Review: ‘The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan,’ starring Han Geng, Ryan Zheng, Zeng Mengxue and Kelly Yu

October 16, 2023

by Carla Hay

Ryan Zheng and Han Geng in “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” (Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“The X-Files 4: Marriage Plans”

Directed by Tian Yusheng

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Beijing, China, the comedy film sequel “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plans” has an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Two male best friends—one who’s divorced, and one who’s in a live-in relationship with a woman—navigate society’s pressures to settle down and get married.

Culture Audience: “The Ex-Files Marriage” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and romantic comedies that don’t do anything original or clever.

Ryan Zheng and Kelly Yu in “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” (Photo courtesy of CMC Pictures)

“The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” is the very definition of an unnecessary sequel. There’s not much to this story except people whining about how they have relationship problems. Viewers of the movie don’t have to know anything about the previous three “Ex-Files” movies, although it helps to have some context about the returning characters and what types of relationships they had in the previous “Ex-Files” movies.

Directed by Tian Yusheng, “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plans” (which takes place in Beijing, China) continues the story of best friends Meng Yun (played by Han Geng) and Yu Fe (played by Zheng Kai, also known as Ryan Zheng) and shows what happens in their love lives. The previous “Ex-Files” movies are 2014’s “The Ex-Files,” 2015’s “Ex-Files 2” and 2017’s “The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes.”

In “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plans,” Yun is divorced and still looking for love. He’s skeptical but hopeful that he will find his soul mate. Yun has a somewhat tense relationship with his ex-wife Lin Jia (played by Kelly Yu), since they had a bitter divorce. who has a son with her current boyfriend. Soon after Yun and Jia make peace with each other, she tells him that she’s getting married to the father of her child. Yun has mixed emotions and feels a little envious that his ex-wife has found a new spouse.

Fe is living with his girlfriend Ding Dian (played by Zeng Mengxue), who is pressuring him to marry her. Dian has owns a coffee shop that is struggling financially. Dian asks Fe for advice on what to do about the coffee shop, but he tells her it’s her decision. Dian and Fe also have to decide whether or not to split their financial obligations equally. Dian thinks Fe should be more emotionally invested in their relationship and more willing to commit to marriage. Predictably, Fe and Dian have many arguments about their relationship.

Meanwhile, a large portion of “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” is about Yun getting back into the dating scene. He ends up casually dating two women around the same time: opinionated divorce attorney Huang Yue (played by Zhu Yan Man Zi) and perky Liu Liu (played by Cya Liu), who both find out that they are dating Yun. The movie shows if Yun chooses one woman over the other. A female bartender named Xiao Ai (played by Zhang Tian Ai) at Yun’s favorite restaurant/bar (where he romances Yue and Liu) observes all of these shenanigans and is a friendly listener whenever Yun tells sob stories about his love life.

“The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” has adequate acting performances, which are hampered by a fairly dull screenplay. The problem is that the movie doesn’t go beyond the usual romantic comedy stereotypes about unmarried people and problems in their love lives. There are breakups, makeups, jealousies and misunderstandings. It all adds up to a very lukewarm story for a sequel that didn’t need to exist.

CMC Pictures released “The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan” in select U.S. cinemas on September 29, 2023, and in China on September 28, 2023.

Review: ‘Never Stop’ (2021), starring Zheng Kai, Li Yunrui, Cao Bingkun, Zhang Lanxin and Sandrine Pinna

November 13, 2021

by Carla Hay

Zheng Kai in “Never Stop” (Photo courtesy of China Lion Film Distribution)

“Never Stop” (2021)

Directed by Bowen Han

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in China, from the late 2000s to 2019, the dramatic film “Never Stop” features an all-Asian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A retired champion sprinter, who is going through personal struggles, is reluctant to return to the sport when his former protégé tries to coax him out of retirement to run in a high-profile race against him.

Culture Audience: “Never Stop” will appeal primarily to people who are interested “comeback” sports movies and don’t mind if the story leans heavily into schmaltzy clichés.

Li Yunrui in “Never Stop” (Photo courtesy of China Lion Film Distribution)

“Never Stop” is clearly intended to be an inspirational sports movie. It’s too bad that the way this story is told is bogged down in too many uninspired clichés. It’s yet another story about an athlete who has to overcome obstacles to achieve glory and possibly gain some self-respect along the way. It’s not a completely terrible film, but it drags with too much repetition, forgettable dialogue, mediocre acting and unimaginative action scenes.

Directed by Bowen Han and written by Jia Zifu and Li Bai, “Never Stop” (which takes place in China from the late 2000s to 2019) follows two sprinter athletes whose lives go in very different directions. The movie explores issues of athlete retirement, such as when to retire and what to do after retirement. In the movie, one athlete retires before his career goes downhill, but he finds life after retirement to be difficult. The other athlete, who is a former protégé of the retired champ, has also become famous and tries to convince his former mentor to come out of retirement to run against him in a high-profile race.

It’s a simple concept for a movie, but it’s not delivered in a clever or creative way. The movie’s scenes often stretch monotonously, and many of the issues in the story are handled in a very banal manner. The opening scene (which takes place on April 17, 2009) shows Hao Chaoyue (played by Zheng Kai, also known as Ryan Zheng), when he was 19, winning a gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championship in the city of Linghai. Because “Never Stop” establishes right from the start that Hao Chaoyue is a champion, there’s no suspense when the movie spends a lot of screen time showing him and his protégé Wu Tianyi (played by Li Yunrui) training and competing together.

Hao Chaoyue and Wu Tianyi have known each other since they were in sprinters in high school. Some of their high school experiences are shown in the movie’s flashbacks, when Hao Chaoyue was 17 and Wu Tianyi was 16. Even in high school, Hao Chaoyue excelled over Wu Tianyi. Wu Tianyi considers it a life goal to win a 100-meter sprint race against Hao Chaoyue. It’s a friendly rivalry, for the most part. Wu Tianyi has immense admiration for Hao Chaoyue, who is a very driven, intense and competitive athlete.

Hao Chaoyue generously helps his friend in training, so that’s why they have a mentor/ protégé relationship. This guidance pays off for Wu Tiyanyi, who wins his first gold medal at the National Youth Track & Field Championships. Hao Chaoyue and Wu Tianyi make a pact that they will go to the Olympics together.

In the movie, Wu Tianyi is depicted as being so awestruck by Hao Chaoyue, he would often follow Hao Chaoyue around like a puppy dog who’s eager to please. Wu Tianyi also seems to have a bit of a “man crush” on Hao Chaoyue, because some scenes look like Wu Tianyi might have amorous feelings for Hao Chaoyue. This “man crush” is obvious enough where their teammates tease Wu Tianyi about it and wonder out loud if Wu Tianyi might be gay. The movie leaves Wu Tianyi’s sexuality open to interpretation.

Wu Tianyi might or might not have a crush on Hao Chaoyue, but Hao Chaoyue does not have romantic feelings for Wu Tianyi. In fact, immediately after Hao Chaoyue wins the gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championship, he proposes marriage to a pretty TV reporter named Qi Yueyue (played by Sandrine Pinna), who is near the racetrack. The proposal is on live TV, she says yes, and everyone cheers for the newly engaged couple.

The movie never really shows Qi Yueyue and Hao Chaoyue’s courtship, so it’s a big question mark if this couple should be together in the first place. Audiences are not given a reason to root for this couple. It’s one of many missing pieces in the story of Hao Chaoyue. For example, his childhood history is not mentioned in the movie at all.

“Don’t Stop” tells the story in a non-chronological way. The flashbacks are sometimes abrupt and don’t flow very well with the story. But viewers see that in 2019, Hao Chaoyue is 29 and retired from professional sports. Hao Chaoyue is no longer in top athletic shape (he’s gained about 20 pounds), and he now owns an athletics retail store that’s struggling financially. Hao Chaoyue, who lost a lot of money from a bad investment in athletic shoes, is so broke that he has to borrow cash to keep his business afloat.

Hao Chaoyue and Qi Yueyue have a son named Hao Siqi (played by Zhang Bowen), who’s about 5 or 6 years old. However, the spouses are separated and are in the process of divorcing. Their condominium is almost sold. Hao Chaoyue doesn’t want the divorce or condo sale to happen. When Qi Yueyue stops by his place with a banker (played by Zhang Dianlun) and papers to sign for the condo sale, Hao Chaoyue angrily rips up the papers and yells, “No one is taking away my condo!”

What happened in the 10 year-period that caused Hao Chaoyue’s life to go on a downward spiral? The movie goes into some details, but they’re depicted in a very superficial way. Without giving away spoiler information, it’s enough to say that Hao Chaoyue had some extreme highs and lows. His topsy-turvy journey in professional sports also led him to training in the U.S. for a while.

Meanwhile, Wu Tianyi continued to be a professional sprinter after Hao Chaoyue retired. However, Wu Tianyi also has some personal issues: As a child, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These memories still haunt Wu Tianyi, and he’s plagued by insecurities about his past, including having a very domineering and controlling father (played by Zhu Huige).

As an adult, Wu Tianyi is also taking medication that could get him banned from sports, but his doctors have told him that if he doesn’t take the medication, it could be so detrimental to his health that he will be forced to retire early. The stress and pressure get to him, because Wu Tianyi has a temper-tantrum meltdown at a press conference.

Zhang Benchi (played by Cao Bingkun) is a trainer who has worked with Hao Chaoyue and Wu Tianyi. He has seen the ebbs and flows of their friendship. Zhang Benchi continued to work with Wu Tianyi after Hao Chaoyue stopped working with Zhang Benchi.

Wu Tianyi still has a goal to one day win against Hao Chaoyue in a 100-meter sprint race. The two former friends lost contact with each other over the years. Wu Tianyi and Hao Chaoyue will soon cross paths again, because you can’t have a “comeback” sports movie without a has-been in need of a comeback.

Hao Chaoyue, who is now down on his luck, is desperate to recapture some of his sports glory in order to get publicity for his struggling athletics store. An opportunity comes up with the opening ceremony of a sports facility in his hometown. The city’s mayor Jia (Guo Tiecheng) used to be a well-known sports trainer. Hao Chaoyue convinces Jia that he can get Wu Tianyi to attend the opening ceremony.

Hao Chaoyue even volunteers to pick Wu Tianyi up from the airport. When the two ex-friends see each other for the first time in years, Wu Tianyi is shocked to discover that Hao is no longer the confident and physically fit athlete that he once knew. It doesn’t take long for Wu Tianyi to also find out that Hao Chaoyue is having financial problems.

Hao Chaoyue puts pressure on a very reluctant Wu Tianyi to sign a celebrity endorsement contract for the athletic shoes that Hao Chaoyue was stuck with in the bad deal. Because Wu Tianyi still wants to achieve the goal of winning a 100-meter sprint race against Hao Chaoyue, it should come as no surprise that Wu Tianyi and Hao Chaoyue end up in this race. Hao Chaoyue needs the money, and Wu Tianyi needs the good publicity (and ego boost), because his meltdown at the press conference has tarnished his reputation.

In the lead-up the race, the movie shows more flashbacks, as well as Wu Tianyi and Hao Chaoyue dealing with their current personal problems. Hao Chaoyue is nervous about coming out of retirement, and while Wu Tianyi still has doubts that he can win over someone he considered to be unbeatable for so long.

Of course, the race is just a symbol for how they each man deals with life’s challenges. “Never Stop” isn’t preachy about it, but the movie delivers its message in such a treacly, soap opera style that any authenticity seems to get lost in the syrupy mush. The movie has real-life athletes (such soccer player Fan Zhiyi and gymnast Li Ning) in cameo roles, but these brief appearances don’t help bring any special authenticity to the movie.

Zheng Kai reportedly trained with real-life sprinter Su Bingtian for this role. And the actors perform their roles adequately. The problem is that, just like a relay race track, “Never Stop” goes around in circles, by repeating the same dull tropes that are in sports movies like this, with hardly new or interesting to add. The racing scenes bring energy to the movie but they’re filmed in an entirely routine and predictable way.

The movie’s supporting characters are mostly forgettable. Hao Chaoyue has two friends who do workouts with him—taekwondo enthusiast Xie Xiaofang (played by Zhang Lanxin) and weightlifter Niu Tiejun (played by Li Chen)—but they don’t add much to the overall story. The only meaninful scene with Hao Chaoyue and his friends is when Hao Chaoyue, Xie Xiaofang, Niu Tiejun and Zhang Benchi have dinner together and get candid about their hopes and fears about life and retirement from sports.

Unfortunately, the main characters of Hao Chaoyue and Wu Tianyi are presented in only two ways: by showing their accomplishments or by showing their problems. Viewers never really get to see what Hao Chaoyue is like as a father, because he’s more worried about his failing business and making some kind of sports comeback. There are too many unanswered questions about Wu Tianyi and Hao Chaoyue. And the end result is a movie where the protagonists have a lot of blank voids that are never filled.

China Lion Film Distribution released “Never Stop” in select U.S. cinemas on June 11, 2021, and in China on June 12, 2021.

Review: ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League,’ starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Henry Cavill

March 15, 2021

by Carla Hay

Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” (Photo courtesy of HBO Max/Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League”

Directed by Zack Snyder

Culture Representation: Set in several fictional DC Comics places such as Gotham, Metropolis, Central City and Atlantis, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has a predominantly white cast of characters (with some African Americans and Asians), ranging from superheroes to regular citizens to villains.

Culture Clash: An all-star group of superheroes called Justice League gather to do battle against evil entities that want to take over the universe.

Culture Audience: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of epic superhero movies that have a dark and brooding tone.

Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” (Photo courtesy of HBO Max/Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is a four-hour superhero movie that can be summed up in four words: “definitely worth the wait.” Also unofficially known as “The Snyder Cut,” this extravaganza is the director’s cut of 2017’s “Justice League,” an all-star superhero movie that was panned by many fans and critics. Even though Snyder was the only director credited for “Justice League,” it’s a fairly well-known fact that after Snyder couldn’t complete the film because his 20-year-old daughter Autumn committed suicide, writer/director Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the movie. Whedon made some big changes from Snyder’s original vision of “Justice League.” (There’s a dedication to Autumn that says “For Autumn” at the end of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.”) The “Justice League” that was released in 2017 had a lot of wisecracking jokes, and the violence and language were toned down to a more family-friendly version of the movie.

Since the release of “Justice League” in 2017, fans of DC Comics movies demanded that Warner Bros. Pictures “release The Snyder Cut” of the film. And due to popular demand, Snyder was able to make the “Justice League” movie he originally intended to make. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is part of HBO Max’s lineup of original content.

As promised, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is a darker and more violent version of the 2017 “Justice League” movie, but it also has a lot more emotional depth and gives room for more character development and intriguing possibilities within the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” was written by Chris Terrio, with Snyder, Terrio and Will Beall credited for the story concept. Terrio and Whedon were credited screenwriters for “Justice League.”

Does “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” live up to the hype? Mostly yes. The scenes with the main characters are of higher quality and are more riveting than in the original “Justice League.” The action scenes are more realistic. The overall pacing and tone of the story are also marked improvements from the 2017 version of “Justice League.” However, the reason for the cameo appearance of The Joker (played by Jared Leto) in the movie’s epilogue isn’t what it first appears to be, so some fans might be disappointed. And the appearance of Ryan Choi/Atom (played by Ryan Zheng) is very brief (less than two minutes), and he doesn’t talk in the movie.

Many people watching “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” have already seen “Justice League,” so there’s no need to rehash the plot of “Justice League.” This review will consist primarily of the content in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” that was not in “Justice League.” For those who have not seen “Justice League,” the basic summary is that an all-star group of superheroes have assembled to battle an evil villain that wants to take over the universe by gathering three mystical Mother Boxes, which are living machines that have enough energy to cause widespread destruction.

The superheroes are Batman/Bruce Wayne (played by Ben Affleck), Superman/Clark Kent (played by Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot), Cyborg/Victor Stone (played by Ray Fisher), The Flash/Barry Allen (played by Ezra Miller) and Aquaman/Arthur Curry (played by Jason Momoa)—all seen together in a live-action movie for the first time in “Justice League.” The villain is Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds), but “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” features the first movie appearances of two arch villains that have more power and authority than Steppenwolf: DeSaad (voiced by Peter Guinness) and the supreme villain Darkseid (voiced by Ray Porter).

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is divided into chapters with these titles:

  • Part 1 – “Don’t Count On It, Batman”
  • Part 2 – “Age of Heroes”
  • Part 3 – “Beloved Mother, Beloved Son”
  • Part 4 – “Change Machine”
  • Part 5 – “All the King’s Horses”
  • Part 6 – “Something Darker”
  • Epilogue

In “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” Steppenwolf is more of a sniveling lackey than he was in “Justice League,” because there are multiple scenes of him acting subservient to DeSaad. Steppenwolf is still aggressive against his foes, while DeSaad is sinister and imperious, and Darkseid is fearsome and unforgiving. In a new scene between DeSaad and Steppenwolf, DeSaad scolds Steppenwolf for betraying the Great One and Steppenwolf’s own family. Steppenwolf replies with regret, “I saw my mistake!”

When Bruce goes to Iceland to recruit Arthur, their confrontation is a little more violent and Bruce flashes a wad of cash to entice Arthur to join Justice League. This scene is extended to show some Icelandic women singing on the seashore after Arthur declines Bruce’s offer, Arthur takes off his sweater, and swims away. One of the women picks up Arthur’s sweater and smells it, not in a salacious way, but as a way to give her comfort.

Back in Metropolis, there’s previously unseen footage of Daily Planet newspaper reporter Lois Lane (played by Amy Adams) getting coffee for a local cop. It becomes clear that this was a routine for her, since she’s seen doing this again in the scene where she finds out that Superman has come back to life. It gives some depth to Lois trying to have a normal routine after the death of her fiancé Clark Kent/Superman. It’s mentioned in the movie that Lois took a leave of absence from the Daily Planet after Clark died.

And there’s an extended scene of Wonder Woman fighting off terrorists in a government building. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has less shots of Wonder Woman fighting in slow motion and more shots of her speeded up while she’s fighting. And in the terrorist scene, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” puts more more emphasis on Wonder Woman saving a group of visiting schoolkids (who are about 10 or 11 years old) and their teachers, who are taken hostage during this fight.

After Wonder Woman defeats the terrorists, she says to a frightened girl: “Are you okay, princess?” The girl replies, “Can I be you someday?” Wonder Woman answers, “You can be anything you want to be.”

Victor Stone/Cyborg gets the most backstory in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” Viewers will see the car accident that led to his scientist father Silas Stone (played by Joe Morton) deciding to save Victor’s life by using the Mother Box on Earth to turn Victor into Cyborg. The love/hate relationship that Victor has with his father is given more emotional gravitas in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” Viewers see in the movie that even before the car accident, there was tension between Silas and Victor because of Silas’ workaholic ways. There are also never-before-seen scenes with Victor’s mother Dr. Elinore Stone (played by Karen Bryson), who died in the car crash.

And speaking of car crashes, there’s an added scene of Barry Allen /The Flash applying for a job as a dog walker at a pet store called Central Bark. Before he walks into the store, he locks eyes with passerby Iris West (played by Kiersey Clemons), in the way that people do when they have mutual attraction to each other. Iris gets into her car to drive off, but a truck driver (who was distracted by reaching for a hamburger he dropped on the floor of the vehicle) slams into Iris’ car, and Barry rescues her.

During this rescue, Barry grabs a hot dog wiener from a food vendor cart that was smashed in the accident and gets back to the pet store in time to feed the wiener to the dogs. Barry then quips to the store manager, “Do I start on Monday?” It’s an example of the touches of humor that the movie has, to show it isn’t completely dark and gloomy. By the way, this car accident/rescue scene is the only appearance of Iris in the movie.

“Justice League” got a lot of criticism for the movie’s corny dialogue that many viewers thought cheapened what should have been a more serious tone to the movie. And even the parts of “Justice League” that were supposed to be comedic were slammed by fans and critics for not being very funny. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” removes a few of the most cringeworthy lines that “Justice League” had.

For example, in the “Justice League” scene where Barry/The Flash and Victor/Cyborg are digging up Superman’s grave, Barry makes an awkward attempt to bond with Victor by extending his hand in a fist bump toward Victor, but Victor doesn’t return the gesture. Barry then makes a remark that the timing might be off and the fist bump might be too racially charged for the moment. These lines are completely cut from “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” but the movie still has The Flash/Cyborg fist bump after the group showdown battle with Steppenwolf.

The gravedigging scene in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is changed to Barry saying to Victor: “Wonder Woman: Do you think she’d go for a younger guy?” Victor replies, “She’s 5,000 years old, Barry. Every guy is a younger guy.”

Another removal from “Justice League” are some words that Lois utters when she and a resurrected Superman are reunited, and he takes her to a corn field on the Kent family farm. In the original “Justice League” Lois tells him, “You smell good.” And he replies, “Did I not before?” In “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” Lois’ line is changed to “You spoke.” And Superman gives the same reply, “Did I not before?”

But make no mistake: Even though “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has some dialogue that’s intended to be funny, the movie definitely has a heavier and edgier tone than “Justice League.” Aquaman still does some joyous whooping and hollering during the fight scenes with Steppenwolf, but it’s toned down in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” so he doesn’t sound so much like a happy guy at a frat party. And these superheroes say occasional curse words that wouldn’t make the cut in a movie that’s intended for people all ages.

Even the music that plays during the end credits reflects this more somber and more reflective tone. In “Justice League,” the music playing over the end credits was Gary Clark Jr.’s bluesy-rock, upbeat version of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” In “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” the music that plays over the end credits is Allison Crowe’s raw and soulful version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which is a song that’s often played at funerals in tribute to someone.

In “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” there’s a lot more screen time devoted to showing the aftermath of death and how the loved ones left behind are grieving, including extended scenes of how Superman’s adoptive mother Martha Kent (played by Diane Lane) and Lois are dealing with Clark/Superman’s death. Arthur/Aquaman keeps going back to the deep ocean to spend time with the preserved body of his father. Victor visits the gravesite of his mother. And then later, Victor goes to the gravesites of his mother and his father, who was killed when a STAR Labs building exploded. Wonder Woman and Aquaman discuss a past war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans and how there are still lingering repercussions of that destruction.

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” also delivers more details on what happened in the STAR Labs building during the part of the movie where Superman was resurrected and Steppenwolf stole the Mother Box that was hidden by humans on Earth. This new scene gives more context and shows that Steppenwolf did not get the Mother Box so easily. Victor made a decision that cost him his life, while certain members of Justice League were inside the building soon after the Mother Box was taken.

There are also extended scenes with Mera (played by Amber Heard), Nuidis Vulko (played by Willem Dafoe), Alfred Pennyworth (played by Jeremy Irons) and Deathstroke (played by Joe Manganiello). And the epic battle with Steppenwolf toward the end is truly a spectacle to behold. Viewers will see DeSaad’s and Darkseid’s reactions to this fight. The movie’s epilogue includes a conversation between Bruce and Martian Manhunter that strongly indicates that fans should look for Martian Manhunter to play a major role in another DCEU movie. Simply put: “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is mostly a triumph and can easily be considered one the the best DCEU movies of all time.

HBO Max will premiere “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” on March 18, 2021.

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