For many reading this review, you'll probably already know the backstory behind how this director's cut came about. However, for the uninformed, here's a quick recap: while filming the initial Justice League, Zack Snyder had to rightly leave due to personal reasons. Taking over at this point was Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble). Sadly the film went on to receive a mixed response from its audience, and even some of its own actors/crew. Fans rioted in a digital style, which eventually lead to Zack Snyder unearthing his intended vision.
With the devastating events at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice bridging the gap into the intro of Zack Snyder's Justice League, we see Superman accidentally activate three Mother Boxes, which go on to alert villain Steppenwolf of their location. With these destructive boxes, Steppenwolf is not only a threat to humanity, but to the entire universe. The only way to stop this evil force in time is to unite some of the most iconic DC superheroes to date. Enlisting, and convincing a legendary team to fight is none other than Batman (Ben Affleck).
This cut makes so many right changes, which you’ll notice instantly due to a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is the original way Snyder shot the movie, and hoped for the film to be shown, so don’t play around with your TV settings trying to change it! We get expanded backstories for the majority of the main characters - quite notably with Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) - and are even introduced to new ones. (How cool is Darkseid!)
All of this extra plot construction brings a needed sense of importance to any fight scene - it feels like there's something at stake for both sides. Fresh, exciting elements have been poured into many scenes, and to get a better idea of this you can just take a look at the updated bank robbery confrontation with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). In addition, there’s a freaky, alternate take on Jared Leto's Joker, more detailed CGI, and just a darker, grounded tone in general.
The crucial change though, that made this Justice League take so much better, is the way that it now comes across as a team effort. For example, some may remember that in the 2017 finale, Superman turns up and ends everything instantly. In this version, you are going to need every single member to make a difference. With a glorious sequence from The Flash right through to combat mayhem from Batman, we finally get to see on screen what numerous fans have wanted from a Justice League venture. What we view over the four hours, is in contrast, a vast improvement to the original.
Positives aside for a moment, the disappointment with this Blu-ray release must be noted, as there were no special features for us to view and only a single featurette listed on its pre-order pages. Bringing Zack Snyder's Justice League to life was such an ambitious idea; there will have been an epic journey behind the scenes to make it happen, and fans would have loved to have seen it documented appropriately. Keep a lookout for a more in-depth release later down the line.
Ultimately, Zack Snyder's cut is like a whole new movie. It makes you think about not only the amount of control the director/editing team actually has, but also the fact that there could be so many other great cuts out there of poorly received movies that we will never ever see. The current DC Extended Universe can be a bit messy at times, but this is proof that when it's backed by the right minds, then it can be a hell of a show. This is by far, the best comic book interpretation from Zack Synder since Watchmen.
Release Date: May 24th (DVD/Blu-ray/4K)