Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the literal revenge of the nerds. Fandom’s fanatical insistence that Warner Bros release the Snyder Cut over the years led to this unlikely movie becoming a reality in the surreal circumstances of 2021. Sure, it’s a gimmick to sell HBO Max and might not have happened otherwise. Who cares?

Indeed. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is Snyder’s unfettered and unvarnished vision of DC superheroes as mythic deities. This over 4-hour deconstructive treatise of Alan Moore/Frank Miller styled epic proportions is the perfect antidote to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s conceit that everyman can be a superhero.

Ultimately, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a sad indictment of Warner Bros’ cowardice, spurning the opportunity to provide a viable alternative to the MCU and attempting instead – and failing miserably – to be a pale imitation. The loss is ours essentially, as the movie sets up countless possibilities within the so-called DC Extended Universe, which is now just a shadow of a memory.

Without hyperbole, it’s fair to say that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is probably one of the best superhero movies ever made, if not the best. As previously mentioned, the movie presents superheroes as mythological constructs to be worshipped and every frame of this (very) long movie strives hard to do so.

Beautiful to look at and challenging our very understanding of the superhero ideal, Snyder delivers story and action of mythic scale, without any compromise of each and every character’s heroic scope. Sure, the fundamental plot line of the theatrical cut remains – super-villain (Steppenwolf) seeks out macguffins (mother boxes) in order to take over the world. Superhero team (Justice League) arises to stop this from happening.

And if you have a problem with this basic plot then you are simply not a fan of superhero movies. The difference is the treatment of the characters and the scope of the conflict. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is serious about this idea of superheroes as gods – everything follows logically. The characterisation is spot on – more time to flesh out Cyborg and the Flash – with jokey dialogue the sole preserve of the latter – while the action sequences are gorgeously epic, the kind that only Snyder seems to able to deliver.

If there’s a complaint to be made – it’s the feeling that the epilogue is pointless. Sure, it’s a taste of what might have been but it all seems like a waste. After all, there are 4 or 5 spin-offs and/or sequels (at least) set up by this movie that will probably never see light of day. But isn’t that what we said about the Snyder Cut? Never say never, eh?

Now streaming on HBO Max.

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