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Criticism | Justice League by Zack Snyder – movie saves the supergroup and buries the past



Long-awaited project gives new life to an already forgotten film

Regardless of the medium or the situation, the context is something very important and something that makes all the difference in the world. In everyday situations, a poorly explained or absent context can generate situations of friction, even violent ones; it is the opportunity to contextualize something that makes dialogue an option to always be sought in order to avoid a confrontation. It’s like that in life and it’s like that in the cinema.

Since the audiovisual is essentially about telling a story, it is the communication between an artist and his audience, he is always subject to noise in this interaction; to change the context of your message. Cinema is nothing new with the launch of several cuts of a certain film that serve to deliver the director’s vision as clearly as possible, which for some reason was not fully executed in the version that is. went to the big screen.

The most famous case, without a doubt, is Blade Runner, which had, from its launch in 1982, seven different versions until it reached a definitive version, but several other productions went through the same turbulence like The Exorcist, Metropolis and the very high league. of justice from Zack Snyder.

The long-awaited director’s cut is finally available

The production of DC Comics’ first major crossover was marked by several friction between the director and the studio, which resulted in a theatrical release that lacked connections between what Snyder had originally left behind and what went on. then inserted by the studio and by Joss Whedon. Running Outside was the whole backdrop of the personal tragedy the director went through and that was the definitive reason he was pulled from the project.

Anyway, the film released in 2017, after a very short time for covers, was obviously a product that represented a vision adapted to market trends and then, analyzed by the studio, comic book adaptations; this being for better or for worse. In the case of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, what’s available is just the filmmaker’s version with no studio conditions or low box office scare.

This creative freedom becomes perfectly visible from the start when the viewing time of the film is noticed. The significant four hour mark, two more than the 2017 version, automatically intimidates at first. However, in the first few moments, it is possible to see why this choice was made. It all ends up coming back to Snyder’s effort to contextualize the story, to insert it into the universe started in Man of Steel and make it a direct sequel to Batman vs Superman.

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The new film dialogues directly with the previous films

As part of this ambitious duration structure, the functionality of cards containing titles is adopted when one game ends and the other begins. There are a total of six “chapters”, so to speak, which compartmentalize the four hours mentioned. This addition is very welcome for those who can feel the rhythm of the film at any given time and, for the work itself, they have a very welcome function of presentation and, again, contextualization.

Three of the main characters in the film had more or less satisfying presentations and developments before Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Superman had his introduction in Man of Steel and character building in Batman vs Superman; Batman had an introduction to the aforementioned crossover that at least contextualized this more subdued version of the vigilante (it lacked a solo movie to better study his personality) and Wonder Woman got her introduction in BvS in addition to a solo adventure.

Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman (since the film was produced before his solo adventure), however, did not have such an earlier presentation. So, by “breaking” the rhythm of the film into six chapters, Snyder has generated an interesting tool to introduce these new characters, within the time limit allotted to each, to contextualize the moment of life in which they find themselves at the beginning of the adventure of the film (and especially how these moments influence their natural reactions to the recruitment of Batman and Wonder Woman to form the League) and guide the situation so that “the call to adventure” puts them actively in the plot.

The deepest of them is without a doubt Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, presented here as an update to Frankenstein’s Monster Myth. The character constantly exhales the internal dispute he goes through between maintaining his humanity (and that involves the difficult task of resolving differences with his father) or embracing the machine side directly related to the threat of the nursery boxes.

Cyborg and her personal drama play a pivotal role in the plot

Still on the characters, you can not fail to mention the steppe wolf. One of the most controversial elements of the 2017 work, both for its digital look, which did not inspire the sense of threat, and for the absolute lack of a compelling motivation for its search for Maternal Boxes, here it receives (because as said all this section relates to that) a more effective contextualization.

When he doesn’t appear anywhere to take on the Amazons or Atlanteans, he experiences these very interesting moments with Desaad (one of the most loyal members of Darkseid’s court) when he uses a monolith to communicate. It is in these dialogues, absent from the previous version, that expresses the particular motivation of the steppe wolf to return to the graces of the lord of Apokolips whatever the price to pay.

It is important to note that the character remains a CGI monster whose function is to be a much more physical threat to the League than an intellectual or personal one. The best refinement of his motivations isn’t enough to be a worthy character study for the Joker (2019), but it’s enough to at least establish who he is and why he is in the plot. In addition, of course, to giving an introduction to the characters from the Fourth World (the so-called New Gods) for Ava DuVernay’s upcoming film.

Steppe Wolf is also on his own journey

Another interesting thing to point out about the characters in general is how the soundtrack of the film plays a very active role in externalizing the feeling of each of them in a certain circumstance or even giving a really epic tone to the growth. of the scenario. Attention to the power of music is already a recurring feature of DCEU films, Hans Zimmer was the conductor of the first two films in this shared universe, having established the main theme of the trinity in these early works.

In Zack Snyder’s cut, it’s Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) who takes care of the music. He had already helped Zimmer at BvS and here he delivers a job with a real personality. Unlike Danny Elfman’s meager performance in 2017, Holkenborg merges his collaborator’s orchestral score (like the Superman theme song featured in Man of Steel or that of Wonder Woman in BvS among others) with unprecedented sung compositions. These have the particular effect of generating precisely the construction of epic sensation desired by Snyder, since these types of music have classic identifications with this type of scale.

The heavy track then tends to appear in the most grandiose moments of the scenario, such as the flashback of the first fight between the Terrans and the Darkseid army or in visions of the post-apocalyptic future, while the slower ones guide the moments of reflection in the present tense.

In terms of photography, the director’s cut also tries to differ a lot from the previous version. Here, cinematographer Fabian Wagner strives to deliver a much desaturated color palette precisely to oppose the brighter colors of the cinemas cut. While this fits in with Snyder’s own filmography of working with this more stable color type, it also brings to mind Wagner’s previous work as in Game of Thrones. Still, his work isn’t as varied as what Larry Fong featured in BvS and Watchmen.

Fabian Wagner revamps the cup coloring system

The narrative itself maintains the same story base as the 2017 film (which was inspired by the New 52 Justice League). The whole search of the Steppe Wolf for the nursery boxes is maintained, the shadow of this invasion as an engine that shifts the recruitment of heroes and ultimately leads to the return of Superman. What differs is that the insertion of new scenes, both individual and collective, gives a greater sense of not only the three-dimensionality to the heroes and villains but also the idea that they are a team, with all its advantages and disadvantages.

And of course there are the nightmarish sequences, the famous Knightmare, still proposed in Batman vs Superman as a possible future in which Superman has lost humanity and rules what remains of Earth with an iron fist (in a hint evident to Injustice). They appear at very specific points in the plot, we see that their insertion has not been as dry and abrupt as in BvS, and it is thanks to them that the viewer has a better insight into the threat that is. Darkseid (in addition to conferring illustrious contributions from other DC Comics characters).

However, several moments from the 2017 film are present here, showing that this is not a completely new film, and should not be seen that way, but a new context much more faithful to the vision. of the director. There is an obvious decrease in comedic scenes and the withdrawal of others seen as more embarrassing and offensive, with these turning out to be studio-ordered.

Despite the same story, some scenes receive a new interpretation with additional materials

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is meant to be an epic, from its premise inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai to its climax involving the fight between the heroes and the steppe wolf and, in the meantime, exposure of the future dangers of Knightmare. . At the same time, he takes advantage of the quiet moments to personally work on his characters (most of whom lack previous solo adventures), thus raising the scale of personal drama of supporting characters as well, such as Lois Lane and Silas Stone. . Its four-hour duration is therefore almost a race against the director’s time to drive all of these goals to a conclusion.

It is worth saying that it actually offers a much more complete experience than that of 2017, with action sequences that end up being enhanced by an intense soundtrack combined with attempts to understand and support these individuals. ; something far proposed previously. In the microcosm of the DCEU, until it is officially completed by Warner, this film is undoubtedly a milestone.

For now, it is impossible to know the path that will be mapped out for the DCEU after Zack Snyder’s Justice League; whether it is final death or a second chance for this shared universe to be reborn and to exist in the sun. What you can emphasize is that it contextualizes your director’s vision for these characters and this overall story. This point of view is obviously open to criticism, but it is his, and inserting this element into any work produced is above all the ultimate goal of any artist.

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