Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

A cinematographical masterpiece & groundbreaking win for artistic freedom over studio-executives with industry-changing capabilities, epic mythological scale, characterization depth, pure blockbuster experience, and revitalized villain. The League got justice. 9/10.

Plot Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act sacrificing himself to stop Doomsday, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face a mystery force from beyond the stars. Together, they recruit a team of powerful heroes to stand against this newly-awakened enemy. Despite the formation of a legion of godlike beings — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an apocalypse of catastrophic dangers to life & all of existence.

*Possible Spoilers Ahead*

Official CLC Review

60+ Years

Blade Runner. Donnie Darko. Apocalypse Now. Metropolis. Once Upon A Time IA/TW. LOTR. Suspiria. The Donner Cut. Legendary Director’s Cuts Find A New +1: The League

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Blade Runner. Donnie Darko. Apocalypse Now. Metropolis. Kingdom Of Heaven. Once Upon A Time In America. Suspiria. Kill Bill. The Shining. Lord Of The Rings. Directorial Re-cuts making wild improvements by adding new scenes or changing the structure of their original projects are a comparatively-rare [but not unheard-of] phenomenon. DC has a historically-famous previous one in 1980’s Superman II: The Donner Cut, and Zack Snyder has two noteworthy ones in Dawn Of The Dead (2004) and Batman v Superman: UE (2016). None, however, have been on the scale and mythicism of The Snyder Cut of 2017’s Justice League: an impossible failure of big team-crossover event between the world’s biggest comic book heroes pop culture had been waiting over half a century for since their debut in 1960. A rushed production, two-hour mandate, tonal-dichotomization, genericism-injection, mustache-superman, incomplete team, choppy-editing, and inexplicable [laughable] choice in villain doomed the theatrical release – a parable in studio-interference gone too-far pouring hope-salt on the dish of BVS by the gallons, when all critics asked for was a pinch of non-grimdark seasoning. The magnitude of the passionless, corporatized exhibition of 2017’s cut and revelation of questionable studio-exec decisions around the production fueled an online movement called #ReleaseTheSnyderCut – gathering an unprecedented following of millions of users knocking at Warner Bros.’ social-media doors for justice on their actions, as well as prompting the rest of the world to take another look at Zack’s complexity-packed films [often: to a more favorable post-rewatch view]. Fast-forward years later, the legendary cut that broke the internet is finally here – and it’s the biggest DC event in history, and one that might just break the rules of classicized studio-filmmaking. A cinematographical masterpiece & groundbreaking, impossible win for directorial/artistic freedom over studio-interference [the biggest since Citizen Kane], the original comic book team is finally here – with industry-changing capabilities, epic mythological scale, pure blockbuster power-of-experience, poignance of emotionalism, important psychological race/gender themes, characterization-depth for each hero given their own arc, genre-diverse fantasy/drama/action/mystery/adventure/sci-fi/horror/war/opera/romance landscape, and correction of 2017’s antagonist in-context of the greatest comic book villain of all-time. The League finally got cinematic justice – and one of the best CBM’s ever made.

A Mythological Feel & Blend Of Genres

A Fantasy/Drama/Action/Mystery/Scifi/ Horror/Adventure/War/Opera/Romance CBM, ZSJL Evokes Mythological LOTR-Scale & Feel Across World History & Civilizations

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Most striking about Zack Snyder’s Justice League is that it feels nothing like the original – or any comic book movie [CBM] to-date. Barely one second of old-footage is used in an entirely new introduction and first act, and even throughout the rest of the film, CLC would estimate ~30% max of it is footage we’ve seen before. I love the division into Acts I-VII like a four-hour experimental opera or TV mini-series, exorcizing casual moviegoers or low attention-spans who won’t care enough to get through a film like this – Zack’s movies curate an experience geared towards hardcore comics/DC junkies & cinephiles that understand the nuances and source material of the characters, rebuke intimidation by long runtimes, and crave reinvention/creative-innovation of the increasingly-formulized blockbuster landscape. Even at its herculean runtime, ZSJL is remarkably effortless to watch – and delivers 10x over on being an experience like nothing you’ve ever seen. The film is a fantasy/drama/action/mystery/adventure/sci-fi/horror/war/opera/romance CBM – one of the most genre-diverse blockbusters of the 21st-century and one whose mix-genre ambition is paralleled by its scale, omniscience, themes, and audiovisual canvas. Zack Snyder’s Justice League explores the mythological undercurrents of DC Comics – a stroke of avant-garde brilliance highlighting with beautiful and epic-scale the godlike, ancient, primordial fascination of DC’s characters and what has drawn millions over the last 80+ years to its heroes: modernized tales-of-legend. Down to even the civilizational allegory and historically/archaeologically-accurate Greek & Mycenaean motifs, the apocalypse of Darkseid is one that feels Biblical and old-world, one rooted in our past and genetic code that limitlessly-excites our most burning passions on the mysteries and origins of mankind. The film even features the presence of actual gods and beings of ancient folklore civilizations prayed to and religiously-eulogized: Zeus, Ares, Themiscyrans, Atlanteans, etc. fight alongside Medieval-mankind and galactic reinforcements to prevent the end of the world – the original pseudo-League framing a perfect avenue for establishment of its plotline, as well as the film’s breathtaking cinematography & score.

The Greatest Visual Experience Of A CBM

From The Fjords Of Iceland To Valleys Of Themiscyra To Galaxies To Chiaroscuro Gotham Cityscape To Waters Of Atlantis, A 4:3 Masterepic Of Design & Cinematography

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

From before the film even begins, WB exhibits a swanky new 21st-century chrome logo & studio-lot reference foreshadowing ocular majesty to come. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the greatest visual CBM experience. Though bizarrely 4:3 pillarboxed in aspect-ratio, the film wows like nothing I’ve ever seen in a blockbuster in a long time. From the cerulean blue fjords of Iceland to lush green valleys of the island of Themiscyra to blood-red Apokoliptian galaxies to chiaroscuro black-and-white cityscapes of Gotham to white corinthian architectural Greek pantheons to golden Kansas cornfields of a nostalgic Americana to the underwater world of Atlantis, ZSJL is a cinematographical masterpiece that flexes the wild ambition and mythology of its concept – basing it in some of the most epic and diversified worldbuilds, scale, settings, and prod. design ever achieved in one project. The photography and stylistic compositions by Fabian Wagner frame all this esoterica and impossible-to-articulate grandiosity of landscapes with breathtaking lens dexterity, painstaking detail in every 4K shot-construction, and a beautiful spectrum of re-saturated chromas [fixing the only optic-flaw in previous DCEU-films’ highly-contrasted and grayish-filtered colors for maximum visual resplendence]. Editing by David Brenner is full of sharp-cuts and slow montages/cross-dissolves, stitching together the canvas and aesthetics of each world with craftsman proficiency and the crux of any CBM is certainly-delivered on: pure blockbuster experience. Despite narrative and storytelling flaws, the action scenes of the DCEU have been consistently jaw-dropping and powerful – delivering the popcorn-and-coke theatricality and whopping visceral combat we go to the genre for: the kind that knocks you back in your seat by the spectacle & wow at the fight-choreography it took to stage/execute behind-the-scenes. Zack Snyder’s Justice League takes the action and visual signatures of the DCEU he set the bar for back in 2013’s Man Of Steel to a new level – making you truly feel the awe of nature by its landscapes and awe of watching gods battle on the biggest stages/set-pieces imaginable by its mythological structure & design.

A Pure Blockbuster Experience

A Larger-Than-Life Event Of Signature DCEU Power & Jaw-Dropping Action Scenes, The Most Epic Canvas Of Blockbusterisms In Years & A Junkie XL Score Grand As Visuals

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

The VFX & CGI are glorious, bringing to life the dramatically-divergent and difficult-to-capture powers of each League member – from WW blocking a machine-gun barrage into a crowd in epic slow-mo to Flash reversing-time in the speed-force to Amazonian keepaway with the motherbox [one of the greatest action scenes ever filmed] to Batman parademon-surfing and tanking a legion of them in the batmobile-chase finale. The epic scale action of ZSJL goes toe-to-toe with legendary blockbuster films like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, original-trilogy Star Wars, or LOTR, but framed with the stylistic competence and detailed craftsmanship of an arthouse film to easily surpass those on visual aptitude. The Junkie XL score has been reworked from the ground/foundations-up: a new flavor reverberating the mythological feel of its visuals with just as much diversification. Traditional Icelandic folklore songs, ’80’s emotional-ballads, ancient lamentations, electronica heist-synths, heavy metal ballads, and twangy acoustic blues are melded smoothly in what Tom Holkenberg called his ‘Mt. Everest’ score: a a sonic flair and idiosyncrasy its own that’s far more alluring than Danny Elfman’s comparatively-basic/unmemorable 2017 one, while also better-achieving his idea to rework old themes in new ways. The perfection of previous-DCEU scores like Hans Zimmer’s poignant and heartbreaking Man Of Steel theme [one of the greatest scores of all-time] and Wonder Woman’s booming war-drum and electric guitared one are highlighted by re-embellishment with new additions – along with crisp sound mixing/editing and its visuals, an A/V set of intangibles setting a perfect sensory stage.

The League

From 1960, The Original Comic Book Team Dominated Media – From Cartoons To Lunch-Boxes; Finally Correct On Big-Screen

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Of course, the eponymous team is of paramount importance. Debut in DC Comics’ The Brave And The Bold #28 c. March 1st, 1960 brought the first-ever comic book superhero team of its kind [DC’s JSA was first, but WWII-focused] to life: The Justice League. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg, etc. rocked the pop-culture world and dominated everything from television screens to lunch-boxes to memorabilia sets to merchandise – one of the major reasons the genre is as popular as it is today, of which Marvel later copied the concept [& ~every hero they have] for its own teams like The Avengers (1963) and X-Men (1963). Fast-forward 57 years, the world is a dramatically-different place today; beyond the print and cartoon-centric media of-old, technology has advanced to the capability to bring those same iconic 5-cent books to multiple dimensions and realization by hundreds of millions of dollars on-screen. DC pioneered the CBM genre just like it did the comics, the first superhero film being on the first superhero in 1978’s Reeve/Donner Superman – later branching from ’80’s Keaton-Batman all the way to The Dark Knight trilogy but never, for some reason, exploring beyond just Batman and Superman. Meanwhile, Marvel did the exact opposite – focusing [by mandate of not having the rights to their most iconic product in Spider-Man too] on their lesser-known heroes, parlaying it into a cinematic universe MCU with 20+ feature-length films and multiple Avengers crossover-team ups while WB was inexplicably-napping on the job. Years of tough-love trial-and-error later, The League is finally here [correctly] on-screen and surprisingly narrative-heavy for its genre. Themes in Zack Snyder’s Justice League include history, the divisions of mankind, loss, politics, body dysmorphia, teamwork, feminism, masculinity, race, family, sports, education, disabilities, vigilantism, grief, and fatherhood – an impressive slate of weighty topics, tackled through characterization-depth.

Batman

The Gotham Knight Is Finally Himself Again: Purified Badassery, Money-flexing, & Black Sardonic Nihilistic Edge With A Twinge Of Faith Post-BvS & Exorcized Of Josstification

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Batfleck is back! The best live-action performance of Batman, Ben Affleck’s mature, war-torn, skull-cracking Batman batarangs right off the pages of Frank Miller’s 1986 dystopian-classic The Dark Knight Returns comics with a more cynical edge. The joke-cracking, smiling, ‘I don’t.. not like you’ crime-against-nature of 2017’s [Joss]tice League version is completely-reverted back into the badasss, sardonic, money-flexing, hard-R one we loved in BVS – here maintaining wisecracks, but in the context of Affleck’s cool-and-calculating, darkly-comedic interpretation of Gotham’s protector in a way that doesn’t betrays the character motif-wise. The characterization arc of Batman in ZSJL furthers his development from BVS’ depths of a soul as broken as his bones – racked with guilt and inspired by Superman’s hope-driven sacrifice against the Doomsday he was partially-responsible for unleashing, he vows to never let the world get in a position like that again: a far-better reasoning for bringing the team together, itself born out of growth. Batman learns to have faith again and not always be the by-the-numbers, nihilistic logic personification he was in the past – also learning to trust and play well with others: phenomenal character-development from the one-man brutal vigilantism mission he previously lived and brooded by. The characterization is, of course, made even better by the magnificent hand-to-hand combat/fight-choreography and slew of billionaire-toy gadgets he wields throughout the film – from tactical suits to tanks to planes to cool cars that feel perfectly-Batman again.

Wonder Woman

The Feminist Icon & Warrior-Princess Saves Catholic Schoolgirls And Symbolizes Atop Lady Justice, A Perfect WW Again Post-II84 & Beyond Male [Joss] Boobplant-Gazes

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, of course, is the highlight and best comic book film casting since 1978’s Reevian hope-symbol first made us believe a man could fly. The mixed realization of Patty Jenkins’ 1980’s-set period-sequel to the groundbreaking masterpiece original film shifted the tone from more-warrior to more-princess: a delicate fine-line to balance on the character, but one the 2020 blockbuster disappointed legions of fans on by over-girlifying and making her boyfriend too large a raison-d’être for the feminist icon. Josstice League was 10x-worse & more offensive: a shining exemplification of the male-gaze, making her nothing more than grounds for another boobplant-joke [just like Whedon did to Black Widow in Avengers: Age Of Ultron.. bcuz boobz r funny *facepalms*]. The perfect embodiment of feminine power & divine grace from her original film is here again – WW saves catholic schoolgirls and stands atop lady justice with poise, cool fire, and inspirationalism. The feminist lines she’s given are some of the most hypable in cinema, like telling a girl [likely being set up as the DCEU’s future-Donna Troy] who asks if she can be like her one day that ‘she can be anything she wants to’ and that ‘i belong to no one’ line rebuking possessiveness in the Steppenwolf fight. Diana’s characterization arc across the DCEU, learning to find camaraderie and trust again after having her heart broken by love-lost is continued – from being alone rejecting company in mankind to becoming a co-captain of The League. The ferocity and powerful female-representation of ZSJL extends to the Amazons – given one of the greatest action scenes of all-time in the motherbox-keepaway scene and ferocity war-ready fearlessness typically only-ascribed to men like responding to Steppenwolf’s ‘I will bathe in your fear’ to a battle-cry of ‘We have no fear!’. The film likely packs the biggest feminist representation ever in this scale of a blockbuster, and it feels not once forced but instead natural & badass – highlighting DC’s strong women.

Aquaman

A Multi-Reflexive Characterization Torn Between Realms & Injection Of Hawaiian Culture & Natural Awe, A Badass New Bro-Aquaman Flipping Every Preconceived Joke

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Momoa’s Aquaman is the best of the new recruits: strikingly-badass from his tsunami-drizzled, beer-smashing punk-ballad scene on the docks – eviscerating any preconception of the fish-man being a lame character into a macho-bro you’d love to have a beer with. The fascinating cultural-infusion of Hawaiian/Samoan majesty [playing off both their physical and spiritual connections to the sea] from 2017’s version and his bonkers fantasy-epic 2018 film shine again – alongside more exposition of the natural awe of the ocean-depths. The groundbreaking underwater-CGI scenes deserve singular adoration – many filmed before his solo project, it’s an insane experience to see live-action scenes filmed completely submerged for extended durations: a new territory the technological advancements of film have now made fair-game for cinematization. Aquaman’s multi-reflexive characterization arc subverts expectations of the king easily joining the team – a royalty/developmental drama of abandonment issues and superiority complex by his mixed-heritage, fueling his hatred for the Atlantis of his mother post-abandonment and rebuke of the inheritance and responsibility of the throne. Torn between two-worlds, his experience mirrors to Kal-El’s and both reverberate the plight of immigrants – here in more of a Victorian hierarchical motif that plays well with the ancient historical mysteries of the lost civilization of Atlantis. The suit is still amazing and powers awesome as he and his tribe manipulate water to create air pockets, remove it from organismal bodies, and bend/weaponize it with-or-without the trident – plus provides a nice counterbalance cynically-grounding the tone of the team.

The Flash

The One Cast/League Flaw: A Jittery, Comic-Inaccurate, Lightning-Miscolored, Power Ranger Flash Better Than 2017’s.. But Still ~Bad & A Comparative Failure To DCTV

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Next, The Flash. Though he’s normalized, polished in ~stunning VFX from his fantastic opening scene burning through the rubber of his shoes and liquifying glass to save Iris at the coffee-shop, fleshed-out more in character motivations, POC-diverse by Jewish origins, and smartly-familiarized in relatable underdogisms like student-loans and working multiple-jobs while hiding behind loved-shields like dogs to be better in ZSJL than 2017’s version, the DCEU-Flash is still the one miscast and poorly-realized League-member. One of the most iconic superheroes and speedsters in comic book lore since the 1950’s, Barry Allen is too important a character to get wrong in this big of a production – especially multiple times and with the second-chance Zack Snyder’s Justice League was given. The 2014 The Flash DCTV show got the character near-perfectly – a geeky CSI-underdog able to make us smile at his glorious foibles and beaming hopeful-in-a-rainstorm charisma just as much as we feel bad for his tragic orphaned backstory through emotive acting and a slow-burn mystery of fantastic [reverse] endgame to unanimous praise from critics and audiences. The DCEU-Flash even steals all of its characterization/backstory-cues & tricks – down to the multi-racial couple by a black Iris-casting unseen in any other screen interpretation. The question then is.. why not just merge the overall-flailing DCEU with the far more successful DCTV-verse? This would’ve already delivered a ~perfect Flash and provided easy expansion for the DCEU-Justice League with fan-favorite heavy-hitters on speed dial: Green Arrow, Supergirl, Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Firestorm, Plastic/Elongated Man, Teen Titans, Doom Patrol, etc. Instead, DCEU tries to go its own way – and, while it works for all other JL-heroes [without DCTV ones to compare them to], it goes wrong in Flash. Ezra’s performance is jumpy and jittery, falling off the tightrope of lovable-awkward into the damnation realm of painfully-awkward/pity. The suit of Ezra’s Flash is an inexorable horror to behold: a breathtakingly ugly Power Rangers-esque amalgamation of metals that’s not even remotely comic-accurate. Have the costume-designers ever.. tried running before? There’s a reason everyone from your mom on a job to olympic athletes at the 100M dash wear breathable mesh or wickable fabric to run.. not a knight’s cosplay of heavy restrictive metals.

Green Lantern

Now 2x More Inexcusable [& Inexplicable], The Omission Of A Core Foundational-Member Of The League & Top Comic Book Icon Since 1941 Means An Incomplete League

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Furthering the hypothesis that the designers of JL’s Flash have never seen someone run before, Flash looks like he’s roller-skating or ‘competitive ice-dancing’ when he runs – flamboyantly-flailing his arms like an octopus, making one of the coolest powers one could ever have look unbelievably-lame. Don’t even get me started on the lightning either – yellow lightning is a characteristic/signature of Barry Allen & The Flash, matches well with the red-suit by chromatic-theory, and has been foundational to the character since the golden-age of comics. Heck, even the symbol of the flash on the chestplate of every suit [including JL’s] is a white circle with a yellow lightning-bolt – the scripters/costume-designers of Flash must not have known.. or cared. The biggest disappointment League-wise is another problem ZSJL fails to fix from 2017: no Green Lantern.. again. The comic book icon of galactic/cosmic justice for 80+ years, how can you possibly do a Justice League movie without him? Heck, I would’ve even been fine with a cameo at the end of him joining the team, just something to not ignore one of the most legendary and foundational members of JL & DC Comics [beyond a one-second war cameo]. Reynolds’ movie was a longggg time ago; the continual squeamishness of WB around the character makes no sense with a pop-cultural status and comics-lore as extensive as Hal Jordan’s or John Stewart’s – even Marvel’s GL-ripoff pilot/space-commander Captain Marvel hit theaters to big numbers [despite it being one of the MCU’s worst films], GoTG is well-liked, and the entire MCU Phase 4 directive is cosmic. One interview asked Zack about GL, and he revealed he wanted to have the final scene of the film be an introduction to a John Stewart-GL, but WB refused – almost making Zack quit TSC and rightfully so. While that does somewhat-absolve ZS of blame [though he could’ve fought harder being in the power-position after 2017’s JL failed], it does not change the galactic-sized disappointment of his absence: an incomplete League. Though it has these two shortcomings in Flash/GL, Zack Snyder’s Justice League’s overall characterization is fantastic – nowhere is that more visible than what is does with Cyborg.

Cyborg

The Crux & Heart Of JL, A Frankenstein For The 21st Century Technologcal Age, Complex Disability Exposition, Most Powerful Black Hero, & Beautiful Character-Arc Of Emotion

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

The crux & heart of JL, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is A Frankenstein For The 21st-Century & Technological Age. Bringing complex disability-exposition to-screen for the first time in a project of this magnitude, Cyborg is a groundbreaking character of representation that works on multiple levels. A beautiful character-arc of pure emotion and heartbreak, ZSJL paints Victor Stone as a proto-typical everyman football-star and genius-IQ student at GCU, but that subverts our expectations of being a jock-popular kid or frat-bro living an idealized easy-life. He hacks into school-databases to help the grades of classmates going through tough times, helps struggling waitresses evicted by their landlords find enough end’s meet to survive, and is the classicized son whose father is always too busy at-work to go to his football games or make time for the activities important to him – opening up tons of avenues of masculinity and fatherhood-exposition as Victor’s life changes in a tragic car-accident. The duo of only survivors left [after Victor loses his mother in the wreckage and fusion with the motherbox saves-but-transforms him] is put through a cascade of pent-up tension/fire for maximum characterization and storytelling prowess in the darkest-of-ways; how can you even look at the man whose absence at the game not only betrayed you and stained a great moment, but also set into motion the events that resulted in you losing your prized mother and old life? Cyborg is what would be labeled by society as a freak afterwards; a sci-fi amalgamation of metals and technology he feels so ashamed of, he calls himself a monster and wears full-body coverings to hide the shame. This is, heartbreakingly, how many people with disabilities are made to believe by a society who alienates them – even if not by words as ZSJL paints, but by the nonsubtle stares as he passes people on the streets. Stone eventually finds solace and grows to realize the position of realizing he’s not broken and the ‘disability’ previously-causing rage and nihilism is a gift – a breathtaking arc of character-development amongst the best ever in CBM’s & packed with mature hard-R depths-of-the-soul emotion paving way to groundbreaking representation. One of the most powerful beings in the DCEU and now most powerful black hero in movies [even over Black Panther], Cyborg is able to manipulate the entire technological mainframe on which our 21st-century civilizations & society operate – fly, blast, change his systems for millions of combinations, & manipulate any system he wants to: from collapsing world economies to bringing about the end of the world by nuclear apocalypse with the simplest of a thought.

Superman

A Trilogy Of Avant-Garde Modernization Of The First & Greatest Superhero Of All-Time, ZSJL Evolves The Man Of Steel Into The Classic Messianic Hope-Figure We Know – While Keeping His Immigrant & Sci-Fi Roots

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Finally, Superman. The cornerstone of the DC and superhero universes, The Last Son Of Krypton is the first and most iconic superhero of all-time – creating the genre which bares his name and all others participate. Back in 2013, Zack Snyder had a wildly-different conceptual gameplan for the pop-culture icon: ground the Donner/Reeve-era hope & optimism in a mature, pure science-fiction modernization highlighting new sides of the character in his immigrant’s story and the xenopobic bases of a realistic [dark] 21st-century America. Man Of Steel did everything reboots should do: challenge and reframe its predecessor while exploring new avenues and adding depth – a masterpiece ahead of its time. Then came Batman v Superman: a rushed, overly-dour project whose positives were met 50/50 by its many objective flaws – amongst them a 10x-more nihilistic and grimdark Clark in stark antithesization to character-history and MOS & too-early Death Of Superman for powerful emotional-impact. ZSJL redeems BVS and completes a Superman trilogy like none other from MOS -> BVS -> JL, a satisfying conclusion to the character arc that redeems and grows him from the immigrant coming-of-age torn between two worlds to a hated outcast who still gives everything to save the people who hated him to a proper hope-driven Superman to end: here making the final product even more closure-full by the cinematic journey: a physiological and symbolic rebirth. Clark is finally at peace with the world and ready to be the messianic savior-figure he was apprehensive to embrace beforehand – and it’s a glorious finale that makes the arc work in broad strokes. Lois is also given a brilliant arc of humanization and grief/loss-exposition as she mourns the death of her loved one and tries to come back to the world – a nice dichotomization of normalcy and tangible small-scale relatability/emotion to all the big ideas and gods that also hints at a possible pregnancy! Being my favorite hero, I also love how Superman is made the centerpiece of the entire universe: the being whose death sets the entire plot into motion and leads The League as its most powerful god – with the breathtaking mystery of possible ramifications of his revival and why the Kryptonian ship strongly-advised against it giving nightmare-visions of an evil resurrection only fueling sequel-demand.

The Manhunter

A Breathtaking Cameo Of Pure Shock-Value, MM Confirms A Crazy MOS-Fan Theory To Bring A Big Galactic Heavy-Hitter Into Play

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

There’s a massive shock-cameo in Zack Snyder’s Justice League that hits like a buzzsaw out of nowhere: Martian Manhunter! A seemingly-normal conversation between Lois & Mrs. Kent reveals a subterfuge with hidden-agenda in the impersonation of Clark’s mom by MM – whose red-eyed reveal is an incredible moment in CBM history. One of the foundational members of the league never-before seeing the light of cinematic day, the shape-shifting/morphing alien J’onn J’onnz is one of the most powerful cosmic beings in The League – a green-red-and-purple lone survivor of his planet having a lot in common with Superman, Cyborg, and Green Lantern characterizationally. The reveal also confirms a crazy fan-theorization dating all the way back to 2013’s Man Of Steel by J’onzz taking the alter-ego of General Calvin Swanwick – the chief governmental figure in the background of MOS’ and BVS’ events providing unseen protection to the growing list of superpowered beings in the picture. The disappointment of GL’s exclusion is partially corrected by MM’s cameo – and he’s a brilliant one from CGI to Lennix’s acting to power-transformations. The revelation of this character’s sub-arc in the larger DCEU is just one of the major Easter Eggs and fandom-service from Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Also teased in Ryan Choi: a charming, joke-cracking sub-atomic scientist & future-superhero of needed Asian/Chinese representation in The A.T.O.M. and mention or background-clues to the existence of Artemis, Donna Troy, Brainiac, Commissioner Gordon, & Supergirl – a smorgasbord of possibilities that will leave any fan gushing with excitement for the future!

An Experience To Behold

From The Seven To Ryan Choi’s The A.T.O.M. To Supergirl To Lois Lane, A Perfect Swan-Song Balance Of Grandiose & Intimacy; The Biggest DC Fan Dream Experience To-Date

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. x DC Comics

Altogether from a big picture standpoint, we have a phenomenal origin film for The League 60+ years in the making. The film provides justice and full characterization arcs for every member: depth and humanity for gods framed in a stylistically-advanced way unlike any team-CBM before it. There’s enough exposition to balance both grandiose, epic-scale team action to small-scale, intimate moments – character-dynamics both in large ensembles and small mini-teams like Flash/Cyborg, WW/Aquaman, Batman/Superman, and every alternation. Better yet, there’s a tonal consistency to it all in stark juxtaposition to 2017’s Josstice League: one single signature stylstic motif and tone that bases it all in mythology and realism, while also managing to recapture the classic saturday morning cereal-crazed cartoon feel of The League’s many previous-incarnations with a surprising injection of humor. From Com. Gordon relenting about not just going to dental school over the police academy to WW teasing Alfred Batman should get his own feminine-lasso [in black, of course] to Batman’s badass comedic lines like ‘i’m real when it’s useful’, this is the balanced, perfected tone from MOS that got derailed in BVS – the kind that, together with Zack’s undeniable ocular talents, can launch the DCEU of our dreams if continued. This is The League in full cinematic glory, and it’s a damn experience to behold! The Synder Cut is also 10KX+ better than 2017’s version in every criterion: tone, scale, diversity, characterization, action, etc… & most of all, correction of the original’s biggest film-breaking flaw: villain[s].

The Real Steppenwolf

From ‘Why Steppenwolf?’ To ‘Why Not More?’, A Textural & Powerful Xenomorphic Redesign Exploring The Victorian Hierarchy Of Apokolips – Now A Threat To The League

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

The biggest problem and what single-handedly failed 2017’s version was its antagonist choice. A frail, shriveled, skinny, snail-looking old guy in cosplay, Josstice League’s Steppenwolf was a far-cry from the 15+ foot monster-alien back in BVS’ Doomsday-chamber – and looked like he was more ready for a retirement home than a legitimate threat to The League: the most powerful superheroes in the universe. A villain only working in the context of Darkseid, yet deprived of any connection to him beyond one dialogue line, it made no sense why he was chosen over the lineup of all-time great and iconic villains to choose from in the endless 80+ year library of DC Comics for an origin JL film: The Legion Of Doom, Starro, A.M.A.Z.O., Crisis On X Earths, Darkseid, The Injustice League, The Monitor/Anti-Monitor, etc. One criticism people had of MOS and BVS was that the characters were too powerful and destructive – heck, Cavill vs. Zod leveled the entire city of Metropolis and Doomsday lightning-struck Gotham City skyscrapers into rubble and ash. JL’s decision was.. to nerf the action so much, Alfred could’ve OHKO’d the big bad: one of the weakest and biggest jokes of a villain in CBM history. What poured gasoline on the fire of the fandom’s hatred of Joss Whedon was the director’s striking self-admission of Steppenwolf’s jocularity, being caught liking tweets calling him one of the worst villains ever and fueling theories that he purposely-savotaged JL from within or just did not give a f*** about the most important movie in a DC fan’s life. Every one of Joss’ problems are fixed in Zack Snyder’s Justice League: a film that made us go from ‘Why Steppenwolf..?’ to ‘Why Not More Steppenwolf!?’

The Greatest Villain Of All-Time

The Biggest & Baddest Villain In The History Of Comic Books, Darkseid Gets An Epic ZSJL Debut – A Being Of Pure Evil, Terrorization, & Vainglory Killing 100K+ Multiverse Worlds

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

ZSJL’s Steppenwolf is a charging bull you actually feel the need to get out of the way of on its path. The redesign is beautiful: a beefed-up, pure science-fictionalization with alienic textures and a black-chrome spiky motif that feels almost Xenomorph-ic – plus staturized to physical imposition and hyperviolent chopping people in half with his bigger battle-axe, finally feeling like an actual threat to The League. This Steppenwolf is able to take on an entire army of Themiscyrans at-once, given badass horror/flex-dialogue like ‘I will bathe in your fear’ and ‘Defenders, they’ve failed 100K+ worlds’. He’s also characterized with far more exposition and tangible humanization in his backstory: a victorian hierarchical-drama of pride, subservience, and betrayal of his own family resulting in his [attempting-to-reverse] exile by the throne of the greatest comic book villain of all-time: Darkseid. From his creation by comic book legend Jack Kirby for DC in 1970, The Lord Of Apokolips was the first mega godlike big bad – years before Marvel copied him for Thanos in 1973 [sensing a pattern here?] – and easily the most evil and powerful. A tyrannical new god having conquered 100K+ worlds with complete disregard for life, classical/egomaniacal motivations to further his empire and reign across the galaxy until he’s prime ruler of the universe, horror of catalyzing a transformation of prisoner-survivors of worlds he conquered into Parademons deprived of any remnants of free-will or personality, and insane power-levels. Darkseid can crush a GL-ring with his bare hands, kill on the entire Justice League single-handedly, create psionic avatars, teleport, & wield The Omega Effect: a cosmic omniscience allowing him to blast target-seeking beams of fatal energy, drain others’ life force to regenerate his own, and kill-and-resurrect beings under his control. Still, even with all these powers far beyond any other’s in CBM or DC Comics-mythology/lore, he rarely engages in physical combat until necessary – preferring to utilize his genius-IQ to manipulate and sow chaos from within, or command the military and technological resources of his empire spanning 100K+ worlds – often defeating any legion without the need to lift a finger. Also given a mythological flair by his first introduction being the Ancient Greek civilizational ruins Themiscyrans lead WW to, this is the ultimate CBM villain – perfectly-realized to screen.

A Knightmare Of Apocalyptica

The Disturbing Allegorical Themes & Imagery – The End Of The World, Death Of The League, & Post-Apocalyptica So Twisted, Heroes & Villains Have To Work Together

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

The relationship of Earth to Darkseid, being the source of The Anti-Life Equation [the key to enforcing a multiversal reign without having to go to worlds one-by-one] written into its ground/soil and one world he’s ever lost back when he was a young Uxas pre-Omega Effect retreating from the veritable force of Atlanteans, Themiscyrans, Lanterns, Old Gods, and Mankind together, only fuel Darkseid’s rage and specialized passion to kill this planet – the perfect dynamic/motivations & powers for the biggest villain epic of all-time. The ramifications of that [k]nightmare are revealed in glimpses in ZSJL’s greatest part: disturbing imagery and allegorical teases of the end of the world, death of the league, and post-apocalyptica. As Superman’s about to get resurrected, the Kryptonian ship strongly advises Cyborg to not go through with it – citing the course of action as ‘irreversible once written’ and showing him a vignette of Earth killed and reborn under Darkseid’s rule – including the Justice League’s funerals as the world watches in awe and fear at the spectacle breaking their hope/spirits before it becoming a desolate desertian landscape like the one seen back in BVS. The sight is the most shocking scene in CBM history [even over IW’s Thanos-Snap], and catalyzes a slew of possbilities for even further innovation of the genre: one of the most exciting and boldly-divergent/new flavors of a comic book movie feeling more like Mad Max: Fury Road x Blade Runner 2049. The biggest flaw of ZSJL is thus then a hypothetical one. If there is a direct sequel JL2 wherein Darkseid comes to town and enacts the promotionalized apocalyptic chaos on The League & world, this flaw will be nonexistent and our CLC score of the film will be elevated to 9.6+/10. However, that doesn’t seem likely to happen: even with the deafening fan-demand, huge numbers, & biggest success WB/DCEU has ever seen, WB has given all indications that this is Zack Snyder’s final project.

A Knightmare, Unanswered?

If The End Of ZS-Verse Is Nigh, Why Give Such A Jaw-Dropping Cliffhanger Of Historical Proportions? The Biggest Villain Of The DCEU Can Be: Darkseid Or WB

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

A massive mistake especially in the context of ZSJL, it’s nothing new for a WB clearly having little-to-no idea what they’re doing with the DCEU – otherwise.. The Snyder Cut wouldn’t have been necessary and original release had multiple sequels by now instead of being a paradoxical joke. It would be a crime-against-nature of unspeakable evils to deliver such a breathtaking and jaw-dropping cliffhanger of cinematically-unparalleled proportions.. and have it all go up in smoke without ever seeing the light of day. The League and Darkseid are near-perfect, and it’s hard to imagine Zack didn’t have extensive conversations with WB on daily bases and know exactly what their position on a sequel was. If he knew they were going to say no and shut down any possibility of the sequel.. why even tease us with such barbaric cruelty of unprecedented levels? It will easily be another 10+ years from now until WB was able to rebuild/recast/retcon the entire DCEU to the point of a Darkseid return under a new project of this magnitude if they don’t direct-sequel this, and the prospectus of that long a wait is enough to throw us into severe depression. The definition of insanity is repeating the same action over-and-over and expecting a different result; critics are clearly-biased against DC even when they give them exactly what they asked for like the nostalgic-hope film WW84 and 2017’s MCU-like Josstice League they still found new ways to hate for both, fan demand clearly leans towards the Snyderverse, and history will look more favorably on creative divergence than just copying the MCU and trying to beat them at their own game they’ve put in the work of 20+ films to fine-tune a blockbuster formula on. Sigh, if Darkseid is really done with the DCEU for a while, this will be the biggest fan-disappointment and cliffhanger-unanswered in the history of blockbuster moviemaking – unforgivable blue-balls of galactic proportions. The biggest villain of the DC Universe can either be Darkseid or Warner Bros. – it’s up to them to choose.

Leto’s Joker

Given A Second Chance & Far More Joker-Like Than 2016’s [Damaged] Ayer-Crime, But A Bizarre Look & Still-Bad Clown Prince

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t problems in Zack Snyder’s Justice League or the DCEU that still need correction. Leto’s Joker is given a second-chance here, and – while he’s certainly better and more joker-like than 2016’s [damaged, because his tattoo says damaged!] Ayer crime-against-nature in Suicide Squad, here given a great line in ‘you sent a boy wonder to do a man’s job’ referencing his murder/torture of Robin – he’s still awful. Looking like he just ate a melted chocolate bar or smeared feces on his mouth, I cannot understand why he looks like that: also wearing orange electrical gloves for no explicable reason like he’s a handyman or plumber or electrician instead of the clown prince of crime. Leto still overacts the character immensely, weirdly-pauses and gives awkward stares like he forgot his line or desperately wants us to think he’s an edge-bro, and his slow-down laugh still makes me cringe; this is 10x-worse especially after Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning performance showcased there are pedigree-actors out there who could recreate the magic of Heath Ledger’s TDK Joker. Again, even DCTV’s version is better [fractional budgets and resources forcing more character-study and analysis]: Cameron Mohegan’s ‘Jerome’ (aka basically-Joker, WB is weird not allowing name-drops] from 2015’s Gotham blows Leto out of the water and is but a phone-call away on the same WB studio lot to give him a clinic free-of-charge. The horizon possibility of Leto’s Joker being a major character in a post-apocalyptic thriller ZSJL 2/3 gives me a migraine already – and that’s nothing compared to the inexplicable presence of Amber Heard. What in the world is Amber Heard doing back on the set of a DCEU project, or filming project of any kind? The widely-publicized $50M trial of her being prosecuted by Johnny Depp for defamation of character and ruining his life/career released 106+ counts of legal and video evidence to the public, revealing unmistakable proof Amber Heard is a domestic abuser and physically-assaulted Depp: everything from punching him in the face to shattering his finger with a vodka bottle, leaving a scar even post-surgical reattachment. 10x worse is that she literally admits to doing so on-tape, as you can listen and hear her confession with your own two ears [Search ‘Amber Heard Admits To Hitting Johnny Depp Audio’ on YouTube] – and even mocks him for not ‘being a man’ and taking it. 100x worse, she was arrested in 2009 for abusing a former domestic partner: Tasya Van Ree, establishing a pattern and history of abuse by Ms. Heard.

Gender-[IN]justice

The Dominance Of Amber Heard’s Mera On-Screen Is Inexcusable – 106+ Counts Of Legal & Video Evidence She’s A Domestic Abuser & Played #MeToo. No Justice For Male Vctims?

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

1,000X worse, Amber Heard was caught in a lie having claimed she would donate the large $7M divorce-settlement she received from Depp to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for good PR after the case – and court-records indicate the hospital never received the promised donations: a malicious disregard for even sick children’s human lives and pattern of making epic-scale lies for PR-buzz. 10,000X worse, she had the audacity to claim to be the victim of abuse by the man she was abusing in Johnny Depp several years ago, exploiting the #MeToo movement for political and career-gain when she was actually the abuser. The heavily-publicized U.K. case may have shown irrefutable corruption by exonerating her, but the public isn’t so easily bought off – and knows what they heard with their own ears on-tape. A fan-petition online has nearly 2,000,000+ signatures to fire Heard from Aquaman 2, every comment on WB pages about Aquaman or Heard’s social media is flooded with the hashtage #FireAmberHeard [she had to turn off comments on her social media, and still has the byline ‘policial activist’ in her bio!], and the same hashtag regularly trends. Even with this clear-as-day volatility, WB has failed to give any indication she will be leaving or replaced from the DCEU, and more shockingly: fired Depp [the survivor] from the Harry Potter prequel-series Fantastic Beasts. Gender-injustice of seismic magnitudes in a film somehow utilizing justice in the title, Heard is found everywhere in ZSJL – featured in multiple huge action scenes with a bizarre, laughably-unconvincing new British accent and even picked as one of the 5-6 major characters for the entire Knightmare reality’s post-apocalyptic mission. Sure, expensive underwater CGI or Knightmare scenes could have already been fully-shot without the budget to fix them or replace her; I would have completely-empathized with that reality.. if WB had made a public-statement of her dismissal from Aquaman 2 beforehand signaling this was her last minute of fame in Hollywood. Instead feeling like a gauge-meter to see if enough people forget or don’t care enough to not notice her staying on as the sea-princess for future DC projects, the inclusion leaves anyone who truly cares about justice feeling sick afterwards – and sets a dangerous precedent making it ~impossible for male victims of abuse to come forward, while evidently promising career-boosts for women abusers who do. What is happening over there at WB?

The Biggest W For Art Freedom Since Kane

A Tale Of Studio-Interference, Greed, Corporatization, Overreaction, Executive-Incompetence, Time, & A Reminder Of The Dominance Of Artistic/Directorial Freedom

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. x DC Comics

Other flaws include the absence of a blue-suit classical Superman [we love the black suit, but why is he still wearing it even back in Metropolis in the finale? Feels wrong], the unnecessary extra Steppenwolf-kill by WW and The League beheading him after he’d already lost the battle [the one flaw of MOS and one of the major ones of BVS.. apparently, not learned from], and Clark’s mom introducing herself as Martha [of course, her name, but why even highlight the most laughable narrative flaw in BVS, whose word-utterance alone evokes PTSD in DC fans?]. Still, these flaws are easily-forgivable in the context of the limitless positives and achievements ZSJL makes: a historic masterwork with many lessons to be learned. The superiority and striking ascendancy of ZSJL over the 2017 version of Justice League highlights the incompetence of studio-executives and necessitation for creative/artistic freedom. Tons of all-time legend directors had their films misunderstood by general audiences and [inferior] critics at the time of their releases; heck, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 The Shining was nominated for a Razzy as one of the worst films of the year: you heard that right, the greatest horror film of all-time by arguably the greatest director to ever live [only rivaled by Hitchcock]. Citizen Kane is another huge example of studio interference and politics/executives almost killing a masterpiece before it made it to the screens – O.W. even getting death threats, blackmail, and lawsuits by the veritable arsenal of William Randolph Hearst’s news conglomerates to the bar it from ever seeing the light of day. Of course, Snyder’s not even close to that level of cinematic and directorial mastery, but there are similarities of enigmatic projects with new styles more advanced and avant-garde than their genre-surroundings being controversial, hated, or attemptibly-hidden – and it taking taking the general public years to shift viewpoints, here far more accelerated by the out-of-control growth of the ~basic, formulaic MCU movie status-quo people. Man Of Steel is a sci-fi masterpiece that does everything a cinematic reboot should do for its franchise/protagonist and it, as well as Batman v Superman [flaws and mixed execution regardless], were loaded with exponentially more complex and smarter themes than anything in the MCU – and maybe both projects’ resurgence and re-evaluation signal a sizable market fragment ready to evolve to more mature and thought-provoking CBM’s that still pack an A/V and cinematographical punch. The production history of Justice League gleams a lot to analyze. Back in 2016, Zack Snyder’s daughter Autumn committed suicide – an unfathomable tragedy whose psychological effects on his family necessitated the departure of the filmmaker from the project he cared so much about, building towards since 2013’s MOS. WB, out of corporatized greed and disrespect not even delaying the project and instead rushing its production like it was some warped-blessing to them, was to pimp his style by replacing him with the antithesization of everything ZS: the patriarch of the MCU having directed the project that made it well-known, 2012’s Avengers’ Joss Whedon.

A Parable Of The Internet Age

The Impossible Journey Of The Snyder Cut Shows Both The Good & Bad Of The Internet – Crowdsourcing, Passion, Fan-Engagement, Groupthink, Cyberbullying, Toxicity, Etc.

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

The MCU movies do big box office numbers and are perhaps the dream franchise from a studio-executive viewpoint: formula-drivel panderative to our societal brand-association, capitalism-manipulatability, and desire for pure escapism without complex-thought or depth, but their lack of soul or creativity ~fails from an artistic or true cinematic standpoint [as multiple all-time legend directors from Francis Ford Coppola of The Godfather & Apocalypse Now to Martin Scorsese of Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, King Of Comedy, Raging Bull, etc. have stated publicly]. The corporatization hostage-takeover of JL didn’t even go over well; Joss Whedon exposed his directorial incompetence on anything except MCU formula checklists critics were going to hate regardless and general audiences are finally started to see through. Death by their own construction having their Justice League film gross less than D-superhero films like Ant-Man at the box office, WB’s plight was not even over: a fan-campaign called #ReleaseTheSnyderCut began going viral by DC fans noticing tons of cut footage from the trailers and mourning the loss of Zack’s vision and trilogy-ending – eventually reaching the heights of NYC Times Square billboards and support by the cast of the film itself. The 2020 Sonic movie saw the video game icon proof-of-concept listening to the fans and reaping the rewards: taking constructive criticism to rework the CGI-hedgehog to strong reviews and box-office numbers, as well as a sequel. Perhaps helping change the mind of multi-billion dollar conglomerate [or perhaps it being the prospect of internal fandom civil war on every future film on the horizon], the mix led to WB going back hat-in-hand to Zack Snyder and the result today is a groundbreaking win for trusting directorial/creative freedom in filmmaking. Now, there’s a fine-line between fandom-engagement and cyberbullying – Zack Snyder’s Justice League also doubles as a parable of The Internet Age: exposing the good, the bad, & the ugly. The good can clearly be seen by the realignment and achievement of bringing the cut once rumored as myth to-screen, a borderline-miracle showcase of the veritable power, passion, and determination of fanbases beautiful-to-see if you love cinema. It also showcases how powerful an influence cinema and these blockbuster franchises have on everyday people – as well as how connected we all are through movies and art, able to bond people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, job, status, etc. This is only highlighted by The Internet/Social-Media Age, wherein cinematic discussion finds new avenues and platforms with everyone having a voice. Crowdsourcing and fan-engagement are easier to gauge than ever before by franchises and studios: ones reading or data-analyzing every tweet or IG/FB post, giving everyone’s voice a further ability to shape media and their favorite franchises interactively.

Legacy

The Biggest Release Ever On VOD, An Unmistakable Shift To Streaming Over Theatrical Experience – & Groundbreaking Possibility For Cinematic Second Chances

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. x DC Comics

The bad and the ugly come from when that voice goes too far off-balance: for example, when the psychological biases of mankind like groupthink enable people to exclude any possibility of their viewpoint being wrong or niche. We’ve seen opinions as awful as BVS being a 10/10 flawless masterpiece [we love the DCEU, but Martha & Batman’s murders single-handedly exclude that possibility] and Leto’s Joker being called better than Heath Ledger [we don’t even know how to begin tackling that level of lunacy] to hundreds or thousands of likes emboldened by the novelty of having anyone agree with them, and a tricky situation for studios to deal with. The internet also enables the possibilities for cyberbullying and toxicity, the kind that can have deleterious effects on both large and small scales. There is certainly a toxic side to the Snyderverse fandom – actually, we’d even say a majority exhibits toxic behavior we’ve seen even on a personal level (and we’ve like most of Snyder’s films). Threatening the lives of critics and WB studio-execs, trolling comments of any negative opinions of Zack films, & bombing fan-review sections of every other DC project from TV to Movies preclude the label of them being actual DC fans: more like a cult reaping terror in comment sections, [counterproductively & ironically] repressing creative divergence in tones and stylistic aesthetics outside Snyder’s just like WB did – reversed. Then, shockingly: seconds after the release was announced, we saw fans pivot instantly to now wanting a David Ayer Cut of 2016’s inexorably-awful Suicide Squad too – like the entire endeavor wasn’t enough for them: never-satisfied children who threw a tantrum for a 100M+ toy, only to want another one as soon as they’re handed the first purchased one. Now, don’t get us wrong: it’s not only ZS-fans who exhibit this kind of repugnant behavior online (although theirs is far louder & more palpable). After the release of Batman v Superman, many critics and fans were vicious and cruel/hostile to Zack and his family.. just because they didn’t like his movie. They crossed lines not-to-be-crossed, pushing their daughter Autumn to the edge – and, one morning, she committed suicide. One of the most heartbreaking and ugliest ramifications of social media in the context of cinema, we’re ashamed of the film community for ever letting it get to that point – we all need to do better on both sides, fairly-criticizing and consuming these magical projects called movies while enjoying the democratic freedom-of-speech/debate fueling countries like America, but never letting it go too far to the point of ruining or ending people’s lives when, in retrospect, they’re an inherently-subjective artform. The ‘For Autumn’ movement and tribute Zack made with The Snyder Cut – dedicating the entire movie to her and being paid $0.00 for his years of work on the film in order to donate the millions of dollars to The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention – is enough to make you cry, showing what kind of man he is and providing a further-underdog story you’d have to be compassionless not to root for. The depths of darkness of the backstory make the absolute win of ZSJL and how perfect a swan-song finale to his vision all the more satisfying – and enable huge game-changing industry effects. Not only does the cut make possible second chances in a previously one-shot filmmaking landscape: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the biggest release ever on VOD.

The Future

Tons Of Avenues Set Up By ZSJL: Batman x Deathstroke, Knightmare, A China-Set A.T.O.M., MM, Flashpoint, Legion Of Doom – If Taken Or Not, A Respect For Z.S.’ Vision

Photograph Courtesy Of: Warner Bros. x DC Comics

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already-dying theatrical experience by forcible quarantine and stay-at-home orders worldwide – catalyzing The Streaming Age just as profitable or more so, enjoyable in the comfort and privacy of your own home. The good and bad of streaming is experiential – a worse audiovisual experience at home compared to theaters plus deprivation of the gladiatorial/sports feel of watching a big blockbuster like this evoke cheers, boos, and reactions like a Red Sox game, but the ability to pause and enjoy whenever/wherever/with-whomever you want.. without having to deal with astronomical concession-stand prices, people talking, invasions of personal-space, or distractions. Regardless of your preference, blockbusters as big as ZSJL, WW84, Mulan, Soul, The Croods: A New Age, Godzilla vs. Kong, etc. being released solely on digital VOD in 2020-21 signal an unmistakable shift to streaming being the future – Zack Snyder’s Justice League being the biggest project to lead this charge into a tomorrow that might just look very different than movies-past. Zack Snyder’s Justice League sets up tons of avenues for sequels and spinoffs: from Batman x Deathstroke to either’s origins to a China-set A.T.O.M. movie to Martian Manhunter to GL Corps to Flashpoint to Legion Of Doom to, of course, the Knightmare/Darkseid JL 2/3 directly-teased – as well as future projects for each of its magnificently-cast and characterized League. Whether the avenues are taken or not by a WB still confused by what they’re doing with the DC Universe, ZSJL has earned a respect for Zack Snyder’s creative vision and reimagination of CBM’s. Though we at CLC maintain BVS had problems and was the one failure, MOS, Watchmen, and ZSJL are masterpieces feeling like evolutions of their genres: the iPhone and Mac on launch date when the rest of their competition is outmoded tech from The Stone Age. I hereby apologize to ZS for ever doubting if they were just a fluke or that he wasn’t the prodigal whiz-kid we first diagnosed him as back in the early days of 300 or DOTD back leaving theaters in 2016 – the sky is the limit for this director having finally achieved the DC Universe he clearly cares about deeply in every frame now come to fruition.

Conclusion

The Best Team-CBM Ever Made

A Cinematographical Masterpiece & Impossible Win For Directorial Freedom W. Epic Mythological Scale, Pure Blockbuster Experience, Depth Of Characterization & Themes, Genre-Diversity, & Powerful Villain

Photograph Courtesy Of: HBO Max & DC Comics

Overall, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the best comic-book-team film ever made- and one of the best CBM’s. The biggest win for artistic/directorial freedom since Citizen Kane, the social media and fan-fueled movement behind this film and their success in bringing this lost cut of legendary proportions is a groundbreaking, impossible achievement – one that could shake the very foundations of the industry by giving second chances to major films killed by studio-interference, or even dilution of executive-meddling altogether by example. The film is a cinematographical masterpiece traversal of epic mythological scale and impossible ambition/worldbuilds – captured in the most stylistic compositions by Fabian Wagner and painstaking VFX & CGI imaginable for one of the most visually-striking films I’ve ever seen; a fantasy canvas unlike any other genre-piece or big blockbuster since early-2000’s LOTR. The action delivers a pure blockbuster experience that elevates the already powerful DCEU combat sequences into a new stratosphere of breathtaking spectacle. The score and acoustic landscape is just as diverse: an eclectic mix of orchestration styles and revisionism of old scores sampling fan-favorites like WW and Man Of Steel’s scores reworked, while adding new ones for a career piece by Junkie XL. One of the biggest achievements of ZSJL is that it’s just as strong characterizationally as it is in A/V. Every member of The League is given masterful character-development and depth through clever screenwriting tackling important themes – from Cyborg’s disability-exposition as perhaps to the crux/heart of the entire film to Batman’s return to Batman-ing after Joss-tification and learning to govern by faith & teamwork to Aquaman’s Victorian hierarchical drama coming-of-age journey to WW’s return to feminism-icon warrior status from boobplant-gazes to Flash learning to both metaphorically-and-physically run to a Superman trilogy-ending from MOS -> BVS -> JL ending the immigrant’s sci-fi journey in a hope-driven classical Kryptonian. There’s a humor injection and brightened color-canvas finally perfecting the DCEU tone, striking cultural diversity from Asian to Jewish to Black Women to Hawaiian, insane fantasy/drama/action/mystery/adventure/sci-fi/horror/war/opera/romance CBM genre-diversification, and mega fandom-service by its many surprise-cameos from Ryan Choi to Iris West to Martian Manhunter to an improving Leto-Joker. Oh, and the villain is 1,000x-better – fixing the biggest and most gaping black-hole flaw of 2017’s Josstice League by the laughable joke of an old, shriveled snail cosplay version of Steppenwolf to a physically-imposing, menacing threat to the League with Xenomorphic-looking armor, enough power to take on an entire army of Themiscyrans single-handedly, and humanization in backstory also connecting him to the greatest comic book villain of all-time. The biggest antagonist in history is finally here and he’s a jaw-dropping, perfect cinematization of the Jack Kirby 1970 icon having conquered 100K+ worlds out of pure malice and ego-fueled ambition: Darkseid. In fact, the biggest problem I have with ZSJL, besides the exclusion of Green Lantern [the most iconic galactic hero of comics history and foundational member of The League it feels ~incomplete without], is that it leaves perhaps the biggest cliffhanger of movie history in the Knightmare post-apocalyptica of heroes and villains having to work together to challenge a Darkseid who killed the entire JL and turned Superman into a pawn. Why be cruel with that big a cliffhanger any sane moviegoer will have physiological-need to see more of – if WB has made it clear with Snyder that he won’t be returning to the DCEU, as it sounds like and they must’ve had detailed conversations on? Ezra Miller’s Flash is still problematic from his jittery performance to comic-inaccurate blue lightning to bad metal Power Rangers-eque suit, Leto’s Joker is still bad-overall and a chocolate-faced clinic in overacting, and why on earth is Amber Heard featured so heavily as Mera after she was caught with 106+ pieces of video evidence as a domestic-abuser exploiting the #MeToo movement for career-gain and making it ~impossible for male victims of abuse to come forward? Overall, these flaws are certainly weighable and must not be completely-dismissed, but they pale in comparison to the scale and power-of-experience of the final product: a 4-hour DC fan’s dream piece. A cinematographical masterpiece & groundbreaking, impossible win for directorial/artistic freedom over studio-interference [the biggest since Citizen Kane], the original comic book team is finally here – with industry-changing capabilities, epic mythological scale, pure blockbuster power-of-experience, poignance of emotionalism, important psychological race/gender themes, characterization-depth for each hero given their own arc, genre-diverse fantasy/drama/action/mystery/adventure/sci-fi/horror/war/opera/romance landscape, and correction of 2017’s antagonist in-context of the greatest comic book villain of all-time. The League finally got cinematic justice – and one of the best CBM’s ever made.

Official CLC Score: 9/10