The long-awaited Zack Snyder cut of Justice League hits HBO Max on Thursday.
Back in March 2017, director Zack Snyder stepped away from the Justice League shoot amidst creative conflicts with Warner Bros. and the suicide of his daughter. The resulting product, directed by Joss Whedon, was mostly panned by critics. In the wake of the negative reviews, Snyder fans After four long years of anticipation, the four-hour Zack Snyder cut of the 2017 film will hit HBO Max in a matter of days.
On Monday, the press embargo for the film was released, and critics have now released their first impressions of the movie. Most reviews agree that the Snyder cut is a few steps above the original Justice League. Owen Gleiberman of Variety goes a step further, saying the Snyder Cut “strikingly echoes the sinister extravagance of the Avengers saga.”
“Justice League accomplishes in four hours what those films did in nine,” Gleiberman continued. “It unites a team of superheroes, but never forgets that each of them is seriously worthy of his or her own story.”
Tom Jorgensen of IGN was more bullish on the project. “A surprise vindication for the director,” he wrote, “and the fans that believed in his vision. “With a mature approach to its superhero drama, better-realized antagonists, and improved action, Snyder’s version of Justice League saves the movie from the dustbin of history, something that likely only could’ve happened on a streaming platform like HBO Max. Though not every addition feels totally necessary, and some new visual effects stick out as unpolished, it’s hard to overstate how much more enjoyable this version of Justice League is.”
“The cinematography is dark,” wrote Maya Phillips of the New York Times, “as though the whole movie were filmed in the bat cave, infected with Bruce Wayne’s brooding. The few attempts at breezy dialogue, and the film’s heavy-handed deployment of Miller as the comic relief, fall leaden in this funereal atmosphere. Even Superman’s new costume makes the Kryptonian look like he is going through an emo phase.”
Todd McCarthy of Deadline agreed, citing the film’s tone as overwrought. “After a certain point,” he wrote, “you just want someone—anyone!—to break the mood by cutting a fart or making cross-eyes, anything to give things a jolt of life. There’s not a single laugh or even a snide remark in the picture. Where is the Joker when you need him?”
Come Thursday, you’ll be able to offer your own take on the new Justice League.