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By John DeFore. The new version is an improvement in some concrete ways. Its plot and tone are more coherent, with occasional puzzling exceptions. The Bottom Line Even a good superhero flick and this definitely isn't shouldn't be this long.
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. Famous at the time for wrangling a surfeit of heroes into two highly entertaining Avengers films, Whedon did extensive reshoots, trying to nudge things toward his lighter, bantery comfort zone. In the end, adding honey to battery acid pleased no one. The sometimes aggressive nature of the noise they made, and how others responded to it, is relevant because it makes a couple of moments in the film seem like they just might demonstrate some wry self-awareness.
Banding together after the death of Superman Henry Cavillour heroes must keep those boxes hidden, or, failing that, do something amazing. With Snyder focused on posing his action figures, engaging performances are not a priority here — something you notice immediately when Billy Crudup arrives onscreen and reminds you what acting looks like.
Young and excitable, Flash serves the Peter Parker function here: Unlike his grim, duty-bound elders, he thinks saving the world is fun. As for the other newcomer, moviegoers who complain about how angsty the modern Batman is will not want to meet Cyborg Ray Fisherwhose daddy issues make his orphaned, abandoned and exiled teammates look happy-go-lucky by comparison. Snyder invests a fair bit of time visualizing what this living supercomputer can do, but assertions of his near-omnipotence are at odds with what we actually see when he tries to make things happen.
From those Icelandic singers to a big set piece where Wonder Woman Gal Gadot foils terrorists by herself in London, the film is stuffed with big and small things that do nothing to move it forward, or to offer light relief from a never-ending river of CG action sequences. Some of the battles here might play well if repurposed in other comic book movies. No thanks, guys. This was more than enough. March 15, am.
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