By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Fans of Zack Snyder‘s DC Universe are not likely to see his set of films completed. He told Vanity Fair his vision and all we can do is sigh and start the #restorethesnyderverse movement. After years of campaigning, reshoots and post-production madness, a new cut of Justice League still has fans divided. The good: the story makes much more sense and the heroes–namely Cyborg (Ray Fisher)–have a role to play. The bad: the setup for the finale won’t see fruition when considering all the politics involved to get this expanded takes finessed for all to view.
This version sets up the coming of Darkseid proper and does not shy away from showing us how bad he can be. They look more like creations from Michael Bay’s imagination, and I doubt there’s a cinematic villain who can rival Ming the Merciless’ fashion sense from Flash Gordon!
Darkseid’s desire to get the anti-life equation is dumbed down. He wants to destroy free will and make zombie slaves, which can be accomplished through brainwashing, possession or hypnotism. While this definition is faithful to how Jack Kirby defined it for the comics, I much prefer the interpretation in Bruce Timm and Paul Dini‘s animated version of the Justice League–allowing the person armed with this knowledge to tear down the universe and rebuild it in his or her own image.
At least Lois Lane’s (Amy Adams) importance is better realized. She and Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) were living in their own world before hell descended on Earth. Supes died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the previous version never fully showed how she coped. Had the film been seen through her eyes about the formation of a new team, that would’ve been something! We may not get to witness the Knightmare verse that’s been teased in Bruce Wayne’s (Ben Affleck) dreams, but to see it tacked at the end is just a stab in the heart since we all know it’ll never be realized as a movie.
Plus, Ezra Miller‘s version of the Flash is very annoying. The problem is with the lines this character now has–a lot more than the Whedon cut–and how this actor embraced the role. His story arc is about making his dad in prison happy, and we know little about him being a science whiz. HIs first on screen in a screen moments still reveal him as a bum. He’s a person out of his league after getting invited to be part of a superhero team, and he’s hardly a proper running joke. At least the humour in TheCW’s The Flash felt more natural.
The producers missed an enormous opportunity to set up Flashpoint. Barry talks about how his abilities affect time. To see it in a future story arc would’ve made for a second chance at rebuilding this team with different heroes.
No amount of reshoots, reshuffling and edits can fix the plot, which really required a rewrite. Snyder’s return merely reshuffled and added stuff from the cutting room floor to make the many subplots more intelligible–which is terrific–and up the wow factor. Unfortunately, updating parts like George Lucas did with Star Wars: A New Hope more than once made the film a questionable watch. Ultimately, this take doesn’t change this film’s damaged legacy.
3 Stars out of 5