What's new

Zach Snyder's Justice League: Justice is Gray ... and Overdue (1 Viewer)

Beckford

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
69
Real Name
Ken
I’ve enjoyed several superhero movies over the years (“Spider Man: Homecoming”,“Aquaman” and the much-maligned "Batman Forever" come to mind). But I tend to give most of them a miss these days. And it’s not because I have any bias against CGI. Quite frankly, I’m frequently enthralled with the grandeur and scale it can conjure up. Of course, today’s audiences take this kind of spectacle for granted (to the extent that awesomely picturesque effects like the ones in Emmerich’s “2012” or Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Pompeii”) are often met with a shrug.

I guess what I object to is the ponderously scripted self-importance that’s become part and parcel of so much of the superhero cycle (thank you, Mr. Nolan). Not just the sense of assembly-line sameness that comes with endless franchises. Nor the fact that little seems at stake in scenarios where death and world destruction appear infinitely reversible. Most of these films seem to glorify vigilante justice, while at the same time implicitly touting an abdication of personal responsibility in favor of Dei ex machina - which, in essence, superheroes are. That’s not to say that fantasy can’t be done with fun and flair. It’s just that so much of it isn’t. To me the Batman films and so many of Nolan’s sci fi movies, superhero or otherwise, seem infected with a wildly misplaced sense of their own solemn profundity.

Another objection I have is the drab color palette regularly in use now. That steely blue-grey tone that started becoming a go-to in the 70’s and continues with no end in sight. I realize not every film has to be brightly colored. But when I go to a musical or spectacle or superhero film I’m always hoping the color will pop with “Suspiria”-like vividness. And – these days – I seldom get my wish. Case in point: “The Last Duel”, an otherwise excellent film somewhat diminished by its drearily unvaried color scheme.

All this is a rather long-winded intro to my subject. Never had any interest in seeing 2017’s“ Justice League”, a barely registered blur on my radar. Yet another bland looking addition to the superhero buffet. Probably would’ve never checked it out. But I recently received a free month of Crave (a Canadian TV service that includes a pile of movies). Watched/rewatched all the Bonds (with the exception of “The Living Daylights”, oddly missing from their lineup). Then noticed two separate listings for “Justice League”. Chose one at random and was pleasantly surprised to see the WB logo in shimmering black and white. That pleasure intensified as I gradually realized the whole thing was going to be in monochrome.

I paused the film and did enough research to learn what most fans already knew. “Justice League” was a 2017 film . Near the end of filming, personal issues had forced director Zach Snyder to withdraw : post-production was overseen by Joss Whedon. He and the studio cut it dramatically, radically reshaping its tone. The resulting film didn’t seem to please fans. And a large contingent of the most vocal among them campaigned hard for a release of Zach Snyder’s cut. Amazingly, four years later, it actually materialized in the form of a four hour plus HBO film for TV and streaming. Not just that. They also provided – in addition - a complete black & white edition (always apparently Snyder’s preference) subtitling it “Justice is Gray”. And that’s the version I’d luckily stumbled upon.

Don’t have Netflix so I haven’t seen “Mank”. But I loved the b&w versions of “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Mist”. “Justice is Gray”, however, is in a class by itself. A series of radiant, breathing, otherworldly images that never wear out their welcome. Conferring not just an elegant sobriety to the piece but giving it a sense of urgency and import. Not to mention genuine glamour. A black and white blood transfusion that makes me want to shout – in giddy Frankenstein style , “It’s Alive! It’s Alive!”. Watching this film gave me the same exhilarating rush I got as a child reading Greek myths or Edgar Rice Burroughs. The look of "Justice is Gray" is so ravishing that it basically cancels out any reservations I might have script-wise. Though I actually find the script above average. And – by the way – didn’t Ben Affleck’s take on“Batman” get lots of flack? Don’t see why. At least in this instalment, he’s excellent.

I’ve seen the trailer for the color version and visually it seems okay– though some of the color’s bleached to the point of irrelevance. But it totally misses the beauty and masterful shimmer of full on, committed monochrome.

In short, I loved “Justice is Gray”. With one caveat. The movie consists of six chapters (all pretty much perfect) and an epilogue. It’s a kind of trailer for things that may (or may never) come. But aside from being tonally different from the film itself, this epilogue’s downright off-putting. For one thing, whoever thought casting Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was a good idea? He’s barely in the movie proper but annoyingly front and center in the epilogue. In the end this flapping appendage attached to “Justice League” undercuts the impact of the film’s admittedly sentimental but nonetheless stirring finale. An utterly unnecessary bit of self-sabotage. I’d lose the epilogue completely. Instantly restoring “Zach Snyder’s Justice League: Justice is Gray” to full, perfect glory.

Bottom line: I had a ball watching ”Justice is Gray”. And definitely want to own it on Blu-ray (I haven’t advanced to 4K, but I’m sure that would be even more stunning). I see that the color version is now available in both formats. But sadly without the b&w as an extra. With no plans announced for a standalone “Justice is Gray”. I for on would snap it up in a heartbeat.

I’m going to keep checking this site for news of a home video release for “Justice is Gray”. Anyone heard any rumors about whether it’s coming?
My own collection won’t be complete without it. Reality check: Of course my collection will never be complete, but owning “Justice is Gray” will give me the illusion of being one step closer.
 
Last edited:

David Weicker

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
4,179
Real Name
David
Could someone possibly change the thread title to indicate that this refers to a special version of Zach Snyder's Justice League.

The initial post rambled on, burying this fact until well into the fifth paragraph.
 

Beckford

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
69
Real Name
Ken
Guess I bungled it. I'm not that conversant with superhero movies; seems I mistakenly thought the title "Justice is Gray" would be more familiar to readers than it apparently is. I'm fairly new to the forum. And though I'm able to edit the post itself I can't figure out a way to change the title. If I could, I guess I'd make it Zach Snyder's Justice League: Justice is Gray ... and Overdue
 

SFMike

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
532
Real Name
Michael
In the end this flapping appendage attached to “Justice League” undercuts the impact of the film’s admittedly sentimental but nonetheless stirring finale. An utterly unnecessary bit of self-sabotage. I’d lose the epilogue completely.
I totally agree as I love this film but now end my viewing without the useless epilogue.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
349,614
Messages
4,886,071
Members
142,632
Latest member
FredMediaSSI
Recent bookmarks
0
Top