Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the “Snyder Cut” is finally out. For the uninitiated, the Snyder Cut started as an Internet rallying cry from movie fans left completely dissatisfied by 2017’s Justice League. Although Zack Snyder worked on it, he had to abandon the project halfway due to a family tragedy. The studio then brought in Avengers director Joss Whedon to finish the job. The movie was released to both critical and commercial failure, leading fans to demand that Zack Snyder’s version of the film be released instead.
For years, it was like a unicorn as the Internet was abuzz with discussions on whether such a cut existed in the first place? But now, the fans are finally getting their wish, and Zack Snyder’s version of the Justice League is out on HBO Max. However, sorry to spoil the fun; it may not actually be as good as you think. In fact, it may lag behind the 2017 version in many areas. So, here are the five reasons why the 2017 Justice League is better than the Snyder Cut:
This has probably been my problem with the entire DC Extended Universe (DCEU) from the start. It also doesn’t help that Marvel took a completely different route. You might argue that DC did something different from Marvel, and I’d agree. But then we have the results of both ventures, and it’s clear which one succeeded. The DCEU began with 2013’s Man of Steel, and in the eight years since then, there have been hits and misses. However, in the meantime, all these movies like Batman v. Superman, Wonder Woman, or Suicide Squad haven’t managed to build up the plot at all.
While 2017’s Justice League didn’t do well in that regard either but at least it avoided the cardinal sin of bringing out the big guns too early. Darkseid is the equivalent of Thanos within the DC Universe. It seems unfathomable that Marvel would introduce Thanos right in the middle of Ironman. For all its faults, the 2017 version managed to avoid this mistake. Comparatively, the Snyder Cut’s primary plot depends on it.
Yes, I know most of you instantly recall the horrible mustache CGI on Henry Cavil as soon as I mentioned visuals from the 2017 version. Still, if you look at the entire movie itself, especially now that we’ve seen the Snyder Cut, it doesn’t look that bad of a job. The Snyder Cut is essentially Zack Snyder’s pet project using the footage that wasn’t used on the 2017 version. Since the 2017 version got the studio attention you’d expect for a colossal release like Justice League, the rough edges are hard to spot.
The Snyder Cut does introduce more ambitious visuals, but they’re done poorly simply because they weren’t appropriately done like a movie up for cinematic release would be done. The post-production team had very little to work with. Although it may not make much of a difference if you’re watching it mainly for the storyline, the 2017 version does appear to offer more worth in terms of visuals.
Like Any Snyder Movie
Let me leave nothing to chance and make it clear from the onset, Zack Snyder is a mediocre director at best. It only takes a brief glance at his entire filmography to see that he’s never managed to create a movie that could be considered one of a kind throughout his career. I look at 300, Sucker Punch, Watchmen, or Dawn of the Dead, and it seems like I’m watching the movie with different characters. The same dark cinematography, the over-reliance on CGI, the over-the-top storylines, and above all, characters that seem ill-suited to their environment.
It’s no surprise to see all these problems frequently popping up in Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and the Snyder Cut as well. I’d go one step further and say you can still spot some of these issues in the 2017 version where many of his shots were used.
I may not have had to write this piece at all if the Snyder Cut had been released the way it was initially announced. News first hit the market that the Snyder Cut of the Justice League was indeed real and would be released as a 6-part miniseries on HBO Max. I could see this as a 4-hour or even a 6-hour miniseries since the length is a crucial factor in the storytelling. The moment it was announced that a miniseries was off the table and instead it’ll be released as a 4-hour movie, I could sense it wouldn’t bode well. While there have been numerous successful 4+ hour movies in the past, the Snyder Cut is a unique phenomenon.
While watching it, it is evident that Snyder basically threw in every piece of footage he shot. This might have worked out well if there was a complete laid-out plan about how future movies will pick up on the questions asked in this one. However, in this case, the Snyder Cut seems more focused on itself more than anything. As a result, that 4-hour runtime seems pointless, considering there’s not going to be any follow-up.
This is arguably the most subjective part of this comparison, as both the 2017 version and the Snyder Cut managed to set up sequels. However, both the proposed sequels are completely different. How? The 2017 version ends with the revelation that Lex Luthor has broken free from prison and is meeting with none other than Deathstroke. By the end, he asks Deathstroke if the heroes have their league, then why don’t the villains? He was, of course, referring to the Legion of Doom/Injustice League. As the synopsis for the now-abandoned Ben Affleck movie indicates, the villains would have joined forces to take on the Justice League.
On the other hand, the Snyder Cut is a reminder of Snyder’s original vision for the DCEU and the Justice League movie itself being a two-parter. The second part was to be a devastating invasion by Darkseid and the ensuing Knightmare setting. While this sounds exciting, I have seen enough of Zack Snyder movies to know that it would have been a colossal letdown. Not to mention, DCEU would essentially be playing catchup with Marvel and emulate their success with Infinity War and Endgame. The Legion of Doom/Injustice League was a scaled-down but original idea that would genuinely have brought something new to the table rather than another “global invasion on earth” threat we’ve seen hundreds of times already.