Justice League: The Spence Edit

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9.6 (17)
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2 reviews with 7-9 stars
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Overall rating
 
9.6
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.9(17)
Audio Editing
 
9.8(17)
Visual Editing
 
9.8(17)
Narrative
 
9.5(17)
Enjoyment
 
8.9(17)
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(Updated: November 12, 2022)
Overall rating
 
8.6
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
7.0
Enjoyment
 
7.0
This is probably the most functional edit Justice League that I've seen, and that's including Zack Snyder's Justice League and the Theatrical Cut. You've done an excellent job of cutting out all the dead end sequel set ups, while maintaining the tone Snyder intended. However, I think you over-corrected a bit in your attempt to get the film under three hours.

The biggest problems with the story editing here are that characters like Wonder Woman and Desaad have had their introductions cut, while characters like Aquaman and Steppenwolf no longer have understandable motivations. I understand why you cut the Aquaman/Vulko scene and the initial Steppenwolf/Desaad scene, but the movie doesn't work without them. As it stands, Aquaman disappears from the movie after his initial appearance, and Desaad just shows up with no explanation of who he is or what his role is.

As I said, I understand that you were trying to streamline the film, but I honestly don't think a functional version of this movie could be less than three hours long (to be fair, that is a problem inherent in the script).

Those issues aside, however, your editing is very smooth and seamless. You were able to trim down overlong sequences and skip past unnecessary scenes in a way that felt very natural. The best example of this is how you used Batman's "doesn't mean I'm wrong" to skip past the awkward song for Aquaman. The way you cut Darkseid's final conversation with Desaad was also masterful; it felt like that was how it should have been edited the begin with.

Also, by reintegrating the "Everybody Knows" title sequence (the best part of Whedon's version), you were able to give the beginning of the film a lot of much-needed energy, as it now feels like there is a cleaner transition from "Superman is dead and everyone is sad" to "alien invaders are coming and we need to prepare." That was a wonderful addition.

I have more notes and comments, but this review is already too long as it is. This was an enjoyable watch, and I think with another edit that doesn't shy away from letting the film be three hours, this could be the ideal version of JL.

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Overall rating
 
8.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
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.

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