Came in the fall of 2017 JUSTICE LEAGUE to the cinema in a form that hardly resembled the vision of the director Zack Snyder, who was originally hired for the DC crossover. Now Warner is releasing it SNYDER CUT. We’ll reveal in our review how much it trumps the theatrical version.
OT: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (USA 2021)
After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), the world has degenerated into a desolate place. That would be unfortunate enough, but now, to make matters worse, the earth is about to be invaded by an alien power: the equally powerful and unscrupulous Darkseid (Ray Porter) and his terrible henchman Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) now see their chance , to recapture the Mother Boxes: three artifacts that were left behind on Earth many thousands of years ago – and with which these villains would become many times more dangerous. Together with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman (Ben Affleck) tries to gather a group of heroes to face the attackers. But even together with the loner Aquaman (Jason Momoa), who rules the seas, the lightning-fast outsider The Flash (Ezra Miller) and an ex-athlete named Cyborg (Ray Fisher), who has been mainly involved since a serious accident and the subsequent experimental surgery Made up of advanced technologies, the Justice League seems no match for the alien army. If only there was a way to bring Superman back…
When “Justice League” opened in theaters in fall 2017, what was seen on the big screen was the product of many conflicting influences: Director Zack Snyder neither oversaw the final weeks of filming nor was he responsible for post-production. Joss Whedon took his place (“Marvel’s The Avengers”) took the reins, with numerous heads from the responsible studio Warner Bros. also having a say in which direction the project should take. The original narrative that Snyder left Justice League solely because of a tragic death in the family and that Whedon came in as a sort of cinematic craftsman to get the film over the finish line has been repeatedly refuted. The consensus in industry reporting now says that there have been disagreements between the studio and Snyder before, and that the signs were pointing to a separation even without the bereavement in the Snyder family.
Old heroes, old film, new packaging – the Snyder Cut.
After the change in leadership in the “Justice League” crew, the creative path that had already been taken was not simply followed to the end – there were also some changes in direction, sometimes smaller (“Less hints of possible sequels!”), times bigger. Cyborg actor Ray Fisher in particular has been increasingly vocal about his displeasure over the past few months that he has become the target of racism, which was expressed not only in the way he was treated on set – but also in the massively reduced relevance of his role Role in the “Justice League” theatrical version. We cannot prove whether Fisher’s allegations that Whdeon and studio manager Walter Hamada treated him badly on set for racist reasons are true or not. What cannot be denied, however, is that it was actually Fisher who suffered the biggest downgrade compared to Zack Snyder’s plans in the 2017 version of “Justice League.” Because while Fisher is hardly important in the cinema version, he is the emotional support of the new “Justice League” version, which has now been released as a streaming title (with optional theatrical release where possible). Unmistakably titled “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” it consists of the footage Snyder shot before Whedon replaced him – plus four to five minutes of newly shot footage, numerous finalized trick sequences, and a new score by composer Thomas “Junkie XL.” Holkenborg (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)which cleverly uses the sound motifs of the heroes.
“The Snyder Cut” consists of the material that Snyder shot before Whedon replaced him – plus four to five minutes of newly shot material, numerous finalized trick sequences and a new score by composer Thomas “Junkie XL” Holkenborg that provides the sound motifs who nimbly uses heroes.”
Cyborg is portrayed in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” as a once-popular youth who was a top athlete and always willing to bend or break the rules for restorative justice. A severe blow of fate later, he is more powerful, but also more demotivated and grumpy than ever – and in the course of his adventure with the Justice League he fights his way out of this emotional low. This character development is well written and played well and convincingly by Fisher. In addition to Cyborg, Flash also comes off much better in Snyder’s version. What may surprise some of Snyder’s most opinionated fans: Ezra Miller’s Flash is not characterized significantly differently than in the theatrical version. Many of his cheeky sayings and neurotic quirks, which were speculated to be Whedon inventions in the wake of the “Justice League” theatrical release, are confirmed here as Snyder material (in general, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” underlines the fact, often forgotten in heated internet debates, that the “300” director is very good at humor). But the new version lacks several hair-raising moments of awkward Flash situational comedy, while adding new scenes (and extended passages of already known sequences) that cleverly and well-choreographed demonstrate how capable and clever this interpretation of Flash is.
Superman shines in a new guise.
This also applies to the final battle, from which Flash was half-written in the 2017 version: Snyder, on the other hand, arranges the action climax of his film in such a way that all Justice League members are given a raison d’être and their own cooperative hero moment, highlighting the teamwork spirit of this crossover more effectively than in the theatrical version. Nevertheless, some of the problems from the earlier version remain: both the grand finale, as well as a flashback explaining the mythology behind the mother boxes, and several attacks by Steppenwolf on the protectors of these artifacts, suffer from unfocused image management. CG figures, flashes and clouds fling around in long passages without any inner dramaturgy, mostly in such a way that the digital tricks do not allow any sense of the gravity of the events (in any sense of the word). It’s simply a lot of uncontrolled trickery about nothing. But even if the battle sequences in… both While the “Justice League” versions remain a glaring weak point, Snyder’s version looks much better overall: Fabian Wagner’s camera work is in sharply focused steel gray images (“Game of Thrones”) much clearer, more atmospheric and more appealing than in the theatrical version, which was muddied by confusing use of color filters – even if the picture format is a strange decision that suggests that Snyder misjudged the viewing experience in IMAX cinemas.
“But even if the battle sequences in both versions of “Justice League” remain a glaring weak point, Snyder’s version looks significantly better overall.”
The narrative pace and the overwhelming running time are similarly difficult: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has a better narrative flow than the theatrical version, but that is not because this story and these characters scream with fervor for over 240 minutes. Considering how much Snyder footage was left in the theatrical version, it becomes clear how radically the footage was chopped up for the theatrical version. This results in a bumping and rumbling narrative flow that seems even more drastic because the Whedon reshoot material occasionally opens up story threads that lead nowhere (e.g. “Superman’s death makes people more evil”) and the cast often seems demoralized, especially Ben Affleck. All of this is missing in Snyder’s version, which now presents the material he shot in a calm manner and with the cool pathos that was also internalized as the film’s narrative stance during shooting.
Studio version or Snyder Cut: From now on the audience has the choice.
Regardless: Where the theatrical version is too rushed with its 120 minutes of film, Snyder’s version overcorrects. Because even if it includes relevant, new scenes with Cyborg and Flash (as well as an epilogue that teases potential sequels that we may never see with almost trolling detail): the main reason for this epoch-making running time is not that Snyder sketches the eponymous troupe in more detail and allows dramatic passages more time to develop atmospherically and effectively. Aquaman and Wonder Woman remain flatly drawn, internal team differences are always quickly forgotten, and the villains are only slightly better motivated than in the theatrical version. To achieve this, Snyder overloads his “Justice League” version with an excess of indulgent establishing shots: Hardly any scenery is not first established through an extended tracking shot, and many locations are even repeatedly re-established in the form of longer camera pans.
It is an excessive overuse of a stylistic device – and since some explanations of the film mythology are repeated, as are almost all the action sequences, there are several at the same time “Stop, it’s not over, someone’s going to pull themselves together again!”twists, a term comes to mind: assembly cut. This is the name given to a rough version of a film that is not intended for publication and contains all of the filmed, potentially usable passages. This doesn’t mean that everything that was filmed is strung together – so it doesn’t include all the takes of a single scene. But with dialogues that were filmed with that in mind “On average we find out which sentences we actually need”the assembly cut contains something like this entire Conversation. And he sometimes shows all the landscape photos he has taken, because you can only see which ones are needed when you cut them.
“Hardly any scenery is not first established through an extended tracking shot; many locations are even re-established repeatedly in the form of longer camera pans.”
It is a cut that is there so that the filmmakers can see what they actually have at hand – it is, so to speak, the block of marble from which, through constant chiseling away, ultimately becomes a statue. Even though Snyder already stated on social networks that his assembly cut of “Justice League” was around five hours long: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” still feels like an assembly cut. Not like a consistently finished film. Something could be shortened almost constantly – and not to satisfy an impatient audience, but to bring out the essence of the film. One less tracking shot here, two or three kicks out there, tightening up a dialogue there instead of having several characters say roughly the same thing one after the other – then you would still have the same basic mood, the same tonality, the same message. It would still be Snyder’s vision, just without the many, many small alternative options that were now kept in there.
Conclusion: For Zack Snyder fans, for admirers of a divine, epoch-making, unsubtle interpretation of the DC pantheon, and for film enthusiasts who enjoy the production process and comparing different cuts, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is undoubtedly worth a look. But if you lack enthusiasm for Snyder, DC’s “gods among men” facet or competing versions of the same film: be warned of fatigue!
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is now available exclusively on Sky.