Justice League - Snyder Cut Flash Review

I was walking past the TV store window and the Snyder Cut just happened to be playing, so I dutifully stood there for four hours and watched it in its entirety.

Here are my thoughts in brief.

First off, I think the film is notable for its unusual nature - that of a cut not simply released due to demand, but finished and probably iterated on in response to that demand. If this has happened before with a film, I am not aware of it. Viewing the product was at the least a curiosity.

My experience with AAA games brings to mind some issues that could arise from this practice, but that’s something we might tackle later on. 

If you find yourself asking whether the effort put into this rerelease was worth it, I would have to say yes, with a qualifier.

The qualifier is that the millions spent on this massive correction to the record could have been spent on something new and shiny rather than a recut. Alas, I am not the producer, so this notion shall die here.

For what the movie was, it worked.

It made vast improvements on the Whedon cut by setting up each character’s motivations, including - or perhaps especially - our villain’s. While none of these were particularly special or new (Cyborg’s was the best), they provide a flow to the narrative that was previously missing.

Naturally this accounts for a large portion of the increased runtime, which begs the question of whether the thing feels too long.

I am one to enjoy extended cuts. In fact I rather love it when I can find a free day to watch LOTR extended editions all in a row. Thus going in knowing that the movie was going to be mostly crescendo with occasional peaks, my expectations were reasonably set. Really it has a good pace and gains enough momentum so that it doesn’t feel like a slog.

I felt none of the type of mental exhaustion that I might watching something like a Transformers movie, nor was I bored.

So let’s do some quick hits on the high points.

The expansion of Cyborg’s role and story felt the most like new material to me, though to be fair I don’t have a clear recollection of the original cut. I felt for the character and would happily follow him into another adventure.

If I’m not mistaken, Batman’s role in the finale was expanded, and it was great fun to watch. Batfleck looks so solid and burly, it’s just satisfying to watch him (or his CGI double) commit bone-crunching violence against the baddies.

The movie really loves Wonder Woman, almost to the point of cheese, but it treats her respectfully enough and shows her strength with fun visuals.

Steppenwolf was a huge improvement, even shining through my blurry memory of the original. His design is better if not perfect and his action is enjoyably brutal. Again, though his motivations are simple - pleasing his master to regain favor - they help in providing a reason for him to do what he’s doing beyond mere destruction.

The teaser of Darkseid is cool. I appreciated his aura of menace and the depiction of his Omega Beam. But this brings me around to our low points.

At four hours, and with no plans that I’m aware of for a direct sequel to this iteration of the JL, Darkseid should have been brought into full play. We could have edited some of the setup and various other scenes, ditched some of the copious slo-mo, cut the epilogue that felt like a vestigial appendage, and gained enough time to include Darkseid in at most another plot thread (perhaps he’s working at odds with Steppenwolf or about some other villainous business) and at least a second boss fight. He wouldn’t even have to die.

I don’t get the sense that the teaser will actually bear out into a real sequel, so I fear that DC fans will miss out on the resolution of this Darkseid’s plot.

Other cons.

The casting of Flash is not my favorite. I know these movies have a hard time crossing line between TV and Film, but Grant Gustin’s Flash is a great fit (or was last time I watched a few seasons back) and he should have been pulled in for this. He knows the character, people love him. It just makes sense.

Aquaman is still underdeveloped. There is no other solution to this than to have released his movie first.

And of course, Superman is underutilized. Characters like this are very difficult to write into team situations. Captain Marvel suffers the same issue in Avengers Endgame. I have a few characters of my own who need careful management in order to keep from making everyone else on the team irrelevant. 

In fact this is a theme in the Arc Legacy.

But needing to perform a macguffin ritual to resurrect him is one of this story’s greatest flaws. 

I would have much preferred if his return was more similar to the comics run after his death in the 90s, where he himself takes action and eventually returns. This way we get to see him doing things and still get him coming in as the cavalry charge.

Instead we get a contrived and confusing process involving the motherbox. While this does provide action for Flash and Cyborg, and allows for the ‘Superman is crazy’ fight, I still just don’t think it was worth it.

Finally, despite my overall enjoyment of the viewing experience and the pleasure of seeing a work improved, the film isn’t more than a one-watch movie. The story is too simple to require repeat viewings from someone who remembers plots - if not all the small details - very well. So rent it or buy in the bargain bin, if you buy it at all.

So is it worth your time?

If you feel like sitting down to watch a high-budget superhero epic with the director’s passion for the project on full display, then yes.

If you’re already weary of superheroes or accustomed to the tight writing of MCU films, probably not.

Either one of you will enjoy my novel RawJack of course, in which plucky superheroes take on the elite blood magic practitioners of a society dominated by sorcery. 

Heroes, magic, a futuristic city, call it superhero magipunk!

Review - Teen Heroes Unleashed, Book One, from Silver Empire Press

Blurb from the author's website:

Penance – by Paula Richey and “Thomas Plutarch”

Penance Copper is tired of being a tool for evil.

She’s been working for Acid ever since she was small. She had no other choice, he owned her. Even with her superpowers, she’s never been able to escape. But at least he only has her steal. Never anything worse than that.

Until he orders her to use her powers to kill the superhero Justice for investigating trafficked girls.

Penance doesn’t want to be a murderer. She uses the opportunity to run away from Acid and make a new life. One where she can make up for everything she did on Acid’s orders.

But events larger than Penance are spinning into action, and soon she is embroiled in an intergalactic encounter with an alien boy named Kail, who is perhaps as lonely and broken as she is. Even if he is infuriatingly arrogant.

The first young adult series in the shared Heroes Unleashed universe launches with the Teen Heroes Unleashed series. Readers will love hardworking, sassy Penance as she tries to learn to use her superpowers to save the world instead of to steal.

Can Penance and Kail find the missing girls and save the Earth from an alien invasion? Or will Acid find her again and punish her for running away?

Read Penance today to find out!


This novel from Silver Empire's Heroes Unleashed series is a strong debut from author Paulie Richey. Kinetic and touching, it fits right in with the rest of the brand. Despite its YA branding, I have to say I think superhero fans of any age will enjoy it.


It's tight and moves smoothly from one event to the next. The characters have agency and this drives things forward almost the entire time. There is a bit of a slowdown for our main characters going into the third act, where I itched for them to be back in the action, but this slow spell serves the characters and their budding relationship well. It also provides time for exploring some of the tropes necessary to the YA angle. Ie: the mains getting to know each other.

Really that's something we come across in all action fiction with romantic subplots, and I think Paula handled it well. The finale was appropriately painful and exciting, setting us up for the next installment.


Characters are distinct and well drawn. Penance is both likeable and pitiable, a girl locked in a hard place but with the inner conviction to find her way out. It was a bold decision to run her discovery of faith in parallel to her ascent into heroism, and I think it worked. As with most unmasked depictions of the Gospel in fiction, the faith elements feel 3 dimensional in a way no fiction can. While this may be a bump in the road for non-Christian readers, I assure you that the author's treatment is sincere here, not at all ham-fisted. Understand that Penance's faith is linked to her heroism and enjoy.

Kail makes a great counterpart and foil to Penance, the straight man to her comedienne. It will be interesting to see what he does with the life he gains over the course of this story.

The supporting characters are varied and memorable, some with powers and others mundane. Readers with a penchant for many POVs will enjoy the scenes focusing on these people swept up in Penance's storm.


My first impression of Paula Richey's prose was smooth. The novel is well-written and lean. I never had the urge to skip or skim, quickly finding myself able to trust the author with where things were going. Scens flow sensibly and the whole structure is snappy enough that we get to see several locations without feeling confused or lost.

This is an excellent debut and I am eager to see how Paula's writing grows and continues to improve.

Critique - no spoilers, but may affect your perception on first read.

It's always hard for me to do this part. I'm a positively oriented person and tend to give the benefit of the doubt when I disagree with a decision.  With that in mind, and considering how good this book was overall, I can only note where I might have done things differently. I may or may not be correct 'objectively'.

The main thing is the section where things slow down for our mains so they can have time to romance a little. Again I argue (against myself?) that this is necessary for the novel, but I might have (being male) kept the two on the run rather than allowing them respite. If there were to be tender moments between them, they would happen in an even more fleeting place of hiding, and quickly. 

Paula handles the potential loss of momentum by switching POV to characters who are still in danger, which works. Had the supporting characters been less interesting people, this could have backfired, but Paula pulls it off nicely.

There is a good twist in the finale that I wouldn't change, but it does have the effect of dimming the sense of victory ever so slightly. I won't say more specifically, just that I wanted the trouble to ramp up a little higher and the win to feel bigger.


All in all, this is a very good novel regardless of genre, and though I am not technically the intended market, I daresay a homerun for that market.

Well done, Paula!

The Mythos Project, or Conservative Retellings

  With the rise of big tech censorship and open calls to silence voices that do not agree with the zeitgeist, I’ve been slowly coming to a p...