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Star Wars Holocron

REVIEW: Doctor Aphra

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

A morally questionable archaeologist that embodies the term organized chaos, while having a hell of a time and conversing with the likes of Darth Vader and even Emperor Palpatine himself?!? Count us in. Sarah Kuhn’s Doctor Aphra audiobook drama takes on a new life with the upcoming scriptbook version of the story published by Del Rey. The exciting and engrossing script follows the titular character soon after the destruction of the first Death Star. Aphra is on a job and suddenly finds herself in peril, only to be saved by none other than the dark lord of the Sith Darth Vader. This rescue comes at a cost, however, as Aphra is recruited by Vader and soon finds herself wrapped up in a conflict with galaxy-wide implications.

Following Dooku: Jedi Lost, Doctor Aphra marks the second script adaptation of an original audio drama released by Penguin Random House’s Del Rey. Similar to Cavan Scott’s audio drama turned script, the script adaptation of author Sarah Kuhn’s work really adds a different dimension to the previously told story. For those who are eager to get their hands on any and all Star Wars content like us, it’s really neat to take in a story in an alternate medium, similar to how the saga films are always furthered by their novelizations. Indeed, reading a scripted drama feels like a relatively novel way (pun intended) to immerse oneself within the Star Wars universe and, in the case of Kuhn’s work, we were all for it.

The script, as is its audiobook predecessor, covers events seen in the 2015 Marvel comics Star Wars and Star Wars: Darth Vader. In this sense, Doctor Aphra is a great entry point for newcomers to one of the best characters to be introduced in extended canon in recent years. The story is entirely told from Aphra’s perspective and, as such, the reader really gets inside the wacky, adventurous, brilliant mind of our hero throughout her escapades. Aphra is an immediately likable and relatable character, in large part due to Kuhn’s engaging dialogue and the emotional undercurrent running throughout the entire project. And, from Aphra’s unique perspective, we also get some insight into the inner-workings and struggles of Darth Vader as he struggles with his past traumas while operating under the iron grip of Palpatine. There’s an intriguing juxtaposition running throughout the script in regards to the ways in which Vader and Aphra are grappling with their pasts, but don a mask (in one way literal, and in another metaphorical) to persevere forward.

Beyond the character work, it’s really interesting for the reader to go along with Aphra on this journey as major events occur and revelations unfold. For those who are familiar with the Marvel comics or audiobook, these events and revelations won’t come as a surprise, but are, nonetheless, still gripping to behold. One of the best aspects of canon material outside of films and television is its ability to add details that enhance your perception of characters and events seen elsewhere, and Doctor Aphra certainly does that. Expect plenty of your favorite characters to pop up in this drama in fun and unexpected ways.

It’s also important to note that Aphra’s burgeoning romance with Sana Starros is explored in the script. Beyond being notable in its brilliant representation of an LGBTQ+ relationship in the Star Wars relationship, the moments between Aphra and Sana are some of the script’s most intimate sequences. And, for readers of the comics, it’s cool to see the past of Aphra and Sana’s relationship explored more intricately.

Verdict:

The script of Doctor Aphra, similar to the audio drama, tells a thrilling, unexpected story filled with significant characters that also provides a deep, fun, and emotional examination of our titular character. Fans of the Dooku: Jedi Lost script will also enjoy consuming this story in a new way. And, for those who have yet to be exposed to the tales of Doctor Aphra, this is a fantastic entrypoint into one of canon’s most interesting characters.

Doctor Aphra is available on April 6, 2021 wherever books are sold.

Image courtesy of Del Rey

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Star Wars Holocron

‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Cast Revealed, Production to Begin This April

By @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The cast for the highly anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+ was revealed this morning. Lucasfilm announced new cast members for the limited event series, which was already confirmed to feature Ewan McGregor as the title character and Hayden Christensen reprising his role as the villainous Darth Vader for the first time since 2005. Joining the cast are Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, and Benny Safdie.

Obi-Wan Kenobi will be directed by Deborah Chow, who helmed two episodes of The Mandalorian in the first season.

Previously, Kathleen Kennedy described the series as “the rematch of the century”, hinting that a confrontation between Obi-Wan and his former Padawan is on the cards.

On his role as the Chosen One and coming back to play the character, Hayden Christensen stated in December that “it was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker. Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them… It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”

Production on the series is set to begin this April.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+.

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Star Wars Holocron

Five Things We Hope to See in The Book of Boba Fett

By @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Ever since his emergence in The Empire Strikes Back, and even beforehand dating back to the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, Boba Fett has been a fan favorite and has since developed a significant cult following. Fans were delighted when Temuera Morrison debuted as the character in season 2 of The Mandalorian, setting the stage nicely for his own spin-off series The Book of Boba Fett. Besides a brief post-credits scene accompanying The Mandalorian’s Chapter 16, we know very little about what this upcoming Disney+ show will entail. There’s so much that this series could entail. Here are 5 things that we hope to see in The Book of Boba Fett.

Getting Under the Helmet

This one seems the most likely given that Boba is front and center of his own show. The Book of Boba Fett is, as the name suggests, a Boba Fett-centric series, unlike the vast majority of previous material in canon in which the bounty hunter is often a side character. As such, this marks one of the best opportunities yet to really get under the helmet and into the mind of the infamous bounty hunter. As the films, comics, and most recently The Mandalorian have suggested, Boba is a far more complicated, layered character than the badass we saw grace the screen in The Empire Strikes Back. Boba’s struggles with loyalty and his place in the universe amidst an ever-changing galaxy are really interesting topics to explore. And, Temuera Morrison is the best perfect person to lead this (hopefully) more introspective Boba Fett journey. Morrison, like Boba himself, can pull off all the coolness and grandiosity of his character to perfection, but the New Zealand-born actor is also a seasoned expert in his craft. Nuanced performances in projects like Once Were Warriors, Frontier, and Crooked Earth really highlight Morrison’s range, something we’re sure to see in the Boba Fett series.

How Did Boba Survive the Sarlacc Pit?

It’s difficult to talk about Boba Fett without talking about his unfortunate and pretty comical “demise” in Return of the Jedi. All it took was an accidental slap on the back from Han and the feared bounty hunter soared into the sky and then down straight into the digestive system of a Tatooine sarlac. But the question remains: how in the world did Boba survive this ordeal? Given Boba’s extensive scarring and battle-worn physique, it’s obvious that he definitely went through a rough period in between Return of the Jedi and The Mandalorian. It’s entirely possible that we see some insight into what occurred in this time, via flashbacks or at least in depth conversations.

Adventures on Tatooine

The season finale of The Mandalorian sees Boba assume the throne once held by Jabba the Hutt and Bib Fortuna, presumably taking over as an underworld kingpin on Tatooine. This is a great set up for the Boba Fett series for many reasons, one of which being it lays the foundation for a primarily Tatooine-based series. Tatooine has obviously played an extensive role in canon, in particular the Skywalker saga, but there’s an entire underworld element of the planet that is, relatively speaking, left unexplored. Similar to Maul’s takeover of Mandalore in The Clone Wars, it’ll be really interesting to see another character pursue a leadership position in the criminal underworld and, as expected, run into hurdles along the way.

The Marshal

One of those hurdles will, hopefully be, the Marshal himself Cobb Vanth. Timothy Olyphant’s character, who first appeared in Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath series, was a fan favorite in The Mandalorian’s second season and, honestly, one episode simply isn’t enough for this charming, intriguing character. And what better place for Vanth to reappear than a crime series set on Tatooine. Boba and Vanth clearly have a history, given that the latter wore the famous Mandalorian armor for a time, and it’s entirely possible that the two could become enemies. Vanth is a lawman and Fett is now the lead crime lord of the planet, so they could end up clashing over that. However, given the way in which Boba proved his morals by helping to rescue Grogu at the end of The Mandalorian season 2, there’s certainly worse people individuals in the galaxy, so Vanth and Fett could come together against a common enemy.

“Now this is podracing!”

The pod racing sequence in The Phantom Menace was, and still is, a crowning achievement in visual effects that proved to be incredibly entertaining in showing a young Anakin defeat his elders to take home the crown and give the Jedi exactly what they needed, all of which make it a fan favorite. Podracing hasn’t been seen on screen since then, although Cobb Vanth did sport what appeared to be Anakin’s speeder from years before. Given Jabba the Hutt’s presence at the event in The Phantom Menace, it’s possible that Boba Fett appears at a podrace in the upcoming series, especially as he occupies the role that Jabba once did on Tatooine.

The Book of Boba Fett is set for release this December.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

New Star Wars Novel ‘Ronin’ Announced

by @HolocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Del Rey Books have officially announced a new Star Wars novel written by Emma Mieko Canon. Titled ‘Ronin’, this latest project is inspired by the upcoming Star Wars: Visions, an anime series slated to premiere on Disney+ later in 2021. Del Rey teased that Ronin is a “Star Wars book unlike any before it” in their announcement tweet, an exciting prospect for fans already looking forward to the upcoming anime series Visions.

In late 2020, Lucasfilm gave a brief description of the series:

“Presenting all-new, creative takes on the galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: Visions will be a series of animated short films celebrating Star Wars through the lens of the world’s best anime creators. The anthology collection will bring 10 fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.”

Del Rey stated that Ronin will be an original novel and story and will release on October 12, 2021. Until then, Star Wars fans can dive into the new, incredible world of The High Republic in a series of Star Wars novels, comics, and publishing projects.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Disney, and Del Rey

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Star Wars Holocron

Kevin Feige Reiterates That He’s Not Involved in Star Wars Outside of the Film He’s Producing

by @holocronGeorge for @sw_holocron

Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is currently in the midst of the press tour for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the latest Disney+ series. While promoting the new show, Feige was asked if he has any further involvement in Star Wars beyond the film he’s producing, and if he had his hands in anything else on the recently announced upcoming slate: 

“No. That’s all Kathy Kennedy. I’m involved in as much as I stay up until midnight L.A. time to watch new episodes of The Mandalorian when they drop.”

Kevin Feige is one of the most successful film producers of all time and is a huge Star Wars fan, so it makes sense that he’s being asked this question. However, as Feige states, Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy is the leader of the company and continues to plan the future of Star Wars. Fans couldn’t be more excited. 

Along with Feige’s film, upcoming projects in a galaxy far, far away include The Bad Batch, The Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian Season 3, Ahsoka, Rangers of the New Republic, Rogue Squadron, the untitled Taika Waititi film, Acolyte, Andor, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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Why Did Kylo Ren See Only the Partial Truth About Rey’s Lineage in The Last Jedi?

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The question of Rey’s parentage was one of the biggest of the sequel trilogy. Many believed Rey to be the daughter of Luke Skywalker after the release of The Force Awakens, and fans were shocked when Kylo Ren revealed that he had a vision that showed she was a “nobody,” a beautiful thematic moment which highlighted that anyone could be a Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker, however, added another layer to this, revealing that Rey is the granddaughter of none other than Emperor Palpatine, who plagued the Skywalker family for years. Given this, the question remains: Why did Kylo Ren see only a partial truth of Rey’s lineage, seeing her parents on Jakku but not her grandfather?

The answer to this question could be Palpatine himself. 

“In the shadows from the very beginning”, Leia says to Rey about the sinister Palpatine. Right from the beginning of The Phantom Menace, Palpatine is pulling the strings to manipulate the Skywalkers into doing what he wants. He becomes a mentor to Anakin, clouds his vision to get him to believe that the Jedi are taking over, plays off of his fear over the possible death of Padmé, and turns him into Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith. He then attempts to use Vader to bring his son, Luke, to the dark side and play them against each other. When that didn’t work, he wanted Vader to fight and kill Luke. All in all, Palpatine has manipulated the Skywalker’s for the entirety of the saga. 

Kylo Ren is no different. The son of Leia Organa and Han Solo, grandson of Anakin Skywalker, was secretly under the control of Palpatine the entire time. His master, Snoke, was merely Palpatine’s puppet, and all the time Ren spent speaking to Vader’s helmet was actually just him communicating with the Emperor. 

So why did Ren not see who Rey’s grandfather was and that there was more to the story than her parents being junk traders? Because Palpatine may have hid that from him. He wasn’t ready to reveal himself at this time, hence why he was hiding out on Exegol with seemingly no communication with the known regions of the galaxy and choosing to run the First Order from afar. Palpatine didn’t want to reintroduce himself to the galaxy until the time was right, so he could have simply blocked his apprentice from seeing the full truth about Rey. When he did finally tell Kylo the whole truth, it was used as a tactic to get Ren to do his bidding: bringing Rey to Exegol so she can take her place on the Sith throne.

Palpatine has always been the shadow figure behind the scenes, manipulating those around him. Kylo Ren only seeing Rey’s parents as nobody’s and not her grandfather’s identity could be yet another example of this.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney

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Star Wars Holocron

2003 Clone Wars Series, Boba Fett Holiday Special Cartoon, and Ewok Films Coming to Disney+ This April

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

The Star Wars section of Disney+ is about to get even bigger with new (well, really it’s old) content from a galaxy far, far away set to arrive on the streaming service on April 2, Decider has revealed. 

One of these projects arriving on Disney+ is Star Wars: Clone Wars, the series that ran on Cartoon Network from 2003 to 2005. The series developed and drawn by Genndy Tartakovsky is no longer canon, but is an incredible watch in offering a stylistically different take on the Star Wars universe. Fan regard for the show has only grown since premiering and it introduced many interesting elements that made their way into the canon Clone Wars series, including the villainous Asajj Ventress. It also features perhaps the most frightening depiction of Grievous we’ve seen yet.

Also coming to Disney+ is The Story of a Faithful Wookiee, the animated portion of the Star Wars Holiday Special that introduced fans to Boba Fett (who is sporting a blue and white armor design, different from the green that fans have later become accustomed to). For many younger fans, this may be their time exposure to this Star Wars story.

Joining these projects are the Ewok films, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. These projects are…something to say the least. They’re so unusual that it’s difficult not to question how they were commissioned and made. Nonetheless, they’re fascinating watches in true, charming Star Wars style.

2021 is coming out to be a big year for Star Wars content on Disney+. In May, The Bad Batch premieres, and the highly anticipated The Book of Boba Fett is slated to release this December.

Source: Decider

Images courtesy of Cartoon Network, Disney, and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

More Hints to Suggest Mena Massoud Will Play Live-Action Ezra Bridger

by @holocronJosh for @sw_holocron

Last month, Kessel Run Transmissions (@KRTransmissions on Twitter) revealed exclusively that they had heard Aladdin star Mena Massoud was in talks to play the live action version of Ezra Bridger, the fan favorite Jedi Padawan who went missing in the finale of Star Wars Rebels. With Rebels ending on the cliffhanger of Ahsoka and Sabine looking for Ezra after the events of Return of the Jedi and the fact that Lucasfilm is exploring this post original trilogy era so extensively with The Mandalorian and its various spin-off shows, speculation has been rampant that Bridger would make his return, this time in live action. Today, Massoud himself teased the role on Instagram:

While this post may look like it has no connection to Ezra, the caption is actually a quote from Bridger himself:

This seems to be the biggest tease yet that Massoud has joined a galaxy far, far away. If true, it’s possible that he will appear in a range of series on Disney+, just as Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano, another character adapted from animation to live action, is set to do. 

It seems increasingly likely that Ezra Bridger will soon make his live action debut, played by Mena Massoud. Until then, fans can look forward to The Bad Batch, premiering on Disney+ May 4, 2021. The Book of Boba Fett is still set to release this December.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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Star Wars Holocron

Could Boba Fett Appear in The Bad Batch?

by @holocronJulie for @sw_holocron

We’re now less than two months away from the next Star Wars animated project, The Bad Batch. Set after the events of Revenge of the Sith, this series follows a group of experimental clones, first seen in The Clone Wars season 7, as they navigate a changed galaxy. The time period in which The Bad Batch is set in means that there’s always a chance for a recognizable face to appear. As the trailer shows, Fennec Shand, the bounty hunter first seen in The Mandalorian, will make an appearance in the show. However, will she be the only bounty hunter to appear? Given her connection with Boba Fett, is it possible that he could also appear?

The Bad Batch is shaping up to be a sequel to The Clone Wars in many ways. For one, the animation style remains consistent, something that set Star Wars Resistance, another animated series from Lucasfilm, apart. Dee Bradley Baker, who voiced all of the clones in The Clone Wars, is also reprising his roles, highlighting another connection between the two series. Given this, it’s possible that the creators opt to use some of the ideas conceived for The Clone Wars before it came to an end.

One particular storyline that never came to fruition on The Clone Wars can be reused here, one which involves the infamous Boba Fett. As revealed by Dave Filoni during a Star Wars Celebration: Orlando panel in 2017, The Clone Wars initially had plans to have Fett and Cad Bane, the cowboy hat wearing Duros alien, duel in classic spaghetti western style. As The Bad Batch looks to explore the underworld in someways, it’s entirely possible that this bounty Hunter storyline is revisited.

Another indication Boba may appear in The Bad Batch series is to showcase the origins of his relationship with Fennec Shand. Ming-Na Wen’s Shand will appear in this show (although for how long is another question), so it’s possible that fans may see Boba meet his future accomplice here. This would also make for insightful and relevant viewing before The Book of Boba Fett, which will see Fett and Shand side by side ruling in Jabba’s Palace, as the post credits scene of The Mandalorian season 2 finale shows. Fans could see the relationship between Boba and Fennec in a different light if the former were to appear in The Bad Batch.

While it’s unclear if Boba Fett will indeed premiere in The Bad Batch, it’s certainly something that would be cool to see. If he does appear, fans will extremely excited to see the beloved bounty hunter once again. The Bad Batch premieres on Star Wars day, May 4th, 2021, on Disney+.

Images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm

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REVIEW: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

by @holocronGeorge for @DCMotherbox

It has arrived. And by it I mean what is easily one of the most anticipated projects in recent years, a film fans have been clamoring for for so long, and a film that (we are so thankful to be able to say this) does not disappoint whatsoever. Arriving on HBO Max, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the raw, unadulterated vision of the renowned director and the true follow-up to its predecessors Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film picks up where the criminally underrated BvS left off, with the world reeling over the death of Superman. In his absence, the sinister Steppenwolf and his legion of parademons arrive to conquer Earth, forcing the hardened Bruce Wayne to assemble a team capable of withstanding this threat.

To say that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a mere director’s cut of a film we’ve already seen couldn’t be further from the truth. The cut that arrived in theaters in 2017 was entertaining for what it was worth, but the compliments really stop there. It was a far cry from the polished films that came before it, a jarring patchwork of competing visions that, ultimately, felt awkward and flat. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an entirely different film and this is evident within seconds of its kickoff. The tonally mismatched, underwhelming non-event that was the theatrical cut is replaced by this gargantuan, grand, and deeply intimate portrayal of loss, faith, and doom. The barebones plot structure mirrors that of the theatrical cut, but the differences really stop there. These are two wholly unique films.

At an astonishing 4 hours and 2 minutes (this is the longest superhero film ever made), it’s dumbfounding just how quickly the Snyder Cut seems to go by. This is largely a testament to the film’s brilliant pacing, a byproduct of intelligent scene construction and flow by Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio. Every scene has a clear-cut purpose and adds something unique to the film overall – not a moment is wasted, which is a massive compliment given how lengthy the film is. It is nicely split into six parts and an epilogue, each of which feel like meaty chapters in an epic novel. The extended length with its different parts really allow each scene to breathe. Unlike Batman v Superman, which was marred at times by some convoluted plotting, especially evident in its theatrical cut, few such issues exist with Zack Snyder’s Justice League. There are few, if any, points of unintentional confusion, characters’ motives are clear to the viewer, and there is plenty of time to digest what happens scene after scene. Yes, there is plenty of brutal, fast-paced, CGI-heavy action, but there are also many moments of emotional weight and intimacy that balance the entire project out. 

Perhaps the most commendable things about the Snyder Cut is the extent to which it feels like the completely realized, unfiltered vision of its director. This is the most Zack Snyder movie Zack Snyder has ever made. Every frame looks like a meticulously developed painting. The epic feel that permeates every scene of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman emerges once again. The booming score is a character unto itself. And it contains more slow-motion than any film of all time (I’m not positive about the validity of that statistic, but I highly suspect it’s true). In this sense, the film is highly unlikely to convert viewers who had a distaste for similar films, like the aforementioned DC films, Watchmen, or 300. And, ultimately, that’s okay. This film will not be for everyone. A 4 hour film of any kind, nevermind a superhero film, is not for everyone. But, regardless, there is so much to love about the Snyder Cut.

One of these things to love is the tone. Although the stakes are higher than ever in this film, Zack Snyder’s Justice League also includes more humor and moments of levity than both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman combined. And yet the humor never feels forced or out of place. The film is still brilliantly mammoth and epic with every scene filled to the brim with a sense of impending doom and threat. But the humor adds a nice, little edge to the movie throughout. This isn’t to say the movie is light in the slightest. The Snyder Cut most certainly earns its R-rating. Blood splatters, heads roll, f-bombs are dropped. The film is brutal in a really beautiful way.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League lives up to its name in showcasing the league at its finest. While the theatrical cut spent little time with each character, such that their ultimate coming together felt underwhelming, each character is now given ample time to be fleshed out. The additional scenes with Barry Allen, for instance, add so much to his character beyond the glorified comedic relief he was in the 2017 version (the same can probably be said for the much improved Steppenwolf). Gal Gadot is fantastic and Ben Affleck once again feels like the Batman we all fell in love with in Batman v Superman. He is dark and weary, but clearly changed and motivated following Superman’s sacrifice. We won’t spoil how this version of Superman differs from the character as depicted in the theatrical cut, but this is a massive improvement. It was somewhat surprising to see how Superman’s journey, ultimately, panned out very similarly across versions though, as it was to see Arthur Curry somewhat short-changed in terms of screen-time and character development relative to his fellow team members. But, perhaps the biggest change in terms of characters comes with Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Zack Snyder once described Cyborg as the “heart” of the film and this is truly the case.

And, for a film that began production five years ago and has since been spoken out about extensively, there are still plenty of unexpected, jaw-dropping moments in Justice League. Let’s just say the last 20 minutes of the movie are some of our favorite moments from a comic book / superhero film of all time.

Verdict: 9.5/10

More than just a director’s cut, Zack Snyder’s Justice League excels in virtually every department. Epic, dark, and grand, yet intimate, funny, and heartfelt, the 262 minute epic flies by in spectacular fashion. This is not only a great sequel, but expertly sets up what is (hopefully) to come. Needless to say, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the best DCEU film yet.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League arrives on HBO Max on March 18. Stay tuned to DC Motherbox and Star Wars Holocron for continued coverage of the film, including a spoiler review and cast/crew interviews.

Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment and HBO Max