We’re less than two weeks away from the premiere of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, an extended retool of Snyder’s original vision of DC Comics’ most famous superhero team that was never completed under his supervision back in 2017, after personal issues prompted him to step away from the project, and demand for the show has never been stronger.
A combination of fan support, a new streaming streaming service, dissatisfaction of the movie version that was ultimately released, and an almost religious reverence to a product that no one has ever seen in its entirety, has elevated the movie into something that could not possibly satisfy all the expectations placed on it.
Based on what we’ve gathered, it’s an incredible piece of work. No, we did not watch the supposed leaked version that has been floating around (and no, we tried looking for it but couldn’t find it). You don’t have to believe us, and we won’t spoil it for you, but here are our impressions (with MILD-SPOILERS) of what we’ve pieced together.
Before we go into details, here’s some background. Zack Snyder, of 300 and Watchmen fame, completed his filming of the movie, and intended for his Justice League film to be the first or a trilogy, parts of which were referenced in his previous work, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After he departed, the studio called in another director, who used some of Snyder’s footage and assembled a different film that turned the eventual movie into a standalone film that removed all the world-building Snyder hinted at.
After years of clamouring, Snyder was invited to return to his incomplete project and after several months and a reported US$70 million in post-production and additional filming that amounted to just four minutes of new footage, Snyder, who declined to be paid for doing this, is premiering a 4-hour version of the film that builds upon elements he has spent years building on, but since he only completed one movie, the Zack Snyder’s Justice League version for HBO MAX will end with a cliffhanger that is unlikely ever to be resolved.
Are you ready?
The 4-hour Snyder Cut is an experience like no other. All the heroes introduced so far, from Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg are in this movie, and there are several cameos. This is not your typical superhero film ala Avengers. Instead, look at this as 300 with superheroes. It’s epic in scope and tone and will leaves audiences wanting more.
If you’ve seen the theatrical version that came out in 2017, you’ll recognise a lot of the same scenes used, since that version reportedly contains about an hour’s worth of Snyder’s footage. But these scenes have been edited very differently here, producing a very different visual experience. And yes, the new edits make for a far better version.
There are deleted scenes that Snyder has revealed over the years that make their way back into this version, including those of Barry and Iris.
Blood. There’s blood and a lot of it for a superhero film. We already said it’s very 300, so if you intend to watch it with your children, we would advise you to watch it alone first, before allowing your kids to watch it.
As a four-hour epic, it has the liberty and time to set up every character, and doesn’t rush through character arcs. If you’re not familiar with Cyborg or have questions about The Flash, there are answers here, and it’s not just about the heroes. Do you want to know why Steppenwolf does what he does? There’s a reason why he behaves this way and Snyder takes effort in establishing intent and conflict.
Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter make cameos. That’s all we’ll say and these are not spoilers because they have been hinted it or reported on before.
There is comedy in this, but less than the theatrical version and the comedy flows nicely with the film and is natural. Most of it comes from Barry Allen/The Flash and you won’t see the other characters trying to force humour.
The Injustice dream sequence comes in right at the end, where you’ll see a post-apocalyptic team-up of Batman, Flash, Cyborg, Mera, Deathstroke and Joker. Those additional four minutes? You’ve seen the trailer and Snyder has already said he managed to add one character that was absent in his original version – Jared Leto as the Joker.
If you hate Jared Leto as the Joker, his appearance here will change your mind. The Clown Prince of Crime has a very important role here and yes, he makes mention of the Boy Wonder.
There you have it.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League streams on HBO MAX and HBO GO on 18 March 2021.
We’ll now leave you with the latest Batman and Superman teasers to whet your appetite further.