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Zack Snyder's Justice League's Rotten Tomatoes Score Says A Lot

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Zack Snyder's Justice League — the director's four-hour cut of the DC team-up that was originally released in 2017 to underwhelming box office receipts and lackluster reviews — has finally reached HBO Max after a year of escalating hype. The supersized superhero movie has pleasantly surprised critics; the film currently has a 75% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which ties it with Dawn of the Dead as the Snyder-directed film with the highest score on the review aggregator. To be clear, that number could rise or fall as more reviews roll in, but right now, it's at the top of the leaderboard.

The theatrical release of Justice League has a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which drops it into the dreaded "Rotten" category. It's not his lowest-rated movie overall among critics, however; that would be 2011's peculiar superheroine fantasy Sucker Punch, which has a 22% rating. To be fair to Snyder, the original Justice League isn't really his movie, having been extensively rewritten and reshot by Joss Whedon. Both versions of the film have much higher audience scores than critical ratings. Justice League has a 71% positive audience score, while the Snyder Cut has a 97% audience score, which is both very impressive and kind of heartwarming, as it was a fan campaign that led to the Snyder Cut even happening. The movie was made for the fans, and they love it, which isn't always the case with fan-servicing movies of this scale (looking at you, Rise of Skywalker). The Snyder Cut also has a higher audience score than Dawn of the Dead, which sits at 77%.

ZSJL is not the movie Snyder's been involved in with the highest critical score, however. That distinction goes to Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, which Snyder produced. Wonder Woman has a 93% "Fresh" rating.

What critics are saying about Zack Snyder's Justice League

The Snyder Cut is not a movie that was made to impress critics, but critics are for the most part enjoying it nonetheless. Reviewers have praised Zack Snyder's Justice League as an improvement over the messy 2017 version, indicating the new version is not an instant classic, but is better than the first attempt. "Next to the studio-mangled chaos of the theatrical release, it finds comparative order and delivers, yes, justice for Snyder's vision, uneven and unapologetically indulgent though it unmistakably is," writes Flickering Myth's Shaun Munro. "All in all, no three-star movie has been this fussed-about in recent movie history."

The Snyder Cut's biggest change from the theatrical release is its length, which fully indulges Snyder's expansive vision. Critics have noted that the added two hours meaningfully deepen every character in the film, especially Cyborg (Ray Fisher), whose presence was very controversially reduced in the original version. Insider's Kirsten Acuna writes that Victor Stone "now has a fully-fleshed-out backstory, which explains he's just as powerful as the gods he fights alongside."

"Victor Stone is definitely the conscience of the team, if not its beating heart, and a surprising increase in screen time for Joe Morton as his father Silas leads to some quietly powerful emotional moments," writes We Got This Covered's Scott Campbell. Not every critic is so positive about the film; The New Yorker's Richard Brody writes "it is a grind, it is a slog, it is a bore – it's a mental toothache of a movie, whose ending grants not so much resolution as relief." He criticized its choppy storytelling and dour, humorless tone.

The takeaway from Zack Snyder's Justice League

It's too early to say whether or not the Snyder Cut was "worth it," and it might be impossible to define what "worth it" even means in this case, beyond driving enough subscriptions for streaming service HBO Max to justify the $70 million Warner Bros. spent to finish the footage Snyder shot in 2016. Whether or not it was worth it ultimately is a personal choice for every audience member. Was it four hours well spent? Was it worth the cost of a month of HBO Max? Did it give you the satisfaction the first Justice League didn't?

For members of the audience committed enough to log their reaction on Rotten Tomatoes, the answer is a resounding yes. A 97% positive audience score with over 10,000 ratings means the movie is undeniably popular with its intended demographic. It does what the people who demanded that Warner Bros. #ReleaseTheSnyderCut wanted it to do. In that sense, the movie is a huge success. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Snyder and Warner Bros. have been clear that Snyder will not be doing a sequel (via The New York Times), but could that change? Will streaming-exclusive director's cuts of failed movies become a cottage industry? Will the name "Joss Whedon" be completely erased from history? We won't know the answers to these questions until months or years from now. But in this moment, we can say that Zack Snyder's Justice League justified itself to the people who matter most.