We live in a society where color is bad, I guess?
It seemed a bit odd and perhaps a little pretentious that what was allegedly the ~definitive~ version of Justice League would be getting an even newer version so close to its original release date. When I first heard that HBO Max was releasing a black-and-white version of the so-called Snyder Cut it suggested to me that perhaps this was how Snyder had originally intended to release his movie and the studio bosses made him release a color version first.
Let me be clear- if you're wondering if there is a difference between the black-and-white version and the color version of Zach Snyder's Justice League, the answer is no. There are no additional edits or scenes. Literally the only difference is that it's in black-and-white.
I had intended to go back and watch the movie a second time, so this gave me an excuse. While I was disappointed that Snyder did not throw in any extra content (even that mysterious Jesus Joker), I've got to say the I was pleasantly surprised that I kind of liked the Justice is Gray cut.
The 4:3 aspect ratio, combined with the high contrast colorless look gave this the appearance of some of the best black-and-white comic books out there, like The Walking Dead, Sin City, and Batman: Black and White.
Only on occasion did I feel like the Justice is Gray version had some drawbacks. Namely the Atlantis underwater scenes were pretty hard to see, although that could have just been my TV.
I was never a particular fan of Snyder's aversion to monochromatic, highly desaturated colors anyway and this felt like an upgrade to me. His film has striking visuals, and this elevated the film to an even more iconographic look: like future generations were reading about how superheroes saved the world in their high school textbooks and these were the pictures they had to remember.
Much like the Snyderverse itself, Justice is Gray will surely be beloved by a dedicated base of highly engaged fans of the DC Comics characters. But to mainstream audiences and wary studio executives alike, these artistic choices will prove polarizing.
Where to stream: HBO Max
Best for: Mega fans of Zach Snyder's Justice League
Shall I stream it? Only if you really want to see Snyder's film a second time
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