Zack Snyder’s Justice League Review


All Rights go to Warner Bros.

By Graham Jones, Reporter

I need to make this crystal clear before I move forward with this review. I am not a Zack Snyder fan. I find Man of Steel as a boring endeavor with unlikeable characters and a lifeless plot. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has moments of campy fun but is overall a failure. I haven’t seen 300 or Watchmen because I’m simply not interested and I’ve skipped Sucker Punch because…well because it’s Sucker Punch. I despise who seems to be the majority of Snyder’s fans. I feel embarrassed for the ones that scream the loudest online and claim that Snyder’s superhero movies are “mature” and “adult” because the superheroes kill and say the “f” word. So many of his fans seem set on harassing anyone who says something even a little negative about Snyder’s work, some even crossing the line into racist, homophobic, and sexist territories. The fandom disgusts me and what I have seen of Snyder’s work has not impressed me. Now that that is out of the way, I adored Zack Snyder’s Justice League.


For context of how Zack Snyder’s Justice League came to be, it began after Snyder had to step away from directing the film Justice League. He had filmed a four-hour epic that was completely his vision, but when a family tragedy happened, directing was handed over to Joss Whedon, famous for his work on 2012’s The Avengers and the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Disliking the direction the film was going, Warner Bros. Pictures worked with Whedon to cut the film down to two hours and reshoot scenes to make the film resemble something closer to a Marvel film. What resulted was a messy and mediocre superhero film that disappointed most audiences. When fans learned of Snyder’s original idea for the film, they rallied for its release for almost three years before it was finally announced it would premiere on the streaming service HBO Max in March of 2021.  


Going into Zack Snyder’s Justice League, I expected the worst. Knowing that it was all Snyder’s vision and seeing its four-hour runtime, I sat down prepared to be bored out of my mind. Oh how I was wrong. The new film has the same shell as the 2017 Justice League, following Batman and Wonder Woman as they put together a superhero team to fight the insidious Steppenwolf who seeks to collect three mysterious “Mother Boxes” that will bring the end of the world. Despite the similar plot, what makes Snyder’s work different are the characters and tone. Due to the extended runtime, each character gets more time to develop, especially in the first half of the film. This is most notable with the characters Cyborg and The Flash, who are each elevated from their one-note roles in the original film. Cyborg, who had little to no development in the 2017 film, essentially becomes the heart of the film as he represents the struggle of the whole team and the values of being a hero. The Flash, while still the comic relief, has far more to do in this film and feels far more in-place within the group. Steppenwolf, although still a weak villain, is genuinely threatening and has an actual motivation for why he is searching for the mother boxes. What was really fantastic about the heroes in this movie was that by the end, they felt like a real team. Where during the climax of the original Justice League you felt as if all the characters were being forced to work together, in Snyder’s work the characters actually care for one another and are happy to fight alongside each other.

All Rights go to Warner Bros.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League has Snyder’s classic dark and moody tone throughout, but compared to Whedon’s cut of the film, Snyder’s film has, dare I say…actual heart. The dark tone works for the story Snyder is trying to tell, the whole film having the presence of an over looming threat, but towards the end of the film when the characters begin to complete their arcs, a true warmth encompasses the film, one that made me realize how much I had fallen in love with the characters over the span of the film. Though I wouldn’t describe the film as a whole this way, the ending is hopeful in showing that even in the hardest of times, we are not alone. Though I did not tear up at any point in the film, I wouldn’t shame anyone who did.


Before I jump into my negatives with the film, I should also give props to the action which feels kinetic and brutal throughout. Though the action scenes are the same as the ones in the 2017 version, the editing, sound design, and choreography make each punch and sword swing feel real and investing, the strength behind them coming through the screen. The final battle is truly a spectacle, using the characters’ powers together to make new and interesting fight scenes as well as adding something rarely seen in superhero films, tension. There was one sequence in particular that had me on the edge of my seat shouting, “C’mon, C’mon, C’mon!” Overall, the action was a giant step up from Whedon’s Justice League.


Zack Snyder’s Justice League is admittedly not a perfect film, far from it. I did not mind the four-hour runtime of the film, but I could see how many would find it exhausting and tiring, especially with Snyder’s overuse of slow motion and extended scenes of characters just standing around.  I don’t particularly like these aspects of the film, and at points, they could get pretty cringey. Moments like this I would just roll my eyes and move on since I still enjoyed the majority of what was onscreen. I also found the editing in certain moments to be strange. A scene would be playing out and then the film would suddenly cut to a new scene. After the new scene would complete it would cut back to the scene that had been playing as nothing had happened. This doesn’t happen too often, but enough times for it to be jarring and noticeable. My other main problem is that since this is Zack Snyder’s Justice League, there are quite a few scenes that are just Zack Snyder indulging himself. I don’t mind all of these scenes, but a couple are downright cheesy and weird. There’s one segment at the very end of the film that I found unbelievably stupid that reeked of something a man-child would write on Twitter. Despite those issues, I still think the film is a success overall.

All Rights go to Warner Bros.


I’m not going to tell you to watch this film or even lookup the trailer because it might not be your thing. For months I was sure I would hate this film and to be honest, I’m still in shock I don’t, but if you are at all interested in it, I would suggest taking the leap and giving it a watch. It has quite a few problems and there are definitely moments that even I struggled getting through, but in the long run, those didn’t matter. It is almost never bad to see a director be allowed to create their vision and release it to the world. Even if it was the mess I expected it to be, I would still be happy that Zack Snyder was able to put out his fully-realized version of the film. That being said, it’s a plus that the movie actually ended up being well made and entertaining. Sitting on my couch in a dark room and being sucked into a story for 242 minutes was an experience I hadn’t felt in years. I was transported back into a little kid as Wonder Woman and Aquaman fought flying demons and Cyborg and The Flash hacked into mythical pieces of technology. I sat there with a stupid grin on my face as I let the television absorb me into a classic tale of good vs evil, one that had characters who faced stakes of epic proportions while also facing the relateable problems of self-worth and guilt. And at the end, after watching a story about superheroes fighting aliens, I got goosebumps thinking about one of the film’s final lines, a line reminding us that in our broken world where it feels like every day we face a new undefeatable evil, we have to, “stand, fight, discover, heal, love, win.” because, “The time is now.”