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Monday, April 15
The Indiana Daily Student

arts review

COLUMN: Does the Snyder cut of ‘Justice League’ cut it?


Joss Whedon directed the first two “Avengers” movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ended up in the position to define the DC Extended Universe's first major team-up title with "Justice League," which had a theatrical release in 2017. 

The original director, Zack Snyder, couldn’t continue working on the project because personal tragedy struck. Whedon’s version of the movie was critically panned and flopped at the box office.

However, after years of campaigning by fans, the film was given a second chance on the streaming service HBO Max. Original director Zack Snyder returned to make a definitive version of the movie based on his creative vision.

Joss Whedon created a version of the movie filled with reshoot footage of a CGI lipped Superman, which was done to cover up a mustache that the actor Henry Cavill couldn't remove as he was filming a role in another movie. Some other criticisms that I’ve heard are that many of the reshoots only served to add pointless jokes, the theatrical version of the villain was uninspired, and important characters were sidelined.

I've only seen “Zack Snyder's Justice League,” which released March 18, so I won't be comparing the Whedon and Snyder versions. I just wanted to see if the Snyder cut can cut it as a movie for someone that didn't even care to watch the theatrical version.

The new Justice League is not light viewing, which is in part due to its over four hour runtime and also thanks to Snyder's dark tone. Yet, there's no need to watch the whole movie in one sitting like I did.It is broken up into six different parts and an epilogue.

Some scenes felt unnecessary, but overall the movie kept a good pace and added excitement with an ample amount of well-choreographed action.

But what intrigued me was how the movie would use the characters of Cyborg and Flash as both of them had no standalone movies in the DC Extended Universe and little presence in other movies.

The movie successfully made both characters compelling and it could be argued that Cyborg was the heart of the movie. His entire origin story is shown, his father is given an important role, he's most directly tied to the plot and he undergoes an entire character arc.

I enjoyed the movie overall, but I still had my issues with different parts of it, like the decision to make the aspect ratio 4:3 and the cliffhanger ending.

The film sets up a sequel that may never come, since it's unclear what the future of the DCEU will be. This realization of Snyder's vision itself was only really possible due to a unique set of circumstances. With the COVID-19 pandemic closing theaters and the release of new streaming services to host this content.

Depending upon its success, this could herald changes in the industry shifting towards a trend for more creative control and opening the door to riskier content like this being shared on streaming platforms. 

I believe that some creators with increased freedom and flexibility can make some incredible or simply more enjoyable works of art going forward, though I am worried that some might get carried away without a second opinion. Regardless, I prefer this trend toward media by committee.

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