‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Review


By: Amanda Guarragi

After following the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement since the beginning, no viewing experience has felt as satisfying as this one. After years of fighting, for the version of a film that meant so much to so many people and campaigning on behalf of our director, we finally have the Justice League as it was fully intended. This film is everything that we all hoped it would be. As a fan, and as a critic, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be considered a monumental film because of the movement surrounding it and it is an emotional watch for those who are closely associated to it.

When you watch a Zack Snyder film, you automatically know what you are getting yourself into. From the opening sequence of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, you could feel that this was HIS film. We all know that Snyder is very meticulous when it comes to accurately depicting the source material and elevating the story through his own ideas. When Snyder gave us Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition), they both had a similar tone. The tone is carried out in this film but there is a much more emotional element that is tied to these characters.

Courtesy of The Stone Quarry

At the very beginning of this film, we feel immense loss, as Snyder picked up right after the events of Batman v. Superman. Almost instantly, we are taken back to the emotions we all felt when watching that for the first time. It sets the tone for the whole film.

Will Superman return?

How will the Son of Krypton rise again?

The film is broken into several parts. There is so much backstory that is attached to each of these characters – especially Cyborg (Ray Fisher) – that we get to see. For a four-hour film, the pacing of it did not seem to drag at all, it doesn’t feel like it is being stretched out to fill the runtime.

Snyder begins this journey with Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) as he attempts to assemble these metahumans to form the team. It is time to actually face the fact, that Ben Affleck, is a fantastic Batman. It’s always difficult to balance Bruce Wayne/Batman but Snyder and Affleck are a perfect duo to give us a very memorable portrayal. It also sets up the pacing of the story quite well, as we see Bruce on his own mission to find Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) and Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) in order to defend Earth from a possible threat.

Courtesy of The Stone Quarry

Snyder then takes us back to Themyscira, as the Amazons guard the mother box from an incoming threat. What is so incredible about this entire sequence is the power Snyder pulls out from the Amazons. It is incredible to see how these women have been developed. Whether it be their power stance, their fighting words, or their badass armour, all you see is their strength shining through. There are moments with Queen Hippolyta that will make you incredibly emotional because of our attachment to Themyscira, courtesy of Patty Jenkins in Wonder Woman (2017). We see more development of Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg. Snyder’s storytelling allows you to understand them on a human level first, and then show what they’re capable of. He really knows how to balance the two in order to make an emotional impact, in such a short time.

Snyder does focus on the emotional connection to Superman through the eyes of Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) by showing how they have been processing their grief. Because of Lois and Martha, we understand how tragic this loss is for them vs. the world losing him. Again, Snyder brings it to a very human level of processing grief, instead of keeping Superman as a global figure. The humanity that is shown, creates an intimacy with Clark as a well-rounded human being and proves that he is more than just the symbol. This is where his character development comes full circle and he isn’t even on screen.

Courtesy of The Stone Quarry

Snyder then puts more focus on a character that is considered the heart of the team and when you watch this film, you will understand why. We all know what Cyborg is capable of, but seeing it, the way Snyder wanted him to be presented in a live-action format was something else entirely. Snyder dives into the center of Cyborg and how he is structured as a machine. While he shows us this, we see Stone’s trauma and humanity through his emotional backstory. That is why he’s the heart of the league. Stone is trying to live again, he is trying to find his purpose to feel human again. He is the piece of the jigsaw puzzle, connecting the league in order to stop the incoming threat.

Courtesy of The Stone Quarry

The incoming threat in question? Spikey Steppenwolf, Dasaad and Darkseid, were all crafted so well. The special effects in Zack Snyder’s Justice League was fantastic. During the entire history lesson, which is narrated by Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), I was in awe. It was so detailed and what worked so well is that they explained the mother boxes in detail. So for those who don’t know much about them, they will understand what could possibly happen. There are plenty of surprises in the history lesson and when you see Darkseid in action, you are going to want to see more of him in future films.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is everything and more. How Snyder managed to exceed our expectations in making a massive comic book film with legendary characters is beyond me. Everything you loved about his first two instalments of the unofficial Superman trilogy is combined and expanded upon in this film. Not only does Snyder know Superman extremely well, he brings out the best characterizations from every member. You can tell that he put his heart and soul in this film. For those who have been with the movement since day one, or to the naysayers who are starting to get excited, this movie will leave you wanting more of the world that he has created.

Birds Of Prey Review

No one is doing it like DC.

Their lineup is so incredibly diverse and unique to each character’s world.

Birds of Prey has easily become one of my favourite team up films. EVER. Margot Robbie is undeniably Harley Quinn. No matter what other character she plays, (and we know how talented she is) this is her best. You can tell that she loves playing in Harley’s world and this film proves that she has understands her completely. From the very beginning it felt like we were inside Harley’s mind and the way Cathy Yan executed the story made it seem like we were apart of her thought process. It pretty much felt like Harley’s mind exploded on screen and we just happened to be in the room.

Are there Tarantino-esque elements? Yes and the one movie it reminded me of was Reservoir Dogs. Yan was able to structure the film that intertwined each character and their backstories, while moving through time at Harley’s pace. Everything just suited Gotham City and each character brought something different to the table. Renee Montoya, Dinah Lance, Helena Bertinelli and Cassandra Cain all had their own motives and working together made the most sense.

I loved everything about this, especially the fact that it focused on the many ways women can be mistreated by men. It definitely has a different girl power energy and maybe it’s because I’m older but this badass, anarchist, violent, r rated energy just gives off a higher level of empowerment. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something like that. Seeing all those women on screen, harnessing their powers and setting aside their differences in order to take a villain out. It’s just refreshing to see women beating the bad guys up for a change, I know that sounds incredibly basic but it’s true.

I loved seeing these women kick ass so much that I almost started crying, actually I did cry. I’m not afraid to say it. I cried because I saw my favourite character on screen for the first time and she embodied her in every way possible, I could only dream of this Dinah Lance and Jurnee Smollett-Bell nailed it. THAT WAS MY BLACK CANARY. Everything about her was perfect; her fighting style, her attitude and most importantly her heart made me love her so much more. I’ve been waiting so long for a live action Canary and I truly hope we get a stand-alone and some sequels!

Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ella Jay Basco were all perfectly cast as well. Winstead’s ‘Huntress’ wasn’t as developed as I would have liked her to be BUT the good thing is, is that they left me wanting more of her. The mafia side of her story is really interesting and I would love to see my Italian Princess of Crime at the forefront eventually. Perez brought so much sass to Renee Montoya and she looked so done with everyone’s shit for majority of the film, so that was great! Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain was so adorable and really brought everyone together.

Last but not least, our villains for Birds of Prey... Roman Sionis and Victor Zsasz were fantastic in this. Ewan McGregor has truly never been better. He brought such high level energy to Sionis and it was different from his other roles, so I was pleasantly surprised. Sionis was sadistic, eccentric and managed to throw the best hissy fits. McGregor was so good, I would laugh while he was yelling, only to be silenced shortly after because of how dark he became. Chris Messina as Victor Zsasz was creepy and very twisted. Messina’s chemistry with McGregor was interesting, there’s so much more to unpack with their characters because of all the tension they had. They fed off of each other so well!

Birds of Prey is a lot of fun. I can see myself watching this time and time again. Cathy Yan and Christina Hodson did a great job bringing these character’s to life. The fighting styles for each of them were choreographed perfectly and the final fight scene was so well done! It’s also very brutal because Margot Robbie did not want to hold back one bit and she definitely kept her promise.