Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League

There will be plenty of other reviews covering this film's themes, relationship to its predecessors, etc., so just a brief note on its form. Because what struck me, on first viewing (even on a sub-optimal rip), was its ability to inspire awe in the superheroic -- no small feat on a desktop screen, in a questionably chosen aspect ratio. Actual wonder in the spectacle.

The similarities to the Whedon cut only make Snyder's unique action that much more palpable. And I use that adjective intentionally: the speed ramping never feels gratuitous, it takes what would be standard Men and Women in Capes Throwing Each Other Around material and makes it hyper-sensual, every movement of the eyes, gyration of the body, every pose struck made indelible (Armond White is right to emphasize the erotic here), iconography sculpted out of the setpiece's speed. Giving weight to the typically weightless. It also gives us the perceptions of the gods, and in a film about powerful beings choosing to save the world, this becomes quite emotional.

Using the younger heroes' powers, namely those of Cyborg and the Flash, as our window into this world of new gods is key to the wonder, Cyborg being, as Snyder put it, the heart, and Flash's powers visualizing the anti-deterministic ethos of the film. Cyborg's visions of futures or alternate timelines, and of the scope of his powers, continue the questions of the prior entries vis-à-vis the use of power, but in such broadly symbolic terms you'll either find it silly or moving, dismissing the world's nuclear arsenal and economic markets with waves of the hand.

The Flash sequences are simply Snyder's formal peak up to this moment. His speed changes his relationship with time, transcends it, removing him from the linear reality of the others; reality becomes manipulable and plastic, cause and effect is discombobulated; in the showstopper, he runs backwards in time, each footfall re-integrating the obliterated ground before him -- "It's all right now." These are setpieces built on "temporal disproportion" (to use Eisenstein's phrase) -- the Flash exists disproportionately, in temporal terms, from others. He may well be our digital meta-cinematic god, seeing the timeline whole rather than sequentially, editing action in real space.

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