Review: 'Zack Snyder's Justice League' Zach Snyder's Justice League drops on HBO Max on Thursday; despite being an eye-popping four hours long, it's a stronger film than the 2017 version finished by Joss Whedon after Snyder stepped away.

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Here At Long (Really Long) Last, 'Zack Snyder's Justice League' Is ... Not Bad?

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"Zack Snyder's Justice League" drops on HBO Max today. Extended and retooled from the widely criticized 2017 version, the Snyder cut was released after demand from the public. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says the new film gives the fans just what they asked for.

ERIC DEGGANS, BYLINE: OK, let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat. "Zack Snyder's Justice League" is just over four hours long. You heard me right - four hours. And yet it doesn't feel like four hours when you sit down to watch it, mostly because Snyder has fleshed out a story worth the time. Ben Affleck's Batman/Bruce Wayne is trying to assemble a team of superheroes to fend off a possible attack from another universe. Here, Bruce Wayne argues over the mission with his butler Alfred, played by Jeremy Irons.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE")

JEREMY IRONS: (As Alfred) You've been working as if there's no tomorrow to build this team of people you can't even find.

BEN AFFLECK: (As Batman/Bruce Wayne) I found one. I found two - include Diana.

IRONS: (As Alfred) Just because Lex Luthor says the planet's in danger of attack.

AFFLECK: (As Batman/Bruce Wayne) This has nothing to do with Lex Luthor. I made a promise to him on his grave. I spent a lot of time trying to divide us. I need to bring us together.

DEGGANS: The him Batman is referring to is Superman, who was killed in the movie before this one, "Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice." This movie offers a different Batman, full of faith he'll find the right combination of heroes to defeat a monster named Steppenwolf, who hopes to conquer Earth for his master Darkseid. Snyder packs a lot more into this version, with expanded backstories of characters that superhero fans love. In particular, Ray Fisher shines as Cyborg, a top athlete and student who hates his father for using alien technology to save his life after a horrific car accident. And Ezra Miller shows off more of his quirky take on speedster The Flash, showing up late for a job interview as jittery young Barry Allen...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE")

EZRA MILLER: (As The Flash/Barry Allen) I'm so sorry I'm so late. I didn't mean to be so late. I'm me, and I'm here. And I'm so sorry I'm late. Essentially, the bus didn't come. Then the bus did come. But then there was this old woman counting change for the fare, like nickel, penny, nickel, penny. Like, jeez Louise. Let this woman on the bus. She's 107 years old. These are some of her last few moments of life.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Resume.

DEGGANS: ...And then racing through a plate glass window in the blink of an eye...

(SOUNDBITE OF LASERS AND EXPLOSION)

DEGGANS: ...To save a woman from a car wreck who's fated to become his girlfriend, Iris West.

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION)

DEGGANS: This scene, like so many others in the new "Justice League," didn't appear in the original 2017 film. Snyder left that project after the death of his daughter, allowing Joss Whedon, the director of Marvel's first two "Avengers" movies, to take over. But Whedon's version was panned by critics and flopped at the box office, which got fans agitating to see Snyder's version. And in a surprise move, Warners gave the green light and reportedly an additional $70 million to finish the Snyder cut for HBO Max.

This is a significantly different film. It's R-rated with more blood and cursing. The awkward attempts at humor that Whedon used to lighten Snyder's dark tone have been removed. There's a newly filmed epilogue with a surprise cameo fans will love. And there's a different kind of humor, like this moment when The Flash asks Cyborg if he should try romancing Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE")

MILLER: (As The Flash/Barry Allen) Wonder Woman. What do you think, man? You think she'd ever go for a younger guy?

RAY FISHER: (As Cyborg/Victor Stone) She's 5,000 years old, Barry. Every guy's a younger guy.

DEGGANS: It may be tough for those who don't like superhero movies to get through Zack Snyder's "Justice League." But for those of us who knew the original film could be better, Snyder delivers a vastly improved movie, capitalizing on the kind of second chance which rarely comes around in Hollywood anymore.

I'm Eric Deggans.

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