Saturday 20 March 2021

The Fellowship of the Justice League

The fabled #ReleaseTheSnyderCut of Justice League arrived on HBO Max and Sky Cinema this week, bringing with it the hefty expectations of millions of DC Comics fans (myself included) in lockdown.

It’s a uniquely fan-driven pop culture event arriving amidst a global pandemic where the creative industry is under siege from socio-economic forces.

Over six chapters and an epilogue, director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) serves up an epic 4-hour IMAX comic book adventure with the scope of The Lord of the Rings, led by supervillain Steppenwolf (CiarĂ¡n Hinds) as he searches for the 3 Mother Boxes to appease Darkseid (Ray Porter).

Meanwhile, Batman (Ben Affleck) is assembling a superhero team to thwart the threat of alien invasion in the aftermath of Superman’s (Henry Cavill) death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

This parallels Marvel Studios’ decade-spanning The Infinity Saga in a condensed format, which has always been DC Comics’ big screen Achilles heel as nothing feels earned. However, the 4-hour format works here in a way not possible in a multiplex environment.

I decided to consume chapters, over consecutive evenings, on Sky Cinema and became immersed in an episodic story that has time to breath replete with a compelling origin story for Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and a playful interplay between beloved superheroes. The Flash's (Ezra Miller) banter with his superhero teammates is a standout.

In many ways, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is best viewed as a standalone movie (forcibly as I’ve not religiously followed the so-called SnyderVerse's appetite for destruction) and is vested further poignancy in the wake of Snyder’s daughter’s suicide during the production of the original movie, which culminated in his departure.

Whilst it retains the exuberant self-styled motifs of the director's oeuvre, Justice League has evolved into the Snyders touching tribute to their late daughter as a sense of loss and grief permeates the fabric of this operatic film. Even Superman’s iconic black suit could be construed as emblematic of mourning.

His best movie since Watchmen. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the superhero recut I didn’t know I needed. The original, a hot mess under the auspices of director Joss Whedon (Avengers: Assemble), is now reforged into something special. HBO Max could be the perfect playground to continue his planned trilogy. #RestoreTheSnyderVerse is trending.

Final thoughts coalesce around the affecting memory of a conversation with a school friend who suddenly passed away. We’d mused on what if... ? there was a Snyder cut, and here it is. Think they would have approved.

Pre-order Zack Snyder's Justice League on Blu-ray (affiliate link).

Have you seen Zack Snyder’s Justice League? Let me know in the comments below.

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