Justice League

Justice League ★★

Either out of academic interest in the before/after lessons of comparing Synder and Whedon's cuts, or because I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided to go back and rewatch this train wreck from four years ago.

Actually, it's because I have a longstanding, deep affection for these characters, and as much as they've been mistreated during the Snyder regime, there’s still at least a hint of joy when I get to see them moving on screen.

That said, this movie is no better on repeated viewing, but it did at least do well in my estimation by not getting any worse—by virtue of things that have aged poorly being balanced out by things that, in the new context of "The Snyder Cut," have been revealed as slightly better than they seemed at the time.

On the list of things that have aged poorly are the garish color grading and the short shrift given to the younger players, Cyborg and Flash. Who knows if it was Whedon or the studio who demanded that the visual palette should be brightened, but in retrospect it's now clear that was not Snyder's original vision at all, and the artificial amplification of chroma and saturation has a sickly sweet patina that's just gross to look on. For Cyborg, it's clear that there's almost nothing left here remaining from the extensive story that Snyder lays out in his full cut, though whether that story is any good is debatable. And for Flash, neither cut is particularly kind to this ineptly constructed character; in both versions, he’s insufferable.

Surprisingly, what did work a tiny bit better for me this time was the jokes. Not that they were particularly good, but it's obvious now that they were mandated by the studio, and it's also obvious that Whedon was waging an unwinnable campaign. Snyder's material was not just inherently somber and overly serious, it was also inherently ridiculous. No one could make it coherent except Snyder himself (and barely). Given the task of bringing fun to what is essentially garbage, Whedon's jokes are at the very least a break from the stink.

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