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REVIEW: Four-hour director's cut of 'Justice League' packs jumbo superhero thrills

'Justice League' stumbles at the box office
Posted at 8:42 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 21:42:24-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The beauty of the streaming era -- and maybe its downside -- is that it's now possible to get four-hour jumbo-sized versions of movies you may or may not have wanted to see.

"Zack Snyder's Justice League" is exactly that: A massive reworking of a lukewarmly-received action flick that sticks to the original director's true vision, for both better and worse.

Slated for a March 18 HBO Max release date, the movie is the massive summer blockbuster that never was, making "Avenger's Endgame" look like a YouTube short by comparison.

For the uninitiated, "Justice League" was a superhero team-up that brought in the likes of Ben Affleck (Batman) Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Henry Cavill (Superman), the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to face down planet-destroying nemesis Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). Jared Leto's Joker also makes a cameo.

Snyder stepped away from the film following his daughter's suicide, and Joss Whedon took over and completed a two-hour version of the movie in 2017.

While the bulky film -- which runs just a bit over four hours -- would have been more digestible as a miniseries, there's something thoroughly satisfying about taking the medicine in one, giant spoonful.

Watching the movie is like hacking inside a Warner Bros. editing bay to catch glimpses of unused footage, fan theories come to life and ideas left to die on the cutting room floor.

It's a fanboy's dream and a hater's, well, dream. Because there's more for the haters to hate. But I found myself in awe of the proceedings, and willing to sit through a couple more hours of Zack Snyder's bizarre superhero dreamscape after the credits rolled.

You can expect a lot more Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg, improved digital effects and an extra F-bomb that justified the R-rating upgrade from the previous PG-13. There are also a few brief intros of new characters that will have DC superfans salivating.

As I wrote in my review of the theatrical release, "Walking the tightrope between the grim tone of past D.C. films and cartoonish buffoonery, the film cranks out the thrills while subtly and affably acknowledging its absurdity."

Snyder amps up the grandiosity here, going all-in on backstory, embellishments, red herrings and non-sequiturs.

Throughout its lumbering yet thoroughly invigorating hours, the Snyder Cut manages to prove the filmmaker's epic storytelling mettle while also proving that he needs an editor to whittle down his daydreams to reasonable proportions.

If you're the type of person like me, who gets excited about watching a four-hour version of a movie you've already seen, this is exactly what you're looking for. The four hours you spend with the film are an action flick-style conclusion to the four years you've waited to see it.

RATING: 3 stars out of 4.
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