Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Ryan Zheng, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, Lisa Loven Kongsli, David Thewlis, Ann Ogbomo, Billy Crudup, Jared Leto
Written by: Chris Terrio, based on a story by Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio, Will Beall
Directed by: Zack Snyder
MPAA Rating: R for violence and some language
Running Time: 242
Date: 03/18/2021

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Stupor Heroes

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I was one of the few who found something worthwhile in the theatrical cut of Justice League (2017), on which Joss Whedon was called in to piece something together after Zack Snyder stepped down following the tragic death of his daughter. However, when Avengers: Infinity War opened just months later, telling largely the same story about 500% better, my opinion of Justice League went down a little. Now, seeing Snyder's four-hour director's cut, my opinion of it has gone up again (notwithstanding Whedon and his recently-revealed monstrous behavior). Nothing in this long cut measures up even to Whedon's brief opening shot, wherein two children ask Superman a question — and he smiles.

I'd heard tales of how much deeper the characters were in this longer version, but what I saw was tons more exposition, more time spent with the incredibly boring villain Steppenwolf (a digital glob voiced by Ciarán Hinds), and more transitional stuff (viewers have already joked about the excessive amounts of time spent watching Batman ride a horse). The movie is heavy with Snyder's trademark brooding, gray color scheme, which has always seemed wrong for the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman, and virtually no humor, except for some occasional quips by Ezra Miller as the Flash. What irritated me most was after the final battle ended, and the six heroes stand in a row, triumphant, looking at the horizon and anticipating sequels, I checked the time and found that there was still more than a half-hour left! This time was taken up by several epilogues, and — get this — a dream sequence. That's some serious overkill. I did eventually start to enjoy myself during the climactic battle, but ultimately, there was nothing for me in this longer cut that I didn't already get out of the shorter cut.

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