Mike Brown’s review published on Letterboxd:
After sitting through all 4 hours of this much hyped big event film that was supposed to change the landscape of the comic book world forever. I was left wondering aloud...
"This was it? This was what all the hype was about?"
To me personally, Justice League: The Snyder Cut is beyond overrated already. It is a marginal at best improvement on the terrible original cut of Justice League which was a tonal and narrative disaster. I mean if you like the film that's fine. But greatest comic book film of all time? Best DC Comic movie ever, 10/10, Five Stars, a near 9.0 on IMDB? Give me a fucking break.
It's not that good. It's far from a masterpiece either. At it's heart it's the same story as the much maligned Justice League with more character development and a few tweaks. But nothing so major it redeems the entire affair. It still suffers greatly from the fact that this whole franchise never had a foundation. So it has to cram way too much into the first two hours to make up for the mistakes of the past, and in the process it just creates more faults and cracks in the foundation.
Namely the pacing. This film is exhausting to watch. This seems to be a common theme with Snyder's DCU films. And I am not a fan of this slow as molasses methodical story telling of his with a million shots in slo-mo, with pretentious try hard attempts to be deep and thoughtful, and exposition out the ass. This is the worst of Snyder's storytelling amplified and it's a very rough watch if you aren't a fan of his style.
The performances by the cast are mixed bags. Fisher has gotten a lot of praise for his nuanced portrayal of Cyborg but I don't see it. He just moped and pouted like a bitter teenager and delivered lines with all the energy of a slug. Gal Gadot is a barren wasteland of personality or charisma as usual and is nothing more than a glorfied window store mannequin, Ezra Miller's Flash is not as obnoxious as he was in the first cut but he's still pretty bad doing his best impression of Justin Long for the whole film, Momoa's Aquaman also has his more annoying tendencies cut down but he's still fairly weak, Affleck has more to do as Batman and his heart is actually in it and he arguably delivers the best performance out of the heroes, and Cavill is in the film so little it's hard for him to leave that much of an impression let alone see him flex any acting muscles.
The new additions to the script in terms of character development, explanations of the macguffin, and random fan service are all just additions to an already stretched thin plot that is ballooning out of control. This film is like an out of shape glutton. It over indulges itself way too much on "epic" scenes and expository dialogue it gets winded halfway through and spends the rest of the film catching its breath.
The writing is all over the place. It provides better back stories for characters like Cyborg but due to the limited running time, they only have on gear. It takes things more seriously in terms of the plot, but it still has laughably bad attempts at comedy throughout. And some of the decisions are questionable as hell. The Flash literally touches a girl's face without her consent while he's frozen time to save her from a crash. A million ewws. Superman's arc is still rushed and beyond lame and has the exact same issues it did in the first cut just minus the cringe CGI face and the brighter colored suit. The black suit does look pretty nice. I have to admit.
Much praise has been given to how the script gives the villain more depth. But it's surface level at best. Steppenwolf feels like a more complex character but when you break him down he's just another sympathetic villain in a long string of sympathetic villains that is becoming a cliche in modern comic book cinema. He wants to go home. What is he E.T.? Maybe if this sympathy was tied in to some actual emotions from the big monster and flash backs of him being taken away from his home and forced to work for Darkseid after an unsuccessful attempt at the throne, this would work. But it's all just a part of a long exposition dump and it has no real impact as a result. This cut really could have benefited greatly for showing not telling for a good chunk of the running time.
The impact of Darkseid is even affected greatly in this script. Seeing Darkseid is cool. And the CGI on him is arguably the best out of the reshot or new sequences. But in the first appearance during a flashback told by a sleepy Wonder Woman, he gets his ass handed to him which is detrimental to not only him being a viable threat going forward but for Steppenwolf. If this rag tag group of random soldiers could beat Darksied's butt, why should the Justice League have any issues with one of his lackeys? This would be as if Sauron was introduced in Lord Of The Rings getting his ass kicked and running away with his tail between his legs bleeding like a stuck pig. Absolutely pathetic.
The action scenes when they are there still are infected with the same CGI overload disease the first cut had. So many of these scenes are clearly shot behind a green screen and look cheap even for a 70 million dollar reshoot. The physics are so off in these sequences they might as well be fighting on the moon. The stakes are low because no matter how many battle scenes Snyder throws in there, you could care less about anyone in the battles. They become boring and monotonous. The excessive use of slow motion doesn't help either because it ruins any speed or momentum the majority of the action scenes have. Zach you have a problem. You are addicted to slo-mo. I think you need to head to rehab. There are other kinds of shots you can use, you don't need to beat this shot into the ground.
Snyder's direction is also a gloomy muddy mess as is the cinematography with gray, brown filters added in post that are just ugly to look at. Say what you want about the 2017 film but the addition of color was one of the few bright spots the film had. The Snyder Cut washes out the color so much to the point the film might as well be shot entirely in sepia tones. This makes the film's cheap green screen reshoots look twice as bad because of the added filters. And it also prevents the film from having visuals that really pop consistently because half the time you can barely see anything in the first place.
The score isn't as bad as Danny Elfman's hack job from the Whedon cut, but its still not very good. It's generic as all hell and completely forgettable. The most memorable bits of music are the ones from other films in the DCU and they are nothing new. And the new bits of music are either disposable or beyond irritating like the Enya inspired chanting that the film couldn't get enough of for some reason.
I do appreciate the fact that this was a rare instance where fans garnered enough interest in something to get the studio on board to make it a reality, and to be fair it isn't quite as much of a train wreck as the 2017 film. But that's a low bar to begin with. I had some fun with a few action sequences in the climax, some of the performances were note worthy, the narrative at least tries to make more sense and to actually be about something specific instead of a random mish mash, and when Snyder wasn't over dosing on slo-mo he provided some nice looking shots and visuals.
But the few positives can't save the bloated corpse of a bad film that was the 2017 cut. It isn't quite the injustice that film was, but it's still a bad movie nonetheless. The most epic thing about the Snyder Cut is how after all of this wait and anticipation it fails so spectacularly hard at levels no other film has done before. It is honestly a feat to fail as big as this film does. When it fails? It fails on an epic scale. And it fails far more often than it succeeds. It truly is in a league of its own in that regard.