In 1997, Zack Snyder had to abandon his directorial role for Justice League because of a combination of differences of opinion with Warner Bros., and a personal tragedy. His daughter had apparently died by suicide. At that time Warner Bros. studios were hard pressed to get the film out in the cinemas, and hired Joss Whedon to finish the film. The resulting version that came out was generally panned by critics and fans and ever since then, die-hard fans had clamoured for Zack Snyder to complete the work he started and come up with his vision of how the film should have been. Now, 4 years later, we have the unprecedented privilege to see not only Zack’s version but also an expanded 4 hours version of it!
That background story itself is probably worthy of being made into a film itself but that is something to think about for another day. I am so excited to say that this epic 4 hours revisualisation of Justice League is like a dream come true for all DC fans. The extended running time allowed Zack to provide all the characters with a proper background story and portray each with their very own character and motivation. I remember in the original Justice League, the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) were made to look like inexperienced fools and had zero characterisation apart from making silly jokes. Amazingly with the added footage and editing, their characters really come out looking likeable and heroic. In fact I would say they were pivotal to the final outcome of how they fought their adversary. The plot also becomes much more comprehensible and logical providing a coherent path to its final battle. Zack also showed his trademark qualities with many beautifully framed and choreographed action sequences. There can be beauty in the midst of all the mayhem unlike most movies where all we get is a headache from watching mass destruction of properties and lives. Some of these moments were made to look even more involving and poignant when he shows us what happens in slow motion.
Comparisons with Marvel’s The Avengers End Game is bound to happen. I personally thought Zack skillfully told what was essentially a very similar plot for the Avengers within fours hours while Marvel had to tell the story over countless movies and a over bloated ending. The Avengers End Game had some pretty boring and slow moments and some scenes which felt forced to appear teary for the audience. Zack Snyder’s Justice League thankfully is devoid of any fake sentimentalism and stays focus. There was nary a boring moment throughout the film. It’s four hours length is a challenge for it to be consumed in one sitting. I confess I watched this over two sittings but I also feel like watching it all over again because there is simply so much to see.
If I have to complain it would be its bloated epilogue at the end which lasted over 20 minutes. This is nothing but an expanded version of the kind of end credit teasers except here, it runs for much longer. It ended up looking like a trailer for the sequel(s) which will unfortunately be unlikely to be made. This could have easily been left out or cut into something much shorter and abstract. The other oddity is the decision for the film to be made in 4:3 format which fits the older generation TV screen better. The excuse was that this is the format that would be best suited for IMAX screens but the fact is this movie is unlikely to be even screened in any such IMAX screens! Watching and epic movie with the black borders on the left and right just feels like wasted space which could have been filled up and result in a more engaging wider screen format. Another confession … I selected a fill screen option to fill up to 16:9 aspect ration to satisfy my own preference. The draw back being some details at the top and bottom of the 4:3 ration would be lost when watching it this way. I have no doubt this will not be approved by Zack Snyder.