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The 2017 version of Justice League was, and still remains, one of the largest debacles in modern cinema. With a tone and scope that didn't even remotely match what director Zack Snyder was trying to accomplish with his DC Extended Universe projects, the resulting film became a laughingstock, which threw off an entire plan that many felt was reaching for too much too fast. But throughout the ensuing fallout, and the years that saw fans demanding that the “Snyder Cut” be released, the notion of the original director completing his vision endured.

This brings us to Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the definitive experience of what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish in the first place. The finished product is, to say the least, worth the wait, but at most is a stunning improvement that turns in one of the best comic book movies ever. Fans who have been waiting for this moment can rejoice, but there’s a good chance that some additional converts will be made along the way as well.

Looking and feeling like a much better movie, the length of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is more than earned.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is still, in its bare bones, the same movie that Justice League set out to be. With Superman (Henry Cavill) dead, and the world losing hope, it’s up to Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to try and assemble the best team of metahumans available in the shadows of a coming war with Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds.) That basic framework from the 2017 blockbuster still exists in this new edit, and by extension, you could say it’s not a different movie.

However, the major differences in the “Snyder Cut” come from the storytelling that’s on display. With a whopping 4 hour runtime, Zack Snyder’s Justice League might seem daunting, even to the most loyal fans. You shouldn't give the length of the picture a second thought, however, as the added layers of texture, character details, and even scatterings of small character moments make this a truly epic film to behold. Once again, Zack Snyder proves that his visions are best served outside of conventional frameworks, as gorgeous spectacle meets storytelling inspired by Greek mythology. Only instead of merely cribbing from shorthand made popular throughout the history of movies, this story takes comic mythology and tells it in such a way that it feels more like those histories that inspired the medium.

The mistakes make in the DCEU’s past are pretty much corrected with Zack Snyder’s Justice League*_.*_

While this is indeed a major studio’s superhero tentpole movie, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is proof that the approach that some deemed as overly ambitious was actually right on the money. In this greater space, we see things like Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) using his Flash powers to great effect. The true tragedy of Victor Stone’s (Ray Fisher) transformation into Cyborg gets to actually play out, laying down the groundwork for his eventual heroism and acceptance of his reality. Rather than skipping over whole origin stories that sets up these characters, Zack Snyder’s Justice League builds them into the structure of a team-up movie. In his fully realized vision, Snyder provides shorthand that allows these DC heroes to position themselves for the battle ahead, and wherever future films might take them.

But even established heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, and, yes, even Superman, are allowed to have more depth in this mega-sized narrative. Even Amy Adams' Lois Lane gets an improved story arc. While it's not as lengthy or as in-depth as some would hope for, it's still a gigantic leap forward from what was given to the world in the original cut of Justice League. And as if that wasn’t enough, the attempts at comedy and mustache removal that made Justice League a total waste have been either completely removed, or reframed to fit better into the overall movie.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a stirring superhero triumph that is a one of a kind experience.

Getting a second chance isn’t often something a movie like this gets. In the case of Zack Snyder's Justice League, the new lease on life it's been granted was worth every ounce of fight. It's truly an awe-inspiring superhero movie that takes its time to weave a story of humanity and what it means to answer the call of heroism. With a clear path in mind for the future, and better connections to the past of what was once known as the DC Extended Universe, the Snyderverse could find itself restored if there’s enough of a reaction to Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Even if the end result is the "storytelling cul de sac" that Warner Bros. executives have warned their audience about in the wait for the film, Zack Snyder’s Justice League provides enough heart and excitement to exhilarate the audience into satisfaction. Good luck trying to hold onto that notion of a dead end story though, because the enriched narrative and the enticing hints towards the future will fire up the fanbase that helped make this happen in the first place. And there’s always going to be room for more super friends to join those ranks. Justice League was supposed to be the the movie that changed everything for DC Comics, and now, through Zack Snyder's Justice League, it finally is. Welcome to the age of heroes.

9 / 10 stars
Rating: movie reviewed star rating out of five
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