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Movie Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League Shows Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Zack Snyder's Justice League

In 2017, I was excited to see Justice League on the big screen. The film brought together classic DC characters in a new formula that skipped the individual origin films and started with a spectacle. The film was middling, not good and not bad. There were things to like and things not to. Four years later, we get to see a new take on the film on HBO Max with Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

The film is director Zack Snyder‘s take using some of his original material and some new scenes and reshoots filmed just for this. Snyder was unable to deliver his vision originally due to a family tragedy. And all these years later, we get a sense of what he wanted to do and while it’s very different, it too is rather middling. Like the original take, some things work and some things don’t. It’s not a disaster of a film but also delivers nothing new, in fact, it feels like steps back in the gains comic films have made in the four years since.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League basks in its creator’s vision. That’s drilled into viewers before the first scene rolls, stating that’s the reason the film is in 4:3 ratio. The movie is full with visuals that only work on a big screen (thankfully my tv is large with a solid sound system) and has a glee about it, like a child playing with toys in an ever-escalating adventure. It’s also very basic in its concepts. At no point does it really show that it “gets” its characters beyond their powers in a very surface-level way.

Despite a reported additional $70 million spent, the special fx far too often looks dated. This becomes apparent early on in the opening slow-motion of various Mother Boxes where some look very “off” in a glitchy sort of way. Wonder Woman’s opening scene is another example of this. Her speed was handled in a less jerky/choppy way in her own film. Here, here movements look like a nightmare from 1999’s House on Haunted Hill. Her solo film handled this in a much-improved manner and one that’s more visually appealing. Cyborg, Steppenwolf, far too much looks slightly off in its delivery where lines don’t match up at times or even “collisions” of objects. There’s far too much of a reliance on CGI that hurts the film and distracts.

Slow motion is to Snyder’s vision as lens flair is to J.J. Abrams. It’s overused and a distraction. In Snyder’s case, it also drags out the film, slowing the pace to the point of near boredom at times. The dour mood of the film is enhanced by the overuse and obsession with the technique. It’s so overused that by the time The Flash is introduced (in the third segment) that his powers, which benefits from the technique, no longer feels interesting visually.

At a little over 4 hours, the film delivers more of everything. Each of the characters are given more to do as the movie attempts to deliver the epic fight with evil while acting as an origin story for six characters. It does what it can with that with a jumble of side-quests and tangents as we meet the various pieces of the puzzle. The Flash and Cyborg, play by Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher gain the most out of this and each plays a more pivotal role than just members of the team. Miller especially comes out a star with his different and very likable take on Barry Allen.

There are things that make absolutely no sense in the film beyond style. The battle between the Amazons and Steppenwolf left me with so many questions. Queen Hippolyta pausing to do battle while escaping. The fact they thought sealing a rock building would do anything. And again, the fx that look like they belong in video games like Dragon’s Lair and Revolution X as opposed to a big-budget film in 2021. The movie is filled with WTF moments that feel so stilted and not fleshed out and dialogue that’s childish in creativity at best.

About the only way Snyder’s version improves upon the original release is in the film’s ending. Though there are some issues with it still, the film delivers a more satisfying ending in its key action, again giving The Flash and Cyborg a much bigger role in stopping things. The epilogue too feels like it’s a much better way to send things off.

This is a film though that’s Snyder’s to own. And it’s a depressing one. From the action sequences, to the look, to the color, the film has a dour sense about it. It’s drap, depressing, and lacks joy. The actors (as wonderful as Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, and Henry Cavill are in their roles) feel like it’s all a bit too serious. Beyond Miller’s Flash, everyone feels like a stick is up their asses with a stiffness that sucks the fun from it all. It’s a bit too serious and at four hours, it all drags.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League isn’t bad. There’s a lot to enjoy about it. It’s an improvement upon the original in some ways. It’s a step back in others. The enjoyment of it all will be in the eyes of the viewer and whether you enjoy Snyder’s style. It can work, and work well, in a lot of his other films, but here it results in a downer of a film. This is one that should have been an exciting coming together of titans but the end result is a film that takes itself too seriously.

Overall Rating: 6.0


You can view Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max

The trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League is Here

In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, determined to ensure Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad, and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League debuts March 18 on HBO Max.

Around the Tubes

All About Me

It was a relatively quiet day yesterday as far as comic news but we’ve still got some for you to start your day!

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Grab a slice of ALL ABOUT ME – Free comics!

The Beat – The Beat’s 2021 Creator Survey Part 4: the year we really missed conventions – More thoughts from the industry.

Variety – Geoff Johns Still Working With WarnerMedia, Despite Ray Fisher’s Claim Writer Is Leaving Studio – ….

Around the Tubes

New Mutants #12

We’ll have a relatively abbreviated Monday due to Labor Day here at GP but that doesn’t mean we don’t have lots of articles coming at you. Stay tuned throughout the day! And while you hopefully have a relaxing day, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Deadline – Amazon In Talks For Sony’s Suite Of TV Series Featuring Marvel Characters, Led By ‘Silk’ – Intriguing.

The Mary Sue – Warner Bros. and Ray Fisher Clash Over Justice League Investigation – A good rundown of where things are at.

Reviews

Batman News – Batman: Three Jokers #1
Talking Comics – Empyre #6
Monkeys Fighting Robots – New Mutants #12

Ray Fisher Says Joss Whedon was Abusive and Unprofessional on Justice League (Update)

A few days after actor Ray Fisher retracted his praise of director/writer Joss Whedon he went on to further elaborate why on Twitter.

The actor who played Cyborg in Justice League stated that:

Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.

He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.

Accountability>Entertainment

Fisher has been talking more about the film since the announcement that Zack Snyder’s vision for the film will be done for HBO Max. He praised Snyder and writer Chris Terrio for “empowering” him and giving him a seat at the creative table with input on his character for the film.

It’s believed that much of Fishers Victor Stone/Cyborg storyline was cut in Whedon’s version of the film. Whedon took over for Snyder on the film after Snyder had to step down due to a family tragedy.

Named as enabling Whedon in the Tweet are Johns and Berg. Both were producers on the film and have credits on numerous DC properties going forward. Johns shifted his focus from comics to DC’s live-action properties but still has handled high-profile DC comic storylines like the recent Doomsday Clock. Johns went from film to comics due to DC staffer Eddie Berganza who himself has a history of abuse. In 2010 Johns was named the Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment and he stepped down from his executive role in 2018. He launched Mad Ghost Productions to focus on film, tv, and comic book based on DC properties. He’s currently working on the Green Lantern Corps for HBO Max. Johns being named would be yet another DC executive accused of shielding abusive behavior by staff.

Whedon himself has been involved in comics with the relaunch of his Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel properties at BOOM! Studios.

None of the individuals named have made a statement regarding Fisher’s statement.

Update: Jon Berg has made a statement to Variety saying it was “categorically untrue that we enabled any unprofessional behavior.” He also said “I remember [Fisher] being upset that we wanted him to say ‘Booyaa,’ which is a well known saying of Cyborg in the animated series.”

It was announced today as well that Fisher’s co-star Jason Mamoa would be starring in an upcoming film produced by Johns and Berg.

A New Look at the Big Screen Justice League

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

This new photo features Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ezra Miller as The Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman.

Justice League is out November 17, 2017.

justice-league-batman-wonder-woman-flash-cyborg-aquaman

The Justice League Gathers Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller, also known as, Batman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash. Together they’re 5/6 of the Justice League, and in their civilian identities the five actors have spoken out against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and their support of Rezpect Our Water.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is suing the federal government over the fact the Native American tribe was not consulted properly concerning the project which spans four states. The tribe fears the pipeline will contaminate their drinking war and damage their sacred lands. The pipeline would also run through recently discovered archeological find including grave markings. Less than 24 hours after a finding was submitted with the court to stop the construction, Dakota Access desecrated and destroyed that site.

So far, over 260,000 have signed a petition voicing their opposition to the pipeline which will damage the Standing Rock reservation and has been the subject of protests. The fight also crosses comic companies. Rosario Dawson, who plays Night Nurse on Marvel’s live-action Netflix shows, has voiced her opposition to the pipeline as well as Mark Ruffalo who plays the Hulk. The rest of the Avengers have been quiet on the issue.

Momoa has stated on Instagram “Sacred Aquaman is pissed” regarding the situation.

The protests have turned violent with protestors and private security having clashed. Protestors have had dogs attacking them as well as being pepper-sprayed.

A judge has granted part of an emergency request to halt construction of a section of the pipeline in North Dakota. Further rulings are expected Friday.

Black (Comic) History Month: Cyborg, a Comic You Should Read

cyborg-sketch.150_580_54d444e41ee6b0.84559157Is it history if it hasn’t happened yet? Today, DC Comics launched their post-Convergence plan which will see 24 brand-new series joining their current 25 series that’ll continue. DC in their announcement has said diversity, in characters, stories, and creators is a focus this go around, and that’s evident by their choices.

One of the characters getting their own series is Cyborg, who will star is Cyborg. The series will be written David Walker with art by Ivan Reis. Walker should be noted is an African-American creator.

Cyborg debuted in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. Created by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez the character was primarily known as a member of the Teen Titans and has been a staple in the various cartoon depictions of those characters. He was thrust into the spotlight with DC Comics’ relaunch with the New-52 where he became a founding member of the Justice League.

In a revised origin, Cyborg is Victor Stone a high school student and football player who is hurt in an explosion and is fused with an alien technology by his father to save him.

The character is coming to movies with actor Ray Fisher taking on the role. He’ll first be seen on screen in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will eventually get his own movie in 2020.

Rumor: Ray Fisher to Play Cyborg in Batman/Superman

Variety is reporting that theater actor Ray Fisher will be fitted up with some future tech to play Cyborg in the upcoming Batman/Superman movie. That’s an addition of yet another DC Comics character to the cast which already includes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, as well as Lex Luthor.

The movie is currently slated to be released May 6, 2016, but that might change as the film faces tought competition in Captain America 3. Expect more additions to the movie as DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. work to build their own cinematic universe.

cyborg ray fisher

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