Analysis: Zack Snyder Cut of “Justice League”

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To the surprise and delight of many, Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League will release in 2021 on HBO Max.

Black and white Justice League.
“Justice League”: Noir edition.

On May 20, 2020; Warner Bros. surprised everyone by announcing that they will release Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League on their exclusive streaming service, HBO Max, in 2021. Justice League fans rejoice as their 3 year long demands under #ReleaseTheSnyderCut are finally met. Yet, why is the Snyder Cut even necessary to begin with? To answer that question, we need to delve into Justice League‘s developmental hell.

The Snyder Incident

The one true Snyder.
The true director of “Justice League”.

Zack Snyder was initially hired to direct Justice League back in April 2014. At the time, Snyder was best known for his work directing 300 (2006), Watchmen (2009), and Man of Steel (2013); so it made good sense that he direct Justice League. The movie though, turned out to have a very long and troubled production. For instance: Geoff Johns rewrote the script multiple times during the filming process, causing issues with Chris Terrio and Warner Bros. executives. Even when the filming was complete, the post-production work ate up so much time and money. Nobody could decide how the movie should be cut.

Stop hiring sea otters to direct movies.
Sea otters don’t make good directors.

During this process, Snyder was hit hard by personal tragedy when his daughter, Autumn Snyder, committed suicide. This forced him to step down from post-production to be with his family. In the wake of this tragedy, famed director Joss Whedon was hired to continue the post-production work. Whedon, best known for creating and directing Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Firefly (2002), and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013-present); cowrote the script for Justice League, and seemed like a good choice to step into Snyder’s shoes.

Not Zack Snyder.
I’ll always know him as “the guy who made Firefly, and was screwed over by the execs”.

The Whedon Days

Unfortunately, even more trouble took place afterwards. The movie underwent 2 months of reshoots in London and Los Angeles, pushing the already ludicrously high budget to $300 million, and making it one of the most expensive movies ever made. In fact, it ties in 5th place with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, and both are only beaten by Avengers: Infinity War (4th), Avengers: Endgame (3rd), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2nd), and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (1st).

The most expensive movie ever made.
I don’t think anything will beat that $379 million budget soon, but you can bet studios will try.

The primary problem though, was that the movie took a very sudden change of tone. It went from being somber and serious, into a more light-hearted and sillier movie. Numerous other changes were made to the movie, including cutting much of Cyborg’s story out of it.

Hopefully, Snyder will restore Cyborg to his old glory.
Out of everyone, poor Cyborg was the one who really got shafted by post-production.

By the time Justice League was released in 2017, much of the movie was unrecognizable from Snyder’s original vision for it. In fact, according to Snyder himself, only about a quarter of the finished product is unchanged from his original.

A New Hope?

Now with the upcoming release in Justice League: Snyder Cut in 2021, things are finally looking up. Now we’ll finally see what Snyder intended for Justice League, and hopefully get a better movie overall this time around. You know what they say: “If at first you don’t succeed, recut the movie.”. Well, at least, I’ve heard it both ways.

As for me, I’ll be waiting for people to comment on it before seeing if I’ll get that inevitable free trial of HBO Max just to watch this movie. See you then.

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