By: ELLIOTT GARSKE
At last, the long awaited Snyder cut of Justice League has arrived on HBO Max. The movie that had once been thought of as a myth has finally been graced upon us after years of fan protests and many change.org petitions that went nowhere. But one question stands, just how different is it from the original theatrical cut. In fact, is it even better than the original cut?
Well for starters, comparing these two movies is like comparing apples to oranges due to how totally different the two are. The main example of this being that the Snyder cut is a whopping 4 hours long compared to Joss Whedon’s 2 hours. This obviously makes for a huge amount of differences in both tone and story between the two films, so i’ll be going over some of the biggest differences between the two, good and bad. And then deciding whether or not the Snyder cut is actually better.
First, there are a lot of things that were cut from the theatrical cut because they either didn’t fit with Zack Snyder’s vision or they were just straight up bad. One such example would be the opening scene with Superman that was widely criticized for having a horrible CG upper lip that was supposed to hide Henry Cavil’s mustache, which failed horribly. Another cut was all the random parademon attacks that happen throughout the movie that let the members of the Justice League figure out that Steppenwolf has begun invading Earth. Speaking of Steppenwolf, his base of operations is changed from a suburban town into an abandoned nuclear power plant, which fits better. Other minor cuts are most of the scenes that director Joss Whedon added to the theatrical cut, most of which being jokes that didn’t land or didn’t fit with the tone of the scene.
Now, for a movie that is 2 hours longer than its original version, there’s of course a ton of things that were added. Some of the major additions include multiple scenes with the villain Darkseid and Desaad, who act as advisors in a sort of way to Steppenwolf while he attempts to conquer Earth. Cyborg was given a ton of scenes to actually flesh out his character, so instead of just being there for half the movie, he actually has a character arc. There are a couple more scenes with Aquaman, which flesh out why he doesn’t want to help Batman and also why he hates Atlantis. The Flash has a different introduction scene, and even has a really cool new scene towards the end involving the speed force from the comics. There is another Batman nightmare scene similar to the one from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and there are also many new scenes that serve as exposition dumps sprinkled throughout.
In the original theatrical cut, the main villain Steppenwolf didn’t actually get a lot of screentime, and he was just kinda a really bad villain in general. The Snyder cut actually completely re does his backstory, which now shows him as a disgraced and general who was banished by Darkseid, who has been conquering different worlds in order to gain back Darkseid’s respect. Not only did his backstory get an overhaul, but his design changed too. He went from some sort of basic grey villain, and they gave him some really cool looking armor that reflects everything with a sort of purple hue at times.
Among all these new additions, there are also a lot of fanservice things that were added for people to notice. One such addition would be a change from Superman’s classic suit to the black suit he wears in the comics after being revived in a similar way as in the movies. Another would be a couple scenes with the character Martian Manhunter, who in the comics has the ability to shapeshift into anyone, among other powers.
So now that i’ve gone over what’s different, now to actually determine which version of the movie is better. Short answer, it’s totally better than the theatrical cut, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any issues by itself. Although this is a substantially better movie, there are a couple flaws it has that stick out when noticed.
Of all flaws, the biggest is that because it is not an actual DC Cinematic Universe movie, everything it teases or sets up is never going to be followed up on. The movie teases multiple things, such as the Anti-Life Equation, which is a super weapon that can control all life in the universe. It also sets up a whole saga based around Darkseid coming back and coming for Lois Lane, who is apparently extremely important. The Martian Manhunter is shown multiple times throughout the movie, but will probably never be seen again. There’s even a scene setting up Lex Luthor, having escaped from prison hiring Deathstroke to kill Bruce Wayne, which would’ve made for a really cool movie.
So all in all, The Snyder cut is a much better movie than its original counterpart. Despite its flaws, both new and brought over, it totally stands up on its own as a movie that’s perfect for comic fans and people who just like superhero films in general. The only barrier is whether or not you have 4 hours to spare.