I can’t quite remember why I fell asleep (or for how long I slept) while watching Justice League at the cinema in 2017, but its four-hour 2021 remake – dubbed Zack Snyder’s Justice League (or Snyder’s Cut in short) – is absolutely brilliant. It streams March 18 on HBO Go, and it is the must-see movie event (even if have you watched the 2017 version) of the year for comic geeks.
Zack Snyder was the original director of the 2017 movie but he left halfway (why is another story altogether) and someone else finished the show for him. I didn’t have time to rewatch the 2017 version but it’s safe to say I did not enjoy it. Snyder’s Cut is the remake of the movie by Zack Snyder as he had originally meant the movie to be.
I have always been a bigger Marvel fan than a DC fan, but Snyder’s Cut has won me over and it clearly propels DC into the driver’s seat in the ongoing streaming wars. Disney+ owns the Avengers and the Marvel universe but HBO – now a subsidiary of Warner – is clearly the new competitor with the Justice League remake from the world of DC.
The four-hour extravaganza starts off where the 2016 movie ended – Superman sacrificing his life to stop Doomsday. With Superman dead, Batman realises he must enlist the help of new heroes to defend planet Earth from potential alien threats. Together with his new ally Wonder Woman (played by the irresistible Gal Gadot) they soon recruit Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg to join their cause.
Not a moment too soon, because Earth is facing a nemesis like no other. The villain Steppenwolf and his army of flying creatures – Parademons – seek three magical cubes called Mother Boxes, which when combined will bring forth an extremely powerful being that will consume planet Earth. The Boxes are protected by the three races – Atlanteans, Amazons and Man. Once united, they are now divided (it doth sound like the Lord Of The Rings).
Can Batman (played by Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman beat the bad guys to the clock and recruit their bandwagon of superhero allies in time to stop the villains? What about the dead Superman? Can Earth survive without him?
While the 2017 Justice League movie had many ridiculous slapstick moments, Snyder’s Cut is all serious business. The fight scenes are very long, very engaging and are absolutely stunning. The plot is extremely well played out (well, it is four hours) and easy to follow. Unlike Whedon’s take, there are no jokes here; our universe’s very existence is under threat.
But there is a twist with bigger ramifications – Steppenwolf discovers something else even more valuable on Earth for his master. Towards the end, we realise there are other more powerful bosses above Steppenwolf who will not rest until Earth is conquered.
But that’s not all. Just when you thought the show is over, the epilogue reveals that there are many more heroes and villains to look out for with multiple cameos: a character who wields double katanas, the escape of a dude who was supposed to be in lockdown and another who enjoys a good laugh. But the last laugh might well go to Bruce Wayne’s new ally – a caped crusader from another planet – that looks like he could give Superman a run for his money.
It sure feels like there will be many more Justice League movies to come. In fact, the way the movie ended is screaming for a sequel.
There can be no doubt now that the ongoing battle for the pockets of the geeks is between Disney+ and HBO, with both Zack Synder’s Justice League making its debut one day before Marvel’s new TV series Falcon and The Winter Soldier. If Netflix has not been worried before, now it needs to be.
The future is going to be Avengers vs Justice League, Disney+ vs HBO. For the comic geeks in us, this war can only be a good thing.