Zack Snyder's Justice League reviews are rolling in.
They're certainly a mixed bag, with the runtime, storyline, action, VFX, and its villain Steppenwolf all hot topics up for debate. Critics are also divided on whether it's better or worse than 2017's Justice League.
For those who don't know, the theatrical version of Justice League underwent substantial reshoots overseen by Joss Whedon, after Snyder stepped away from the project following a family tragedy. The version we can see this week on HBO Max is all Snyder – and even has some totally new additions, like a scene set in the Knightmare timeline involving Jared Leto's Joker and Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke.
We've rounded up a selection of the responses to the movie here, to give you an idea of what the critics are saying about the Snyder Cut. Check out our own review at the top, then scroll on for more – and don't worry, everything below is completely spoiler-free.
GamesRadar+ – Jordan Farley – 3/5
"Taken on its merits as a four-hour film, Zack Snyder's Justice League is unwieldy, indulgent, and frequently impenetrable, with all-new cameos and subplots upon subplots that will mean little to all but the most DC-savvy viewers. While the broad structure of the story – which still involves DC’s assembled metahumans racing to stop a space bull from assembling three MacGuffin boxes before they scorch the earth – remains dispiritingly unchanged, rarely registering as anything more than an excuse to move superfolk around the chessboard."
IGN – Tom Jorgensen – 8/10
"Zack Snyder's Justice League is a surprise vindication for the director and the fans that believed in his vision. With a mature approach to its superhero drama, better-realized antagonists, and improved action, Snyder's version of Justice League saves the movie from the dustbin of history, something that likely only could've happened on a streaming platform like HBO Max. Though not every addition feels totally necessary, and some new visual effects stick out as unpolished, it's hard to overstate how much more enjoyable this version of Justice League is."
The Independent – Clarisse Loughrey – 2/5
"At its core, it’s an exhausting four-hour behemoth that doesn't particularly serve anyone outside of the minority that demanded its existence. For those without a pre-built emotional investment, Zack Snyder's Justice League has all the joys of watching meat being pulverised. It’s an ungainly mass of blood, frowns, and grunts. True, this undiluted Snyder is better than what was released in cinemas, which had the feel of a film directed by committee, puerile jokes and narrative inconsistencies included. But his voice has been allowed to lapse into a kind of creative megalomania."
Variety – Owen Gleiberman
"The new movie – and make no mistake, it really is a new movie – is more than a vindication of Snyder's original vision. It's a grand, nimble, and immersive entertainment, a team-of-heroes origin story that, at heart, is classically conventional, yet it's now told with such an intoxicating childlike sincerity and ominous fairy-tale wonder that it takes you back to what comic books, at their best, have always sought to do: make you feel like you’re seeing gods at play on Earth."
The Guardian – Peter Bradshaw – 4/5
"Its sheer colossal size, its sepulchral feeling of doom and its trance-like sense of its own mythic grandeur make it weirdly entertaining, although the familiar superhero-movie MacGuffins are there, and the film needs to absorb the slightly uncharismatic performance of Henry Cavill. Did Snyder really intend the original film to last four hours? Well, this one does: an epic so splurgingly huge that you can see how it might have been purposed as four streaming episodes. Yet its dramatic and theological craziness only really come across when you consume it all at once."
Entertainment Weekly – C– – Darren Franich
"Lovers may love the result: Where you at, SteppenWolfpack? And the HBO Max presentation could be ideal for such an unwieldy doomchunk of content. I keep calling this a movie, but I guess it's more of a streaming miniseries, complete with chapters. Yet even compared to the glacial Marvel-Netflix Dramas, Zack Snyder's Justice League is a chore. At the end of the rainbow, viewers are left with the promise that the actual cool things will happen next time. This cut is no worse than the theatrical edition, but it sure is longer. "So begins the end," Steppenwolf declares. When he says that, there is one hour left."
Collider – D+ – Matt Goldberg
"For everyone else, it’s hard to even justify Zack Snyder's Justice League as a bizarre curiosity. It is a longer version of 2017's Justice League, but it is rarely better. There are some good additions here and there, but nothing to justify the vastly extended runtime. There's nothing here that transforms the 2017 cut of Justice League into a better movie even if it's now more in line with Snyder's artistic sensibilities. The story is still shaped by its root issues of not giving us a Superman worth caring about, denying us full origin stories for lead characters, having a one-dimensional villain with a dull plan, and then trying to argue that the viewer would be satisfied if only the larger scope of the story had been allowed to unfold. At some point we need to acknowledge that Snyder's deconstructionist approach, which was fitting for Watchmen, was not the right one for DC's big superheroes."
Comic Book – 4.5/5 – Jenna Anderson
"For some, it might seem like an impossible task to throw aside the theatrical "Whedon Cut" of the film, and the subsequent years of punchlines and online discourse, but the film creates a cinematic experience that makes it relatively easy to do so. While it isn’t without its flaws, Zack Snyder's Justice League is complex, bold, and incredibly rewarding, in a way that uniquely captures the joy of the DC universe."
The Hollywood Reporter – John DeFore
"But the movie's soul, such as it is, remains unimproved, and at 242 minutes, very few of them offering much pleasure, it's nearly unendurable as a single-sitting experience. If it were watched in parts — title cards identify six chapters and an epilogue, and some rumors suggested it would be released as a series — those segments would fail to deliver the shapely balance of energies and pacing that one expects these days from even a merely competent TV show. This expanded version may be exactly the product desired by the legion of Snyder fans who cried to the heavens for its release. But nonmembers of that cult will find it just as unenjoyable as the original."
Zack Snyder's Justice League hits HBO Max (and VOD services around the world) this March 18. Until then, check out how to watch DC movies in order for the ultimate movie marathon, and discover the best HBO Max prices and deals so that you can watch Snyder Cut for as little as possible.