The Zack Snyder Cut Of Justice League Was Awesome, But Is It Too Little Too Late?

by Jay Cochran
March 21, 2021
Zack Snyder seems to have done the impossible. He actually has gotten me excited about the DC Cinematic Universe again with his updated version of the Justice League movie airing now on HBO Max.

I actually watched the new movie twice before writing this, which was time-consuming with a four-hour movie but worth it.

When the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League was first announced as happening, like many, I had my doubts. The original theatrical release of the movie was so bad for such a variety of reasons, it was hard to imagine a few edits could really make much of a difference.

If you are not really up on the whole original vs Snyder Cut thing, here is a brief recap of what happened.

Snyder, who had directed both the previous Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice movies, began work on the third chapter in his story with Justice League. Before that project was completed, the director faced family tragedy after his daughterís death by suicide. He stepped down as director to be with his family, and the reins were handed to Joss Whedon to finish post-production. At the time, Whedon was heralded for his success of the first Marvel Avengers movie. I think it is safe to say the folks at Warner Bros wanted to see the same success for Justice League.

Even though Snyderís name was kept on the original Justice League movie released in theaters in 2017, the released movie differed widely from his original vision. Itís hard to say who really was responsible for these changes, Whedon himself or the studio who saw this as an opportunity to create a movie with a lighter tone similar to the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Regardless, the end result was not well received by fans, and the movie was deemed a failure. After that, the studio seemed intent on dumping all plans for their comic universe while starting anew. Even though movies like Aquaman starring Jason Momoa, Wonder Woman 2 starring Gal Gadot, and Shazam were released, you could tell the films tried to distance themselves from the Snyder vision. I might add, other than perhaps Shazam, all those movies in my opinion were quite bad.

Fast-forward to the present. After a tremendously long fan-led campaign to convince Warner Bros to allow Snyder to tell his original story for Justice League, we have the Snyder-Cut version of Justice League. Personally, I donít think Warner Bros. had much faith the recut movie would be any better but saw an opportunity to hype their newly launched streaming service, HBO Max as the exclusive distributor instead of movie theaters.

The Snyder-Cut movie isnít just adding back in a few scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. Snyder took this opportunity to create a seemingly new movie with re-shoots and editing that turned a 2-hour movie into a 4-hour, 6-part saga.

So was it all worth it? In my opinion, yes. I was amazed at how much better this version of Justice League was over the original release. Honestly, I donít know if this is truly what Snyder had intended for the original, or if several years of fan feedback on the theater release allowed him to make something better. We know even if Snyder hadnít stepped down from the original movie, it wouldnít have been four hours long. Nevertheless, this new movie allowed him to do things that were sorely missing from the original, like develop the character background on all Justice League members, beyond the big three of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The one benefiting the most from character development was Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Not only did his character become a much more integral part of the story, we were actually allowed to see what drives him and how he came to be.

Since the original movie, accusations have come out against Joss Whedon for abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable behavior while working on Justice League. Fisher was the first to publicly make these accusations against Whedon, but other actors have come forward to support the claims. I donít know if the friction between Fisher and Whedon played a part in Cyborgís character being downplayed in the original release or not, but when you watch this new movie, I think you will come away finding Cyborg much more interesting than before.

Another thing sorely missing from the original release was the real main bad guy for the DC Cinematic Universe, the character known as Darkseid. In the original movie, Darkseid was barley even mentioned let alone seen. Imagine if Marvel had tried to build up to Avengers: Endgame without ever showing or barely referencing Thanos. Snyder provided a more prominent role for Darkseid in this new version.

Much of the Snyder-Cut of Justice League plays out like the original, only fleshed out with more depth and updated special effects. This movie's main bad guy Steppenwolf, a CGI character, looks much better than he did originally. Many of the fight scenes also look better, although you still get a fair amount of the Snyder-style slow-mo stuff seen in other DC movies. They also removed some of the lighthearted stuff, which I felt was originally added to be more like a Marvel movie. Scenes like when Aquaman was sitting on Wonder Womanís lasso are thankfully gone. Thatís not to say there still arenít some lighthearted moments in here. The first time Flash meets Bruce Wayne which was one of my favorites is still there, and there are even a few additional scenes with Flash that have been added that I think are good.

Itís the ending however where the recut movie is completely different from the original, and for me it was the original ending I hated the most. The way, this movie not only tells an overall better story, it sets up much better for whatís yet to come. It adds to things that were originally started in Dawn of Justice, which until now I found pretty confusing. In fact, I would argue that not only does this new version make Justice League better, it also helps make Dawn of Justice better.

Dawn of Justice is a movie that I initially wasnít a huge fan of, but then they released an extended version of that film that explained in more depth how Lex had manipulated Bruce and Clark. After that, I found myself liking that movie more. Along with the Snyder-Cut of Justice League, they released the ďUltimateĒ version of Dawn of Justice on HBO Max. I do recommend you watch that before watching Justice League. To me, Dawn of Justice is really Chapter 1 of Justice league, and the two movies come together well now as one big story.

As for the length of the movie. Well, Iíve seen it twice now, and the four hours never once dragged for me. I am glad this is a home release, because I admit sitting in a theater seat that long is not appealing. For those Iíve seen complain about the runtime, I do wonder if they would have complained if this was a movie they were truly seeing for the first time. Since a sizable portion of the movie is similar to the original, there is an element at play of already knowing whatís going to happen, at least until you get to the end.

So for me the big question is, where do we go from here? Assuming this Snyder-Cut is deemed a success by the studio, will that convince them to continue what has been established here? Will the studio, even if they wanted, be able to get all the actors back including Fisher, or even Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, both of whom seem to have moved on from the DC movies.

One of my biggest fears for this Snyder-Cut movie has been ó would it almost be worse if I ended up really liking it, because now I want more of something that may never come. I have to wonder if that is now where we stand?

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Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
Outsiders - 2021-04-02 @ 9:27 pm

Snyder released an alternate version of the Knightmare scene from the movie...

yojoebro82 - 2021-03-23 @ 5:18 pm
4 hours ago, mako said:

Oh? Why can't you watch WITH your kids? Could it be because its not fit for younger viewers? A SUPERMAN movie that kids can't watch? That doesn't bother you at all?

Not really. There is tons of content involving these characters that ARE tailored toward kids, they aren't missing out. My oldest has a big hardcover book of Batman short stories that she has us read to her on occasion. For bedtime stories I typically tell a story about Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman rescuing kitties from trees and whatnot. If I want to share these characters with my girls, I and any other adult has tons of options in print and on screen.

hainrs - 2021-03-23 @ 5:05 pm

I personally really don't think the Snyder Cut happening had anything to do with fan campaigns or such. I think WB wanted something that would draw people to HBO Max.

The fan campaign had everything to do with it, and WB also had nothing to do with it. None of this would have happened if AT&T hadn't merged with WB. The execs at WB absolutely hate Snyder's movies and they never had any plans to allow the Snyder Cut to be completed (although there has always been a cut that was shorter than 4 hrs but longer than the theatrical cut....this is the one that Mamoa and others referenced when they said they had seen it and Snyder has said it was a completed edit with Junkie XL's music at that time in place). As soon as the merger happened, the Snyder Cut was greenlit when they knew it would be perfect for HBO Max content. WB absolutely did not want it...period and fought it, but AT&T and HBO Max have all the power right now, so the Snyder Cut, fans, and Snyder himself won in the end. I hated the theatrical version, but I love the hell out of this one.

There's some company out there that says they have methods that can tell them how many people watched it and they're saying 1.8 million views within the date range they used which I'm guessing is the premiere weekend. WW1984 had 2.2 million views in it's opening weekend. Of course, that doesn't tell us how many subscriptions happened, and it can't tell us how many people who started one haven't watched it, yet.

There are tons of people who don't like the other Snyder films and/or JL theatrical who do like or love this one (Red Letter Media and Dan Murrell are two good examples on Youtube), and there are tons of reactions from people saying they thought it would be crap or not that great and were pleasantlysurprised to blown away. And then there's people like Andy Signore whom made himself look foolish with his likes it doesn't like it wishy washy reaction. He's biased and has major baggage going in, so I don't care what that idiot thinks at the end of the day.

JayC - 2021-03-23 @ 1:00 pm

WB biggest problem when it comes to DC is they have no real plan in place. They just kind throw things against the wall and wait to see what sticks, and the second they think it might not stick they are moving on to something different. So they end up being all over the place.

I personally really don't think the Snyder Cut happening had anything to do with fan campaigns or such. I think WB wanted something that would draw people to HBO Max. A movie that already had been in theaters but with a twist was the perfect thing. It was something that would create tremendous media and fan buzz and allow them to say hey we gave you what you want. At the same time it wouldn't really anger movie theaters since it had already been in theaters, keeping in mind at the time when they initially gave this thing the go they had no idea the impact COVID was going to have on movie theaters or that they would end up releasing so many of their big blockbuster movies straight to HBO Max anyway. My guess they thought this Snyder Cut wouldn't be received any better than the previous movies when initially released in theaters so then they would have cover to say we are done now.

Of course ironically the worst thing has happened instead, many people loved it and now are going to demand more. What I don't really get is why they allowed Snyder to make this movie so blatantly open ended. They could have done this movie without the epilogue chapter, and while that wouldn't totally wrap things up, it wouldn't SCREAM hey there is a lot more of this story to be told.

Despite what this Ann Sarnoff said in that variety interview, I am not convinced WB is as ready to move on as she indicates. I do think there are a number of obstacles in place that would prevent them from moving forward. First they got to get Snyder on board, which there are reports now circulating that both HBOMax and Netflix are fighting to lock Snyder into an exclusive contract.

Assuming they are able to keep Netflix from grabbing up Snyder, then you have all the issues with the actors, mainly the claims of the abuse Ray Fisher has made against WB, which WB even as of this interview basically refuse to acknowledge as being legit. Beyond Fisher who's Cyborg character after the Snyder Cut has seemingly become a more interracial part of the story, in my mind there is much doubt they could also get Cavill and Afleck back. The Robert Pattinson Batman movie is def happening. Now you could treat that similar to the Joker movie and have it be it's completely own thing, but for the general public the more you do that the more confused they will get. The general movie going public isn't going to realize the Pattinson Batman has nothing to do with the Affleck Batman. There also reports that Superman was getting rebooted, now granted that might not be far enough along that if they wanted to they couldn't put that on hold, but it shows WB doesn't really have any kind of set plan in place with any of this.

mako - 2021-03-23 @ 12:43 pm
12 hours ago, yojoebro82 said:

Being a father of two little girls, the wife and I are on our third night of watching this extravaganza. Yep, we need to break it up into that many chunks because we don't get 4 hours to ourselves.

Oh? Why can't you watch WITH your kids? Could it be because its not fit for younger viewers? A SUPERMAN movie that kids can't watch? That doesn't bother you at all?

I stand by my original assertion.

glhshelby - 2021-03-23 @ 12:09 pm
7 hours ago, JangDangus said:

WW84 was a flop, it's over too. Patty is moving on to Star Wars.

WW3 is definitely moving forward, with both Jenkins and Gadot. WB already announced that back in January. WW84,by COVID metrics, was still a decentsuccess for them because a ton of people watched it on HBOMax. It may have been terrible,but then so was BvS and they still let Snyder make Justice League.

JangDangus - 2021-03-23 @ 4:18 am

Exactly. AddJared Leto to the luther list.Man of Steel is 8 years old. If we start a new DCU now, a new Justice league could pop in within 3-4 years. If we keep the current one alive it will be 10. I'd rather build Joaquin, Robert, and the new comers. with multiple sequels. Use that foundation to build a new WW and Super. WW84 was a flop, it's over too. Patty is moving on to Star Wars. Let's all move on too.

AvengerK2 - 2021-03-23 @ 2:36 am

The best part of this epic is that it is not MCU. It's not perfect but it succeeds in being it's own superhero movie and if DC has to have its movie universe this is a great place to build it from. I never wanted DC movies to be more Marvel movie than Marvel movie. I think now most fans have seen how good DC movies can be with this cut and they will want more.

yojoebro82 - 2021-03-23 @ 12:38 am
On 3/21/2021 at 5:59 PM, mako said:

If you think that crap is "awesome," it's already to late for you.

I think this crap is awesome!Being a father of two little girls, the wife and I are on our third night of watching this extravaganza. Yep, we need to break it up into that many chunks because we don't get 4 hours to ourselves.

I like this so much more than the theatrical version which I could tell even at the timewas some Frankensteined Snyder/Whedon/WB Think Tank monstrosity. Snyder definitely has a unique take on these heroes that I appreciate even though I do not agree 100% of his creative moves. It's epic, it's self indulgent, it's melodramatic, it's not MCU, and I find myself surprisingly into it.

I for one am not ruling out a sequel. I know I've seen what they WB's statement is on it, and I've had other fans point out to me all the reasons why there WON'T be a sequel, and they are not wrong. I also know that money and hashtag movements talk in this day and age. Who knows what might happen with enough support.

Cloud - 2021-03-22 @ 11:08 pm

Honestly, the Snyder was a bit better than the theatrical release.

I still don't the big problem with the Henry Cavill mustache. Part of it is I just really never cared about a Superman that can't fly on a his own. They fixed that with both versions of the Justice League movie.

I heard good things about the Snyder cut and I enjoyed a good chunk of it from watching it last night. BUT, I also see why they needed to recut the movie for the theatrical release.

To say Warner Brother is out of touch to not continue the DCEU is more or less a fan boy comment. DCEU just wasn't great. They needed someone other than Zack Snyder to oversee the projects. Sure Snyder makes cool scenes but he sure doesn't know hot to tell a story. Took him 4 hours when Whedon and WB more of less did the same story in 2 hours.

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