He has risen: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Review (SPOILERS)

“Make your future. Make your past. It’s all… right… now,” Barry Allen said in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” or more commonly known as the “Snydercut.” Zack Snyder’s true vision for the “Justice League” was finally released by HBO Max on March 18. Fans fought for this movie for over four years and with Snyders final product, they were not disappointed.

To fully understand the power behind this movie, the beginning is a good place to start.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was released on March 25, 2016. It was accompanied by mixed reviews and comparisons against the widely successful Marvel franchise. Probably one of the most controversial creative decisions made in it was the fact that Batman stopped beating up Superman because their moms have the same name. Many fans thought that this was ridiculous among many other aspects of the film. With all the negative critics, Warner Brothers didn’t want Zack Snyder to direct anymore “Justice League” movies.
About four months later, the first look at “Justice League” was released at San Diego Comic-Con.
By the trailer alone, it looked like Snyder wanted to keep his vision and tones coherent throughout his movies. It makes perfect sense to keep the story feeling alive and connected. This is the first time we were seeing the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman outside of their small cameras in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Then tragedy struck the Snyder family. Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, took her own life during the production of “Justice League” on March 17, 2017. Both Snyder and his wife, Deborah, started focusing less and less on their work respectively.
“We just lost the will to fight that fight in a lot of ways,” Snyder said to Vanity Fair.
With Snyder gone and a huge movie set to release in eight months, Warner Brothers had a huge decision to make… and they dropped the ball. Big time. Joss Wheedon was hired to do rewrites while Snyder was still in the picture, but he was fading fast. Snyder was okay with Wheedon writing a little bit of humor here and there or adding a cool scene. Then Snyder and his wife stepped down entirely.
Although Warner Brothers said they hired Wheedon to do “re-writes’ ‘ but it turns out he pretty much re-made the movie, changing pivotal moments in character arcs or scraping character arcs altogether. He added cheesy dialogue, bad CGI, horribly directed reshoots, and probably the most memorable, or laughable moments, was actor Henry Cavill, portraying Superman’s dodgy CGI mouth. Cavill was currently working on “Mission Impossible: Fallout” during the time of reshoots, in which he had a mustache, so the “Justice League” special effects team had to digitally remove it in post-production.
Probably one of the worst modern superhero films to date, 2017’s “Justice League” was a laughing stock among Snyder’s fans let alone all of Twitter, and almost every person who saw the movie. It was a disappointment all around. Especially when you take into consideration that “Avengers: Infinity War came out five months later and brought in $2.048 billion.
This is when the fight for the “Snyder Cut” began.
A petition was made in late 2018 for Warner Brothers to release Snyder’s original Justice League. It ended with around 180,000 signatures according to “The Ringer.” Around this same time a hashtag was created: #releasethesnydercut. These were the main two powerhouses in the beginning. Snyder himself would occasionally drop a frame or still of his cut introducing his story ideas, which differed exponentially from the theatrical release, and without knowing it (but also knowing it at the same time) fueling the fans and giving them a reason to fight for his vision and his legacy in a way.
Just over three years later Snyder hosted a life reaction/talkthrough/breakdown of both of his movies, “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice -Ultimate Edition-” on May 21, 2020. Rumors surfaced earlier that week that Zack Snyder would make an announcement during these live streams but nobody knew specifics.
Once “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice -Ultimate Edition-” ended he brought on Henry Cavill to the call and a few fans from around the world and announced that the “Snyder Cut” would be released on HBO Max early 2021.
Now, the review can commence. With all the history built around this four hour epic, it could not disappoint, and let me tell you, it did NOT. The visuals were beautiful, even though Zack Snyder’s signature slo-mo shots were a little overused it didn’t take away from the power and heart of the story.
Every action piece was easy to follow and energetic, but still told a story. It wasn’t a cash grab where the story was bland and unoriginal as the characters jumped from fight scene to fight scene. Snyder wrote this as a stepping stone into what his “Justice League Trilogy” would have been like.
Every actor and performance in this film is superb and really became the character and felt as if they were one in the same. All the characters and their arcs were improved upon but there were four characters specifically improved so drastically compared to the 2017 abomination of a Superhero movie. They were Flash, Cyborg, Aquamna and Steppenwolf (in that order.)
The Flash, played by Ezra Miller, was still the comic relief, but wasn’t an idiot as portrayed in the theatrical cut questioning why brunch was a thing. He set rules for himself and his powers so he didn’t mess up time, but he was still a fun-loving goofball kid who was with superheroes who knew what they were doing. Also, his speed-force scene might’ve been the most experimental and creative scenes in a superhero movie. It was great to see the Flash do more than just make 4-year-old boy jokes.
Cyborg, portrayed by Ray Fisher, was at the heart of the story and wasn’t a machine in this one. He actually had motives and wanted to keep the memory of his father and mother, Sylias and Elinore Stone, alive. He wanted to save the world and in doing so, he finally realized his father saved him and nobody gets a second chance. He should use his powers for good to make his father proud, although his father was already proud of him while he sacrificed himself to save his son.
Although Aquaman already got his own solo outing in 2018’s “Aquaman” directed by James Wan, fans were still eager to see what Zack Snyder had in store for this character. If everything went according to plan the first time around, that would’ve been the first life-action Aquaman to be seen on the silver screen of movie theaters ever. In the theatrical release, Jason Momoa plays the cliche “jerk-of-the-group” Aquaman and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. While Snyder’s version did keep aspects of this, he made him grow and open up as a character when you find out he does care for each member of the team after having little interactions with each one of them. He became more of a big brother type role for the team. Even though he wasn’t leading the group, he definitely had the most connections with each member.
The last character improved upon greatly was the main antagonist of the film, Steppenwolf. A bad CGI, unmotivated, and poorly written villain is what we saw in the theatrical release in 2017. It was almost the opposite in the “Snyder Cut.” Not a perfect villain by any means, but compared to what we got before it was a masterpiece. With his original look and design back, Steppenwolf isn’t some oafy lean villain, but a monster and a force to be reckoned with. While he was previously unmotivated for anything in the theatrical release, he is now trying to prove his worth after failing his master, Darkseid once before. He wants to be respected by Darkseid and be his right hand man. Unfortunately that doesn’t work out well for him.
This movie was definitely worth the fight and the four hour runtime. It would be a shame for Warner Brothers to let Zack Snyder go again after this movie got a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 96% by the audience as of March 23. All the attention and viewers it attracted caused HBO Max to crash (the first time this has happened based on a movie or TV show releasing) and it had a 35% increase of excitement for the release compared to Wonder Woman 1984 which has already been confirmed to have another sequel. SO who knows? Maybe the Sndyer-Verse will be restored and fans will get to see his orginal vision along with David Ayer’s “Ayer Cut” of the also critical and box office disappointment, “Suicide Squad” in 2016. But until that time, be sure to watch “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” knowing it still could be very much alive and well with possible sequels set up perfectly by the cliff-hanging end of the movie.
“Well, I’ll be in touch. Oh, and some have called me the Martian Manhunter,” Martian Manhunter (AKA John Johns or General Swanwick) said in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.”

Final thoughts/Overall Score: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Directing: 10/10
Pacing: 7.5/10
Creativity: 9.5/10
Villain (Steppenwolf): 7/10
Character Arcs: 8.5/10
Overhyped: Not at all. Went in with high hopes and was not disappointed. I say… #restorethesnyderverse
Should you watch it? : YES!