Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Anthony Marsicano, Opinion Editor

Fans who have been clamoring for years to ‘release the Snyder Cut’ finally got their wish as the long-awaited release of the 2017 movie Justice League hit HBO Max Friday March 18.


The new release, officially titled Zack Snyder’s Justice League but referred to as the “Snyder Cut,”  keeps the same basic plot and cast as the original movie. It follows Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), two characters introduced in previous films, as they recruit new heroes like Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to stop an impending alien invasion on Earth. Along the way, the group strives to bring back Superman (Henry Cavill)—who was previously believed to be dead—to assist them before it is too late.

Justice League (2017) was set to be the third movie in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) directed by Zack Snyder. Snyder kicked off the DCEU in 2013 with Man of Steel and had most recently directed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). 

The script for Justice League was completed before Batman v Superman was released. The two movies were planned at the same time, which is the reason behind the gap between the first and second DCEU movies. Batman v Superman was released on time as Snyder began shooting over three hours of footage for Justice League. When the reception of Batman v Superman came back overwhelmingly negative, production decided to re-shoot in an effort to better appease the fans.

But before reshoots could be completed, Snyder had to step away from the project due to family matters. Warner Bros. controversially hired director Joss Whedon to complete the movie in time for its scheduled release date. The reception was not positive from fans or critics, as the final product felt rushed and sloppily put together. The DCEU has been guided by Snyder’s vision since its creation and it felt wrong to hand off his hard-earned work to someone else. 

Anyone who enjoyed the 2017 cut of Justice League even a little bit should definitely watch the Snyder Cut. The four-hour runtime is intimidating but necessary; the plot requires substantial time to introduce each of the three core characters who did not get individual films prior to this movie’s release—something Whedon’s version disregarded.

The film does a great job maintaining a good pace while taking time to expound upon the original plot and introduce new content. The “Snyder Cut” is conveniently divided into six parts that include an introduction and epilogue—the latter being around half an hour of new content mostly from reshoots. Aside from restructuring and clarifying some major plot points, this epilogue is the main reason to watch this cut of the film. It ends the movie on a massive cliffhanger that previews a major storyline from DC comics. 

 As always in Snyder films, the visuals are stunning. He is able to perfectly employ his signature slow-motion techniques he has been using since Watchmen (2009). What sets Snyder’s work apart from the rest of the superhero genre is how every shot of his movies look like comic book panels. The film isn’t trying to be something it’s not, and that’s one of the best things it has going for it.

While the current continuity of the Zack Snyder universe is currently suspended, his cut of Justice League was enough to get fans excited again, as the online movement has evolved from ‘Release the Snyder Cut’ to ‘Restore the Snyderverse’. Zack Snyder’s Justice League breathes new life into the previously-defunct DCEU and, more than a movie, this is a director’s passion project that deserves to be seen.