4.5 out 5 stars
Since the original cut of Justice League and it might mean we need a refresher on the storyline. We find ourselves in a time after Superman's (Henry Cavill) death, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) was determined to not let his passing be in vain. The billionaire sets out with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) to recruit a team of meta-humans to defend earth against the existential threat of Darkseid (voiced by Ray Porter), a world-conquering god bent on universal domination.
Justice League: The Snyder Cut begins just where Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice leaves off. Superman sacrifices his life to stop Lex Luther’s bastard creation, Doomsday. In doing so, he unknowingly rings a cosmic bell letting the even more significant threat in Darkseid know the earth is no longer under Superman’s protection. Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds), a henchman who has fallen out of Darkseid's good graces, steps forward to conquer the world and win back his master's approval. To defeat the planet, he must find three McGuffins, three Mother-boxes, that will allow Darkseid and his demon hordes to invade.
The basic skeleton that held the 2017 version of Justice League together remains in Snyder’s new cut. What is so interesting is how different the story is once it is fleshed out. After Zack Synder’s daughter's tragic death, Snyder rightly decided to take a step away from his role as the director for his family's benefit by leaving the project only 80% completed. Warner Brothers hired Joss Whedon of The Avengers fame to finish the movie.
What was unknown to most fans, was that Whedon refilmed massive portions of the film, using a third of what Snyder had already filmed. Not only that, since Henry Cavill was contractually obligated to Mission Impossible: Fallout at the time, he could not shave his moustache. This forced Warner Brothers to spend an eye-popping $25 million to CGI Cavill’s upper lip. The results were mixed, at best. These decisions pointed to a studio that did not have confidence in the director or knew where it ultimately wanted to go with the franchise.
Zack Snyder’s cut fully restores his original vision. This gives us a movie, had circumstances and the studio not interfered, we still likely would never have seen. It is four hours, rated for adults and glorious. Gone are the CGI-lips, cringe-worthy humour and paper-thin motivations. Characters have deep causes, relationships that matter and stakes are on the line. This all means that decisions carry weight for progressing the story along. Suppose you can sit through this extensive reboot. In that case, it will satisfy the DC fans and rectify those who were less than satisfied with the original version.
Reel Dialogue: Even superheroes need dads
The greatest surprise in Zack’s cut is how much fathers matter. Nearly every character has some kind of family drama. Bruce Wayne is still haunted by his parents' death. Barry Allen’s (Ezra Miller) dad is in prison and Clark Kent has lost both his biological and adopted fathers. Still, Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), Cyborg, carries this film's heart. Victor nearly dies in a crash that kills his beloved mother. With little of himself left, his scientist father gives him a second chance at life using alien technology to transform him into more machine than man. This causes a great rift between Victor and his father, who only wanted to save his son. Victor’s journey pivots to accept his new identity and heal the wounds inflicted by a father who was rarely ever there.
Every character in Zack Snyder's Justice League has full, complete and satisfying arcs, but Victor’s resonates the most. How many in our world are hamstrung into mediocrity because of father wounds that have never healed? How many will never be given the opportunity like Victor to heal those wounds? Many may never become everything God has made them because there is a dad who believes in them, encourages them and points the way forward.
In this, we find the hope of the gospel, that Jesus came to make us right with our heavenly Father. A good Father who always has time for us and will always listen. He never leaves us for a job or another woman and never forsakes us because he is too busy.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are” by faith in his son Jesus. 1 John 3:1
It is hard to comprehend the loss and grief Zack feels at the loss of his daughter. His love for her seems to bleed through this film. The director clearly put his heart into it and hopefully gains some catharsis in the process of completing his story.