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Justice League was a film that was released a while ago. It was riddled with problems. Reshoots, a lower quality of films compared to Marvel’s superhero movies, and the director bowing out due to a personal tragedy all knee-capped this movie. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is meant to be everything the originally released movie was meant to be. After watching this movie, I can easily say that this is a better movie than the version of this movie released a few years ago. By itself, this is a passable movie that I would say is on the same level as the first Avengers superhero movie that Marvel put out. I did not love that first Avengers movie and I don’t hold any passion for this one.
The background story behind this film is that back when this movie was released, Zack Snyder pretty much shot the entire movie and was about to start post production (editing, special effects, etc.). Then his daughter killed herself and he understandably bowed out of the movie. Joss Whedon took over directorial duties and reshot a bunch of things, changed the story around and changed the entire tone of the film to something more lighthearted. Some of the more noteworthy problems with the film include a badly digitally removed mustache on Henry Cavill (he was filming Mission Impossible at the time and was contracted to keep his mustache… or so the rumor goes). There’s some cheesy lines and odd editing. Basically, Whedon made substantial changes to a film that had already finished shooting, creating this very disjointed feeling film.
Since the release of that movie, whispers of a Snyder cut that holds all the original intent of Zack Snyder was floating around the internets. Whedon’s Justice League was poorly received and DC Comics fans wanted a decent Justice League movie. No one knows if Snyder’s original vision would yield a good movie or not, but Whedon’s Justice League was so bad that most fans wanted to take that chance.
Then came the pandemic and everyone stuck at home. Streaming entertainment became essential and Warner Brothers decided to capitulate to fans. They got Snyder and decided to give him the funding to finish the movie he originally made and release on HBO’s streaming service.
So how is the film? It’s definitely better than Whendon’s version, but only by a little bit. It’s not a huge leap forward. The film still retains most of the major plot points and the problems with those plot points. The tone of the film is darker and it’s a gorier film with more blood and violence.
One of the dumber things about this film and the quintessential thing that makes this movie a Zack Snyder film is the overuse of slow motion. Seriously, after years of Zack Snyder films, it seems clear he has no idea how to make a movie at normal speed. The movie either speeds up, then slows down, then freezes, then speed up again, then slows down, ad infinitum. It’s stupid. The movie is over four hours long. No film needs to be that long. I feel like if Snyder could just run the camera at normal speed, we’d actually have a movie with a tolerable run time.
The biggest addition was an additional scene near the end where Jared Leto reprises his role as the Joker. This was a mostly meaningless scene, had little or nothing to do with the overall plot, and was simply meant as fan service.
Overall, this movie is fine. Its existence– I feel– is largely unnecessary. It’s pretty much the same film as Whedon’s version except with a lot of minor improvements. You can tell that Warner Brothers wanted this to be the start of its own superhero movie franchise, but it was so unsuccessful that this plan clearly fell to the wayside.