Nerd heaven

Zack Snyder‘s Justice League - Detailed Analysis & Review (PART 2 OF 2)

October 18, 2021

In the second half of Zack Snyder's Justice League, the heroes attempt to bring Superman back from the dead using the alien "change machine" that is the mother box. Thy must confront Steppenwolf in his lair and come face to face with Darkseid. I delve deep into this movie, talking about the story and themes, and even share my thoughts on Jared Leto's Joker. Thins concludes my analysis of the Snyder Cut.

Transcript

 

Welcome to Nerd Heaven

I’m Adam David Collings, the author of Jewel of The Stars.

And I am a nerd.

 

This is episode 71 of the podcast.

Today, we’re continuing our coverage of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

 

We pick up at the beginning of the second disc with

 

Part 5

All the King’s Horses

 

With good reason to revive him, and a solid way to do it, they dig up Clark’s body.

Dianna is amazed to find herself working with an Atlantean, or at least, a half Atlantean. It’s been thousands of years since their people have spoken. I think she also mentions that actively fought a war with one another. I’d love to know the history of this. What was their conflict about? What precipitated it and how was it resolved? Did this war take place before the Atlanteans went below the ocean, or before?

 

Arthur says he hates the Atlanteans as much as the amazons do. Admittedly, he doesn’t know much about them. Right now, to him, they’re just the people who killed his mother.

 

But Dianna and Arthur discover that both of their people have a common saying.

 

Atlantis and Thymascyra both have a saying.

“None are taken back from the darkness. Not without giving up one in return.”

Well, that’s some common ground. But more than that, to me, it suggests a shared history, perhaps a time when these two powerful races tried to cheat death and it went horribly wrong.

 

And we get confirmation of Dianna’s age, which I’ve been wondering for some time. 5,000. This means that Zeus created her around 3000 BC. This was the beginning of what is called the Helladic period in Greece. It was also the bronze age. It was around this time when construction of StoneHenge began. The ancient city of Troy was founded around this time, which is famous in Greek mythology. So this was the time, in the DC universe, when the Greek gods, whatever they were, were walking the Earth. The time of Darkseid’s invasion of earth also seems to be dated at 3,000 BC, which makes me think that Zeus made the decision to create the ‘god killer’, that is, Wonder Woman, in response to the invasion from Darkseid and his ‘new gods’. We’re told in the Wonder Woman movie that she was created to destroy Ares, but I suspect Darkseid had at least something to do with it as well.

 

We also learn that Barry is interested in Dianna. Which isn’t overly surprising, considering he’s a young man and she’s an attractive woman. But given their multi-milennia age difference, I don’t think they’re overly compatible.

 

So Bruce’s plan is to take Superman’s body to the Kryptonian scout ship and use the mother box. 

Lex Luthor also tried to revive a dead Kryptonian in the genesis chamber of that ship, and we know how that turned out. What could possibly go wrong?

Alfred is skeptical about this. Perhaps even against it.

“You did it,” he says. “You put the team together to fight the war. You have fulfilled your promise. But to do this. Your guilt has overcome your reason.”

 

And then he makes reference to that line from humpty dumpty. All the king’s horses. And we all know how it goes. They couldn’t put him back together again. What makes Bruce think he can put Superman back together again?”

 

And this is when we get a very interesting line from Bruce. “I’m acting on faith. Not reason.”

This is a bit of a theme with Bruce’s character in this movie. Bruce is learning to adopt a mindset of faith. It’s the only way he can see out of this whole situation. And the movie portrays this in a generally positive light. You don’t often see that. I kinda liked that.

 

Of course, faith doesn’t always mean an absence of reason. Those two generally work best together. But Bruce isn’t operating out of a blind faith without reason. He’s actually got a well-reasoned argument about why he can and should attempt this. But reason alone can’t give him a definitive answer as to whether it’s the right call. To go that extra step, he’s going to have to rely on faith.

 

And then Alfred says “If you can’t bring down the charging bull, don’t wave the rep cape at it.”

And that’s an interesting line. I think Alfred is concerned that bringing Superman into the equation might make things worse. It will introduce an uncertain element into the whole situation.

 

But Bruce counters with “This red cape charges back.”

Which is also true. That’s why they want to do this, because Superman may be the only one strong enough to actually defeat Steppenwolf.

 

“Yes, but what if it doesn’t work?” Alfred asks. There is danger in this.

Alfred sounds a legitimate caution here.

It’s a wonderful exchange between two people expressing valid points of view.

 

Alfred’s dialog is so good in this version. The whole exchange is so much better than the equivalent scene in the theatrical cut.

 

All of Alfred’s dialog is infinitely better in this version of the movie.

 

Some cool music as they get ready to put their plan into action.

This is a good midpoint. We’re seeing some very solid story structure here.

The protagonists are no longer just reacting to all that has happened since Steppenwolf arrived in Themyscira. Now, they’re actively going on offensive with a plan. This is the turning point that makes the middle of a story feel satisfying. It re-energises us for the second half.

 

The first step of their plan involves breaking into the scout ship, which is under very strict controls by the US military.

 

Barry tries to play the part of a military officer driving the truck, but nearly blows it with his “aye aye”. And then his card doesn’t work.

Cyborg fixes it with his magical hacking abilities, but they were very lucky to have gotten in.

Especially when Barry is surprised to get admitted.

Honestly, they should probably have been detained for further investigation.

 

Silas has just been released from quarantine, having been exposed to aliens and their technology.

Now he has a plan as well. He knows the aliens out there are after the box. He’s gonna do something about it.

 

Victor creates a false bio hazard to clear the entire facility.

 

Silas knows it’s a false alarm. But in a situation like this, you don’t take chances. I’ve been a fire warden in the past. When you have an alarm. You ALWAYS treat it as if it’s real.

 

The Justice League break in. All suited up.

 

Silas confirms the alarm was false. He knows it was a hack.

 

Then he sees the justice league. His son, centre among them.

He knows victor was the one who hacked in.

So he changes his tune. He doesn’t know what his son is up to, but it’s his son. There’s an inherent trust there. This is another example of faith. The value of faith is all about what, or who, you’re putting your faith in. Silas knows and loves his son, so he’s willing to trust him, even without knowing what Victor is up to. He lets him do what he’s doing.

There’s a little nod of appreciation between them. It’s very subtle, and yet so powerful. Just that little move of the head evokes a lot of emotion in me.

 

There are dead bodies in sleep chambers on the scout ship. Ancient kryptonian space explorers. What I’d give to know their stories. The ship knows Clark is here. Different suits open up for him to make use of.

 

Arthur is hesitant about this.

 

We don’t get the Man of Steel theme here, as we did in the theatrical cut, but we’ve had it other places.

 

It’s early morning and Lois wakes up. There’s that little moment when she realises anew that she’s alone. That must be heartbreaking. 

Here we get the quiet Man of Steel music. Not the Superman / Krypton theme. A different music. The piece they play on the piano. I think of it as the emotional music. It was often used thematically for Clark’s relationship with his earthly parents, or with Lois. It’s very fitting here. 

Lois pulls out her press pass. She’s going to get on with her life.

But we see a pregnancy test.

So...is she pregnant? We don’t see the result, but I believe that Zack Snyder has confirmed that yes, Lois is pregnant. Ultimately, you’re not likely to keep a negative pregnancy test in your drawer, right? You throw it in the bin.

 

There’s a photo of Jonathan in Clark’s coffin. That’s a nice touch.

It’s fitting that he’s here with his son at this moment, saying goodbye, as the son goes back and the father moves forward.

 

Interestingly, there was a scene in the comics that played out the opposite. Jonathan was having a heart attack. He had a touching moment with Clark, who was heading off into the afterlife, while Jonathan was pulled back into the land of the living by his doctors.

 

Should Clark’s body have started to decompose by now? I’m not sure. How quickly does a human body decay? If he were human, he probably should look pretty gross right now, but he’s not. There’s something about his body here on earth that won’t quite give up.

 

Luthor’s experiment damaged the systems. There’s not enough power left in the genesis chamber to activate the mother box.

I was surprised that they included this scene with flash running past to wake the box with electrical charge. I had assumed, back in the day, that this was a Whedon addition.

But even this moment seems more meaningful, because it shows that Barry can do funny things to time. That will become important later on.

 

Lois gets her normal coffee.

She tells the policeman that she’s here one last time. She’s later than normal.

This is her final goodbye. She’s letting go, and moving on.

It doesn’t mean she’ll never come to Superman’s monument again, but she’s no longer going to make it a daily routine. She’s going to stop existing in her grief and start living her life again.

 

It’s interesting that she finally manages to do this just before getting Clark back again.

 

I’m not sure the whole box drop thing makes a lot of sense. How does one operate the change machine and tell it what you want it to do? It must have some kind of user-interface. We know it has something of a mind of its own, but they are using it to do something very specific. How are they feeding it instructions? There’s gotta be more to it than just letting it touch the water that Clark is in.

 

I kind of wish they’d explored all of this a bit more. There’s a complex interaction between the genesis chamber and the mother box in order to bring Clark back to life, but we really don’t understand how it all works.

 

Interestingly, this means that Darkseid’s race have the technology to bring back the dead. But maybe it can only do this in combination with kryptonian tech.

 

As Barry runs at super speed, somebody has a vision. Logically, you would think it’s Barry having this vision, since he’s the one doing the running, but it appears later that it’s actually Victor having the vision.

 

Anyway, things get weird with time, and we see a flash forward into the future.

Dianna  is dead.

Darkseid is on earth

But it’s not the Earth we know. It’s all been changed.

There are spaceships in the sky.

The Amazons are grieving.

 

This is when we see Darkseid using his omega beams to kill some Atlanteans.

A lot of fans got very excited when they saw the omega beams in the trailer. I wasn’t familiar enough with Darkseid to understand the significance.

They’re basically like Kryptonian heat vision, except they can turn corners. Darkseid can control their vector and re-direct them at will, making them pretty darn scary.

 

Next, we see Superman in a black suit grieving while holding a skeleton, and darkseid touching his shoulder. I’m going to talk about this at the end, when we get to the epilogue.

 

We see a Hall of Justice sign broken, and a destroyed landscape.

It’s all very dystopian and clearly is showing a future where Darkseid has won.

 

The box touches the water, but it’s too soon. They’ve failed. The box isn’t yet powered.

But Barry is doing time whimey stuff.

Time reverses.

The box goes up, as the photo bobs in the water.

Flash touches the box at just the right moment.

Power goes into the box as it touches the water.

The change machine does its thing.

 

This was a nice little way to add some extra tension to this whole scene. And it again reinforces Barry’s ability to reverse time.

 

I can see why Joss Whedon cut this. It’s an extra complication that you can remove, and the story still works. This is the kind of thing that you might delete when you’re editing a story, trying to shorten it, and looking for non-essential moments you can cut.

And that was the task he was given by Warner Bros. I disagree with Warner Bros’ brief, and I’m glad Zack put this back in, but I understand, from Joss’s point of view, why he did this. It’s an editing decision. In the writing world, we call it killing your darlings.

 

We’re told that the future has taken root in the present. But what does that mean? Does that mean the vision Victor just saw is now going to be an inescapable reality? Very possibly. Because as we’ll see, Superman is an essential part of that future.

 

Outside, water spurts out of the ship’s roof. The mother box crashes from the sky onto a car.

 

Superman is in the sky. Lois sees him. So does the policeman.

He draws his gun. Who is this? It can’t be Superman, he’s dead. Therefore, it could be a threat. Lois knows. She’d know him anywhere. But all the cop ses is a silhouette.

 

Clark lands at the broken monument.

This scene is another great example of having the same scene in two different movies, but it’s playing out so much better in one of them.

Everything here is interpreted differently. Better.

It has better music, better shots, better writing.

 

Clark looks at the monument, coming to terms with who he is and what happened to him. But he’s still not quite himself yet.

 

The way the battle starts is pretty much the same. Cyborg can’t control his automated defensive systems when Clark scans them.

Clark identifies threats from all of them.

 

Victor forms a weapon when he senses danger. He can’t control it.

 

Clark retaliates with heat vision, which Victor’s suit can repel.

 

Clark is confused. He doesn’t know who he is.

 

This scene plays move dangerously

Dianna’s lasso has power over him.

She uses it to help him remember who he is. He uses his strength to get out of it. But I think this has started something. This is what begins the process of him remembering who he really is.

Even the scene when Barry realises that superman is fast like him and can see him running at super speed in real time, plays more creepy than funny in this version. I like it.

 

I put myself in Barry’s shoes and I feel scared as hell in that moment.

 

This is an awesome fight sequence.

Why didn’t I feel that way in the other version? I think it’s a Combination of many factors.

Music, direction, colour grading, just the overall tone of it all.

The military have arrived to try to contain Superman. But of course they can’t.

 

Batman finally arrives. He can’t get there as quickly as the others . Some nice realism that we also saw in the other version.

 

Something in Clark recognises Batman. That guy who tried to kill him in another life.

 

He makes short work of victor who is just a minor obstacle to him.

They’re all just minor obstacles.

Maybe except Dianna.

 

But even she can’t quite compete with his raw strength.

 

He hovers over Bruce. It’s a dramatic moment.

This time around, there are no stupid jokes making fun of BVS. Man, I hated that!

 

Lucky Bruce has those kryptonian gauntlets. It’s the only way he survives the heat vision.

He says “Clark no. This world needs you.”

 

Lois arrives, not because Bruce called him, but because she was nearby already. In the theatrical version, this was the explanation for Barry’s “Lois Lane is the key” line in BVS. I always believed this was a retcon, that Zack had something else in mind. And we’ll talk about this more later on as well.

 

When Clark sees Lois, something clicks.

He knows her. He loved her.

 

And in a way ,that somehow doesn’t feel cheesy, the power of love breaks through his confusion.

He doesn’t remember it all yet, but he knows this feeling. This woman means everything to him. He would never let harm come to her. He is gentle with her. Together the two of them fly off.

 

Flash’s “I’m so sorry” is a slightly comedic moment, but unlike the “definately bleeding” it makes sense for the character in this situation.

 

Now we get to the very emotional heart of the movie. This is why Zack said that Cyborg was the heart of his movie.

Silas gets the box and runs into the ship. Remember, he still has his plan.

But Steppenwolf shows up. He’s found the box. He’s coming for it. Silas doesn’t have much time.

 

This is dramatic, scary and thrilling.

 

It feels dangerous and scary as Steppenwolf breaks in and enters. Such a huge guy. My son said “look, it’s Satan”

I’d be scared.

This version of Steppenwolf sure is intimidating.

 

Victor realises what Silas is doing.

He screams “No” as Silas activates a laser, shooting at the box.

And Silas disintegrates, sacrificing his life for his son.

Man, there’s some powerful emotion in this scene. Victor was just starting to forgive his father, and he loses him.

 

Remember that saying that the Atlanteans and Amazons share? I wonder if Silas was the one given up in return from bringing back Superman from the darkness.

 

“I didn’t save him. I couldn’t.” This actually echo’s Superman’s words from 1978’s Superman: The Movie, when he couldn’t save his father. “All those powers, and I couldn’t save him.”

 

Arthur says, “His father is dead because of us. I told you waking that box was a bad idea.

Whatever returned isn’t superman. His body and powers, but not him.”

 

Bruce argues, “It is him. He recognised Lois Lane.”

“Only because she wasn’t afraid of him. That was just instinct.”

These are all valid opinions, considering evidence.

 

Now Steppenwolf has all 3 boxes. He can syncronise then and form unity. Once he does that, the planet dies.

 

Victor realises something.

Silas wasn’t trying to destroy the box. He was trying to superheat it.

He was marking it so that the league could find it in the world. The core of that box is now the hottest thing on earth.

Part 6

Something darker.

 

Clark and Lois arrive at the Kent farm.

This version lets us see some of Clark’s journey to remembering who he is.

He remembers his childhood house.

 

The theatrical version didn’t let us see any of this. He recovered off screen. That was terrible.

Lois and Clark get to have some quiet scenes, just talking. 

“She loved it here.” he says of his mother. He IS remembering.

Family. Who he loves most. That’s what is in his memory the most.

He loved it here too.

This all makes perfect sense.

We get that emotional music from Man of Steel again.

 

We See the childhood swing.

It’s a beautiful quiet scene.

 

Then we get the arrival at the batcave.

Flash is still annoyingly enthusiastic, but nowhere near as annoying as in the theatrical version. This version plays out Much much better.

I love Alfred’s reaction to seeing Cyborg.

 

I love his reaction to seeing all of them. 

“Well, I’ll put on the tea,” he says. What a great reaction.

 

They find where Steppenwolf is hiding. Nobody will go there. It’s the site of a disaster. But he’s absorbed all the radiation to power the boxes.

 

Victor has a plan. He wants to plug into the unity. Hack into it and break it apart back into 3.

Dianna cautions him. “The boxes are world destroyers, Billions of years old. You’ll have to stream into the unit. It’ll find your weakness and destroy you.”

“I’ve got nothing left.” That’s a hard truth, but it motivates him.

“You want me to use these gifts right?”

Barry says we do it, but we gotta get in somehow.

 

And he says that line we all know from the trailer. “He would have fought superbeings on the other worlds he’s conquered, and we have to assume he’s won”

And Batman says, “He’s never fought us. Not us united.”

It’s an awesome exchange.

 

I love how this movie gives all the characters a reason to be in it. An important part in the plan. Especially Victor and Flash, who had no real reason to exist in the theatrical cut at all.

 

Clark notices the engagement ring on Lois’s finger. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he says.

He’s fully back now. Standing in the early morning sun in the corn field.

So I guess they’re engaged. Woohoo.

I love how she put on the ring after he died, accepting his proposal in her heart, even though he was gone.

 

“I’ve got a second chance Lo. I’m not gonna waste it.”

Clark’s hope is restored. He nearly lost it in Batman V Superman, with all that Lex put him through. But now we pay that off. That’s how story arcs work.

 

A ute pulls up. It’s Martha. The real Martha arrives.

Imagine this moment. Your son, who was dead, is alive again. Imagine seeing him for the first time.

I can’t help but get Mary and Jesus vibes from this. The Bible doesn’t exactly show the moment of their reunion, but we know it would have happened, as she’s among the disciples at the beginning of the books of Acts. Just imagine the emotion of that moment. It would be too good to be true. And yet it is. I can’t even imagine that feeling.

 

Clark says “they wanted me back for a reason. I Have to find out why.”

He wants to stay here with his loved ones, but has to help.

 

Dianna and Bruce have a fascinating exchange.

He admits he had a dream - a vision of the future.

It was the end of the world. Barry Allen was right here. He said “Lois Lane is the key.”

“She is,” Dianna says. “To superman. Every heart has one.”

Dianna, here, is explaining the Joss Whedon interpretation of that prophecy. Lois was the key to getting Superman to become himself again after reviving.

But Bruce doesn’t buy it. “No. I think it’s something more. Something darker.” This line almost feels like a poke at joss version. I wonder if this was one of the re-shot scenes. It proves that Zack had more in mind for that whole thing than what we saw  in the theatrical cut.

 

Victor has the troop carrier plane working. Just like he said he could.

Alfred had said earlier that there was no chance in hell they could get it flying.  Which just shows Victor’s incredible power over technology.

 

It’s a cool looking thing.

They get in. They have a good reason to go to Stepppenwolf’s lair in this version.

 

Bruce says to Alfred, “He’ll be here, I know it.”

Obviously talking about Superman.

 

“What makes you think so?” Alfred asks.

“Faith, Alfred.”

I love the continuing focus on faith in Bruce’s arc here.

In this case, I think Bruce has some reason to have faith in Superman, because he knows Superman’s character. He’s seen it.

 

We see Steppenwolf combining the boxes into the unity.

It’s time to prepare for his arrival. He says “My redemption is nigh.”

 

The boxes are fusing together. The unity is coming. There’s not much time.

And then, it’s done. The unity has been formed. The amazons see it.

All over the world it’s seen and heard

I’m not sure of the logistics of that, but it’s cool.

 

So here’s the plan

First, Batman needs to take out the tower. Then, the defensive dome will fall. With the dome down, they can get to unity. Barry will make a power surge from running fast. He’ll make physical contact with Victor. That should propel him into the unity.

Again, I’m not sure how they came up with all this.

 

Clark is back in the scout ship. Searching for answers.

We hear clips of his father’s voice. Jor-el. He talks of hope. Goodness. Kal-el was sent here for a reason. And Jonathan too. Motivating words from both his fathers. When you hear all these soundbites together, you realise just how positive and inspirational Man of Steel actually was. A lot of people just don’t see that.

Various suits emerge for him to choose from.

In a sense, this is the moment Clark fully and truly becomes Superman.

All this time, he’s been trying to find himself, to understand who and what he is. He’s been trying to live up to the expectations of two fathers, and those of the world.

But he’s been through the fire. Now he truly understands how to be a symbol of hope.

And he emerges in the black suit. 

I Love it.

It was important to see Superman in the black suit after he rose from the dead. It’s an important link to what is arguably the most iconic story from all of DC comics.

 

But why did he choose this suit?

In the comic, the black suit had a practical purpose.

Not so much here. It’s a nice callback to the comics, but would have been nice to give a  reason.

 

And now, we hear Jor-El and Jonathan saying new things. These are not clips from previous movies. This is new dialog. And it fruits beautifully with Superman’s new sense of hope.

We get a full on rendition of the Superman theme from Man of Steel. It’s such an awesome scene. A very emotional pay-off to the last two movies. I Love it as a big Man of Steel fan.

 

The Justice League prepares for battle as hard rock music plays.

Thankfully, there are no stupid gags about Arthur sitting on the lasoo this time around.

 

There’s a great shot of them walking out of the plane.

 

Bruce drops the others  off to do their bit. He’s gonna take down the tower with the plane’s weapons.

 

He manages to blast his way through the forcefield. Once in, he takes out the tower with missiles. The forcefield dome is down.

Steppenwolf sends the parademons to defend the unity.

 

Bruce, Dianna and Arthur are here to get Barry and victor to the unity. 

Bruce takes the batmobile out of the plane. Armed with machine guns. I Love it. That’s the batman we need in this story.

 

The Parademons are shooting lasters. The theatrical version added a red sky for some reason. Doesn’t make sense now the dome is down.

 

Bruce can’t win this fight alone against the parademons. He needs the rest of the league to help him.

 

This cut of the film still has the silly scene with Arthur standing on the Batmobile and then flying into the air. I really wasn’t expecting to see this sequence in the Snyder Cut.

It plays a bit better because the music makes it feel more serious.

But it still comes across as silly to me.

I still don’t like his cry of joy. He’s having too much fun for the situation he’s in.

And him sky surfing the body of a parademon is also silly. 

Arthur can’t fly. He’s way too comfortable up in the sky.

 

But, it still plays better than in the theatrical cut.

I find myself more forgiving of it because of the rest of the awesomeness and overall tone

 

We cut back to Alfred. Superman arrives in the black suit.

“I’m assuming you’re Alfred.”

“Master Kent. He said you’d come. Now let’s hope you’re not too late.”

Afred can fill him in on the details. Where he needs to be and what he needs to do.

 

The league have gotten through the parademons. Now they’re in the chamber with Steppenwolf.

 

I’m not sure what the shockwave thing is that happens when Arthur plunges his trident into the ground. There’s a lot of random magic associated with melee weapons in this movie. It’s all very loosey-goosey. I don’t mind magic, in fact, I like magic, but I prefer a hard magic system. Something that has understandable rules, cause and effect.

 

Steppenwolf tries to play mind games with Dianna. And I like this. His power isn’t just all brute strength. He uses his mind to attack Dianna psychologically. Probably because he knows she’s the one among them that can come close to threatening him physically. “You betrayed your sisters. You weren’t there to protect them from me and sadly you could have.”

That’s gotta hurt. Because it’s true.

Dianna is the most powerful of her people.

She’s the god killer, and Steppenwolf sees himself as a god. He’s like the old gods, Zeus and Ares. Dianna was created to defeat beings like him.

But she was off in Paris.

 

Victor is in position and Barry is building up speed to “push” victor into the unity.

Not sure it makes sense but it’s cool.

These guys are central to the plan in this version. In the previous version, they both might as well have not been there.

 

But Barry is too late. Before he’s built enough speed, Steppenwolf gets to Victor and pulls him away.

They’re all fighting him, but clearly struggling against him.

 

Steppenwolf is still playing mind games. “I watched your island burn. I heard them begging for their lives.”

Now he’s adding lies to the truth to make it seem worse.

 

Bruce is still outside taking care of the parademons. 

Barry is up to speed but has to wait for Victor to be in position. He can’t keep it up much longer. Finally, he’s in position, But Steppenwolf arrives again.

 

“For Darkseid,” he says. He’s about to kill Victor with his axe.

That’s when Superman arrives and stands in the way.

“Not impressed.”

And man. Superman is awesome in this, like we’ve never seen him before.

He’s no joke.

We’ve established how powerful and scary Steppenwolf is. 

Now, we show that Superman can stand up to him. Now Steppenwolf is on the defensive.

The axe shatters.

 

Honestly, I would have been more impressed by the destruction of the axe if I had been impressed by the axe in the first place.

 

Steppenwolf is no match for superman.

Superman cuts his horn off. I liked that.

Victor is finally ready,

But that’s when the parademon shoots Barry with the laser. Now he’s lost all that speed he built up.

This is great. It reminds me of the climax of a Back To The Future movie, where everything keeps going wrong, and keeps you on the edge of your sea.

And Barry is injured. He says he got the wind knocked out of him. But honestly, he needs more than the few seconds he asks for.

Barry’s side is on fire.

 

And then the unity forms. Ah crap

 

A Wormhole opens to Apocolips. Darkseid watches on.

The unity is fully formed.

It’s too late.

 

The unity sends out a wave to destroy the Earth and transform it into the apocalyptic future we’ve seen. That vision is coming true.

 

Barry’s side heals. He heals quickly because of this super fast metabolism. Or something like that.

He hasn’t given up. This isn’t the first time Barry has failed because he was too late. But that’s not gonna stop him. He just has to go faster than the speed of light.

 

It IS too late, but Barry is a speedster. He can travel through time.

This is the moment when Barry fulfils his arc. He speaks to his dad.  He becomes what his dad always wanted him to be. One of the best of the best. It’s not a huge arc, but it’s a heck of a lot more than what we got in the previous version.

 

The whole thing of him running in space is very poetic. I’m not sure how to interpret it, but he’s running ahead of the terraforming wave. The world is being destroyed around him, but he keeps running on.

And so Barry finally gets to be the hero, not just a stupid joke.

Now he’s turning back time. We see Superman, Victor, all their bodies re-form.

Very much like Superman turning back time in the 1978 movie, but makes a little more sense here. At least he’s not just reversing the direction of the Earth’s rotation.

 

Victor is now in the unity.

But it’s messing with him.

It shows him his family. He sees himself without the cyborg parts.

This is what he wanted. To be whole, with living parents.

The unity is trying to tempt him.

There’s a clear alien intelligence behind and within this unknowable thing.

 

But Victor fulfills his character arc, when he says “I’m not broken. And I’m not alone.”

 

This is an interesting statement, because in a way, he is broken. His body has been broken, and there are things that he has lost, that he’ll never get back again. But his new situation also gives him other new experiences he never could have had as a pure human.

 

At the start of the movie, Victor saw his cyborg body as a curse. Dianna tried to convince him to see it as a blessing.

In reality, it’s kind of both, but far better to focus on the blessing.

 

Victor has found the strength of character to reject what the unity is offering.

 

He pulls apart the boxes. He sees them as living beings. Maybe they are. It’s all very alien and spooky. I love it.

It seems this act requires not only mental strength, which he has, but physical strength as well. Superman helps him break apart the boxes. The unity is unmade.

 

But the wormhole is still there.

 

Darkseid watches as Arthur stabs step and sends him through hole. 

And at the last moment, Dianna gets her revenge by chopping off his head.

He kinda deserved that

We see how little Darkseid cares about his uncle, As he crushes his skull under foot.

 

Desaad says “I told you Steppenwolf would fail. Now that the mother boxes have been destroyed. How will you retrieve your great prize?”

 

Darkseid says “Anti-life is found and we will stop at nothing to get it. Ready the Armada. we  will use the old ways.”

So….darkseid is bringing an invasion fleet to earth.

This sets up the promise of even bigger things in the Justice League Sequels that would have been.

It’s fantastic.

 

There’s a character seen in the background here called “Granny Goodness”. This is another one that die-hard comic book fans were very excited to see. I know nothing about her, but after a quick google, it sounds like she’s a potentially interesting character - despite her absurdly ridiculous name.

 

So...it’s over.

The league have saved the world. And we see them all together, superman included, in an awesome heroic pose.

 

The music swells. It’s very cool. Very heroic. Very hopeful.

 

I wasn’t actually expecting this. I was half expecting that the league would fail. That Steppenwolf would succeed. That Darkseid would come to Earth and corrupt Superman, and that this movie would end with the creation of the knightmare future, ending on a massive cliffhanger.

 

Given the unlikelihood that we’ll get any sequels to this movie, I’m kinda glad it didn’t go that way, because at least we get something of a satisfying conclusion, but also with the promise that there was more epic story to come.

And that brings us to...

 

Epilogue

A father Twice Over.

 

This movie has a very extended epilogue.

Some of it, we’ve seen in the theatrical version. Some of it, we’ve seen in a very different form, and some is brand new. In fact, I believe most of the new scenes that Zack shot for this cut take place in this epilogue.

I like a good epilogue that gives us some closure for the characters.

 

So Victor reforms the tape recorder. That’s a neat trick.

He listens to the words his father wanted to share.

“Speaking as a father….” he says. This is the bit where Victor tunes out last time.

“I brought you into the world and back into it. You can’t imagine how proud I am. Have always been. I wasted years, so many wrongs I’ve left un-righted.”

It’s nice to see this closure for Victor’s relationship with his Dad. I see them as fully reconciled at this point. It’s just a shame Silas didn’t live to fully see things repaired with his son.

 

Then there’s a great scene with Arthur. Victor’s experience with his dad has inspired Arthur to go see his own father. It’s been a long time. This leads very nicely into the beginning of the Aquaman movie.

 

He’s still drinking, showing he’s still not entirely sure who he is yet, but he’s on a journey to figure it out.

 

Bruce decides to put a big round table in Wayne Manor. With room for more, hinting at a growing Justice League.

 

Barry shows his dad he’s pursuing his real dreams. He’s got a job in a crime lab.

I love his dad’s proud laughter.

This time, the scene really hits me in the heart, because we had build up toward it.

 

Bruce says congratulations to Clark. Implying the pregnancy. So I think we can officially say it’s canon.

 

Victor takes his place as cyborg, but doesn’t change his suit into the cartoon version. He stays with the more alien looking version for the movie. Honestly, that other suit was not necessary. I kinda felt the same way when Arthur finally put on the more traditional suit in the Aquaman movie. Not necessary.

 

We see Bruce standing on an epic looking machine.

And Dianna holds the arrow. Is she going back to see her people? I suspect so.

 

And then we see Clark Kent is back. With no explanation. I don’t like this.

The big difficulty with Superman’s death and resurrection is bringing back Clark. How oddly convenient that Clark Kent is unexpectedly alive after all, just after Superman returns from the dead.

The thing is, the comic book explains this quite nicely. And it would have been so easy to do the same thing here. In the comics, Supergirl was not actually a Krpytonian, but a shapeshifter. She took on the appearance of Superman and “discovered” Clark buried in the rubble from the battle with Doomsday. News cameras watched as Superman flew Kent to hospital.

We don’t have Supergirl in this movie universe yet, but we have Martian Manhunter, who could have actually used his shapeshifting powers for something useful to the story here. It seems such a missed opportunity that they didn’t do this.

Anyway, Clark pulls his shirt open, in a very Christopher Reeve kind way, revealing the Black suit. So...we have confirmation he’s still wearing the black suit.

 

Lex Luthor escapes from arkham. We’ve seen this before, in an after-credit scene of the theatrical cut, although this might be slightly extended. The cackling laughter of the stand in tricking the guards is fitting. 

During this, we hear the Luther music from BVS

This plays much more dramatic and dangerous.

 

Now we get deathstroke’s arrival at lex’s boat. But this is surprisingly, a completely different scene. The conversation is completely different, which fascinates me.

This isn’t about the formation of a legion of doom. 

Deathstroke has offered to kill Batman for free. It’s personal. Something to do with his missing eye.

Lex has a lot to live for, and important things to do, But he wants Batman taken out.

And Lex gives Deathstroke Bruce’s name.

Deathstroke is very happy to hear that.

This would have led into the Batman movie that Ben affleck originally planned to star in, and direct. I’m so sad we never got that. Seeing this scene now, It would have been a significant part of  the Synder-driven DC extended universe.

 

Then we get the really new stuff.

It’s another vision of the nightmare future.

Spaceships hover over the desolated landscape. Bruce has the trench coat and goggles like in BVS.

Victor is with him.

So is Mera and Deathstroke

Mera is not happy. She wants violent revenge against someone for what he did to Arthur. So Arthur is dead. 

There is a plan and Bruce wants to stick with it, not give in to revenge.

The Flash is here too, looking very much like his dishevelled appearance in Batman V Superman.

Mera asks Batman, who have you ever loved?

 

That’s when we hear the laugh. And we know immediately who that is!

The Joker!!!! WOO HOOOOOOO

So, I guess Batman’s arch nemesis is the latest member of this rag-tag Justice League. 

Let me just say that I have always liked Jared Leto’s Joker. He is extremely underrated. I liked the direction David Ayer took him in Suicide Squad. We’d just come off the Dark Knight Trilogy, which featured the unforgettable performance of Heath Ledger. The way I see it, Ledger and Nolan created the ultimate portrayal of a more traditional-looking Joker. If Ayer had gone a similar route, it would have come across as a cheap copy. Instead, Ayer drastically re-imagined the character, completed with tattoos and dodgy-looking fillings in his teeth. It was new and refreshing. It was different. And I think Leto imbued the character with the spirit of The Joker.

 

And what Leto and Synder do here only builds on what was done in Suicide Squad and make it even better. His performance here is nothing short of staggering. It’s chilling and creepy. Everything that I want from the Joker.

 

So the Joker informs Mera that Batman knows what it’s like to lose someone he loves. Like a father and mother.

Bruce warns him to be careful.

“How many can die in your arms, how many dead eyes can you look into before you die inside yourself?”

He says “You won’t kill me, I’m your best friend.” Which is a very interesting statement, and I think it encapsulates how the Joker views their relationship. The Joker is here to help what’s left of the league.

“You need me to help you undo this world you created by letting her die. Poor Lois.

How many timelines do you destroy the world because you don’t have the cojones to die yourself?”

 

So this explains a lot. Lois Lane is dead. And Bruce allowed her to die, or in some way, failed to save her. This explains Superman’s rage against Bruce in the knightmare vision from BVS. It explains why Superman says to Bruce “She was my world,” before killing him.

 

The Joker gives Bruce a truce. As long as he has the card, they’re allies.

He talks about how Batman sent  a boy wonder to do a man’s job. Reminding how he killed robin, which we already knew about from BVS.

 

But Batman has a comeback. “When I held Harley Quinn dying, she begged me with her last breath, that when I kill you, I’ll make it slow.” He’s going to honour that promise.

 

That nearly undoes the joker. He still had feelings (twisted as they were) for Harley.

“You’re good,” he says. Bruce almost had him. Almost manipulated him like he manipulates Bruce.

 

One of  them, I think it was Deathstroke, asks “Still think it was a good idea bringing him along?”

 

I Wonder what they need him for. It’s very telling that things are so separate they’d work with the Joker.

 

And then the villain arrives. The one they’ve been waiting for. The one Mera wants so desperately to kill for what he did to Arthur.

Their enemy that they want revenge against is none other than Superman.

Superman with red eyes.

 

This whole concept has been generating controversy for years. I mean, we saw evil Superman back in BVS.

 

Some find it impossible to accept that Superman would turn to the Dark Side, so to speak, just because of the pain from the death of Lois Lane. Because he is a beacon of all that is good. He’s too good to become evil, even with that grief.

But these people are missing half the story.

It’s not just the death of Lois.

Remember that anti-life equation? Long before this movie even came out, Zack Snyder confirmed that Superman was going to succumb to the anti-life equation. This thing allows Darkseid to bend the will of others.

 

It’s actually very telling of Superman’s extreme goodness that he was able to resist the anti-life equation. No, it took the death of his beloved wife, Lois, to weaken him so, that he would succumb to the anti-life equation - something that probably anyone else would have succumbed to straight away.

 

So far from portraying Superman as morally weak, I think this whole thing paints him as incredibly strong, morally. But not infinitely perfect. Because he’s still a person.

This is the Superman for me.

 

Now Bruce wakes up.

This was his vision.

What caused it? We don’t know. I had always assumed that the vision in BVS was caused by The Flash trying to send a message back through time to him.

But there seems to be no outside influence at work here.

 

But this explains the “something darker” that Bruce was talking about. Now we understand a lot more. Now we know exactly why Lois Lane was the key.

 

Martian Manhunter arrives to talk.

Bruce sees this green-skinned alien hovering in the air, and just says

“Can I help you?”

I love that response. He’s seen so much now that nothing much surprises him.

 

Martian MAnhunter explains that Darkseid is not finished. “Anti life is here somewhere. We Have to find it before he does. War is coming.” There’s actually a lot we still don’t know about anti-life. We only know that it’s on earth, and that Steppenwolf somehow discovered it.

“I’m here to help,” Martian Manhunter says. He’s finally realised he has a stake in this world and it’s time he started fighting for it.”

Why did it take him so long? I have no idea. He was helping in his own way, as a member of the US military, but not fully using his gifts. Maybe he was afraid to reveal himself, and had to be inspired by Superman’s example.

 

Of course, this was supposed to be John Stewart Green Lantern, but Warner Bros wouldn’t let Zack use the character, because they thought it would conflict, somehow, with the TV show that Geoff Johns wanted to make. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but whatever.

 

Anyway, he acknowledges that the heroes wouldn’t have come together without Bruce. 

His parents would have been proud.

 

The movie ends as Martian Manhunter says he’ll be in touch, and flies away.

And then we get those special words appear on screen.

FOR AUTUMN

 

This movie was dedicated to the beloved daughter that Zack lost while he was making it.

 

And as the credits roll, we hear the song Hallelujah, sung by a female vocalist.

 

This was Autumn's favourite song, and this arrangement, I believe, was performed at her funeral.

 

The performance of this song is heart-wrenching. Especially given the connection it has to Autumn. I sat through the whole song and it moved me powerfully.

There’s one moment when all the music stops, and it’s just the singer. And she’s singing with such emotion, well I don’t have any words for it.

 

But I thought this was a beautiful way to end the film. 

In a way, Zack Snyder films are all about showing us how in real life, joy and pain go hand in hand. He understands that because he’s lived it. And despite it all, he still comes across as a pretty positive guy.

 

So that was Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

I loved this movie, and found it a fitting book-end for Man of Steel and Batman V Superman.

I’m fully in support of the Restore The Snyderverse movement, although it seems Warner Bros has absolutely no interest.

 

There has been talk of continuing the Snyderverse in comic book form. I’d certainly pay for that.

 

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this movie. There sure were a lot of them.

 

Next time, we return to Stargate Universe, where we’ll begin the second and final season of the show.

 

I look forward to seeing you then.

 

Live long and Prosper. Make it so.

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