Photo: Looper
“There is something absorbing about this operatically strange twilight-of-the-superhero-gods that might yet turn out to be daybreak.” Photo: Looper

The Justice League Snyder Cut reviews are here — and thankfully they're not as long as the movie. That being said, while one critic is happy with the new release, most have serious critiques.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be released in the UK on Thursday and the reviews are in – with good news for fans.

The original holds a rating of 40% on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, while the new, four-hour version boasts a much improved 75%.

Writing in The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film a four-star review and described it as “weirdly entertaining”.

Photo: Looper
Photo: Looper

Of Justice League’s four-hour run time, Bradshaw said it is “an epic so splurgingly huge that you can see how it might have been purposed as four streaming episodes”, adding “yet its dramatic and theological craziness only really come across when you consume it all at once”, according to York Press.

The reviewer compared Justice League unfavourably to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers, but said: “There is something absorbing about this operatically strange twilight-of-the-superhero-gods that might yet turn out to be daybreak.”

Vox's Snyder Cut review

Photo: Looper
Photo: Looper

Over at Vox, Alex Abad-Santos explains why The Snyder Cut is the better movie — but still not a great movie. He also wonders if the movie is "worth the four hours of runtime and the tens of millions of dollars Warner Bros. spent reviving it." And while the former will be something you can answer, the latter is going to depend on how many HBO Max subscriptions it can sell, reported by Tom's Guide.

The Good:

"Snyder’s biggest improvement is showing the film’s heroes, in particular Flash and Cyborg, get on board for this inevitable war. Several of the new scenes are devoted to these two characters, establishing them with better backstories than they were previously afforded."

"Ray Fisher, even decked out in a distracting pile of CGI, breaks through and gives Cyborg a mix of rage and vulnerability in depicting his strained relationship with his dad, who turned him into the man-machine to save his life."

The Bad:

"Snyder’s love for super-strength brutality may also explain why I’ve always found his interpretations of Batman and Superman to be lacking. ... Snyder doesn’t really explore their dueling mindsets or their relationship with one another... his take on Superman, whose story is all about lost family and aching loneliness, feels especially hollow."

"The overall effect often makes the Snyder Cut feel like an action video game where the goal is to tally up the number of knockouts each character can land."

Slate's Snyder Cut review

At Slate, Karen Han's review begins with context, as she notes she is "a Snyder apologist," and while it's mostly positive, she acknowledges how campy the film is.

The Good:

"Four hours might seem unnecessarily long, but in this case, it allows for time to see these characters when they aren’t superheroes, and makes them more human as a result."

"As for some of the more ridiculous aspects of the film, maybe it’s difficult not to laugh when Willem Dafoe, looking like a Lord of the Rings extra, shows up and yells, 'Take up your mother’s trident!' at Jason Momoa, but it’s hard not to cheer, too."

"Snyder’s Justice League is more, more, more in a way that most films wouldn’t dare, and, after a year of no theaters at all, a movie that makes me long to return to a multiplex—to see more movies that commit so completely to a vision that it’s impossible not to be swept away."

Over at io9, James Whitbrook's got a mixed bag of thoughts. Yes, the Snyder Cut improves on the original, but not all of its additions, he says, are additive.

The Good:

"There’s more grandeur, heightened stakes that feel much more befitting of DC’s Justice League formation than the TV-movie vibes of the 2017 film—ironic, given that you will experience 2021's Justice League solely through a television screen when it releases."

"By the time the film is ready to devolve into the indulgent superhero third act fury of grandiose action, it feels like these characters have earned that moment of simple, explosive catharsis, instead of it being something that happens because blockbuster moviemaking demands it."

The Bad:

"... you are not entirely engaging with something completely new in and of itself, despite a good portion of it being entirely new. Characters start and end mostly as they did in the original version, although there is much embellishment along the way."

"This dip into overindulgence also hits an even weirder weak spot in the form of the film’s epilogue, a near 30-minute sequence that doesn’t so much wrap up Justice League as a movie—which already feels more naturally done by its climax—as it does muddy the waters of what Snyder’s project is ultimately meant to be. "

Collider's Snyder Cut review

Photo: Looper
Photo: Looper

The Good:

"Nowhere is ZSJL more successful than in its handling of Cyborg. ... In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, he’s a fully formed character. He’s resentful of his father (Joe Morton), feels like he’s been transformed into a monster, looking for a place to belong, and willing to risk his life to save the world."

The Bad:

"Snyder’s approach to include what feels like everything he filmed robs the movie of any pacing or tone. I really could not tell you what Zack Snyder’s Justice League is about in any grander thematic sense. Scenes move to one another without much rhyme or reason."

"Steppenwolf is just as boring as before, but now he’s in spikier armor. That’s really all that’s changed."

Goldberg notes that The Snyder cuts adds a scene of Hippolyta making a prayer on the arrow prior to firing it before saying that a judicious editor would have had that scene hit "the cutting room floor because it not essential to the pacing of the story nor does it illuminate any of our central characters."

CNET's Snyder Cut review

Richard Trenholm at CNET is much more negative, but he agrees about Cyborg improving the movie. In fact, Cyborg sounds like the best character.

The Good:

"A couple of plot strands are broadened through the film, with varying degrees of success. The expanded story leans heavily on Cyborg, which is good because he has an intriguingly conflicted relationship with his superpowers that make him hands-down the most interesting character on the team."

The Bad:

"Ten seconds in and I already have that annoying feeling, all too common in today's continuity obsessed blockbusters, that I have to stop the film and check Wikipedia to figure out if I'm missing something."

"The Snyder Cut isn't meant to be fun. It's full of serious people saying serious stuff. ... When the Snyder Cut takes a stab at humor, it plays like someone who heard a joke once but didn't really understand why everyone was laughing."

"Yet, despite its length, the Snyder Cut presents nothing meaningful or significantly new. For an example of how a reedited version can deepen a story, look at Blade Runner. The fabled Director's Cut added fascinating nuance and ambiguity to the question of whether the hero was human, genuinely adding an extra dimension to the film even if you'd seen it before."

Critics agree all six Justice League superheroes get the respect they deserve

One of the biggest issues many fans and critics had with 2017's Justice League was how some of the newer on-screen heroes like Cyborg and The Flash didn't get their moments to shine, and were relegated to mere supporting roles, propping up the bigger and more famous characters: Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Apparently, Snyder has rectified that particular injustice,said Looper.

"The movie is EPIC. The characters just matter more. They have purpose and emotion. The villains are intimidating. Cinematography is beautiful. It's EXCITING," Brandon Davis of the Phase Zero podcast tweeted. "It's hard to believe anyone thought this story should be canned."

Critic Scott Menzel also promised fans the rich character development they could expect on the four-hour journey. "Snyder's Justice League is one of the best superhero movies ever made. The long awaited cut lives up to the hype & feels unlike anything we've seen in this universe before. Each character is fully realized & gets their moment to shine & kick some a**," he tweeted. Menzel went on to address that shockingly high run time, though he says it's nothing to worry about. The Rotten Tomatoes certified critic noted that the four hours "flies by," a sentiment echoed by dozens of other reviewers across the web.

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