Have you ever heard of Leonardo Da Vinci’s greatest unfinished painting called ‘St Jerome’? The unfinished painting hangs in the Vatican Museums whose greatness lies in its details. A closer examination of it, reveals Leonardo’s finger prints in it, trying to distribute the colour on the canvas. Think of Da Vinci given another chance to complete his greatest unfinished painting. Oh, what wouldn’t one give to see Leonardo finish his painting which is about the spiritual struggle of St Jerome! That’s the thing about second chances. Not everyone gets one. Not everyone gets a chance of a do over. Not everyone gets another shot at redemption. But Zack Snyder got one. And he has made sure that people are going to remember it for a long, long time. Zack Snyder’s unfinished masterpiece is finally completed and is now streaming for audiences worldwide. It’s an astounding film, that runs for four hours and covers all grounds and all bases. It’s a film that puts WB back in the game of Superheroes, if they seriously want to pursue it, ever. But most importantly, the film is a cathartic experience for those millions of fans, who relentlessly pursued for the mythical #SnyderCut after the ghastly outcome of Joss Whedon’s butchering of Snyder’s original film. Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’ is the story of redemption and faith. It’s the story of a film that almost didn’t got made, yet it survived to spin a legend of its own.
The movie begins at the climactic moments of ‘Batman vs Superman: The Dawn Of Justice’. Superman’s death rings a bell all around the universe and it awakens the darker characters of farther worlds – Darkseid, DeSaad and their bunch of parademons, led by Steppenwolf. At the core remains three Mother Boxes which are the keys to earth’s annihilation. Batman deducing that an attack is imminent, gathers his forces by recruiting all meta-humans. And together they set on the course to stop the bad guys from taking over earth. This description may seem an oversimplification of what Zack Snyder shows on screen. What unfurls on the screen is of epic proportions and at par with Marvel’s ‘Infinity War’ and ‘End Game’. And those who think Zack’s all about serious and brooding film making, you’re up for a nice surprise!
First things first. This one’s a completely different film from the theatrical release four years ago, in every way. Zack does not retain a single frame from Whedon’s reshoots. There’s no silly goofiness, no sitting on the Lasso, no Russian family rescue and no ‘Do you bleed?’ moment. Every character of the film gets a meatier piece of the film. The film runs with six episodes and an epilogue that sets the tone for the next sequel, if it ever gets made. With six superheroes, the film devotes time to each of them, with Cyborg/Victor Stone getting ample screen time to tell his side of the story which makes him at the very heart of the tale. With Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Flash (soon) getting their own origin films, it was almost necessary to tell Victor Stone’s story. When you see the film, you realise that every story arc gets its own time to get it going. Zack even teases ‘Knightmare’ story lines, set in the future in a dystopian world, with the Superman and rest of the superheroes at loggerheads. With Lex Luthor’s escape from Arkham, Death Stroke’s entry and Jared Leto’s Joker having a riveting exchange of words with Batman, it promises a fantastic premise of a sequel. It will be a huge loss for the fans if the film never sees the light of the day, as it’s feared now.
The film’s shot on an IMAX format, so while watching on the TV screens, it looks like a box shaped view (4:3). However it doesn’t deter the viewer from appreciating the technical marvel the film is. Along with a breathtaking background score by Junkie XL, the battle sequences are exquisite and a treat to the eyes. The sequence of the ancient invasion of Darkseid on earth gets an expanded version. The climactic fight sequence gets a whole new do over with Flash and Cyborg getting better parts for their execution. In fact, each and every sequence becomes much better in the Snyder Cut compared to the theatrical version, which tells us about the myopic vision of the WB honchos about the superheroes genre. The plot is much more coherent in nature and tells the story the way it was originally conceptualised. Zack even humours the audience with his gems such as Batman introducing his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth to rest of the team, by saying ‘This is Alfred, I work for him!’
Snyder Cut is fan service at its very finest. It caters to every fan out there, who relentlessly rooted for it in the last four years, after the phenomenal debacle of Josh Whedon’s theatrical garbage. At four hours of runtime, it may feel over bloated for some but when you’ve waited for four years, well these four hours seem to be well earned. You can either watch the film in one go or watch it in six episodes and an epilogue. If you wait for the end credits, there is a version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ crooned by Allison Crowe, as a tribute to Autumn Snyder, Zack’s daughter who unfortunately passed away in 2017. The film’s dedicated to her. It reminds you of the grief that had engulfed the film from its beginning. And the universe somehow conspired to have the film have its own redemption from its original maker, who had to leave it midway to deal with the loss of his daughter. For Zack Snyder, these lines from the same poem almost feel prophetic –
“Now I’ve done my best, I know it wasn’t much..
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch…
I’ve told the truth, I didnt come here..just to fool ya…
And even though it all went wrong…
I’ll stand right here before the Lord of song…
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!“
Well, Hallelujah it is, Zack… Hallelujah!
Zack Snyder’s ‘Justice League’ (2021) is streaming on HBO Max worldwide. It’s also available on Book My Show Stream, Apple TV, Hungama Play and Tata Sky on rental.
The Cinemawala Rating: 5/5