starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams
screenplay by Chris Terrio
directed by Zack Snyder
by Walter Chaw It opens with soundwaves visualized as ripples in the air--Superman's (Henry Cavill) death cry touching every part of a blasted world as the protection and decency he represents is murdered. I have historically hated Zack Snyder's vision of this universe because it felt grimdark in a weightless way, the posturing of an emo teenager who hasn't earned his weariness and cynicism. It felt like a put-on. Immature. When the worst parts of comic fandom coalesced to demand a director's cut of a genuinely abominable film, Justice League, I, partly out of self-protection from a hateful horde and partly out of a sense of moral superiority, looked upon the project as first impossible, then misguided. I thought myself better than all this, which is unforgivable. I guess I wanted to believe that in a world in which I have figured nothing out, I had at least figured out that anything championed by trolls and incels could have no possible value to someone like me--who, of course, has nothing in common with these troglodytes except, you know, for the loneliness and the self-loathing and the suspicion of corporate-think. Maybe it's just fear that makes me as hateful as they are. And maybe it's just fear that makes them as hateful as they are, too. I think what's most surprising to me about Zack Snyder's Justice League (hereafter ZSJL) is how skillful it is as a diagnosis of the horrific, unfillable void that drives the very population most responsible for its existence. If the messages of the film are internalized, it may even help.