Well, it’s finally here. The most anticipated movie since Avengers: Endgame and somehow I was both excited and nervous as I wondered if this director’s cut of what has been dubbed the Josstice League would be a better film or all that different from the original. The truth is that it WAS different. Extremely different.
At the end of the day, Zack Snyder finally got to show the world what he had intended for the film but even more than that this is one of those few times (or the first time) where the director’s version of a film is hyped as much as a normal release for a film. With all that being said I had to temper my expectations a bit because as I watched Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, I couldn’t help but feel like that maybe we were all TOO excited. Look the plot structure for this film was still going to be the same so all I kept thinking was ‘How much could be different?’. Well, Zack answered that for me quite quickly. See the thing is, and this is where Zack had the advantage, this is a 4-hour long movie so there is so much more room to explore characters and their relationships more but on the other hand, there is a lot more room to fail. This film only worked because it was 4-hours long. Because it wasn’t broken in half or over 4 parts. So let’s get into all the things the film did right and what we hope this could mean for the future of the DCEU and what was my favourite parts of the film.
- Steppenwolf: If there is one big difference that the film took in its takeaway of Steppenwolf was that he is merely a foot soldier. It is Steppenwolf’s job to scout worlds and makes it ripe for Darkseid to come to take over. Now, this film does a great job and I mean great, of making you understand Steppenwolf more. Even though it took the Justice League a lot of time and effort to take down Steppenwolf, he was merely a lackey. Steppenwolf is so far down the chain of command he can’t even speak to Darkseid directly, he has to go through DeSaad. Why is that? See Steppenwolf made a mistake. In the same vein as Lucifer, Steppenwolf sought to overthrow Darkseid and failed and although he helped to slaughter any other individual who thought to do the same, he was still indebted to Darkseid and is told he has to conquer 50,000 more worlds before he can return to Darkseid’s side on Apokolips. Man, you should have seen Steppenwolf’s face, when Desaad told him that, he looked so defeated, it was so sad (Can’t believe I am saying that). He kind of reminded me of Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender there only he is not struggling with being a better individual, he’s just trying to get back to Apokolips.
- Barry Allen (The Flash): A lot of what the first film did was highlight that two characters of the Justice League who by all means the sunniest and cheery in personalities and of course that makes for more levity in the group but it made the film seem like there were fewer stakes at hand. Then again it leaned more to a PG-13 rating instead of staying in the hard action rating that Zack Snyder is famous for and is good at. See the thing is once you get to see Barry Allen as a whole character instead of comedy relief you get to see that although he is a bit of an awkward, friendly and excited new hero, he is going through a lot. Barry’s father is in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, he is working all these different jobs so he can save up enough money to get a degree. You see all of that stuff plus add in the fact that even though he has a good understanding of his abilities, he is still new to the superhero game and nothing makes that more evident than when he lets Iris West see him speed away, without a mask on. Barry is so new to this that he is unable to make the same tactical decisions as the rest of the team when they have to fight Superman, he was completely taken aback by someone who is also fast, he is clumsy and it works to show you how much he could benefit from a mentor and or guide. Barry needs the team as much as they need him. I wonder if this part of it will be explored more in the Flash movie.
The Best Part
Victor Stone (Cyborg) and the rest of the Stone family: There was nobody who was robbed more in the Josstice League, than Cyborg. In this film, he was the star and honestly this film has me foaming at the mouth for a Cyborg solo movie. He was done sooooo well I cannot believe it. Victor Stone struggles a lot with a different kind of grief throughout this film. Even though his mother died in the same accident that disfigured him, he struggles mainly with his loss of self. Even though his father, Silas Stone, thinks that he can be more (shout out to Joe Morton who finally got to monologue cause that is what he is fantastic at, monologuing check him out in Scandal if you don’t know). It is hard for Victor to reconcile with his father’s words not because his father is not right but because their relationship is so tension-filled and strained, as Silas was not always a present father before the accident. Victor can’t help but put his anger over the change in his life onto his father, deserved or not. The way that Zack handles Cyborg’s scenes is incredible, to me. It would be easy to just have this robot exist and have him be this sort of computer that can show projections and make calculations but Zack allowed Victor to still exist within Cyborg and that is what was hammered home for me. Victor Stone is still in there and yes he is struggling but when I think of a hero coming away from this film, I think of Victor Stone and let me tell you why. There are two scenes that I think are connected and help you to understand that not only is Victor Stone still thriving but he is the hero the world needs. The first comes when Victor is in trouble with his Dean at university for hacking the school’s system to change the grades of a classmate who was struggling with a death in the family and therefore was struggling to pass classes. The school did nothing for her and Victor did. One of the first things Victor can see when he becomes Cyborg is the entire system and almost becomes it. When he helps the single mother with money after seeing how much she is struggling, I was nearly in tears because it drove the point home about how the system does nothing to help those who need it and when Cyborg helps that woman and her family out, I am reminded about how heroes don’t always have to be punching things, they can be helping out by simply working the system. This scene is even more significant when you think of all the ways it represents Victor Stone. He is a family man. He misses his mother and even though he is angry at his father for many reasons he does everything he can to save him and when the Mother Box’s entices him with the ability to bring his family back, he doesn’t take it. Not because he wouldn’t love them but because Victor knows what’s the right thing to do and above all else, he doesn’t need things to go back to the way they were because they weren’t even perfect back then. All he can do is accept himself as he is now, his family looks different and he may have changed but that doesn’t make it worse and he is not broken. Ray Fisher did a tremendous job and if it’s true that he was also raised by a single mother than that scene must mean so much more to him than it does to me and it means A LOT to me.
This film is not perfect I do wish they hadn’t killed Silas Stone or they showed Barry actually travelling back in time during the nightmare scene, or why he would have to do that in the first place. Was it just because of the arrival of Superman? Also, who built Barry’s time travel suit? Victor or Bruce? I also understand how they did the speedforce and Barry travelling back in time but I do wish they would have made his lightning yellow. It’s the only gripe I have about this Barry but they do have a tendency to change things when people get their solo movies, I mean look at Mera’s story. Also, Diana doesn’t ALWAYS have to be in heels, she could take them off to do her archaeologist thing (I know she’s a curator at a museum). I would like more of THAT Diana in the future cause they really haven’t shown us that side of her yet. I wish we would have gotten more interactions with Victor and his father before the accident to sort of solidifying their relationship may be a good scene and one where they were fighting. I also did not like how everyone was just cool with Victor sacrificing himself, then again this is DC, not Marvel, everybody should be ready to lay down their lives.
It pains me but it makes sense we bring up Joss Whedon. It takes a huge amount of effort to cut out and diminish every single person of colour in a film, from Ryan Choi to Iris West to Martian Manhunter etc. When one of the main characters is integral to the Justice League and is a Black man with a Black family, then it becomes personal. That being said Joss Whedon did it and Warner Media along with DC Films (Walter Hamada and Geoff Johns) let him because they didn’t care. If all the mess with Ray Fisher didn’t convince you then at least the Synder Cut will show you just how much the theatrical cut was a disrespect to him as an actor and as a Black person.
Look at the end of the day the result is similar. The Justice League defeat Steppenwolf only now they are aware of the fact that he was not the only thing that had its eyes on Earth AKA they got a glimpse at Darkseid. This ending opened doors that Warner Media and DC Films wanted to close but it’s not the only end scene that brought about talks of spinoffs and sequels. See that nightmare scene was obviously from a different timeline but the Joker’s monologue about all the different timelines in which Bruce Wayne died instead of Robin or other people like Lois opens the door to an alternate timeline where maybe he did die and maybe whether that is Dick Grayson, Jason Todd or Tim Drake takes up the mantle of Batman. This could also be a good way to introduce Titans characters if they plan to have a DCEU version of said characters. The Martian Manhunter stuff felt forced at the end there but considering it was meant to be Green Lantern Corps members and that they were present in the nightmare future that Cyborg saw it would have fit more like that. We also got to see Wonder Woman finally return to Themyscira, I wonder if we are going to finally get to see Diana confront her mother about all the lies she told her about her parentage. Will we get to see some Zeus? Also, I will never tire of hearing Jonathan Kent and Jor-El voice-overs, I will also always get emotional when I hear Superman’s theme for when he takes flight. It just does something to me.
This film is a HUGE step up even though I doubt we would have gotten it without the Josstice League so maybe it was a blessing in disguise. I am disappointed in the prospect that this could all be the end for the DCEU but I am a hopeful blerd. Fingers crossed.