paul’s review published on Letterboxd:
zack snyder’s masterstroke of superhero, comic book nonsense that has taken the world by storm and become a figure as big in today’s world as these heroes are in the world that snyder crafts. the film opens with a scream heard and felt throughout the world, a world that will mourn the death of their god. the world is now hurt, broken, and godless, and a godless world is vulnerable, and will have to rely on heroes to save them from their destruction. the heroes, though, are also broken. in zach snyder’s revision of the justice league, there is no artificial conflict, no brief banter between the group that ends in quirky irony; there is pain, trauma, emotion. to make a superhero humanistic is something rarely achieved, yet all of these characters serve as such powerful symbols for loss and grief. as the movie concludes, just before the credits roll, “for autumn” appears as a title card, reminding us of the loss that this director has been through. each of these characters suffer loss, each of them as fragile and frail as the next. it’s a tragedy of heroes; a symphony of anguish, never forged or unbelievable. the improvements between the theatrical cut and this cut are endless, it’s an enormously and impossibly better film, but what touched me the most, and perhaps the most significant change made, is the respect to the characters, especially victor, or cyborg. it often feels as if it is his movie. there is so much loss in his life, and unlike bruce wayne’s loss, we are basically witnessing it first hand and in “real time”. he grows more than any character has in a marvel movie, or a disney star wars movie, or any big budget blockbuster character since the prequels. his visions are telling, poetically dire, and in each of them, he sees himself pre-accident again. he is visibly uncomfortable in his body through so much of the film. his flashback scene (with his mother and his football stardom) is reminiscent of dr.manhattans in snyder’s watchmen. besides superman, he is probably the strongest of the group, yet at the same time, the most broken. he loses, and loses, and through that loss, learns. he grows to be comfortable in his body, reject that pre-accident life in a final vision (of his) that is so beautiful that it may be the pinnacle of the film. snyder is a blockbuster director, as clueless, apolitical, and pseudo-intellectual as he may seem, that knows what he’s doing. he understands 21st century philosophy, he understands the god vs. man story, he understands superheroes, he understands what makes a kick ass superhero movie, and he understands the visual medium. the visuals and color grading of his cut are immaculately better than before; nobody does stuff like rain, snow, slow motion, and large scale cgi action like him. his tonal competency, even with the few moments of comic relief from the flash (still drastically cut down from the god-awful irony of the theatrical) is so fine-tuned that this is still as morbid and hopeless as bvs throughout so much of the runtime. and those brief moments of hope breath so much light into the movie, audience, the characters, the world. this may be his magnum opus, like Lynch’s The Return (no i’m not calling a cbm lynchian or even saying that snyder is in the same realm as lynch, but just as far as length and configuration of ideas presented throughout each filmmakers career finally calibrated into one piece, that’s now they are similar). i sound like such a 12 year old in this and i’m so embarrassed but i’m not ashamed, i loved this movie.