Dog’s Movie House: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Epic And Epically Long!

This version of “Justice League” has a similar plot to the 2017 film: The envoy of the villainous Darkseid, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) has come to Earth for three Mother Boxes, objects of tremendous power that, when merged together, form a terraforming device that would wipe humanity out of existence. Standing in his way are the heroes Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) a being actually created by the Mother Box. The also need to resurrect the now dead Superman (Henry Cavill), realizing that they can’t beat the forces of evil without the Kryptonian hero.

That’s where the similarity to the 2017 film ends. This is a more serious film, not devoid of humor and hope but lacking the joking banter Whedon brought to the original film. The film serves as a modern myth (although they bring the old gods into play during some of the entertaining flashback sequences) with the DC Heroes being compared to gods among men. It’s a nice tonal touch that separates this film from the Marvel films’ stance that their heroes are “just like us.”

Snyder also takes his time with the backstories of the new characters. Cyborg is the heart of the story, especially due to his relationship with the alien technology at the heart of the film and Fisher nails the character wonderfully. Miller’s Flash is also given a deeper backstory and while he serves up some comic relief, he’s no longer the frenetic (and often annoying) bundle of energy he was in the original film. The other characters’ motivations are clearer and more logical as well, with Batman being a more level-headed influence on the rest of the team.

One of the major complaints of the original film was the design and motivations of the villain Steppenwolf. In the 2017 film he was shoddily animated and his motivations were basic at best. He was a bad guy simply for the sake of being a bad guy and that really weakened the film. In the Snyder Cut, he is not only more fearsome in design but his motivations are more complex. We find out that he betrayed his ruler Darkseid at one point and this quest is his way of trying to find his way back into his lord’s good graces. He’s also more brutal and systematic in the way he goes about hunting down the Motherboxes, making him a more dangerous and frightening villain than in the original film.

And let’s talk about Darkseid for a moment,shall we? In the original film his name gets dropped once, almost as an afterthought. In the Snyder Cut, we get to see the Ruler of Apokolips in all his Omega-Ray shooting glory. He doesn’t have a great deal of screentime, but his presence looms over the entire film. His role would have increased in future films, yet sadly this is unlikely to happen as future Justice League movies are not to be found in Warner Bros., uh, future.

The action and effects are, for the most part, much improved as Snyder’s gift for cinematic mayhem is on full display here. This movie feels like there are real stakes for a change rather than a cut-and-paste approach to the narrative that permeated the 2017 version of the film.

Of course there is the four-hour running time. It’s a long, long, movie but it doesn’t feel that long. It’s also shot in chapters, enabling fans to stop wherever they want and pick it up at a later time, almost like a limited television series. The length is what keeps it from being a perfect film, but it’s pretty damn close to the superhero epic Zack Snyder envisioned when he started this journey all those years ago. If you like superhero films then “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is definitely for you. 4 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is now streaming on HBO Max.

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