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The long-awaited re-edit of 2017 superhero film Justice League is almost here – but was it worth all the campaigning, and the wait?
Featuring Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg and Superman, the movie was the result of a troubled production.
Original director Zack Snyder departed the project due to a family tragedy before it was finished by Joss Whedon. The film was a flop and fans quickly mounted a fervent online campaign for a re-do under the banner 'Release the Snyder Cut'.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be released in the UK on Thursday on NOW (with a Sky Cinema Pass) and the reviews are in – with good news for fans.
The original holds a rating of 40% on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, while the new, four-hour version boasts a much improved 75%.
Watch a trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League
Writing in The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw gave the film a four-star review and described it as “weirdly entertaining”.
Of Justice League’s four-hour run time, Bradshaw said it is “an epic so splurgingly huge that you can see how it might have been purposed as four streaming episodes”, adding “yet its dramatic and theological craziness only really come across when you consume it all at once”.
The reviewer compared Justice League unfavourably to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Avengers, but said: “There is something absorbing about this operatically strange twilight-of-the-superhero-gods that might yet turn out to be daybreak.”
The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin gave Justice League a glowing five-star review, praising it as a “mad and magnificent, four-hour apocalyptic pop epic”.
He praised Tom Holkenborg’s score and said it deserves to be experienced in a “crowded IMAX auditorium”.
However, Collin questioned if the film would attract new fans and said: “For those unsold so far on the Snyder approach to super-heroism, or super-heroic cinema in general, Justice League doesn’t feel like the film to tip the balance in its favour.”
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman also gave the new Justice League a glowing review.
He said it is “one of the most visually spellbinding comic-book movies ever made” and the set-piece battles have “been staged with a supreme conviction”.
The reviewer welcomed the expanded role of Ezra Miller’s Flash, writing he is given “far wittier dialogue than anything Joss Whedon came up with”.
Empire magazine gave the updated Justice League three stars. Amon Warmann wrote in his review the film is at times “needlessly violent” but “more often than not it feels satisfying, especially in a crowdpleasing final act”.
Of the added material, Warmann notes there is “still far too much exposition”.
The New York Times was less enthusiastic about Snyder’s Justice League.
Its review criticised “an arduously long epilogue” and “seemingly endless (and pointless) exposition,” noting “Snyder’s never been one for nuance”.
And writer Maya Phillips also criticised the film as “an indelicate orgy of special effects, fight scenes burdened with slow-motion attacks set to Tom Holkenborg’s tirelessly didactic score”.
The Hollywood Reporter was similarly unimpressed by Snyder’s Justice League.
It said the movie’s dialogue “overflows with redundancies, clinkers and head-scratchers” and said whoever penned one particular line “needs to go back to screenwriting school”.
The action scenes become “numbing” according to the Hollywood Reporter, and the reviewer added the epilogue is “exasperating”.
“Even a good superhero flick (and this definitely isn’t) shouldn’t be this long,” the review concludes.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be available on Sky Cinema and NOW from Thursday, 18 March.
Watch: The Snyder Cut drama explained