Posted in Uncategorized

Defending the DCEU part 5 – Zack Snyder’s Justice League

I decided to cheat a little here. In release order, the next film was Justice League. That film had a troubled history. Zack Snyder started making the film and directed quite a lot of it, then he suffered a personal tragedy and had to understandingly bow out. The studio then turned to Joss Whedon who was riding high on two successful Avengers films and his stable of TV hits that in some cases 20 years later still stand up. With some editing, additional scenes and reshoots a film was cobbled together. Cobbled together was right, the tone moved one side to the other and the end result wasn’t the success that Avengers was, or what the studio had hoped it’d be.

Added to that was the stories that came out of the production about Joss Whedon’s behaviour on set with many of the actors. This led to a lot of other stories about previous productions and that began his fall from grace. I’m not going to comment more than that to be honest, it’s not my tale to tell and I don’t want to discuss him more than that. But it did highlight the missed opportunity that this film represented.

Then came the fanboys. So many vocal individuals wanted to see what Zack Snyder would have done with the film. They wanted to see something whole and complete rather than the cinematic equivalent of a cut’n’shut with two half films welded together like a dangerous second hand car. Release the Snyder cut became a common hashtag in certain online corners. The idea that this could make money occurred to the studio and it started to gain traction. New scenes were shot, new edits made, new CGI sequences made and so on. These alterations had a 8 figure price-tag and it ended up being a sprawling 4 hour cut that moved from movie to almost mini-series scale. I picked it up on Blu-Ray and decided this was the version to add to this rewatch.

Returning for this film was Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck, reprising their roles as Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane and Amy Adams returned as Alfred Pennyworth, Martha Kent and Lois Lane and the cameos by Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller were expanded into the full roles of Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash. The plot is a simple one, after the death of Superman, the 4th World villain Steppenwolf had come to Earth to find 3 Mother Boxes, which could join into the world-ending Unity. Batman knew an attack was coming and so gathers a reluctant team to face this dire threat. When beaten to a standstill by Steppenwolf and his army of parademons, this nascent group use one of the Mother Boxes to resurrect Superman in the hopes he will join them to prevent the world’s end.

There’s a lot to poke at. The film abuses slow-motion to such a ridiculous degree. It’s overlong in places and the over stylised look does grate a little. Pacing is a bit of a problem and there’s a few moments that stretch the limited amount of credulity you need to enjoy this film, but honestly these are minor quibbles. The film continues Zack Snyder’s take on the DC pantheon and if you have a real problem with that, why watch his 3rd time playing with them? You either are good with it, or you’re not and this film isn’t going to change your mind about that.

I also question what the point of the Martian Manhunter showing up a couple of times and concede that the nightmare future stuff was perhaps a direction the films could have gone in had these films carried on. But this isn’t the case for the prosecution, it’s the defence.

Here it is…Everyone is trying. No one is phoning this in. Ben Affleck tries to shift Batman from a tired and bitter man to someone trying to redeem not just himself, but the world around him. Superman’s loss made him want to try and leave the world better than he found it, or at least safer. It’s a hard thing to pull off, an optimistic Batman. Whether it works or not, I still appreciate he went for it. Jason Momoa doesn’t get a lot to do, but he does it well, mixing his gruff cynicism with a genuine heart. Ezra Miller plays an off-model Barry Allen, but he does it with charm and most of the fun moments in this film are from him. Ray Fisher tries to infuse some life into Cyborg and it’s not in the script, but he’s giving it his all to this 3rd tier character that just happens to be the McGuffin that the 3rd act is based on. Gal Gadot doesn’t do anything too different, nor does Jeremy Irons, but what they were doing was working so well, don’t fix what isn’t broke.

But the film does bring us what will sadly now be the final full film with Henry Cavill’s Superman. From the action scene when he is woken up, to the moments on the farm to his battle with Steppenwolf. He plays it all with a sincerity that hasn’t been there since Superman II. He sells the idea that he’s had a second chance and he’s made the mistakes he’s going to make and we get the fully realised Superman that we were waiting for.

Overall, it’s overlong and a bit of a mess and suffers tremendous Avengers envy but… I enjoyed it. It gave us a sort of finale to the DCEU rather than open it up the way the MCU did, but some of the characters and actors were able to spin off into their own successes and ultimately made this movie/mini-series a worthwhile endeavour.

I disagree with Snyder’s choices in regards to Superman and the directions he wanted to take, but honestly he made a stylised, but highly entertaining product and I was glad to get to enjoy it once more.

Next Time: We go under the sea with Aquaman.



Liverpool based unrepentant geek, trying to understand what's going on in my own head, which is not always being a good place to be. Remember always, we live in a world of wonders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s