It started off as a rumour. Back in 2017, after the disappointment of Joss Whedon’s Justice League, rumours started circulating that just like with Batman v Superman a year before, Warner Brothers had gotten involved in the filming process and cut huge amounts from the film that Zack Snyder had spent a year working on. The fans couldn’t believe this and so a hashtag started #releasethesnydercut. Warner Brothers denied that there was anything like that in existence, but the fans didn’t believe them. For three years they kept the hashtag trending, and encouraged by people like Ray Fisher and Henry Cavill, there was a sense that something might happen.
Then Warner Brothers caved and admitted that there was a version that stuck true to Zack Snyder’s original vision and soon a trailer was released. Snyder was given extra money to complete some new footage and boom on March 18th, his vision came to the screen and victory was realised.
But what is it about this version of Justice League that makes it stand out? What is it about this version that far exceeds what was released in cinemas way back in 2017?
Well for starters there’s the length. Coming in at almost four hours, the Snyder cut is one of the longest movies I think I’ve ever watched-and I grew up watching Bollywood movies!- the length means there’s no excuse for the cutting of scenes and backstory, which means that characters and plot is more fleshed out. This gives characters such as The Flash and Cyborg, a chance to have their characters fully expanded.
Consequently instead of the disjointed and somewhat idiotic characters we got in 2017-Cyborg saying booyah as if he’s some sort of rat from the 90s- we get characters with proper emotions and motives. I cannot exaggerate in saying how important that is.
Then there’s the plot itself. In 2017, the plot was all over the place, and didn’t always fit. Here, because there’s time and because we’re not seeing scenes splodged together that don’t make sense, the plot makes sense. From how the Motherboxes started making movement after Superman died, to how Bruce and Diana know that Arthur is an Atlantean, to how Cyborg came into being, to little hints about what the future might hold. Barry’s scenes with his father and during his final speedforce run are big hints. And then there’s Clark Kent’s return.
In the 2017 it felt rushed and forced. In this version we get the full understanding for why the League do what they do, and how Clark actually comes back to himself, after being a raging monster. We also get the full importance of Lois Lane to Clark Kent. She’s not only the woman he loves, but his whole world. And the little pregnancy test we see in one scene hints at what is to come.
Steppenwolf also looks and feels more realistic here. His motivations are more clear, more understandable. One almost feels sorry for him. Yes, he’s a monster hellbent on bringing chaos and destruction to the world, but he’s doing so for redemption and to impress his uncle. We’ve all done stupid shit to impress family.
Which leads me to Darkseid. In the original movie he was hinted at but never shown. Here he is. And my God is he glorious. He is intimidating and ferocious. One can see what Zack would’ve done had he been given time.
And of course, the star player in all of this is Cyborg. I’ve already mentioned how the longer running time gives us the chance to see his full backstory realised. And that is crucial. In the original movie he was nothing more than a joke, a fleeting appearance, a token. As Ray Fisher has since pointed out, this was never supposed to be the case and was the result of some serious shit by Warner Bros execs. Here, Cyborg is one of, if not the main character. We see the world through his eyes. As someone who was somebody, reduced to a nobody. A freak. Someone who shouldn’t live, and yet does, and struggles everyday to find a reason to keep going.
Yes, this will resonate with those who’ve experienced racism, but it will also resonate with anyone who has ever questioned their reason for living. Through Cyborg, we get to see someone go through these challenges and find a reason to live. As he says in the film. “I’m not broken, I’m not alone.” Those words mean something. They carry weight, and they carry weight because we’ve seen him struggle throughout the film. To find meaning, to find a purpose. In Snyder’s film, we see Cyborg become a hero, not just because he helps stop the unity, but because he conquers his demons.
What could be more heroic than that?
Zack Snyder is a hero as well.
In 2017, he stepped back from filming Justice League because of a family tragedy, he then saw his work bastardised, he saw his world turned inside out. He didn’t have to come back and finish what he started, but he did. He did it, and for that he deserves recognition. That the final product is far superior to what came before it, shows that his vision was right.
Warner Brothers have of course in their moronic way said that there will be no more from Snyder in the DCEU. If the reaction to Snyder Cut shows them anything, it should be that that would be a horrendous idea. Snyder must return, and he must be given the freedom to do what he wants.Because as we have seen, time and again he delivers. Fuck the money, give the fans the right to see what was planned. If Warner Brothers do that, the money will come.
Release the Snyder Verse!