This is a movie I never thought I would see. I never thought this movie would be made, and I had no intention of ever seeing it if it did. Nothing against Zach Snyder, but I had no intention of signing up for HBO Max when nearly everything on it would either get released in theaters or could be watched elsewhere.
After hearing other reviews of the Snyder Cut, however, it got me interested enough to break down and sign up just to see what all the talk was about. After sitting through four hours of superhero antics, I have to say, it was totally worth it.
Despite the four-hour runtime, it never goes too fast or too slow. Whereas the less than two-hour theatrical release was far to quickly paced, this one never speeds up or slows down. This allows the viewer to keep track of everything going on.
The music is also much better. Unlike both the theatrical release and many superhero movies in general, the music is actually noticeable, helping build the tension in scenes. The flow between the different characters’ themes during battle scenes are smooth, switching as the viewer switches between the characters. Finally, the use of the Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman music helps to reinforce the importance of the movies that came before as it builds up to what is coming.
This leads to another strong point: setting up what should have been coming next. For anybody who does not know, Warner Bros and DC had planned to do the opposite of Marvel for their cinematic universe. Rather than build up the individual characters and bring them together, they had planned to introduce many of the characters in Justice League and then give them their own spin-offs. This was a plan that did not work with the theatrical release, as not enough time was given to the individual characters to effectively build into their own movies.
The Snyder Cut has no such problem. Each character is given enough time and attention to explore them as individual characters. This allows the viewer to get to know and care about them as individuals. Enough time and attention are also given to the side characters as well so that no one feels like a cameo for comic book fans, but all are actual characters who contribute to the story. Every character’s pain, danger and sacrifice actually has weight to it as a result. Even Steppenwolf, with his updated design, comes off as an actual character rather than just another CGI monster.
This extra time and depth also allow Justice League to set up its character individual movies for the future. Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg, Batman and Wonder Woman all hint at what would have been their future movies, actually making the viewer want to see where their stories go next. The only character who does not appear to have a solo movie being set up is Superman, but that is probably because it appears his story was being set to continue in the next Justice League movie.
Without going into spoilers, the movie ends with the threat of Darkside looming. There are also hints about Batman’s BvS nightmare scene, with Terminator-like themes about stopping vs. causing the future appearing to be in play. Then there are the characters who were not in the theatrical release, whose introductions and reveals hint at a story far grander in the future.
Finally, for anybody who wants to watch this with their children, do not. This movie is far more graphic than the theatrical release, with people getting violently and bloodily cut in half, torture and swearing. Without anything to hold him back, Snyder brings 300 level violence to battle scenes, which definitely are not suitable for young viewers. However, on that note, the visuals in many scenes are also similar to 300, making many important scenes look like classic paintings rather than film.
In conclusion, if you have not seen Man of Steel, Batman Vs. Superman, and the first Wonder Woman movie, you will have no idea what is going on. The Snyder Cut takes what came before it and uses that precedence to build up what was coming next. Its extended run time allows for a far more fascinating story than the theatrical cut, with better music enhancing it even more. The characters are given far more care, and nobody feels out of place. While not suitable for children, its visuals are far superior to what came before.
I highly recommend the Snyder Cut, as it shows just what Snyder was going for with the DC Extended Universe. With the pieces starting to come together in his version of Justice League, it was building up a story of epic proportions many DC and superhero fans would undoubtedly love to see. As a result, if you are even a casual movie fan and are willing to sit through the four-hour runtime, it is worth it for the story that is told.