This is the best version of ZSJL edited down to a reasonable runtime that I have seen, and I would expect nothing less from this amazing editor! Top technical quality all around.
I am a big fan of ZSJL, so I actually love the longer original just fine for a full day binge watch, but thats now always what I'm looking for. I understand the cuts made and in this edit they aren't missed, and to hit a more reasonable runtime, I think the wisest choices were made. Well done!
I agree with Spence's assertion that the ZSJL original version was overly long and bloated. The sequel set-ups were also very distracting considering the minuscule chance of them ever been followed-up on. Because of that, I ultimately considered that version merely ok. Spence deftly cuts through the fat to deliver an engaging and fast-paced cut without losing any of the story or the core of the main characters (refering to Cyborg and Flash).
I'm no editing or fan edit expert, but during the viewing I never saw the seams of the edits. Scenes flowed naturally from one to another. One minor quibble, the closing credits still list actors that do not appear in this Edit (like Jared Leto or Jesse Eisenberg).
I still have issues with Justice League, but those are linked to creative choices that cannot be modified (amongts them the underuse of Aquaman and some questionnable line reads from the cast). However, Spence has offered us film fans a massively improved alternative to both official versions of Justice League. For that I am thankful.
In my opinion this is the best version of Justice League so far. I don´t like so much both versions (The Snyder cut is way better though) but If I was a Warner executive the theatrical cut that I would approve should be something like the Spence edit. I´ve seen many JL fanedits and I always wanted them to cut the Wonder Woman vs Terrorists sequence and Spence did that! Both versions have good and bad things in it, but in my opinion The Spence Edit is a way better version of the both cuts. The finished edit is still not a good movie (As a comic book reader/fan I think these movies have a lot of stupid thing in it like the Superman Vs JL sequence that I think should not exist) but that is not Spence´s fault. He managed to make an edit that is the best of both worlds. If I was the editor I would cut more stuff but as the way it is is a great edit and better than the two official cuts.
The Snyder Cut plays like a kitchen sink assembly cut.
The Spence Cut plays closer to a proper theatrical cut.
Some elements of the Whedon version are lightly used here and there, but this is still 90% Snyder's interpretation of super-heroism, which I must admit I am not the biggest admirer. So for me, this does slightly affect my enjoyment level. But this is no fault of the editor, as Spence has expertly met his set editing goals.
For me, there are many great editing choices throughout this edit. The removal of Wonder Woman's terrorist battle is not missed in the slightest. Neither is Aquaman's ocean saving/bar drinking scene. And the trimmed back Cyborg origin is perfect. Also, thoroughly loved the repurposed images for Dr. Stone's epilogue voice over -- particularly for Aquaman and Wonder Woman. And thankfully, the non-sensical Anti-Life Equation subplot is gone.
Technically, a very strong edit. The colour matching of Whedon footage to fit with the Snyder narrative looked right to my untrained eye. On the very minor nitpicks side of things, I noticed one or two audio dips and for me (and this is subjective) the new opening, did not flow quite as smoothly or organically as it could have. Also, this edit employs alternating aspect ratio, which I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of even though I know many Hollywood blockbusters do it. I think I would preferred if the entire movie had been the fuller 1:85 as it just looks glorious filling the entire screen with no black bars.
All in all, a solid and entertaining alternate version of the Snyder Cut.
This edit does a lot of things right, but I think it needs a little bit more work.
The pacing is greatly improved, for one. The Snyder Cut was impressive but so SLOW, and I was impressed by how Spence's use of the Josstice League scenes allowed him to trim so many redundant scenes and bits.
A lot was trimmed, to be sure, but the narrative works well. The new main plot line is clear - Darkseid tried to conquer our planet but failed, so Steppenwolf is now trying it again to earn redemption, and Batman gathers a team to stop them.
The editing is generally wonderful, except for three issues:
(1) Noticeable audio transition after "Men won't, but SHE will" (21:30)
(2) Weird sequencing immediately after the above timestamp. While it's nice to see how the Amazons set the fire in the Parthenon, it is not necessary - Diana's scene at the Louvre is sufficient to convey that information in a more believable way. In the current edit, we have two scenes in which Steppenwolf begins searching for the other two boxes (Russia -> STAR Labs ), and then we stop that to see Diana's reaction to the fire.
My suggestion: Cut the scene where Queen Hippolyta shoots the Arrow, and instead show Diana's scene at the museum, followed by her scene with Bruce and the exposition dump. After the line "if he's here, where is he?" cut to the Chernobyl sequence, followed by STAR Labs. You can cut Stone's apartment and instead show the interrogation of the Atlanteans. And move Lois's scene to someplace later - it feels disjoint from everything else happening.
(3) Some more trimming is needed. For example, Steppenwolf explains (?) to the Parademons about the Unity for some reason, but then Diana's story about the Age of Heroes explains it again - in a better way. Another example: Cyborg's origin story is referenced multiple times in the film, and that - together with the Flash's introduction - slows down the film to a near halt.
All in all I enjoyed the edit, but I think a little more editing can make it a true candidate to be THE definitive cut.