Zack Snyder’s four-hour cut of Justice League has the DC fandom cautiously optimistic, anxiously awaiting the redemption-round superhero epic to release on Mar 18th. Although the film shares the same heroes and cast as its disappointing and severely underwhelming 2017 counterpart, Snyder reassures fans that the film will be an entirely new thing, completely separate from its past version. For those who are new to DC Comics and their film franchise, there are a lot of reasons to be both excited and nervous about this massive film. Here’s everything you need to know before it comes out…
The Justice League serves as DC Comics’ valiant team of superheroes, most famously known for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. This universe of superheroes is separate from Marvel and their Avengers, but the hero squads are parallel in their adventures and crime-fighting habits. Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) has been a central part of the DC cinematic universe. Having directed both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, two films that did their best to please hero lovers, Snyder was given the Justice League project as well. By 2017, he had a four-hour cut of the film that Warner met with understandable but irritating creative reservations and restrictions. Soon after, Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, committed suicide leaving their family in emotional upheaval. This, on top of constant fights with the studio, pushed Snyder to leave the film and concentrate on the wellbeing of his family.
The project was then handed off to Joss Whedon, the director of both Marvel’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, the veteran superhero filmmaker disappointed everyone upon the release of Justice League later that year. The 2017 film, intended to be a massive climax and culmination of Earth’s mightiest heroes, served more as a hollow shell of a half-baked Marvel movie. Character development was skipped over completely, each hero joining the team in fashion of a cliche heist movie, and the charming Marvel humor Whedon tried to recapture from his past works fell short as simple, uncreative, and even annoying. It also contradicted the unique gritty and gloomy mood Snyder had been aiming for with the previous direction of his films. Whedon’s League truly tanked, doing worse than both of Snyder’s previous DC films in terms of box office reception.
Following this disappointing release, the DC fandom threw a fit. Fans on all social media platforms demanded Snyder’s cut be released, begging for a movie that was not corny, full of expositional dialogue, and, well, boring. After almost five years, what fans dubbed ‘The Snyder Cut’ finally became possible, due to the increased popularity and primary use of streaming services. In less than a month, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will now premiere on HBO Max. Should we be excited?
Yes…I think! After tens of millions of dollars worth of reshoots, edits, visual effects, and a new score, Snyder cannot emphasize enough how different he believes this film will be. What exactly will be new? For starters, Snyder is giving us new villains. Instead of squishing only half of DC Comics’ ‘New Gods’ storyline into two hours and a single two-dimensional villain, Snyder seems to be giving us the entire conflict. This includes, as the new trailers show, the addition of both Darkseid (Ray Porter) and The Joker (Jared Leto) back into his film. This is extremely exciting news for a couple reasons, mainly that Whedon’s 2017 cut only gave us Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), an antagonist that many did not know and struggled to care about. The addition of these villains will hopefully allow Snyder to traverse a plethora of diverse conflicts within his four hour epic, instead of concentrating on one supremely powerful being within a few (pretty spectacular) battle scenes. Plus, Jared Leto gets another shot to redeem himself as The Clown Prince of Crime! Always exciting.
Teasers and trailers have also alluded to greater character development and world building within the heroes’ lives, something Whedon completely overlooked in his film. For example, Iris West (Kiersey Clemons) makes an appearance in Snyder’s newest trailer, hinting towards greater exploration into The Flash’s (Ezra Miller) life outside fighting crime. Snyder has additionally hinted towards giving Cyborg (Ray Fisher) more screen time and depth, further exploring everyone’s favorite human-robot hybrid, while also laying down hints about a possible Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix) reveal. Snyder has really worked to portray these heroes and villains, The Justice League and their counterparts, in the right way, the way in which he knows everyone was hoping for in 2017.
With this, I am nervous to say that the film will be a success. DC Entertainment, in the past ten years, has not been known to consistently impress their viewers or even their own dedicated fan base. The final and main reason I am holding out hope and remaining excited for Snyder and his League is a line from the official trailer released on Feb 12. Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) states, “If you can’t bring down the charging bull, don’t wave the red cape at it.” The most unappealing part of Whedon’s Justice League was the team’s constant obsession with strength in teamwork contrasted by their complete ineffectiveness in fighting off villains without Superman (Henry Cavill). At multiple points, the heroes get their butts whooped for minutes until the man with the red cape shows up to save the day all by himself. Alfred’s line, I believe, is Snyder reassuring his fans that the pathetic short-cut cop-out ending Whedon presented will hold no place in his film. Can the ‘Snyder Cut’ really withstand and exceed four years worth of expectations?
‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ will be available to stream on HBO Max starting Mar 18.
By Erik Mathews