Zack Snyder's Justice League is a completely new film from the 2017 release.
By Chris “Boogie” Brown“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has finally arrived and quite honestly feels like a completely new film altogether! While the framework of the film’s original story remains “loosely” intact, the vast amount of changes here makes this a totally different viewing experience from the 2017 theatrical film. Narratively speaking, the tone & character portrayals are treated with far more gravitas which makes this film feel like an organic continuation of Snyder’s previous DCEU films: “Man of Steel” & “Batman v Superman”. At the same time, “ZSJL” is also an epic scale Superhero event film featuring moments of heart, humor, classic team building, thrilling action, and the spirit of heroism permeating throughout its 4 Hour runtime.With the arrival of “ZSJL”, we are introduced to a plethora of unseen footage, new characters, new story subplots, new visual enhancements and a completely new musical score by famed composer, “Junkie XL”. In particular, this incredible score sounds completely triumphant and perfectly matches the heroic tone of the film. Most importantly, any and all 2017 footage directed by Joss Whedon has been completely excised from the film. Additionally, any of Zack Snyder’s originally shot footage that was altered by Joss Whedon in 2017 has been restored back to Zack’s original intent. All of these restorations & upgrades by Snyder makes this 4 Hour version thee definitive Justice League film for fans.I will vaguely touch on the film’s plot synopsis and then speak to the comprehensive changes that clearly separates it from the 2017 version. This film is a direct continuation of the events that occurred in 2016’s “Batman v Superman”. Following the sacrificial death of Superman, Bruce Wayne (“Batman”) and Diana Prince (“Wonder Woman”) join forces in preparation to face the incoming threat that was foreshadowed in BvS. This looming threat is the emergence of an ancient supervillain from the planet Apokolips known as “Steppenwolf”.Steppenwolf leads the Apokolips army of soldiers known as “Parademons” and also serves as General to the sadistic overseer & ruler of Apokolips, “Darkseid”. After a failed attempt by Darkseid thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf is planning to invade Earth to retrieve three devices hidden by mankind known as “Motherboxes”. Together, these three Motherboxes harness otherworldly power and have the ability to terraform Earth into the planet of Apokolips.To protect earth and ward off this threat to mankind’s survival, Bruce Wayne and Diane Prince set out to recruit the unique team of Metahumans briefly hinted at in BvS: Victor Stone (“Cyborg”), Arthur Curry (“Aquaman”) and Barry Allen (“The Flash”). In addition, they work collectively to devise a plan that will resurrect Superman in order to strengthen this united alliance. Together, these heroes join forces to thwart the evil plans of Steppenwolf and Darkseid while saving Earth as we know it.As previously stated, several facets of the 2017 film have changed and been dramatically improved upon under Snyder’s direction. Starting with the film’s updated visual approach, “ZSJL” is presented in a 1:33 Aspect Ratio which gives the film’s dynamic scenes a much taller perspective in scale while watching. In addition, Zack Snyder has also removed the bright & oversaturated color palette that was present in the majority of the 2017 film. Comparatively, he has meticulously restored the film’s original color grading to keep the look consistent with the previous films in this trilogy: “Man of Steel” & “Batman v Superman”. Furthermore, with the opportunity to restore his complete vision, Snyder and his team were able to oversee & complete the fully rendered VFX on display throughout the film.That being said, “ZSJL” features an impressive overhaul and new assortment of visual enhancements to several explosive action sequences. The action on display is incredibly breathtaking to watch and features sequences that are beautiful, intense, filled with visual flair and fully uncut warranting the film’s R Rating. Along with the action sequences, the appearance of certain characters have been greatly enhanced as well: From the completely updated & imposing look of “Steppenwolf” down to the polished upgrade of Superman’s Black Regeneration suit. Overall, the aesthetical changes here are an enormous improvement over the 2017 film and provide a much more satisfying viewing experience for the tone of the material.Speaking of Superman, I’m happy to report that the “digitally altered” Superhero from the 2017 film is no more! Superman is presented here as regal & powerful as he was in MOS & BvS with all of Snyder’s originally shot footage from 2016 fully intact! As you’ve seen from the trailers, Superman also appears in action wearing his Black Regeneration suit which looks fantastic and adds another layer of depth to his presentation. Accordingly, every pivotal scene featuring Superman in “ZSJL”, whether reflective or action oriented, is depicted as originally intended and now stamped by Snyder’s seal of approval.While Superman receives his much-deserved overhaul, each of the remaining League members are also given added depth to their performances and showcase new aspects of their abilities as well. “ZSJL” shows us the natural progression of both Batman and Wonder Women as the seasoned Heroes in this story. Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg now have fleshed out character arcs that explore the background of their characters, their emotional make up, and what drives them to embrace this ensuing challenge.Aquaman is presented as the hardened warrior who also acts as the voice of reason, Flash is the integral speedster that provides moments of charm & comedic levity, and Cyborg proves to be the emotional heartbeat of this film. Specifically speaking, Cyborg’s story arc features heartbreaking loss and a strong familial element that shapes his decisions & actions throughout the film. With the further exploration of these Hero’s backgrounds, we also get to see the arrival of new characters and “re-purposed” characters associated with them in DC lore. These are characters who were removed from the 2017 film but have now been rightfully placed back into this story as Snyder initially envisioned.In addition to restoring his original film, Snyder was also afforded the opportunity to shoot additional photography which he took advantage of to great effect. New footage featuring Batman, The Joker, and other “surprise” characters, though brief, adds both a surprising & suspenseful element of intrigue to this already fulfilling story. Lastly, as seen in the trailer, this film FINALLY gives fans the chance to see “Darkseid”, his minion “Desaad”, and the purpose they play in the overarching story Snyder is telling. I won’t spoil the context of any of the scenes featuring these characters, but their inclusion impacts the plot, gives added depth to a certain timeline hinted at in BvS, and foreshadows what may be forthcoming in the future.Overall, “ZSJL” is both an impressive and stunning epic that features Snyder metaphorically swinging for the fences. With this realized opportunity, Zack unapologetically left no stone unturned in giving fans a Justice League movie that lives up to the hype and then some! On a technical level, the direction and cinematography are highly impressive, and the new musical score completely amplifies the film’s storytelling throughout. At 4 hours, the sheer size and scale of the movie feels grandiose and the fully fleshed out story feels completely authentic to the groundwork laid down in MOS & BvS. The League is showcased at their strongest, the Villains are much more brutal in nature, and the stakes here feel much higher.If I had to guess, the reception of this film by audiences will largely depend upon how one views Zack Snyder’s work in totality. Snyder’s films have proven to be divisive in the past as everyone hasn’t been a fan of his directorial choices and particular take in presenting Superheroes. That being said, if you haven’t enjoyed his previous work for DC, there’s a chance you may not enjoy this film. I say that because when it comes to his deep dive exploration into the mythos and emotional beats of these Superheroes, Zack hasn’t altered a thing about his approach. Furthermore, with no studio restraints or restrictions, this is Zack Snyder completely unleashed for 240 minutes.However, if you do love Snyder’s stylistic sensibilities, his method of storytelling, and his focus on iconography & hyper-stylized visuals, I think you will absolutely love “ZSJL”. This film features all of his trademark characteristics dialed up to the max which results in a memorable & massively entertaining 4 Hour Superhero Saga! In fact, “ZSJL”, taken in succession with “Man of Steel” & “Batman v Superman”, feels like the culmination of a mature and expanded graphic novel comic series come to life in cinematic form.Time will tell if Snyder gets to finish the 5 Film Arc he envisioned, but until then, fans will have this incredible film to dissect and can relish in the fact that a well-publicized wrong has finally been made right. It’s been a long time coming but the wait was well worth it: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is here and it is Amazing – Enjoy!