On March 18, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the movie that many people have been waiting for, and that other people have been absolutely dreading, will finally arrive on HBO Max for the whole world to see.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Zack Snyder’s Justice League, or why it’s been such a heated topic of discussion since 2017, and would like to know what all the fuss is about, this incredibly long deep dive of an article is for you. And it will hopefully answer many of the questions that you may have. So let’s get started, shall we?
WHAT IS THIS FILM ABOUT?: At the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, when Superman sacrifices his own life to take down Doomsday (or Not-Doomsday, depending on whether you believe that this version created by Lex Luthor from General Zod’s corpse was just an imitation of the real thing), Batman realizes how badly he screwed up in allowing himself to be manipulated into contributing to Superman’s death. With Wonder Woman’s help, he is determined to honor Superman’s legacy by finding other superpowered humans to join forces and help them protect Earth from any and all incoming threats. One of those threats: a powerful and merciless god named Steppenwolf, who has invaded Earth in order to bring humanity to its knees and earn the approval of his master, Darkseid, who is even more powerful and far more merciless.
From the official synopsis:
In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, determined to ensure Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad, and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.
WHY DID ZACK SNYDER WALK AWAY FROM JUSTICE LEAGUE IN THE FIRST PLACE?: In March of 2017, Autumn Snyder, the 20-year-old daughter of Zack and his first wife, Denise Snyder, died by suicide. Very few people were aware that this had happened, and after production on the film was put on a two-week-long break, Zack and his wife, Justice League producer Deborah Snyder, had hoped to keep themselves busy by focusing on work and completing post-production, until they both realized that what they really needed was to be with each other and with their kids.
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was the way through it,” said an emotional Snyder in an interview Monday in his office on the Warner Bros. lot, with Deborah sitting by his side. “The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all-consuming. And in the last two months, I’ve come to the realization … I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”
The internet and comic book movie fans being what they are, Snyder already is anticipating what some DC loyalists may think.
“Here’s the thing, I never planned to make this public,” he says. “I thought it would just be in the family, a private matter, our private sorrow that we would deal with. When it became obvious that I need to take a break, I knew there would be narratives created on the internet. They’ll do what they do. The truth is … I’m past caring about that kind of thing now.”
The death of Autumn, Zack’s daughter from his first marriage to Denise Snyder (in addition to Autumn, he and Deborah have been raising seven kids and step-kids), has brought a new perspective and a new focus for him. “I want the movie to be amazing, and I’m a fan, but that all pales pretty quickly in comparison,” he says. “I know the fans are going to be worried about the movie, but there are seven other kids that need me. In the end, it’s just a movie. It’s a great movie. But it’s just a movie.”
From Vanity Fair’s article about the making of Zack Snyder’s Justice League:
More than three years after Autumn’s death, Snyder still slips between the past and present tense when talking about her. “She’s the only dork,” he says of his family. “She was the only fan. The rest of them…” He shrugs. Today, [Zack’s son] Eli is interested in filmmaking, but Autumn was the only one of his children who matched her dad’s kid-like enthusiasm for gods, monsters, aliens, and superheroes. “She’s super creative,” he says. “She was a writer. She was at Sarah Lawrence to be a writer.”
Snyder swipes through his phone to show a selfie Autumn took in the letterman jacket worn by Ray Fisher’s character in Justice League, a football star horrendously wounded in a car accident and rebuilt by his scientist father into the half robot warrior Cyborg. Autumn had been in therapy and on medications, but the depression remained brutal. “She was always wondering about her worth. ‘What is my worth? What am I supposed to do? What am I about?’” Snyder stumbles on his words, his eyes glassy. “The conversation was like, ‘Of course you’re amazing! What do you mean your worth? You’re worth more than anything in the world!’ And she would just be like, ‘…yeah.’”
Snyder says Autumn used writing to vent her pain, to channel it into words that might contain it, or explain it. She adored sci-fi. “Her main characters are always in this battle with things from another dimension that no one can see,” says Snyder. “But it’s a serious war. And that war was happening to her every day. I think so many people are in that battle, and they smile and nod at you.”
HOW DID JOSS WHEDON BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE MAKING OF JUSTICE LEAGUE?: After his recent success with writing and directing The Avengers and Avengers: Age Of Ultron for Marvel/Disney, Whedon was approached by Warner Bros. in March of 2017 about writing and directing a solo film for Batgirl. And since he was now involved in crafting stories for the DCEU, he was then asked to take over as director of Justice League and complete production of the film, with the hope that he would do for the Justice League what he did for The Avengers: create a massively successful blockbuster that would entertain audiences, gain positive reviews from critics, silence any and all complaints about the DCEU being too dark and grim and humorless, and also make Warner Bros. billions of dollars at the box office.
HOW MUCH OF ZACK SNYDER’S ORIGINAL FOOTAGE WAS USED IN THE THEATRICAL VERSION OF JUSTICE LEAGUE?: When Joss Whedon was brought on to replace Zack Snyder in the director’s chair for Justice League (and he did so with Warner Bros. insisting to the media that his involvement was entirely Zack’s idea and that very little would be done to change the film), he added about eighty pages to writer Chris Terrio’s screenplay for extensive reshoots. Those reshoots added approximately $25 million to the film’s budget (which was between $250 - $300 million), and only 10 to 20 percent of all the footage that Snyder had originally shot is present in the film, in order for Whedon to meet the studio’s mandate that Justice League have a runtime no longer than two hours, including the closing credits.
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED BETWEEN RAY FISHER AND JOSS WHEDON?: Despite the fact that Ray Fisher, who plays Victor Stone, a.k.a. Cyborg, in Justice League, and his castmates promoted the film during their original press tour and praised Joss Whedon for how he handled taking over the film after Zack’s exit, once it became official that HBO Max would be releasing Justice League the way it was meant to be seen and that Zack Snyder would be overseeing the production to make that happen, Ray decided to let the world know how he really felt when it came to Joss Whedon and what kind of person he really is.
I’d like to take a moment to forcefully retract every bit of this statement: pic.twitter.com/1ECwwu6TG1— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) June 29, 2020
Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.— Ray Fisher (@ray8fisher) July 1, 2020
He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.
Due to the fact that Fisher had signed a non-disclosure agreement, as well as the fact that he was participating with an independent third-party investigation by WarnerMedia into the events that occurred on set during reshoots for Justice League, he was unable to provide specific details about his interactions with Whedon, or with Geoff Johns and Jon Berg, who were the producers in charge of running DC Films for Warner Bros. until the box-office failure of Justice League. It wasn’t until October of 2020, when he was interviewed by Forbes correspondent Sheraz Farooqi, that he was able to go into slightly more detail as to how the three of them made the work environment such an unpleasant one.
“What set my soul on fire and forced me to speak out about Joss Whedon this summer was my becoming informed that Joss had ordered the complexion of an actor of color be changed in post-production because he didn’t like the color of their skin tone,” Fisher firmly stated. “Man, with everything 2020’s been, that was the tipping point for me.” Whedon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WHAT DOES JOSS WHEDON HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ALL OF THIS?: The only response that Whedon has had for any of these complaints that have been made against him regarding his behavior on the set of Justice League was to have his representative contact Forbes immediately after Farooqi’s interview with Fisher was posted. This resulted in the interview being re-edited, Fisher’s quote about an actor’s complexion being lightened in post-production removed from the article, and Farooqi’s contract with Forbes being terminated.
Beyond that, and also liking tweets that were insulting towards the theatrical version of Justice League as well as tweeting this about Henry Cavill’s version of Superman not having the right material to work with, Whedon has said nothing else. At least not publicly.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ZACK SNYDER’S VERSION OF JUSTICE LEAGUE AND JOSS WHEDON’S VERSION OF JUSTICE LEAGUE?: A lot of differences, to be quite honest.
Like I previously mentioned, when Warner Bros. hired Joss Whedon to take over as director of Justice League, they were hoping that he would bring the same magic touch to this film that he brought to The Avengers, and that he would give critics and audiences plenty of reasons to laugh and enjoy themselves and be happy with the new direction that the DCEU was heading into. Unfortunately, that magic touch was nowhere to be found, and everything that Whedon did with his reshoots only made things worse. Much worse. And damn near unrecognizable from what Snyder’s original version of Justice League was supposed to be. Starting with…
Henry Cavill’s face which, due to Paramount Pictures’ refusal to let him shave the moustache that he had grown for his role in Mission: Impossible - Fallout (though some people have a theory that Cavill just simply refused to shave it off, as his own petty way of showing support for Snyder), had to be altered with visual effects in order to remove said moustache, and left him looking…odd, like Adam Baldwin if he was left in the oven for too long. Characters behaving in ways that made little to no sense: Batman apprehending a burglar (Holt McCallany) and using him as live bait so that a Parademon would show up and he could figure out what its weaknesses are; The Flash complaining about tall people and brunch and being scared of not knowing how to really fight super-villains, despite the fact that his cameo appearance in Suicide Squad showed him taking down Captain Boomerang with very little difficulty; Batman thinking that antagonizing Wonder Woman over the death of Steve Trevor and telling her to get over it was anything resembling a good idea; Martha Kent talking to Lois Lane and telling her that Clark once described her as “the thirstiest reporter he’d ever met.” The nameless, personality-free Russian family who simply existed so that they would be rescued by the Justice League and give the audience reasons to be more invested in their final battle against Steppenwolf. (Which was the same tactic that Whedon used for the final battle in Sokovia in Avengers: Age Of Ultron) The Flash being so goofy when using his super-speed that he falls on top of Wonder Woman and has his face land in her cleavage. (Which was the same joke that Whedon used between Bruce Banner and Black Widow in Avengers: Age Of Ultron). Steppenwolf looking and being forgettable and ordinary as a villain in every possible way. Having the film be way too reliant on jokes that just did not work. Having the final battle turn the entire sky red, and then cause ridiculously large flowers to grow from out of the ground at the end of that battle, for some reason.
And as much as Warner Bros. hoped for the best in hiring Joss Whedon to get Justice League to the finish line (mainly so that studio chairman Toby Emmerich and former studio CEO Kevin Tsujihara would get their year-end bonuses), what they saw made them realize that they had only gotten the absolute worst.
Whedon rewrote and reshot about three quarters of Justice League, from what Snyder can gather. When fans ask him about details of the movie that bears his name, he usually has no idea what they are talking about. Worst of all, for Warner Bros., Whedon didn’t exactly save the movie. “When we got to see what Joss actually did, it was stupefying,” says a studio executive, who requested anonymity. “The robber on the rooftop—so goofy and awful. The Russian family—so useless and pointless. Everyone knew it. It was so awkward because nobody wanted to admit what a piece of shit it was.”
After their private screening of the Whedon cut, [Christopher] Nolan [who is an executive producer for Justice League] and Deborah Snyder emerged into the light with a shared mission. “They came and they just said, ‘You can never see that movie,’” Zack Snyder says during lunch at his Pasadena office, a modernist series of cubes jutting from a hillside that overlooks the Rose Bowl.
“Because I knew it would break his heart,” his wife adds.
WHY DID WARNER BROS. FINALLY GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO THE SNYDER CUT?: There were many people who saw the the theatrical version of Justice League and couldn’t help but notice a lot of differences between scenes that appeared in the film, and scenes that appeared in both the first trailer and in sneak peeks provided to Comic-Con. Many scenes were completely removed, and other scenes that remained in the film were drastically altered and re-edited almost beyond recognition. This resulted in fans believing, much like how Batman v. Superman had an entire half-hour of footage removed from the theatrical version of the film and then restored to the Ultimate Edition on Blu-ray, that there was a director’s cut of Justice League as well, and that it could possibly see the light of day and show audiences the film that Zack Snyder had originally intended for them to see. Hence the creation of the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. After nearly two years of the DCEU fandom using this hashtag to show their support and demand that Warner Bros. allow Justice League to be seen the way it was meant to be seen, it was decided by numerous DCEU fans that on the two-year anniversary of Justice League’s theatrical release, they would tweet the hashtag to let Warner Bros. that their interest in the Snyder Cut was still going strong. That campaign went into effect, and did so loudly enough that it was trending on Twitter all day long, but with a few surprises.
For starters, Gal Gadot tweeted out the hashtag to show her support. So did Ben Affleck, as well as Ray Fisher. Even Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played Black Manta in Aquaman and Cal Abar/Doctor Manhattan on HBO’s Watchmen, couldn’t help but toss his hat into the ring as well and tweeted the hashtag.
The hashtag’s popularity eventually got the attention of Warner Bros. Toby Emmerich soon contacted Zack and Deborah Snyder through their agent about the possibility of the Snyder Cut becoming a reality. And in May of 2020, at the conclusion of an online watch party for Man Of Steel where Henry Cavill also made an appearance, it was officially announced that the Snyder Cut of Justice League would be released the following year on HBO Max.
“It will be an entirely new thing, and, especially talking to those who have seen the released movie, a new experience apart from that movie,” Snyder tells The Hollywood Reporter, noting that, to this day, he has not watched the version released in theaters.
“You probably saw one-fourth of what I did,” the director notes, basing his judgment on what has been shared with him of Whedon’s version.
Before Emmerich came calling, says Snyder, “I always thought it was a thing that in 20 years, maybe somebody would do a documentary and I could lend them the footage, little snippets of a cut no one has ever seen.” But, adds Deborah, “With the new platform and streaming services, you can have something like this. You can’t release something like this theatrically, but you could with a streaming service. It’s an opportunity that wasn’t there two years ago, to be honest.”
Forget that the version that fans wanted technically didn’t exist. What did exist was a semi-unfinished work, with no visual effects, no postproduction. One person who had seen that version described it like a car with no panels, just a drivetrain and some seats. And it sat on a hard drive in the Snyders’ house. “When we left the movie, I just took the drive of the cut on it,” says Snyder. “I honestly never thought it would be anything.”
After the Saturday morning phone call [from their agent regarding Toby Emmerich’s inquiry about the Snyder Cut], the Snyders began to move puzzle pieces into place. “We had to figure out what it meant to finish it, and how do you pull it off?” recalls Deborah.
The couple put together a presentation and, in early February, invited a select group of executives from Warner Bros., HBO Max and DC to their house in Pasadena to screen Snyder’s little-seen version that was shown in black and white. The number of execs in the room — there were more than a dozen in attendance, ranging from Warners’ Emmerich, Carolyn Blackwood and Walter Hamada to HBO Max’s Kevin Reilly, Sarah Aubrey and Sandra Dewey to DC’s Jim Lee — showed the importance of the potentially extensive undertaking. Heads of physical production and business affairs were there to assess what needed to be done and how much it would cost. At his presentation after the screening, Snyder outlined ideas for not just releasing the cut but the concept of episodes and cliffhangers.
The fact that HBO Max was still a new streaming service in need of content, attention, and subscribers was also a significant factor in WarnerMedia giving the green light to Zack Snyder’s Justice League. And judging from all of the responses to the announcement, it worked like a charm.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DIRECTOR’S CUT AND WHAT THE SNYDER CUT IS?: A director’s cut usually involves the director of a film making alterations to a film, whether it’s adding or removing scenes or just lines of dialogue, so that the final product meets their approval in every possible way that it didn’t before. Examples of this include Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner: The Final Cut, and also the Special Editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, all of which were re-edited and overseen by George Lucas. In this case, nearly all of the footage in the theatrical cut of Justice League was directed and mostly written by Whedon, and the Snyder Cut of Justice League is all of the footage that was meant to be seen before Whedon ever got involved in the first place. As for whether any of Whedon’s contributions will be used in the Snyder Cut?
In Snyder’s own words, which he shared last year during the online convention Justice Con when he was interviewed by Meg Loucks (@wondermeg_), and Cole and Nana of @TheNerdQueens:
“There would be no chance on Earth that I would use a shot that was made after I left the movie. There would be no way… I would rather, I would destroy the movie, I would set it on fire before I would use a single frame that I did not photograph. I would literally blow that fucking thing up. That is fucking hard fact.”
WHY DID THIS GET AN EXTRA $70 MILLION ADDED TO THE BUDGET?: Even though it was originally estimated that the cost of completing post-production for Zack Snyder’s Justice League would be between $20 and $30 million, the final cost ended up being $70 million, and that was largely to complete the 2,650 visual effects shots needed for the film and to pay all of the technicians who would make it happen. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was originally thought that it would be impossible for production to be completed. But Deborah Snyder, on the other hand, felt differently, and also saw this as a perfect opportunity to keep people employed when most of Hollywood was trying its hardest to figure out what its next move would be in keeping the film and television industry afloat.
The novel coronavirus struck, and Hollywood all but shut down in mid-March. Says Deborah, “People thought, ‘It won’t be possible to ramp up, and that maybe this should go on the back burner.’ But we said, ‘No, this is the right time’ because our visual effects houses that rely on so much are running out of work, so now is the time to be doing this.” It also helped that many of those post facilities had held on to the original assets.
FOUR HOURS?!?! THIS MOVIE’S RUNTIME IS REALLY GOING TO BE FOUR HOURS?!?! Yes, it is. And the film will be divided into six chapters and an epilogue to make it easier for viewers to watch it at home. Since Snyder suspected that he probably wouldn’t get the chance to make another Justice League movie after the mixed-to-negative reception for Batman v. Superman, the original story that he and Chris Terrio had crafted was modified as much as possible to fit into one Justice League movie.
WHO OR WHAT EXACTLY IS STEPPENWOLF?: Steppenwolf is a New God from the planet Apokolips, a nightmarish hellscape that is ruled by his nephew, a New God called Darkseid, who wants nothing more than to conquer the universe and destroy every living being that crosses his path by eliminating all hope and free will that they possess. In Joss Whedon’s version of the film, after failing to overtake Earth thousands of years earlier with his army of Parademons, he ends up banished from his home planet by Darkseid. With the death of Superman and with the Green Lantern Corps nowhere to be found, he has now returned to Earth to retrieve the three Mother Boxes and finish what he started, so that he will once again be in Darkseid’s good graces. And like Wolverine’s adamantium claws, the razor-sharp blades protruding from Steppenwolf’s entire suit of armor (which he is now wearing in Zack Snyder’s version of the film, and is one of the many ways that Steppenwolf is vastly different from his previous onscreen appearance in 2017) are all retractable.
ISN’T DARKSEID JUST A RIPOFF OF THANOS?: Considering that Darkseid was created by legendary comic-book writer/artist Jack “The King” Kirby in 1970 and Thanos was created by legendary comic-book writer/artist Jim Starlin in 1973…no. No, he is not.
I HEARD RUMORS THAT MARTIAN MANHUNTER IS GOING TO BE IN THE FILM AS WELL. IS THAT TRUE?: Yes, it is. And long before he was approached by HBO Max and given the green light to actually make Zack Snyder’s Justice League, he confirmed it through one of the many black-and-white photos and storyboards he would share on his VERO account of potential scenes from the Snyder Cut. As for who will be playing the Martian Manhunter, it will be Harry Lennix, who also played Calvin Swanwick in both Man Of Steel and Batman v. Superman, and which means that one of the last surviving Martians has been in disguise and hiding in plain sight all this time.
WHY THE HELL IS JARED LETO AS THE JOKER APPEARING IN THIS?: The Joker originally wasn’t in Justice League before Snyder stepped down from the production. However, once he returned and was able to shoot between five to ten minutes of new footage (despite many assumptions that he was never close to finishing production of the film before he left, and was using the $70 million to finish what he started by shooting many more scenes), Snyder saw it as an opportunity to finally include the character. He was hoping to have The Joker go up against Batman in a future project, but since that seemed unlikely to happen, he instead has The Joker working alongside Batman, Cyborg, The Flash, Mera (Amber Heard), and Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) in the “Knightmare” scenario as they attempt to find a way to defeat both Superman and Darkseid.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS ‘KNIGHTMARE’ STUFF THAT PEOPLE KEEP TALKING ABOUT?: The ‘Knightmare’ scenario is an alternate reality and possible future in which the Earth has been completely decimated and is now ruled by Darkseid, his Parademons, and by Superman, who has gone evil after the death of Lois Lane, and which Superman blames on Batman. As seen in Batman v. Superman, Batman (who is now using guns as part of him disregarding his no-killing code) attempted to gain possession of Kryptonite, the one thing that could weaken and kill Superman. He ends up being betrayed by one of his fellow soldiers, and is taken into custody by both Parademons and by troops who are loyal to Superman. Batman, who is chained up and unable to defend himself, is confronted by Superman, who blames him for Lois’ death before ripping Batman’s heart out with his bare hands. It’s at this point where Bruce wakes up in the Batcave and meets the Knightmare version of The Flash, who has used the Speed Force to travel through time and warn Bruce of what he needs to do in order to prevent Darkseid and Superman from taking over the Earth.
WHAT’S WITH SUPERMAN WEARING A BLACK SUIT? WHY CAN’T HE WEAR HIS USUAL RED-AND-BLUE SUIT? AND WHERE ARE THE TRUNKS?: When Superman died as a result of battling the Kryptonian monster Doomsday in the comic-book storyline The Death Of Superman, he was resurrected several months later. To help him regain his full strength, Superman wore the Recovery Suit, an all-black version of his costume that is able to quickly regenerate his health by absorbing large amounts of solar energy, which is what grants Superman his power. Seeing as how his original red-and-blue suit was damaged in his fight with Doomsday, and also the fact that he was resurrected to help the Justice League defeat Steppenwolf and company, it looks as if Superman in this film will be wearing his own Recovery Suit for the time being.
As for the trunks? (shrugs) The suit looks perfectly fine without them.
IS THIS GOING TO BE RELEASED IN THEATERS, OR IS IT JUST EXCLUSIVE TO HBO MAX?: Zack has said that he hopes to someday release his cut of Justice League in theaters, as well as the black-and-white version of the film that he calls the “Justice Is Gray” edition. For now, the film will be exclusive to HBO Max and to any other cable/streaming services outside of the United States. And for those who don’t have access to HBO Max, there is word that the film will be released on 4K and Blu-ray sometime this summer.
WHY THE ASPECT RATIO? WHY ISN’T IT BEING SHOWN IN FULLSCREEN OR WIDESCREEN?: After shooting portions of Batman v. Superman in IMAX, Zack really liked how the film looked in that format, and decided to keep that same look for Justice League by shooting the film not in IMAX, but in a similar aspect ratio, in the hope that it can eventually be seen at movie theaters on IMAX screens. And if you’re upset because you’ll be seeing less of what’s happening in the film because of the black bars on each side of the screen, here’s a screen comparison that proves otherwise.
I made a little Aspect Ratio comparison sheet for #ZackSnydersJusticeLeague!— Tyler (@TGCFilms) February 15, 2021
Feel free to share it around. Hopefully this will make it clear to people that we're getting MORE image, not less.#SnyderCut pic.twitter.com/iT5CYSEDXG
WHY IS THIS FILM RATED R? CAN MY KIDS WATCH THIS?: It will be rated R, due to violence and some language, and even though the Ultimate Edition of Batman v. Superman was also rated R, it was largely because of one F-bomb and because we got one shot of Bruce’s ass while he was in the shower. So whether or not this film is one that the entire family can be watched together is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
IS THIS GOING TO BE AS DARK AS BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE?: Considering that Justice League was always meant to be the more hopeful and inspirational end to this trilogy, what with Superman’s resurrection and the Justice League working together to become a team, it seems very likely that it won’t be as dark or as heartbreaking as Batman v. Superman.
IS THIS FILM CONNECTED IN ANY WAY TO THE ROBERT PATTINSON VERSION OF BATMAN?: No, there’s no narrative connection between Zack Snyder’s Justice League and The Batman. Seeing as how The Flash will be introducing the concept of the Multiverse, in which there are multiple alternate Earths with different versions of DC heroes and villains (one Earth can have Ben Affleck’s version of Batman/Bruce Wayne with Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, another Earth can have Robert Pattinson’s version of Batman/Bruce Wayne with Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth), it will be one way of letting DC fans know that more than one version of their favorite characters can exist to be watched and enjoyed, and that there’s no need to start a blood feud with anyone because you think that Michael Keaton’s Batman is the only good version of Batman.
HAS EZRA MILLER SAID ANYTHING YET ABOUT THAT VIDEO HE APPEARED IN LAST YEAR?: Ezra still hasn’t made any public statements regarding the video of him getting into a physical altercation with a female fan last year in Iceland, and he was never under investigation by the police for that incident. The original video has since been deleted, and it was also pointed out that no police officers were called to this bar at any time regarding this altercation. I don’t know whether this was just playful roughhousing that was blown out of proportion, or if Ezra truly got violent with this woman and refused to control his temper, but whatever the situation is, it would be nice to hear directly from Ezra and get some actual clarification. Which I don’t expect to happen until production for The Flash is complete, and he has to do a press tour to promote it. As much as I look forward to seeing him as the Scarlet Speedster, it doesn’t and shouldn’t take precedence over his treatment of women. And if he really is an abusive prick, then here’s hoping that Warner Bros. kicks him to the curb and replaces him with…oh, I don’t know, Andrew Garfield. Who we already know is pretty damn good at playing a superhero.
WHY SHOULD I EVEN WATCH THIS? I’VE HEARD THAT ZACK SNYDER AND HIS WORK ARE HOMOPHOBIC AND MISOGYNISTIC: It’s no secret that Zack Snyder’s work isn’t everybody’s brand of whiskey, but as to his films being homophobic and misogynistic? These criticisms have seemed to follow Snyder and his work since his film adaptations of 300 and Watchmen, as well as Sucker Punch (which was not based on a comic book, and which Roxana wrote about for The Guardian). Whether these criticisms carry any weight, and whether the blame for any and all problematic content should be applied to Snyder or to the source material or both is a debate that is still going strong among people who are familiar with his work.
The accusations of Snyder’s films being homophobic and even Islamophobic have begun to gain even greater momentum, thanks to YouTube videos by comedian/essayist Maggie Mae Fish, in which she analyzes all of Snyder’s films. For example, when she discusses his 2004 remake of Dawn Of The Dead, Maggie claims that because there is a brief shot of Muslims praying as the zombie apocalypse is spreading worldwide, and a scene in which a televangelist blames the LGBTQ community for ruining society with how they live their lives (which is exactly what Rev. Jerry Falwell said after the terrorist attacks on 9/11), that this is Snyder expressing his personal views through the film. (Mind you, there have been several fans of Snyder’s films who are Muslim that have seen Dawn Of The Dead who insist that in no possible way is it an Islamophobic film, and that they’d appreciate not having a white woman speak over them or ignore them when pointing that out). This sounds just as foolish and ridiculous as the people who complain about Goodfellas and The Wolf Of Wall Street and The Irishman, and who actually think that Martin Scorsese genuinely approves of the criminal behavior on display in those films, as if he doesn’t eventually show that the people living the glamorous life because of said criminal behavior eventually end up in a nightmare of their own making that they can’t wake up from.
I don’t really know or care whether Maggie Mae Fish actually believes in what she’s saying to her viewers, or if she’s pretending that she has no actual media literacy in order to gain the approval of others who don’t like Snyder or his work, but if you can watch Spike Lee, John Turturro, Ricky Aiello, Steve Park, and Luis Antonio Ramos in Do The Right Thing look directly into the camera as they insult each other’s ethnicities with every racial epithet they can think of, and know that Spike Lee does not in any way share or approve of the opinions or actions expressed by the fictional characters in his films (and that goes double for Edward Norton’s bathroom mirror monologue in 25th Hour), then you can apply that very same logic to Zack Snyder, to Martin Scorsese, and to their films.
WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THIS FANDOM? SERIOUSLY, WHY IS THIS FANDOM FOR ZACK SNYDER AND FOR THE DCEU SO F—KING HORRIBLE?!: Like many other fandoms, whether it’s for Marvel or Star Wars or Taylor Swift or Beyoncé, there are a lot of smart and passionate and rational people who love and appreciate something that has brought them all together. Which in this case is the DCEU, as well as Zack Snyder’s work in and out of the DCEU. And they’re more than capable of expressing their opinions (positive or negative) in ways that don’t make you wish that you could punch people through the Internet. And then, like most other fandoms, there are the people who are anything but rational or polite or pleasant to interact with in any way, shape, or form when it comes to what they love and appreciate. Who think that Ben Shapiro tweeting the ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag is a good thing, and that his support should be welcome, regardless of the hateful things he says on a regular basis. The ones who harass and insult anyone and everyone who has anything but complimentary words about Snyder or his films or about the DCEU. Who boast about how the DCEU is so much better than the Marvel Cinematic Universe because it allows its directors to use their own unique styles when telling their stories, but then go on to talk sh-t about any DCEU film that isn’t made by Zack Snyder, whether it’s Shazam! or Birds Of Prey or Wonder Woman 1984 because they use too many jokes for kids to laugh at, or because they hate men and aren’t accurate enough when compared to the comics, or because the director doesn’t tweet enough to their liking about how much they like and support Snyder, or because it’s just far too different from how Snyder makes his films.
It’s this kind of toxicity that make people hate the fact that the Snyder Cut even exists and that it will even be seen, because people look at the horrible behavior from some DCEU fans and think that they’re being rewarded instead of being punished. And it makes the more rational fans reluctant to even admit that they’re fans of Snyder or the DCEU, as they expect to be seen as exhibiting and supporting that same behavior. Granted, it really doesn’t help that there are some critics, bloggers, and other random strangers on social media who start sh-t and add more gasoline to the fire by saying vile and disgusting things to rile the fandom up, such as implying that all DCEU fans are Trump supporters and white supremacists (despite the fact that much of the DCEU fandom is incredibly diverse, and don’t share or support any of Trump’s beliefs), and also implying that Snyder is such a horrible person and filmmaker that he actually drove his daughter to die by suicide because she was so disappointed about who her father is. (I wish I was making that last part up, but this is the Internet) And it also doesn’t help that horrible behavior by other fandoms (#RehireJamesGunn, #SaveSpiderMan, #SaveQuicksilver, and no, I’m not making those hashtags up) doesn’t get called out nearly as much. But it still doesn’t grant people the right to act like trolls, and to use their love of comic-book movies and the people who make them (and also their love of starting sh-t on the Internet because they have distance, anonymity, and Keyboard Courage on their side) as an excuse to be bullies who love nothing more than to hurt and harass other people for their own amusement.
I don’t know how to end this part, so I’ll just say this: To the fans who actually know how to act right, I hope that you enjoy what you’ve been hoping and waiting for. And to everyone else, I hope that you lose your cable service and your Internet access for the next six months, and you all deserve to have a wasp’s nest shoved right up your asses.
WHY DID SNYDER USE THE SONG “HALLELUJAH” IN THE FIRST TRAILER? WHY IS HE SO DAMN OBSESSED WITH THIS SONG? DIDN’T HE ALREADY USE IT IN WATCHMEN? Depending on who you ask, the usage of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” during Nite Owl and Silk Spectre having sex with each other in costume was meant to highlight how over-the-top the sex scene was, and the fact that they could only achieve sexual satisfaction in costume and after doing their work as superheroes. Whether that actually worked is entirely up to you. As for why the song was used in the first trailer for the film, Zack and Deborah Snyder had revealed that “Hallelujah” was one of Autumn’s favorite songs, and that it was meant as a tribute to her. The song will also be used during the closing credits for the film, sung by Allison Crowe, who also appeared in Man Of Steel.
ANY FURTHER UPDATES REGARDING RAY FISHER VS. WALTER HAMADA?: Since Ray Fisher stated via Twitter that he would not participate in any production associated with Hamada, and basically putting an end to his time as Cyborg in the DCEU, not much else has happened. Fisher has continued to state that Hamada needs to apologize to everyone involved in the Justice League investigation for attempting to interfere with it, and also call out Warner Bros. for using announcements for future DCEU projects as a distraction from everything that Fisher has been saying, but Hamada has not responded yet.
WHAT DOES ZACK SNYDER HAVE PLANNED FOR THE DCEU AFTER THIS FILM FINALLY DROPS?: As of right now, Zack has simply stated that he’s just focused on the Snyder Cut and getting it out there for everyone to see, and is making no assumptions that Warner Bros. will want him to direct any more films in the DCEU. Whether the studio will change their minds or stick to their guns depending on what the response will be after March 18 remains a mystery.
OUTSIDE OF THE DCEU, WHAT ELSE IS ZACK SNYDER WORKING ON OR PLANNING TO BE WORKING ON?: After the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Zack has another highly-anticipated film that will be streaming, this time on Netflix, and which is scheduled to debut on May 21. Army Of The Dead, starring Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Tig Notaro, is about a group of mercenaries who plan to break into a Las Vegas casino and steal millions of dollars. The catch? Las Vegas is now overrun with zombies.
He’s also expressed interest in doing a faithful retelling (if such a thing is even possible) of the King Arthur legend.
“I’m working on something but we’ll see,” Snyder said in an interview with Minutemen. “I’ve been thinking about some kind of retelling, like, [a] real sort of faithful retelling of that Arthurian mythological concept. We’ll see. Maybe that will come at some point.”
Other projects that Snyder has been attached to include an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead (which has caused many an eye-roll, despite the fact that he’s not the only person to show interest in Ayn Rand’s work and that he’s called out Rand for believing her own hype way too much) and Horse Latitudes (formerly known as The Last Photograph) about a photograph that inspires two men to travel to South America.
ANY IDEA IF KATHRYN HAHN WILL MAKE AN APPEARANCE IN THIS FILM?: I honestly have no idea. But if she does, I will do so many damn cartwheels to celebrate her awesome, funny, and hot self appearing on my television screen once more.
Here’s hoping that this post of Dostoevsky-esque length has answered the majority of your questions regarding Zack Snyder’s Justice League before you decide to watch it/hate-watch it for yourself. (If it hasn’t, I’m sure you’ll be as polite and cordial as always when going to the Comments section to offer your input) And also that you will have a much better time watching this than the near-unwatchable catastrof-ck version of Justice League that has Joss Whedon’s verbally abusive, passive-aggressive, and incredibly problematic name written all over it.
Image sources (in order of posting): Warner Bros., HBO Max