Very few failed movies get a chance at redemption. In 2017, the DC Cinematic Universe reached its nadir with the distrasterous theatrical release of “Justice League.” Production on the film was plagued by constant studio interference, conflict on set, and eventually a change of director when filmmaker Zack Synder stepped down before completion of the film and was replaced by former “Avengers” director Joss Whedon. The movie was panned by both critics and audiences, and failed to make a splash at the box office. Fans were extremely disappointed, but some remained optimistic of the rumor that another cut of the movie that captured the original vision of director Zack Snyder existed. After a few years of internet campaigning, executives at WarnerMedia decided to give Synder the funds to finish the “Snyder Cut” and release it on HBO Max in March of 2021.
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is an entirely different movie than the theatrical cut, containing over two and a half hours of new footage.Visually, the movie looks stunning. It’s clear that the extra time and money improved the CGI tremendously to the point where it looks just as good, if not better than any other major blockbuster. The film does a great job of introducing new characters Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash and fleshing out their backgrounds and motivations alongside more big ticket characters like Batman, Superman, and Wonderwoman.
Despite everything it did well, the movie was not perfect. One drawback is the runtime. Coming in at just over four hours, it is significantly longer than other films in the genre. Another issue is the aspect ratio. While most movies are shot in a 21:9 ratio “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” was shot entirely with IMAX cameras giving it a 4:3 aspect ratio, which leads to black bars on either side of the screen when watched on a home TV.
Still, the movie improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way, telling a much more compelling and coherent story. What originally felt like a generic, soulless, cash grab now feels like a passion project that leaves fans wanting more. With this movie, DC finally has their answer to Marvel’s “Avengers” series. While the run time and the aspect ratio may seem like deterrents to potential viewers, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is a fun summer blockbuster that gives DC fans what they have been waiting years for.