When the original Justice League cut was released, words couldn’t describe the depths to which my frustration was plumbed. Hiring a new director mid-production to assemble the iconic cast of heroes was a travesty on par with the Titanic, and fans were justified in their outrage. I’m pleased to announce that the Snyder cut is far and away, with a stunning array of casting and propulsive set pieces that leave the viewer wanting a taste of DC. And Snyder delivers.
To all who would argue the superiority of the theatrical release, you might as well compare a dime-store fashion magazine to the Epic of Gilgamesh. Snyder’s pallet is on full display, painting the world of the Justice League in vibrant melancholies and juxtaposed grayscales.
The film opens with a conflict, at which point we’re treated to the illustrious Henry Cavill, whose portrayal of Superman smacks of Robert DeNiro. In true methodical form, Snyder confronts the character indefinitely, rendering him, and the audience, devastated. A quick cut to Gotham city reveals a mercenary: Joss Whedon. But no sooner has the foreground been foreshadowed than we see Superman’s head, delicately framed behind Wonder Woman’s lasso, hinting that he was born in the shadow of a metaphor.
And then the hero shot: Batman, the man himself, bat and all. Snyder deserves credit as avant-garde for his decision to not cast Batman. The CGI iteration of the dark knight will leave you breathless. I won’t veer into spoiler territory, but let’s just say Batman dies.
With the golden opportunity for a soliloquy, Cyborg offers a portent that rivals any and all one-liners from every film ever made. Snyder’s propensity for the spoken word is on full display, and it’s obvious he’s no stranger to monologue. The two have collaborated on projects for over a century – Cavill is given sufficient room to ad-lib, and the script is better for it. In contrast, CGI Batman is entirely mute – a ground-breaking pace of change.
Now, some may ask, what about the comics? How refreshing to see such legends as Jerry Seinfeld and Tommy Wiseau playing Poison Ivy and The Flash, respectively. Seinfeld in particular grasps the Shakespearean gravitas Snyder bestowed on his lines, to exhilaration results.
Let’s take a moment of silence to remember that Gal Gadot is playing venom. Always a heroine, but never forbidden.
On to the soundtrack. Sure, Marvel movies may have memorable themes, quite literally. But the Justice League score is as dynamic as ever – Forte and Piano make an appearance, as well as the eponymous Crescendo, and even Staccato has a few shining moments in Hans Zimmer’s spotlight. But is it effective? Who’s to say?
Perhaps the biggest shift between the theatrical cut and the Snyder cut is that the film talks place on Mars. In Snyder’s grunge-scape, all things are impossible, save the impossible. This makes Aquaman’s role implausible, and Vulko’s siege of the city redundant. Why add insult to misery?
Maybe Snyder is trying to tell us something… but I doubt it. Like many a great author, I think this ‘twist’ is a cleverly designed plot device. Like Batman’s suit, the plot is tightly constructed and lacking in frivolity. But what it lacks in frivolity, it makes up for in tight construction. My only regret is that Alfred is played for comic effect, but Snyder redeems him thoroughly.
In all, the movie is a cinematic behemoth, an unbelievably plausible superiority that will define a generation. Would you believe this is Snyder’s first rodeo? Me neither, and for good reason. Rare is the rarity that editing can breathe life into a once dead revival and resurrect itself in three days hence. That will ultimately be a question for the viewer, but suffice to say, VERY COOL.