Zack Snyder's Justice League
By Stefan Pape,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
DC adventure is darker, longer, more violent than original.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Above anything else, the notion of teamwork is celebrated. Courage also prominent. The movie lives by the idea that to defeat a common enemy, you need to put differences aside and unite for the greater good.
Positive Role Models
Though equipped with super powers, the heroes each display courage in the face of a seemingly formidable adversary. Wonder Woman is an inspiring female superhero. In one scene, she defeats a collective of criminals in front of a group of young girls on a school trip, demonstrating that they can be anything they wish to be when they grow up. She also stands up for others, particularly those not as strong as her. Cyborg understands the meaning and importance of family. Bravery extends beyond the heroes too. Cyborg's father helps save the world by refusing to give up information, putting his life at risk in the process. Batman also has to surrender some pride and learn how to take a step back and be a part of a team, rather than go it alone as usual.
Violence & Scariness
This is a far more violent and gory cut than the original. There are countless huge explosions and destruction. Constant battle sequences result in multiple deaths. One character is hit with an axe to the neck. Criminals open fire in a government building and even threaten to kill kids. Characters can be seen digging up a grave, and bloodshed, burnt corpses, and skulls are all depicted. There are occasionally scary sequences too, especially one inside a prison when an inmate is seen laughing manically.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Superheroes are seen shirtless. Characters can be seen kissing. One graphic sexual reference, when a character describes giving another a "reach around."
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Some use of "f--k." Also "s--t," "a--hole," "bastard," and "d--k."
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Products & Purchases
One character in particular uses high-tech and extravagant gadgets, including a souped-up car. They also describe their superpower as "being rich" and pays people for information. The movie is part of a franchise with an array of tie-in merchandise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional shot of adults drinking. Character is seen downing straight liquor, before throwing the empty bottle into the sea.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Zack Snyder's Justice League is a darker, more somber cut than the original 2017 film, with more (gory) violence and stronger language. Unlike the theatrical release, Snyder's edit is slower and more character driven, with greater focus on the severity of the challenge that the band of superheroes faces. The film does celebrate teamwork and great courage, not only among the superheroes, but also regular people, who put their lives on the line to save others. The violence is ramped up and heightened, with far more death and destruction. There are countless battle sequences and explosions, with far more gore. Kids are threatened at gunpoint, innocent civilians are killed mercilessly, and there are corpses, skulls, burning bodies, and bloodshed. There's also a sinister villain in the form of Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds), who could prove too scary for younger viewers. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) remains a strong role model, emphasized when she stops a huge terrorist attack and gives advice to the children she saves. She also defends her family and friends back at home when they're referred to as "puny." The language here is stronger than in the original film, with "f--k" said fully -- including by Batman (Ben Affleck) -- rather than bleeped out like before. There's one graphic sexual reference, when a character describes a "reach around" when provoking another. Due to the darker tone and increased violence, this version is better suited for older fans.
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Zack Snyder's Justice League
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What's the Story?
ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE is set a few years after the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), at a time the world needs him most, as a threat emerges that could spell the end of mankind as we know it. Batman (Ben Affleck) teams up with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) knowing that in order to defeat the enemy at hand, they're going to need new recruits. And so he sets off on a bid to build a formidable team of superheroes, alongside Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller).
Is It Any Good?
Often referred to as the "Synder Cut," this superhero adventure is a far more accomplished feature than the original 2017 version. The pacing of Zack Snyder's Justice League, though slow-burning, feels like it's telling more of a complete story, and this results in a more watchable, engaging, and polished production. Where the original had moments of levity, seemingly inclined to move away from the somber, darker tone of the DC Universe -- as it tried to prove it had more adventure and lightness, similar to Marvel's superhero universe -- this new cut doesn't care for making the same point. Instead, Snyder's version is more true of his cinematic language as a director, and thrives in its dour and gritty atmosphere.
The character development is much more rounded. There's more of a sense for each of the respective superhero's backstory, and in turn we care for them more as they become engulfed in conflict, which helps create more of an emotional investment in the closing stages. But we have to work hard to get to that stage, as for all of the good on show, this movie really struggles to justify its four hour runtime, as tedium inevitably kicks in.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the difference between Zack Snyder's Justice League and the 2017 original. What were the key differences? Which did you prefer and why? Why do you think this version was made?
The film is far more violent than the original. What did you make of these sequences? Were they a little over the top for a blockbuster like this, or did they work well with the movie's darker tone? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Talk about the strong language used in the movie. Did it feel gratuitous when used, or did it serve the story? How did it feel hearing a character like Batman swear?
The superheroes are naturally role models, but was there one in particular who inspired you? If so, why? What character strengths did they show? How important was teamwork and courage to the group of superheroes succeeding?
What did you think of the four hour runtime? Have you seen a movie this long before? Did you think it needed to be so long?
- On DVD or streaming: March 18, 2021
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill
- Director: Zack Snyder
- Inclusion Information: Middle Eastern/North African actors
- Studio: HBO Max
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Superheroes, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Communication, Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 242 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and some language
- Last updated: November 20, 2022
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