arquette’s character Kristen from A Nightmare on Elm St Part 3, in that I had become The Dream Master and had gone into a deep sleep and entered into one of Zack Snyder’s ultimate dream fantasy.
This is pure SNYDER! A vastly different film from what we had before and from the very beginning as soon as the titles appear and we get the slow motion recap of Superman’s death by Domesday, you can not help but feel that this is a proper “event” movie, a grand scale superhero tale that is a pure comic book, being told in live action form.
The plot feels tighter, with better characters arcs, most notably Ray Fisher’s CYBORG who this time around plays more of a pivotal part and feels more of a welcome addition, than an odd distraction we had originally and while the stakes are the same as before, at least we get a feeling that the guy behind the camera knows what he is doing and where he wants the plot to go.
We still have Steppenwolf, hunting down the “Mother Boxes” only this time he is the middle man for Darkseid, who finally gets an appearance here. Yes, the plot is still mumble jumble nonsense, with our superheroes needing to band together to stop the threat, with Cavill mostly missing for nearly three hours of the film as we await patiently for the Man Of Steel’s grand return – this time in his fancy black suit that will no doubt wow fans, longing to see that on the big screen.
Unlike Wheldon’s offering, which had more Batman, here Ben Affleck carries the film as Bruce Wayne and the more I see him on screen, the more I like what he brought to the role. When suited he does seem a bit lost and out of place, fighting these “Aliens”, but as Wayne, he brings a grizzled performance of a man, who has gone through many years of fighting and is now at peace of who he is and what is required. Its a shame he will never get his solo movie, but his final speech to Jared Leto’s returning cameo as his nemesis JOKER, is one of the best lines ever uttered by The Dark Knight, a real feel good moment that had me smiling and wanting more.
The other team members all get worthy scenes. Gal Gadot has her own set-piece that is better than anything Wonder Woman 1984 managed to achieve, even though her character tone is more colder to what Patty Jenkins has delivered, while Jason Momoa continues to shine as Aquaman, even though he has less screen time, while Ezra Miller’s Flash is better written this time around and while I don’t like the “speed imagery”, his performance does make me intrigued into what IT director Andy Muschietti can bring when he starts to film The Flash Movie for this universe.
To be honest, not all of it works. The endless amount of slow motion sequences grate after a while, more so as you realise the film could have easily been two hours long without them, while some of the dialogue is chunky and groan inducing, but at least the oddly misplaced gags from the 2017 version are removed, as the 2021 addition basically wants to be a dark tale that is littered with some horror elements that will take you by surprise.
The last half hour does feel odd, a sort of Return Of The King style multiple endings, with Snyder putting in building blocks for a further sequel that will never see the light of day, but for a one off and for what the Snyder fans have gone through over the last few years, then make no doubt about it, they have been richly awarded for what has been delivered.
Is this redemption for Snyder? Of course! While Thanos will no doubt take a knowingly glance over and see the similarities between the Infinity Stones and the Mother Boxes, what Zack did right is make a film that tries not to be The Avengers.
This is a world where a superhero has no problem uttering the F-Word, a world of darkness and not light, where a broken superhero, having seen his boy wonder sidekick getting battered to death by his clown nemesis, now leads a team of superheroes in which due to the prospect of a no sequel, suggests they are all facing a nightmare future, a not so happy ending that their heroics fully deserve.
Its the worthy “End Game” to a trilogy of films that are pure Zack Snyder, a dark and gloomy saga, which we will never see the likes of again. Its overlong, preposterous and yet has an engaging brilliance to it that will have Snyder fans uttering three words once the final credits roll….. “”JUSTICE IS SERVED”