To my utter surprise - and maybe it's because my expectations were so low - I did not hate Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021). In fact, I can honestly say that I even enjoyed it, with reservations. This version of the film has more natural humour (though only in sparse doses), Cyborg and Flash are far better developed Batman gets a little more dignity, the action sequences are more effective overall, and the final battle in particular offers genuine jeopardy and suspense--it feels like there are real stakes. The plot actually makes sense now, for the most part. Even Steppenwolf's story is fleshed out, enough to make him an actual villain instead of just CG animation. And we get to see more of Jeremy Irons' Alfred and J.K. Simmons' Commissioner Gordon; both are treats. Amy Adams' Lois Lane doesn't fare quite as well, but she's still more important to the film than she was in the original theatrical release.
On the downside, the score is terrible except when it includes snippets of Zimmer's themes from past movies. There are still moments that feel out of character for our heroes. There's way too much slow motion. The big new character cameo is welcome to fans, but still feels tacked on. Some sequences could be cut without hurting the film at all. Some of the humanizing moments from the theatrical cut are gone and I miss them, but on the other hand, those cuts make this version more tonally coherent - even if I'm not a fan of Snyder's portentous, somber take on the genre.
As a bonus, comparing this version of Justice League to the theatrical release is a great way to discover the importance of editing.
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