Zack Snyder’s Justice League is here in all its four-hour goodness. Despite its length, the film has received mostly positive critical reception with a score of 76 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. The fan reception is off the charts, and this was expected since we got this only due to the fans.
The Snyder Cut, as it is referred to in the fandom, is undoubtedly better than the Joss Whedon film we got back in 2017. At more than double the runtime, it also includes footage that was left on the cutting room floor. So apart from the length, how different are the two versions?
Very different, as it turns out. Even many of those scenes which are in both the versions look different as many of them were reshot under the supervision of Joss Whedon to make them more comedic and winking to the audiences.
If you are yet to see the movie, be warned. Spoilers ahead.
Here are the notable differences:
Zack Snyder’s Justice League features a new Knightmare scene in which the world is a wasteland subjugated by Darkseid and Superman. He rules the earth as a tyrant after Lois Lane died. Batman leads a few rebels that remain, but Superman is pursuing them. It is in this scene, which occurs at the end of the movie, we see Batman in conversation with Jared Leto’s Joker. dare we say it, a great scene.
No CGI removal of Henry Cavill moustache and black suit
When Henry Cavill came back for Justice League reshoots, he was in the middle of filming Mission: Impossible – Fallout. In Fallout, he played the role of a moustachioed character and had grown one. To give him the clean-shaven look of Superman, VFX artists had to digitally remove the moustache and they did not have time to do it properly as the release date was close. The result was a horrifying upper lip that has spawned memes, jokes and even hashtags like #JusticeForHenryCavillsMoustache. In the Snyder Cut, we get the original footage. Superman also wears a black costume in place of the classic blue-red.
Less comedic dialogue
Whedon was brought to the project primarily due to his impeccable track record of making superhero team-up movies. Since Warner Bros thought the Snyder Cut was too dark, Whedon also had the pressure of making the film funnier. And he did his best. That is why the theatrical version felt like a collision of two visions, with the dark aesthetic and dialogue of the original, and one-liners that come out of nowhere. And it must be said, when it comes to banter and team chemistry, the Snyder Cut felt more lifeless. Whedon’s version had more, and better, jokes, even if some of them did not land.
Thomas Holkenborg or Junkie XL was originally scoring Justice League before Danny Elfman was brought in. His score was actually good. Snyder Cut brings back Junkie XL, and the results are amazing, with rock, orchestra synthesizers and wailing vocals, the latter accompanying Wonder Woman and Amazons. There is also sparing but good use of Hans Zimmer’s iconic theme for Superman from Man of Steel.
The CGI as a whole is better in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, thought it is certainly not perfect. At times, you can see the imperfections, but for the most part it works. Steppenwolf’s look is one thing that is actually worse this time round. Though the invader was not a perfect specimen of VFX done right in the original, he at least looked like a thinking being than somebody who fused together thousands of spikes to make up for an actual armour.
Fleshed-out backstories for Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman
Apart from the DC trinity, rest of the Justice League members felt like cardboard cut-outs, who had manifested only to complete the team in a hurry. Here, we see much more of their footage, which was left on the cutting room floor earlier. And none of it feels superfluous, though it does swell the runtime. Perhaps standalone movies on their characters would have helped matter a lot.
Martian Manhunter, Darkseid, Vulko, Iris West are only a few of the characters that were removed from the theatrical version. Here, their presence helps make the world of Justice League feel bigger. The appearances may be brief, but they augment the character depth of Justice League members.
More footage, different climax and other scenes
The climactic battle in Zack Snyder’s Justice League is totally different from the bland CGI-fest we saw in the theatrical version. Here, it makes much more sense and the action feels more cohesive. This film is worth watching just for that final battle. There are other scenes as well, which may have been present in Whedon version, but feel new and different this time round. There is, of course, more footage, around 2 hours worth of deleted scenes.
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