Film review: ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’

By Jacob Baker

“I’m not broken, and I’m not alone.” 

For a property so beloved by superhero fans, “Justice League” was plagued by unfortunate circumstances like family tragedy, abuse and corporate meddling. Director of “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Zack Snyder is finally reunited with his intended vision of his film, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” It is a behemoth superhero epic that is equally personal as it is thrilling. 

*Minor spoilers regarding “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” 

Since the death of Superman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Batman played by Ben Affleck, is indebted to find other powerful beings to fight the lingering darkness. The bloodthirsty Steppenwolf, played by Ciarán Hinds, ventures to Earth to look for three mother boxes that can reshape entire worlds, in the name of his master Darkseid. 

As a faithful continuation of “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” it was of the utmost pleasure to see the character development and storytelling the film deserved. While “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” saw Snyder deconstruct beloved superheroes in a way viewers haven’t seen on the big screen before, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is the reconstruction. 

Batman’s character arc is profound and full of parallels that resonate hope and faith, unlike the desperation of his character in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” 

Under Snyder’s vision, Superman has never felt more human, and Superman’s return to humanity with the black suit is sensationally poetic. 

At the heart of it all is Victor Stone’s storyline, aka Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher. Stone’s storyline was practically removed from the 2017 version of “Justice League.” Snyder and writer Chris Terrio treat Stone’s storyline with grace and patience. As a Black character who has lost almost everything, Stone’s journey is an inspirational one that is sure to touch audiences. 

Fisher, in his first movie, commands the screen, and immediately makes Stone a staple within the current landscape of superheroes worth noting. 

Affleck is Batman, he is the Caped Crusader’s brooding disposition and Bruce Wayne’s higher class genius. Henry Cavill is simply the best Superman that has been put to screen; he is Smallville as much as he is the Man of Steel.  

Gal Gadot as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman radiates strength and inspiration. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen and The Flash is an eccentric performance that also provides monumentally powerful moments. Amy Adams as Lois Lane is as touching as she was in the previous two films. Jason Mamoa as Arthur Curry and Aquaman remains the perfect casting. And Jeremy Irons as Alfred never gets old, especially in his interactions between Bruce, as well as Prince this time around. 

When it comes to the cinematography, visual effects, score and costume design, a remarkable group of individuals come together to create a spectacular achievement within comic book films, and films in general. With a 4:3 aspect ratio, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is focused and concise. Behind the camera, cinematographer Fabian Wagner does not waste a shot in the film’s four hour runtime. Wagner and Snyder have an articulate vision and process that showcases intimate stills to thrilling scale. 

The visual effects on display are mesmerizing and full of unparalleled detail and thought. The visual effects team should be extremely proud of their work on this film. The costume design gives each character some of their best looks. Two standouts are The Flash and Steppenwolf. This rendition of The Flash is a sleek mechanical design that works perfectly for a modern adaptation. Steppenwolf’s armor is a razor-sharp and menacing look with hints of reflective colors. In a business where costume design can be so bland, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is the pinnacle of delivering tremendous costume design. 

After years of advocating Warner Bros. Pictures to right their wrongs for butchering Snyder’s intended vision, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has found a welcoming home on HBO Max. The film is a triumph of storytelling, character development, worldbuilding and a technical achievement of epic proportions that will have viewers hoping Snyder can helm more Justice League installments in the future. 


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