Review: I can’t tell if the Snyder Cut is good or not

After years of waiting, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, better known as “the Snyder Cut,” is finally here. (Submitted: HBO Max)

After years of speculation, conspiracy theories and outcries from comic nerds everywhere, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, or better known as “the Snyder Cut,” is finally here. After the theatrical version of Justice League in 2017, I thought the Snyder Cut was just a desperate nerd pipedream, but I’ll take the L.

The film is written and directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavil as Superman, Ezra Miller as the Flash, Jason Mamoa as Aquaman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.

The Snyder Cut’s existence was conceived out of tragedy. Snyder was the writer and director of the original version of the film until his daughter died from suicide, forcing him to leave production. In order to finish the movie, Joss Whedon was brought in to finish directing.

In some ways, Whedon was the logical choice to replace Snyder. He was the guy that made 2012’s The Avengers, one of the most famous superhero films ever created, and has plenty of experience in comic book and nerd culture. The only problem is Whedon and Snyder have completely different visions of superheroes. Whedon’s style is fun, campy and uplifting, while Snyder’s is darker and brooting, causing Whedon to make large changes to the film – which meant only 30 per cent of Snyder’s film was used in the theatrical cut of Justice League.

The theatrical cut received mixed reactions from critics and fans alike, but Snyder’s vision has now been realized. Instead of a usual two-hour version, the run-time was beefed up to four hours.

In truth, I never saw the theatrical cut of Justice League, so I’m not comparing the Snyder Cut to it. Does it work on its own?

What I liked

With a run-time of four hours, there’s bound to be good stuff in this movie. I mean, I certainly hope so since I took four hours out of my day to watch the damn movie.

Like any Snyder film, people show up for the action. No one watches 300 for the political dialogue between Persians and Spartans. They watch to see a bunch of half-naked, buff and sweaty dudes stab people in super slow-motion.

Most of the action in Justice League was epic and satisfying. I know some people tease Snyder for his overuse of slow-motion, but when it works, it really works.

My favourite part of the film was the big epic CGI battle at the end because it’s a superhero movie. The mix of action and emotional moments made me jump up and down on the couch.

What surprised me was the emotional and engaging character moments from the Flash and Cyborg. As these are side characters, their development in the film added an unexpected but welcome presence.

What I didn’t like

I watched this movie with my friend and my girlfriend who gave three major thoughts of Justice League: Gal Gadot is beautiful, the effects looked like a video game and the movie didn’t need to be four hours long. I agree on all three points.

If the movie was three or three and a half hours, it would’ve been fine, but longer films need balanced pacing so audiences don’t get bored. There were some scenes that could’ve been shortened or cut entirely.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the action was great, but by God, the CGI was an eye-sore. Is it too much to ask a film that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to have CGI that wasn’t straight out of 1999?

Another issue with Justice League and with other DC extended universe films in general is the writing of Superman. Like Man of Steel and Batman V Superman before Justice League, Zack Snyder has a fundamental misunderstanding of Superman.

The Kryptonian is a bland and boring character that doesn’t feel like an actual person. His only personality traits are being a Jesus allegory and his love for Lois Lane. Superman is such a cool hero, he deserves an actual character arc. He’s not in the film much, so the issue isn’t as bad as previous films, but this way of writing is a symptom of a larger problem.

Make him a character with a personality, hopes, dreams, likes and dislikes, rather than have his entire character attached to his love interest. In the comics and the cartoons, Superman is a chill, mellow dude that just happens to be the most powerful being in the universe. Superman should be fun and hopeful, not dark and dreary.

This was one of the weirdest movies I ever reviewed and I honestly can’t say for sure if the movie is good. It’s not bad by any means. There’s a lot of great character moments and fun action sequences, but at the same time, there are just as many messy elements in the film. If you enjoy Snyder’s films, you’ll love it. If not, well, good luck to you.