After the dismal reception for 2017’s Justice League which was dropped by original director Zack Snyder and completed by Avengers director Joss Whedon, hard core DC fans have been lobbying to find out what might have happened if Snyder was able to carry out his vision of the movie fully.
Fans felt that Whedon basically screwed up Snyder’s film and demanded that DCEU rectify the situation. It worked, and now in 2021, we got to finally witness Snyder’s full film, which includes all of the never-before-seen scenes that went to the cutting room floor under Whedon’s direction.
Synopsis: The world is in peril from the powerful forces of an alien entity called Darkseid. His emissary Steppenwolf is on a mission to recover three mother boxes that hold enough power to put the entire world under Darkseid’s control. Batman must assemble a team of superheroes to protect Earth in the event of an imminent attack. But with Superman gone, recruiting a dream team of powerful heroes becomes a far more difficult task for the Bat that he could imagine.
Personally, I did not hate Whedon’s version of Justice League but I admit that it was a far cry from the quality of the Avengers franchise. Justice League felt very perfunctory, meaning, it played by the book and served up the scenes that filmmakers thought the audience would like.
However, there were times that it seemed like it was patched together by two completely separate ideas (which was exactly what happened between Snyder’s vision and Whedon’s idea). My biggest problem with the film was actually Henry Cavill’s edited upper lip (because the reshoots happened when he was already filming Mission Impossible).
Anyway, the difference between the Snyder version and the Whedon version was mainly consistency. The original Justice League seemed like it wasn’t sure whether it wanted to be serious or funny. Snyder’s version knew that it wanted to deliver a serious film and knew just how dark it was willing to go.
The film was consistent in its tone overall, and that was the beauty of it. Things made more sense with the missing scenes included in this new version.
Sure, the seriousness of the tone was far different from how Aquaman was presented in his standalone movie but it was pretty minor and did not affect the overall impact of the movie. Case in point, Wonder Woman consciously avoided getting caught on camera to protect her identity in WW 1984 but in this version, she was very open to engage with the public, even giving pieces of advice to little girls. As for Aquaman, his tribe seemed pretty laid back and he seemed to live a normal life in his solo movie but in the Snyder version, everyone treated him like a god. Also, I don’t remember Meera having an accent in Aquaman but she sounded like she was ready to have tea anytime in this version. Like I said, these were minor inconsistencies but it would be noticeable if you binge watch the entire franchise in one sitting.
DCEU was right to release this version of Justice League because this was the proper set up that the characters needed to launch their own standalone film. It also established a connection to a larger arc involving the expansion of the Justice League leaving the door open for the Martian Manhunter, the Green Lantern and Shazam to join the club.
Because he was pretty much given free rein by the studio this time around, Snyder extensively explored the backstories of the characters which helped fans understand the characters’ motivations. At first, I must admit that I dismissed Viktor (Cyborg) as an emo brat but by the film’s end, his character developed dramatically. Those four hours worked wonders on his character. The same went with Barry Allen’s character (not the emo part). His origins and the extent of his abilities was explored by the movie, even the the chronokinesis (time manipulation).
I liked that each hero had their moment to shine. Diana was the only woman in the team but she was recognized as being one of the strongest characters without it feeling like it was being pushed down the audience’s throats. It did not feel forced, and that called for a huge respect to the character and her gender. I also liked that the team developed their teamwork as they went along.
Its true that Snyder tended to go overboard with the slow motion and the drama. As a matter of fact, the first two hours were devoted to a lot of talking, and brooding, and talking. You get the point. Seriously, I was really wondering why, amid the looming attack, the heroes were taking their sweet time to whine about their personal issues instead of looking at the big picture.
When the first battle scene happened though, it seemed like the spark that jumpstarted the movie. The action scenes were great. And they kept getting better as the movie progressed.
I’m sure fans enjoyed seeing Superman in his Recovery Suit rather than his usual costume. I also loved that Snyder reworked the entire final battle because it had so much more depth than the Whedon version. It made a lot of sense when it was presented that way. In fact, the missing scenes from the original movie made it seem like an entirely new film. In a good way.
I loved the intensity of the Snyder Cut. That’s saying a lot because I’m not a big fan of dramatics. A lot of thought went into this movie and it was just so obvious that it was Snyder’s love letter to DC fans. He tried to jam every fan service he could think of in the space of four hours and two minutes and it was all well worth it.
My only complaint, as with the original version is that we never really get to see The Flash speed up because his bursts of speed were always, always presented in slow motion. I mean, I get the point that its being presented from his perspective but for one, I would like to see him whiz by in the coolest fashion.
If you’re a fan of the DCEU, this is the right movie for you. Feel free to set your expectations high because this film delivered on so many counts. If you’re a movie fan who wants to see a good film and have four hours of your time to spare, this might not be a bad way to go about it. The Snyder Cut is available to stream on HBO Max and HBO Go. Thank you for including us this time around, HBO.