Movies

The “Snyder Cut” of Justice League is Coming to HBO Max

ComicBook.comWarner Bros. announced today that the Snyder Cut version of Justice League will be making its debut on HBO Max. It’s been over two years since Justice League opened in theaters and since then, while the film has largely fallen out of the general cultural conversation, it’s been very much alive with fans. Many of whom have been pleading with and demanding that Warner Bros. release the so-called “Snyder Cut” of the film.

Fans determined to see director Zack Snyder’s version of the DC team-up film have been passionate, online and off in their efforts to get the version brought to screen and now, those efforts have paid off…Earlier this month, a report indicated that Snyder held a private screening of his version of Justice League during the first quarter of 2020 with Warner Bros. executives in attendance. The report indicated that the screening may have gotten the wheels turning for something involving Snyder’s vision for the film – a version that Snyder himself has confirmed exists with at least some completed CGI.

If theres been one positive to this whole dumpster fire coronavirus quarantine is that it’s forced the hands of every entertainment company in the world to get creative with its content. We’ve been hearing about the #SnyderCut for 2+ years after director Zack Snyder left Justice League before finishing it, only to see the project completed (and tweaked) without him and ultimately panned by critics and fans as yet another mixed bag of mediocrity from DC. Well after years of incessant tweeting from DC fan boys with claims of how the #SnyderCut would have been entirely different and made for a better film…this better not suck. Snyder has taken up the mantle of twitter fans, which is a risky endeavor because expectations have long since gone past the point of reasonable. It could be an incredible movie that resurrects Justice League and turns it into what we all hoped it would be…or it could be a gigantic letdown after three years of hype from fans based on blind hope.

It does seem like HBO Max is serious about this though because there is some serious work going into it. Obviously as an unfinished cut of a superhero movie there is likely loads of CGI that needs to be put together. Hollywood Reporter is saying $20-$30 million was put into finishing the project and the #SnyderCut could premiere as a FOUR HOUR director’s cut like he’s Billy Walsh.

“This is my fucking deer hunter.” – Billy Walsh” – Zack Snyder

Probably because I am a gigantic nerd, but I have an affinity for comic book or video game movies gone awry because so often immense potential is wasted and a monumental IP is shelved because of it. Looking at you live action Dragon Ball movie…

How did Emmy Rossum get cast in that piece of crap? And how did it double its original ($30M) budget at the box office? I’m getting off track…

Seriously after all we’ve heard about the #SnyderCut, this better be good or Zack Snyder might just get put in the Disney Vault by Hollywood execs. The DC Universe was one of the most frustrating, up and down collection of movies in recent memory. Man of Steel was pretty good, not amazing, but Henry Cavill was a great Superman and you could see the potential. Batman vs Superman had an absolutely incredible trailer, but ended up being a convoluted mess despite solid performances from Cavill, Ben Affleck as the new Batman, and Gal Gadot in a career making performance as Wonder Woman. Suicide Squad was similar with an awesome trailer and a finished product that left you scratching your head despite solid performances from Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as a perfectly cast Harley Quinn. And after that I think like a lot of people I kind of just lost interest. I have yet to see Aquaman, despite my bro crush on Khal Drogo, Shazam, or Birds of Prey. I’ve heard at least 2/3 of those movies are surprisingly good, but there is zero cohesion between any of these movies as the DC Extended Universe ultimately collapsed on itself.

Affleck is out as Batman and theres been lingering rumors about Cavill exiting sooner than later so the DCEU is basically on life support. Gal Gadot’s mega hit Wonder Woman and the sheer charisma of Margot Robbie are the only thing keeping this whole experiment of the DCEU from getting put on ice.

So now we get the #SnyderCut, which if you believe the internet message boards is an entirely different and much improved film than what we all saw in the final version of Justice League. Granted I watched this movie on a 6 inch screen on a cross country flight, but it was just a mixed bag of forgettable scenes with Joss Whedon quippy dialogue shoehorned in.

**Spoiler Alert*** If you still haven’t seen it after two months of quarantine you might as well just pop it in and give it a go. It’s not terrible, but it is forgettable. The only thing I really remember from this movie was the predictable return of Superman after he was killed at the end of Batman vs Superman. Except because this movie required extensive reshoots, Cavill was already filming Mission Impossible where his character rocks a sweet sweet mustache. Well the studio for MI wouldn’t let him shave it so DC had to digitally remove Cavill’s mustache for some Superman scenes, which left us with one of my favorite images from any superhero flick.

Laugh out loud funny.

If you’re not familiar with the back story, Snyder left Justice League after the tragic death of his daughter so the studio brought in Marvel darling and Avengers director Joss Whedon to finish the movie. Except if you’ve ever seen the Avengers and compare it to literally anything Snyder has done (Superman, Batman vs Superman, Sin City, 300) they have diametrically opposing styles. Whedon’s work is bright and fully of quippy dialogue whereas Snyder has a lot of dark, brooding, gritty tones. So to throw Whedon in for the final leg as he noticeably tries to lighten up the final product, it just doesn’t gel. Hence the outcry for the #SnyderCut.

Now what the hell could possibly be that different about this original cut that would make the movie that much better? I mean Jason Momoa has been beating this drum forever and recently Gadot and Affleck joined in to champion this version of the movie. So it would have to be significantly different right? Well Phil Owen from The Wrap had a pretty interesting theory on how differently things could go in the #SnyderCut based on footage from the original trailer that wasn’t used and/or reworked.

there are items in “Batman v Superman” clearly intended to set up a very specific plot thread that never came to be — and those items are not referenced in “Justice League” at all. I’m talking about Bruce Wayne’s nightmare of an apocalyptic future in which Superman is evil, and the subsequent visit from what seems to be a time-traveling Flash warning Bruce about what Superman will become should Lois Lane be killed…So they at some point assemble the team and resurrect Superman inside the Kryptonian scout ship in Metropolis by some means –the Mother Box may not have been necessary given that the Kryptonians used that pool of amniotic fluid to make babies. After they bring Superman back, he goes crazy in the same way he does in the finished film, but his fight against the Justice League goes on much longer and doesn’t end with him reverting to normal. The government even gets involved, bringing tanks into the fight that Superman of course easily handles. However it ends, Superman does not go visit Kansas with Lois afterward, because that scene in the movie was a reshoot addition.

It’s possible that Lois shows up to try to calm him down and she is killed in the chaos (or something happens that somehow makes him think she’s killed), and it’s likely that Superman continues to be not quite right the rest of the movie and becomes the threat that Batman feared and which the Flash warned him about in “Batman v Superman.”

It would be a very Snyder-esque payoff to the the themes set up in the early goings — the idea that Superman was a beacon who gave the people of Earth a moral center, and whose death threw everyone into disarray. They bring him back but he no longer functions as that beacon of goodness, which in turn makes the moral situation on Earth that much murkier. It would make sense, too, that even an angry Superman would amass followers willing to fight, for him as we saw in Batman’s nightmare.

This would make so much more sense to have a legitimately menacing and dangerous Superman wreaking havoc for more than the 5 minutes he does in the final version of the film. Why all that build up for what amounts to a temper tantrum? I definitely recommend giving Owen’s article a read as a lot of his ideas work a lot better in theory than the final film, which completely punts on Darkseid in favor of hitting the wrap it up box with the undeveloped motivation of a forgettable villain in Steppenwolf.

I don’t know what to expect, but I’ll be checking it out for sure, which is all HBO can ask for with its latest venture HBO Max. If you’re a DirecTV subscriber like me you’ll get HBO Max for free. Otherwise things get kind of confusing based on who your provider is and you may have to pony up for the new streaming channel, even if you already pay for HBO.

While there is no concrete release date, HBO Max says to expect the #SnyderCut of Justice League in 2021 so it could be a while before we see it.

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