So far I have looked Justice League by Zack Snyder twice. I think. Never once. How can I? The human digestive system was not supposed to stay asleep for that long. That’s why comedian Leslie Jones’s quest to watch the Snyder Cut and provide live Instagram comment last night was so commendable. (It took 85 #longassmovie posts to do so.) This movie is a commitment, and not to be undertaken lightly.
But there is a way to do it right – or at least do it in a manageable way.
First, it’s probably best to treat this business less like a movie watching experience than a miniseries. It lasts 4 hours and 2 minutes. It may sound intimidating, but if you pretend it is Bridgerton, it’s no different to watching the whole season in one sitting. There has been a bit of chatter lately on the general topic of “Is this a movie or is it long-form television?” – especially when it comes to projects like Amazon’s cinematic anthology Small ax and the new Marvel series from Disney + The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. For the most part, it feels like things have been put in their right place (Small ax is definitely a film series and Falcon is definitely a TV show), but the Snyder Cut is the first to feel like it could go both ways. It has the long story arc of a movie, but it spends its first half establishing characters and backstory and its second in denouncing, unraveling the knot in a series of growing climaxes like a TV miniseries.
Snyder’s episodic nature Justice League is his saving grace. It consists of six parts, each with its own title, and includes an intro and an epilogue – a “KnightmareFor those in the know. (Spoiler alert: As this is a guide for people who likely haven’t seen the movie yet, we’ll keep plot details to a minimum. But there will be some very minor explanations of the scenes and the characters from here on out.) On the surface, these are good places to take a break to use the bathroom, have a snack, stretch, call your mom. But they vary in length and content, and a break might not feel right with every transition.
So, without further ado, here’s when you should actually take a break and what to do during each one.
Seated one: introduction and part 1
First, the intro. It’s mostly a lot of Superman screaming as the world faces his death, much of it in slow motion. (Pro tip: A fun thing to do, if you’re that inclined, is have a drink during each slow-motion scene. Make sure the fridge / cabinet is fully stocked.) Now’s a good time to go. prepare your snacks. If you live in a place where you can watch your screen while preparing food, then do so now. Otherwise, cook up and dig into these nachos after pressing play. Carbo charge, if that’s okay with you. The intro is short (ish), watch it with Part 1, aka “Don’t Count On It, Batman,” which focuses on Bruce Wayne’s attempt to recruit Aquaman. These two sections total approximately 37 minutes. When they’re done, take a clue from Arthur Curry and lie down to get some water. It is important to stay hydrated.
Sessions two and three: Parts 2 and 3
The next two sections – “The Age of Heroes” and “Beloved Mother, Beloved Son” – are filled with the backstory: exhibition on how the Mother boxes were born and the people responsible for protecting them (the Amazons of Themyscira, the Atlanteans, humanity), and the stories of The Flash and Cyborg which were largely left out in the 2017 version of Justice League. Watching these two together takes about an hour. You can watch them all in one sitting, but we recommend taking a break in between. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. After the second installment, go to the bathroom.
Fourth session: parts 4 and 5
At this point, you are in the thick of the Snyder cut. You might also be a little drunk, and we’re sorry. But this is where the film really comes into its own. The heroes have gathered (it was so hard not to type “assembled” at the time), and they know the enemy they face: Steppenwolf and his quest for Mother Boxes and the destruction of Earth. The next two sections – “Change Machine” and “All the King’s Horses” – are a bit longer than the previous two. Taken together, they last about an hour. Look at them all at once.
Fifth session: 6th part and epilogue
You are almost done! The final chapter, “Something Darker,” is the final showdown. Gather the last of your snacks, make coffee if you need it, use the restroom once more, and sit down. “Darker” goes pretty fast, and it’s followed by the epilogue, which seems long for an epilogue but by the on start-up you’re so close to the finish, it’s ridiculous not to just go through it. Do that.
Congratulations! You have now completed the Snyder Cut. It was fun, right? Glad we all made this trip together. And hey maybe we can all do it again when Zack Snyder’s Justice League: justice is gray drops? See you later.
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