Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’ Worth the 4 Hours in Front of the Screen

Zack Snyders Justice League Worth the 4 Hours in Front of the Screen

Liam Hagan, Staff Writer

The most rumored hidden movie on the Hollywood Blacklist has finally debuted on HBO MAX. Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” is possibly the most chaotic film that one would be tasked to describe to someone who just came out of a coma.
After almost four years of gossip and rumors surrounding the controversy behind the production of the film, audiences finally have some answers. The movie just comes in at a tad over four hours, being that plus 2 minutes. As if the film needed more conversation around it, this massive runtime was heavily discussed by professional critics to the most average fans.
So, the most crucial question is: Does this film work? The answer: Absolutely. This movie works on multiple levels, which is clearly shown due to its extensive length. Zack Snyder excels in characters who on the surface seem almost inhumane on a level similar to AI or a God. But the secret weapon he pulls from his utility belt is that all these impenetrable people are actually quite broken.
Everyone knows Batman’s backstory, but his added pressure of feeling responsible for Superman’s death from the previous installment in Zack Snyder’s DC Comics trilogy, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” also looms over him.
On top of this, Wonder Woman has been secluded from most of society due to feeling lonesome after the untimely death of her partner Steve Trevor. The anxiety of losing another loved one or seeing those around her lose people they care about hangs heavy on her shoulders throughout the film, and she fits a strong motherly role to the Justice League.
In addition to this, Aquaman is also the ultimate loner. He states, “A strong man is strongest alone,” and feels that this is supported by Superman’s death after teaming up with Batman and Wonder Woman. He does not feel like he has a home on land or under the water in Atlantis.
Finally, The Flash and Cyborg both are much younger than any other member of the team and have struggling relationships with their fathers both in connection to their mothers’ death.
All of these issues are extremely human and relatable, Snyder shows that even the most courageous and strong characters can be depicted as very emotional and in need of support from others. Overall, this appeal to pathos is incredibly strong throughout the run time and helps to land a connection between character and audience member.
Another aspect of the film that works exponentially better than from the 2017 version is the villain, Steppenwolf. In the 2017 film, he feels extremely one note and similar to a video game villain. There is no motivation behind his antics as he stomps around claiming he wants to control the world.
In this new version, the audience is able to understand his motivation behind wanting to conquer earth. He owes a debt to his nephew, Darkseid, who is arguably DC Comics’ most powerful and threatening villain, and he was betrayed by Steppenwolf and to make up for his mistake he must conquer 150,000 worlds and earth is next on his list.
Steppenwolf is seen communicating with his bosses many times in the film and not only does it help to understand where he finds his motivation to be so threatening and evil but also to visualize how difficult his task is. This great aspect from the writer and director helps to structure the film’s villain because we see that he requests to come back to his world and live a normal life. But his nephew declines, demanding that he conquer more worlds and he is clearly emotionally distraught about this.
The character development for every single character in the film is undoubtedly better in the 2021 extended version than the 2017 sloppy theatrical release.
In addition to these great character studies another portion that is greatly improved upon from the previous work is the visual effects. In the original version, Steppenwolf looks like a video game character and many of the green screen effects and battle scenes are not only edited poorly but the visual effects are glaringly artificial. Thanks to Zach Snyder being able to return to the film and helm his own craft without studio interference, the visual effects are more authentic, gripping, and true to the film’s tone.
This is not to say Snyder’s “Justice League” is flawless. With a four-hour film pacing is something that is certainly going to be discussed. Generally, the pacing is very strong, but there are a few scenes that are clearly only added to help Snyder feel justified in realizing his original vision.
If this film was to be released in theaters, the final cut would most likely be around 3 to 3 1/2 hours which is closer to “Avengers: Endgame” or “Wolf of Wall Street.” A common complaint that one might see about this movie is that even that length is too long, but the argument against that is that those films are only critically praised but also extremely successful at the box office.
Another issue with the film is that it is very self-indulgent in Snyder’s personal interest. There will be cues of concert-like rock songs that will only play for 10 to 30 seconds and then the audience will be sent to another scene where the tone is completely different. The new score, conducted by Junkie XL, is epic yet understandable, and sticking to his score instead of rock anthems would have helped the film keep a more consistent tone.
Without a doubt, this version is an improvement over the first rendition of the story from four years ago. Due to its more passionate and attentive filmmaker and the performers being so engaged, Warner Brothers has a truly unforgettable comic book film in their arsenal. It is emotional, grand, and most importantly very digestible even at its extended runtime.
This film was purely created due to an out crying of passionate fans of the comic book series and of Zack Snyder. In thanks to them, Warner Bros. and HBO MAX hold possession of a great superhero film. And on top of this, it’s hard to blatantly have distaste for this film as audiences know the tragic story of why Snyder had to step away from the original production, his daughter tragically took her life. Clearly something no one should ever have to endure, and it is amazing to see him finally be able to seek redemption.
Come to Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” for the hope of an improved version of a forgettable and heartless movie, stay for its authentic depiction of famous characters and dedication to satisfying its faithful fans.
Absolutely worth the subscription price of HBO MAX, not only for the film but for the support of Zack Snyder, his late daughter, and mental health awareness which he dedicates the film to.