You need to be able to admit when you’re wrong in this life of ours. Own your mistakes, kid. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t do this, when they duck, dodge, and dive the things they’ve done and the statements they’ve made. Come on now. That’s bush league.
I am, therefore, here to admit that after watching Zack Synder’s Justice League, I was wrong. In a BroBible piece that went up before the release of the movie, I said that essentially, fans should prepare for the worst. The movie was destined to be bad largely because the other movies that Snyder had done with DC characters were also bad. Or in the case of Batman v Superman, God awful. There wasn’t much in terms of evidence that given the time and resources to flush out his vision for Justice League, the end result would be good. Better than the Justice League that came out? Sure. But that’s not saying very much. That’s such a low bar that it’s a tripping hazard.
But after watching all four-plus hours of this new Justice League (it took four days,) I can say that I was wrong and overall, it wasn’t that bad. I’m not saying it was amazing or even good. No. I think it was fine. At times it was cool and at times it was pretty good. But there were also a few eye-roll-inducing moments and with all due respect to the lovely and talented Amy Adams, there were way more sad Lois Lane scenes than were needed. The fact that I fast-forwarded through all of them is making me question my level of empathy, something I had never really questioned before. Am I not as compassionate as I thought? Damn it, Zack Snyder. Now you’re just messing with my emotions and probably not in the way that was intended.
So the Snyder Cut wasn’t bad. That is where I can admit I was wrong.
However, where I will not do such a thing is when it comes to my main point of the aforementioned piece and that is regardless of who was directing Justice League, the larger problem was that DC hadn’t put in the work required to get to the point of doing Justice League. They did the one Superman movie, then the Batman/Superman movie, and then bam, Justice League. They took the bird out of the oven before it was done, plopped it down in the middle of the table and said “have at it, everyone.”
Because of that, they had to not only have the team get together, but introduce the bulk of the team. And then save the world. That’s a lot of things that need to happen in a movie, which is why Snyder’s version ended up being four hours. If they had done it the right way (i.e. the Marvel way,) this could have all been so much easier.
As I outlined in the BroBible piece:
“First, you make a Superman movie to establish the Snyder-driven DC worldview. Then, you follow it up with a Batman movie with Affleck because you’re essentially introducing a new version of Batman; a “grizzled and beaten down by years of doing the Batman thing” interpretation where you can explain things, like, say, why he lives in a glass box next to a pond instead of Wayne Manor. This is important because Christian Bale’s Batman is still fresh in our minds, and without giving him a dedicated vehicle, you’re not giving viewers enough time to adjust their expectations.
Once those are out of the way, you make another Superman that takes place after the events of Man of Steel and before his showdown with the Caped Crusader. When you consider 18 months of action elapsed between those two movies, you can’t just recap what happened or allude to key developments; you have to show it. Once that’s done, you complement it with another where Batman grapples with the destruction and carnage stemming from Man of Steel that seemed to leave him very shook, and then finally bring both of them into the fold in the same project (which would also give you more time to introduce Wonder Woman and provide her with a proper lead-in to her own standalone film.)
At some point, you introduce Flash & Cyborg (both could be part of one of the Batman movies.) They could even get their own vehicle, but there’s not much of a rush on that front. As for Aquaman, I’m fine with waiting to bring him into the mix until Justice League, but that’s really the least pressing issue here.
Over the course of all of these movies, you could slowly but surely introduce the Big Bad while teasing the massive amount of shit poised to hit the fan in Justice League. Yes, it takes some time and patience, but I think it’s safe to say that approach worked out pretty well for Marvel.”
I stand by this and if anything, my feelings about this have only been cemented after watching the movie.
The Snyder Cut was over four hours long and that would be fine if it was necessary. The Irishman was that long but that actually made sense given the scope of the story they were looking to tell. But in the case of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it just wasn’t. Snyder and the DC folks rushed things and that right there is the main problem with Justice League. Just think how beneficial it would have been if they had developed this new version of Batman more or introduced Cyborg and/or Flash prior to dropping them into the Justice League. They would have saved time in Justice League and been able to devote more time to the battle with Steppenwolf or hey, even given Darkseid more than ten minutes of screen time. I know, crazy, right?
But like I said, overall, it wasn’t bad. I can’t say I’m aching to watch it again but all in all, I’m glad I did. There’s a lot of chatter about Cyborg being the big winner of this new version and while I can’t argue with that, I would counter by saying I think Batman is at least in the running. It’s hard to say why exactly, but Ben Affleck was just better in this version. Maybe it’s just being familiar with his Batman and there being some time removed from the last Batman (the Christian Bale one,) but his Batman made sense, which is not something I would have said before this.
A couple other thoughts:
Is Aquaman just leaving clothes all over the place, strewn about various beaches around the world? That doesn’t seem super responsible, not to mention expensive in the long run.
And speaking of Aquaman’s clothes, what’s up with this move?
That sweater can’t swell good, darling. My guess is it smells like a potentially lethal combination of cheap booze and wet dog. Yuck. No thank you. I don’t care how valuable he is to your village’s survival, hard pass on smelling the dude’s sweater as he swims away. Maybe just toss it in a bag and save it for the next time he comes.
Last Aquaman note: Zack Snyder definitely has a certain musical taste when it comes to these movies but ditching the White Stripes for this scene is criminal.
It fits so well! Not everything in the movie needs to sound like a goth-inspired gospel choir practicing in a dark, damp basement. Just saying.
Steppenwolf in this version of Justice League was definitely an improvement but you know, remember the “Health Care” episode of The Office, where Michael tasked Dwight with picking a new health care plan because he didn’t want to, knowing that if Dwight failed, he could blame him but if Dwight succeeded, then he wouldn’t have to worry about it? Steppenwolf’s whole deal, how he was driven by redemption and trying to get back on Darkseid’s good uh…seid, reminded me of that. I got strong Dwight Schrute vibes with Steppenwolf here and that includes his desire to rule the world.
If you’re going to make a four-hour-plus movie, at least give me an idea where Century City is in relation to Gotham. I never realized that Metropolis was essentially across the river from Gotham (is that true, though) so I had assumed Century City was the next town over. But Bruce Wayne had to fly there so that doesn’t seem to be the case. God, why all the unanswered questions, Zack Snyder?
I’m not going to touch the last thirty minutes but I will say this, endings are like starting quarterbacks in the NFL. If you have more than one then you don’t have any.