Four hours is a long time to do anything. Think about it, four hours is more or less half a work shift. It takes almost four hours to watch an NFL game from start to finish and sometimes that feels even longer if your team sucks. Drinking for four hours could really do some work on your system and probably will leave you going to the bathroom a great deal and rambling on about how Lady Gaga deserved to be nominated for an Oscar in A Star Is Born. Four hours is a long time… to sit in one location and watch one movie. Just the one. Four hours is the type of time that you can feel. It presses down on you with each impending hour. You’re so hyper-aware of how much time is left that things almost move in slow motion which is comical considering I’m about to start talking about the Snyder Cut. A movie that literally had twenty-four minutes of slow-motion scenes. Twenty. Four. And I’m not just talking about the Flash moving so fast he’s moving slow, no. I’m talking about Amy Adams delivering coffee in the rain in slow motion. Like, why?! Why does this need to be in slow motion?! Twenty-four minutes!
Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’m not going to pretend that I was the target audience for the Snyder Cut, if you’ve been reading I Am Geek over these last few years then you know that I am not a fan of Snyder’s DC Universe. I’m not a fan of the Release the Snyder Cut movement. This movie was not made for me and that’s fine. Not all movies are. But as someone who runs a pop culture website and has spent many a words discussing the Snyder Cut, there was no way I was going to sit this one out. Serious FOMO vibes going on but I also wanted to try and give the film the benefit of the doubt. The early reviews were positive and it got me oddly excited for the movie. Maybe this thing would be better than I expected. Possibly. Hopefully.
Here’s the thing, when it comes to the original cut of Justice League the bar was set pretty low. It is clear that massive studio interjection and using two directors whose styles don’t mix heavily impacted the end result. Which was a mess. That movie is not good. Entertaining at parts but not good. And while it’s easy to blame that all on Joss Whedon, who looks to be a pretty crappy human, the full blame can’t be laid on his shoulders. Warner Bros had lost faith in Snyder, and rightfully so after Batman vs Superman flopped. Despite how you may feel about that movie, talking to you Cult of Snyder fans, that movie was considered to be a bomb. Just a fact. Their doubt lead to them interfering and the rest is history. Snyder never finishes his film, Whedon tries to incorporate the MCU formula, and the movie bombs. The Snyder Cut was a chance to see how this film was supposed to go if Warner Bros didn’t lose faith in Snyder. Although I would argue, after seeing a final cut of this film there is no way that they would have allowed this to be released as a four-hour movie. Four hours means fewer theater showings which means less money. No, this would’ve been split into two films. Easily. If it wasn’t for HBO Max needing a subscriber boost and WB wanting to wash their hands of Snyder’s DC, then I would argue again that this movie would have been split. But here we are.
So, how is the Snyder Cut? By comparison, yes it’s a better movie than the original cut of Justice League. It doesn’t look like a child went at it with a pair of scissors and just cut and pasted things together until a mess was born. But does that mean that this is a good movie? I think that’s part of what’s being lost in the conversation here. Is it better than Justice League? Yes. Is it more of the same Snyder character whiffs that are kind of infuriating? Also yes. At the end of the day, well, it took me three separate days to watch the movie, I walked away feeling “meh”. This is a movie that exists, I’m happy for those of you who wanted it and received it. I saw it and got to experience in the moment, and now I never have to see it again. For me, the Snyder Cut is ultimately forgettable.
Again, I’m not the target audience. The problems I have had with Snyder’s previous DC films still ring true here. I don’t think he understands who Superman is. At all. Granted, Supes appears in the movie for like ten minutes, his death scream at the start lasts about as long as his actual on-screen time, but one thing I did like about the original Justice League is that when he comes back it feels hopeful. It feels like this is the guy we can turn to and have faith in to save the world. Here, it’s all so strange. The Justice League literally dig up his coffin which is such a weird character choice for me. “What should we make our heroes do to show how important Superman is to this story and world? I got it, let’s have them dig up his grave! That’ll be cool and edgy.” Also gross and strange and so out of character for the majority of these heroes. It feels more like a Rick and Morty bit than anything.
Don’t get me wrong, as a kid who read “The Death of Superman” comics religiously, seeing the black suit was super dope. Loved that. But in a movie with such watered-down colors, I think it would have served the story better to see Superman in the red and blue. To have him shine to emphasize that he’s a symbol, a beacon of hope, not a guy in a cool black suit who is currently attempting to beat the villain to death with his hands? What?!
My problems with Snyder and Superman are well documented so we don’t need to dwell but he’s not the only character misrepresented here. Yes, Batman goes on a killing spree, even if they are just bug people, and drops a very unneeded/awkward f-bomb so that’s par for the course. Barry Allen though, I still can’t get behind what Snyder’s trying to do here. It’s obvious that they want Miller to be the comic relief and he seems more like a Spider-Man want a be opposed to the Flash. Don’t get me wrong, some of the Flash moving through the Speed Force scenes were visually bananas. I especially liked during their first team-up as he dodged enemy blows. That aspect is very well done. But I couldn’t move past the forced comedy and the creepiness of the character. Yes, I said creepiness. How else would you explain taking the time to brush back Iris’s hair, a woman he has never met before, as she’s moving toward her death. Focus up Barry that’s creeper shit you’re doing there. So was asking if Wonder Woman would date younger guys… while digging up his hero’s grave.
Not all the characters are misses though. Fleshing out Cyborg’s story was one of the things that was clearly lacking from the original cut and his origin here makes for a compelling character and helps underline his importance later on in the film. It’s impactful even if it does drag a little and Cyborg becomes the heart of the movie easily. It seems the most emotion is tied to his story.
Aquaman is fleshed out a bit better too and that’s fine. I still think underwater bubbles created for speaking is lame and don’t understand why he has to take his shirt off every time he leaves that town. I mean, I understand why but what’s his wardrobe budget like? And does that random singing girl smell all of the articles of clothing he leaves behind? Because that’s weird.
Wonder Woman was just kind of there for me. She’s used more for exposition than anything. You would figure with the character’s success that she would have been a massive focal point. Although there is that one scene where she stops a group of terrorists from setting off a bomb by… setting off a bomb with her wrist guards?! This is the type of stuff that drives me nuts and had me chuckling at the absurdity of it all.
I will give it to the Snyder Cut for fixing the villain problem of the original film. Steppenwolf is a force and actually has some pretty legit motivations. His character arc was one of the better in the entire movie and I enjoyed seeing him matter. It actually made it seem that our heroes were up against something as opposed to just a CGI monster thingy. Darkseid on the other hand, I have mixed emotions. First, it was super cool seeing Darkseid on the big screen. That’s just a fact. As soon as I saw him, I instantly thought of Tom King’s Mister Miracle run and started muttering “Darkseid is…” to myself. That quickly turned into Darkseid is… getting his ass kicked? I will never understand the logic of introducing Darkseid as the ultimate villain, this unstoppable force, only for him to lose the first battle we see him in. Although it allowed Snyder to cram in a Green Lantern so, yay? His loss though completely negates the impact of the threat. This guy can be beaten. I just saw it happen. Now I’m supposed to believe he’s a threat to the Justice League?! Come on. Plus, you mean to tell me that Darkseid doesn’t know where the anti-life equation is like he forgot that Earth was the place he took that big L?! That dude knows exactly where it is because it’s hard to forget when and where you had your ass handed to you. This isn’t working for me.
I did enjoy the Knightmare landscape despite the sloppy transitions into it. Every time we went to the land where Superman was a villain, I had to ask myself if this was a dream or did we actually travel to this timeline? But I like the environment. It feels so Elseworlds. It feels like Tom Taylor’s Injustice. And my hot take of the movie, Jared Leto steals the show. Hands down. His three minutes of screen time were the most captivated I was the entire film. I want more of that please and thank you. And this is coming from someone who is pretty much over the Joker character at this point.
That’s the issue though, isn’t it? We’re not getting more of that or this. The Snyder Universe is officially done and I’m happy to see DC/WB move on from it. It’s time to see these characters represented properly. It’s time for a new vision. One that isn’t filmed in a ridiculous ratio and has more color in it. It would be easy for me to take this whole column and nitpick the things that I don’t like about this movie. There are a lot. But there were also things I enjoyed. “This is Alfred, I work for him” was a tremendous Batman line. I found it hysterical that each time the Justice League went somewhere they made Batman get there on his own which I’m sure is unintentional but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. JK Simmons was quite fun as Gordon. And some of the action was engaging.
At the end of the day though, this movie misses more than it hits and that’s going to happen with four hours. The juggling act becomes too much and some of those plates are going to shatter on the floor. Especially when the director is stuffing in characters like Martian Manhunter for no real reason in an already overstuffed movie. I will say again, for those of you who pushed for this movie, the right way and not through toxic behavior, then I’m happy you got your film. I hope it lived up to your expectations. For me, I’d like to quote Superman when he meets Steppenwolf for the first time.