Linda Cook review: ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ is monumental

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Snyder brought it.

Whether you’re a die-hard #releasethesnydercut fan or a decades old aficionado of DC lore (which I am,) you’ll enjoy all four hours and 2 minutes of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.”

It’s a monumental film with an equally fascinating history I won’t go into much here – volumes have been, and will continue to be, written about that. Somewhere, I’m betting a documentary is in the works – or it should be.

Suffice it to say that Snyder, whose daughter died by suicide while he was directing the movie, stepped away from the film. The 2017 release was far different in the hands of another director.

Over the years, the fans clamored – particularly in an online campaign – to see “The Snyder Cut.” Now, finally, here it is.

The central idea is that – sans Superman – Batman (Ben Affleck) needs to gather other superheroes to battle a foe who wants to destroy Earth.

The characters I have loved for decades come to life in this version. With their hopes, their regrets, their flaws, they are fully rounded people.

My favorite is Victor Stone/Cyborg (the terrific Ray Fisher.) He is born, so to speak, from a tragedy that results in his being half-man, half machine.

The other characters, too – even the villain Steppenwolf – are so much more interesting in this version, which allows Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot,) The Flash (Ezra Miller,) Aquaman (Jason Momoa,) Superman (Henry Cavill) and of course the ever-brooding Batman, to take the spotlight.

This is grim stuff. The movie, wisely told in chapters, ends in a disturbing sequence that hints at darker events to come. All the way through it, the characters grapple with the loss of loved ones and parent issues in a highly personal film.  

The music, incidentally, is great. I loved the score, the songs, and the placement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” sung by Allison Crowe (you saw her briefly as a pub singer in “Man of Steel”) after Snyder’s dedication to his daughter during the credits. (The song is part of a pivotal moment in Snyder’s “Watchmen,” too.)

Snyder planned for this to be the middle of a five-part series after “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman.”

Now that the same fans who clamored for the Snyder cut to be released are demanding more “Snyderverse” films, who knows what will happen?

Snyder’s not broken. He’s not alone. And neither is his league of fans.

3 ½ stars

Streaming on HBO MAX.

Running time: Four hours and 2 minutes.

Rated: R for foul language and violence.

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