Can Zack Snyder’s Justice League Redeem the DCEU?


“New Justice League Pic. Released!!” by AntMan3001 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Jose Carlos Serrano

To many, 2017’s Justice League was nothing short of a poorly executed film gaining mostly negative and mild reviews from film critics. Sporting well-known actors, years of development, and a $300,000,000 budget, fans were perplexed at how such a film could be so half-baked and reliant on poor CGI. Zack Snyder, the original director, voluntarily relinquished the role due to a family tragedy. His other work includes 2009’s Watchmen, 2013’s Man of Steel, and 2016’s Batman VS Superman: Dawn of Justice, alongside a plethora of other films. Warner Brothers gave the director’s chair to no other than Joss Whedon, the director of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Whedon’s theatrical cut of Justice League was disliked by fans and many called for Zack Snyder’s original cut of the film to be released to see what should have been of the movie. The movement was led by the popular slogan: “Release the Snyder Cut.” Finally, Snyder announced plans to release the Snyder Cut, showing his original plan for the film back in May of 2020. More recently, fans received a definitive release date, plus an official trailer, it will come out March 18, 2021 and exclusively on HBO MAX. 

Ben Affleck as Batman During the Knightmare Sequence in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Image Credit: HBO MAX

In addition to such news, an announcement trailer was released a few months ago with an official one released this past Valentine’s Day for the Snyder cut. The official trailer really shows the big differences between Whedon’s and Snyder’s cut. For one, Snyder actually went back to film reshoots for his cut of Justice League spending a reported $70,000,000 doing so. The Snyder cut offers extremely noticeable graphical improvements, camera angles, and altogether improved filmography. The trailer also showed how Whedon’s version cut out a lot of characters and took away a lot of important scenes that would have added to the story. For instance, take this photo of Steppenwolf, one of the main villains in Justice League and notice the differences between the two cuts. Snyder’s Steppenwolf looks more real with metallic, sharp armor covering his entire body, adding more menace to the character. Whedon’s looks more like a videogame almost, with less armor and appearing to instead, wear a sort of lightly armored tunic making seem more of a feeble character instead. 

Whedon’s Cut is Pictured on the Left while Snyder’s essentially remastered cut is on the right. The Differences are Incredible. Image Credit: Warner Brothers and HBO MAX with the comparison photo provided by

One thing that the Snyder Cut is trying to accomplish, is to create more of a connection between the previous DCEU or DC Extended Universe films. For example, the Knightmare sequence where Bruce Wayne dreams of a future in which Superman is reigning over the world in Batman VS Superman, has a continuation in the Snyder Cut. This one doesn’t necessarily show Superman as the villain but has Metropolis and Gotham City in ruins hinting at the main villain of the film: Darkseid, one of the most powerful villains in the DC universe. In Whedon’s cut, Darkseid wasn’t focused much on and was surprisingly dismissed. In addition, this scene reinforces Bruce Wayne’s commitment to wanting to form the Justice League. In the official trailer, he mentions how he had “a dream, almost a premonition” of what was to come and how he needs to put together an alliance. What shocked fans, myself included, was what Batman saw at the end of the Knightmare sequence: the appearance of the Joker. Having Jared Leto take on the reins once again after reprising the character last in 2015’s Suicide Squad. Leto’s revised Joker looks darker, more serious, and in my opinion, a much better take on the character. 

Jared Leto as the Joker in Batman’s Knightmare dream. Much more reminiscent of the modern-day comic version of the character.  Image Credit: HBO MAX

The Snyder Cut will be four hours long, originally meant to be broken up into episodes. The original Justice League actually, was a little more than two hours. These statistics show how the Snyder Cut will indeed show the original vision for the film and what could have been. Hopefully with all these scenes implemented, viewers will see a new, more refined side of the film than what was originally shown. Of course, with the positives could indeed come the negatives. Many argue that the story is still similar to the original; one of the main criticisms of Whedon’s Justice League was the stale story. While Snyder is using none of Whedon’s reshoots, the poor story remains. However, I wouldn’t say that this is entirely true as we are seeing new villains in the Snyder Cut such as Granny Goodness, Darkseid, and a remastered Steppenwolf, all of which being prominent characters in the comics; adding a potentially different main plot. In addition, the two extra hours of film could add to refining the otherwise CGI-reliant story of Whedon’s cut. However, we are seeing new variations of characters such as Superman in his black suit, the appearance of Lex Luthor, and more  meaning that there could be extra story elements added as well. The Snyder Cut Official Website notes all of the important changes such as improved music, aspect ratio, coloring, and better dialogue. 

Batman standing on his new batmobile in the Snyder Cut. It seems to be inspired from Frank Miller’s Classic Book, “The Dark Knight Returns”, many of which consider the comic as the one to define the Modern-day era of comic books. An  example of what changes audiences will see in The Snyder Cut.    Image Credit: HBO MAX

The Snyder Cut is both intriguing and fascinating as it shows the dedication taken to working on this film. Director Zack Snyder wants audiences to see his original vision for the film. Overall, Zack Snyder’s Justice League could be a redeeming point for DC as we are seeing huge differences between the original film and this new version of it. An enhanced story, better visuals and music, camera angles, and more will all add to this potential masterwork of what would have been of 2017’s Justice League. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming exclusively on HBO MAX March 18th and I would recommend checking it out. After the film’s release, I will be publishing an in-depth review of the movie, my thoughts, and my predictions for the future of the DC franchise.