Zack Snyder’s Justice League is here! Whether you’re a diehard DC movie fan or a superhero newbie, you may need to be caught up on all the movies that came before, and all the big changes that lie in store.
What is Zack Snyder’s Justice League? Aka “The Synder Cut”, is an all new version of the superhero action-adventure, Justice League released back in 2017.
Director Zack Snyder left the project in 2017 before filming was completed due to a family tragedy. As a replacement, Warner Bros hired ‘Avengers’ director Joss Whedon who rewrote the script and reshot scenes, which left most of Snyder’s original movie on the cutting room floor.
After years of fans pleading with the studio to “Release The Snyder Cut,” they finally relented, allowing Snyder to create a ‘Justice League’ movie that follows his original story and vision. What can we expect from Zack Snyder’s Justice League and exactly how is it different?
To answer those questions, it’s important to know why DC’s most powerful heroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Aquaman team-up in the first place. From ‘Man of Steel’ to ‘Wonder Woman’, four films in the DC Extended Universe have a close connection to ‘The Snyder Cut’.
Man of Steel
While Marvel movies tend to focus on the relationships and heroics of their heroes, DC movies, often focuses on the impact of beings with superhuman abilities have on our real world. One consistent thread throughout many of the DCEU’s films, before Zack Snyder’s Justice League, have been the impending idea that humans, “Are Not Alone” on Earth.
This couldn’t be any more true than Man of Steel. While Superman may not have grey skin and black almond shaped eyes, the movie that kickstarted the DCEU reminds us all that Superman is indeed an alien.
Sent away as a child from his dying planet of Krypton, baby Kal-El lands in the rural town of Smallville, Kansas where he grows up being taught to hide his abilities from the rest of the world. Kal-El aka Clark Kent is thrown into a world where he must become the hero Superman to stop a supervillian named General Zod.
In the film’s climatic battle, Zod crashes a Kryptonian Scout Ship into the city of Metropolis. Superman and Zod exchange blows while taking down most of the city in the process, including many buildings that belonging to Wayne Enterprises..more about that later, but ultimately Zod is defeated.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is amalgamation of a Man of Steel sequel, a loose adaptation of Frank Miller’s 1986 seminal graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns and 1993’s The Death of Superman comic book.
In the fallout to The Battle of Metropolis, we see it not only led to massive amounts of destruction, but took a toll on people’s lives, including that of CEO of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce Wayne. But where there is destruction there are ramifications, and Batman v Superman holds this theme throughout.
Enter, Billionaire criminal mastermind, Lex Luthor. Secretly knowing that Bruce Wayne’s alter ego is Batman and Clark Kent is Superman, Luthor hatches a plan to create divisions between our heroes. Meanwhile, museum curator Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, tries to recover a World War I photograph of herself and love interest Steve Trevor from Lex Luthor.
Superman, who like the “S” on his chest, has become a symbol of hope around the world, is falsely accused for a massacre in Nairomi, Kenya. Batman, who has grown weary of crime, is baited into believing that Superman is the greatest threat he has ever faced.
While investing meta-humans Bruce Wayne has a post-apocalyptic Knightmare vision of the future in which Darkseid’s Omega symbol is burned into the landscape and Superman has regime that serves him. Batman discovers Luthor is trying procure Kryptonite, the stuff that kills Superman. But, Batman steels the Kryptonite from Luthor and creates a kryptonite-tipped spear to take down the Man of Steel himself.
Batman and Superman face-off and when Superman says that he has to save his mother from Luthor’s goons, Bruce Wayne, whose mother is also named Martha, is reminded of why he became a crimefighter in the first place. Using General Zod’s fingerprints, Luthor is able to gain access to the Kryptonian Scout Ship that crashed into Metropolis during the events of ‘Man of Steel’.
Once inside the ship’s Genesis Chamber, Luthor recreates an ancient Kryptonian monster known as Doomsday. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman team-up to defeat Doomsday, but in the end Superman is fatally wounded.
After Superman’s death, Bruce Wayne and a reluctant Diana Prince agree to find the other meta-humans (like The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg) to fight and stand together. Bruce Wayne regains hope in humanity, but still gets tough on Lex Luthor, who has been pronounced criminally insane.
Batman tells him that he’s being transfered to Arkham Asylum, the home of the Suicide Squad. Luthor says the now that Superman is dead, new threats will emerge even from the stars.
Following Batman v Superman, is director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad (2016). While this film is not required viewing to fully understand the events of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. It buildings upon Lex Luthor’s conclusion at the end of Batman v Superman, that a world without Superman opens the door to meta-humans that may not share superhero values.
Amanda Waller, the ruthless Director of ARGUS that’s (Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans) forcibly recruits some of Arkham Asylum’s most dangerous incarcerated villains to form Task Force X. Amoung them include Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo, Killer Croc and Katana lead by Rick Flag.
They must stop the mystical beings, Enchantress and Incubus, while the Joker hatches a plan of his own to free Harley Quinn. At the end of the film, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne and gives him government’s files with data on meta-humans (The Flash and Aquaman).
While most of the events of director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (2017) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2021) movie take place during World War I, The movie sets up Diana’s journey from naive Princess of the hidden island of Themyscira to battle-ready superhero armed with her Lasso of Truth.
Fighting alonside Allied soliders, Wonder Woman falls in love with American pilot Steve Trevor, but loses him when he sacrifices his life, to prevent a plane from distribution poisonous gas which could have annihilated the Allied forces.
In the end, where Wonder Woman once believed that only Ares, the God of War could plant the seeds of hatred and violence in men, she concludes mankind has become far more corrupt than she ever imagined and decides to live as Diana Prince and hide her alter ego for nearly a century.
In present-day, we see Diana sending Bruce Wayne an email thanking him for returning her World War I photo. She then hears a loud boom outside. This could be the sound of the opening of a boom tube, an extra-dimensional portal which leads directly to the events of Zach Synder’s Justice League.
How is the Snyder Cut Different from Theatrical Cut
Now you’re all caught up, with the movies that led up to Justice League, here’s what you can we expect from ‘The Snyder Cut’ and how it’s different from the 2017 theatrical version?
While initial reports claimed that Snyder would only use footage he shot before leaving the project, we now know, the cast was called back for additional filming to shoot brand new scenes.
New Visual Effects
Warner Bros. reportedly spent over $70 million on post production needed to update and create completely new VFX scenes.
Since “The Snyder Cut” will NOT include ANY footage shot by director Joss Whedon. You expect less humor, and a tone more in-line with The Snyderverse.
Superman will finally don his iconic black suit aka his “recovery suit” that first appeared in the 1993 issue of “Superman: The Man of Steel #25”.
Zack Snyder said, Cyborg is “the heart” of his film. So expect to see more of Victor Stone’s backstory as an added bonus.
“The Snyder Cut” will expand on Barry Allen’s story and restore unfinished footage of The Flash rescuing his love interest Iris West played by Kiersey Clemons.
New Bad Guys
Darkseid, tyrannical ruler of Apokolips, will make his live-action movie debut and take on a prominent role in the Snyder Cut. DeSaad, loyal servant to Darkseid, will also make an appearance. You can also expect Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons to get a digital makeover.
Jared Leto’s Joker will make an appearance with an all new look. Martian Manhunter played by ‘Man of Steel’s Harry Lennix will make his live-action movie debut. Deathstroke, who appeared briefly in a post-credits scene in the theatrical version, will appear in a new scene in the Synder Cut.
Zack Snyder has color-corrected the movie back to the original color palette that we saw in the first trailer.
Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL will score “The Snyder Cut”. Holkenborg will replace composer Danny Elfman who revived his ‘Batman (1989)’ score for the theatrical release.
Where to Watch
Now that you know, how Zack Snyder’s Justice League is different than the theatrical release. You just need to know, where to watch it! The four-hour feature film will be available to stream domestically on HBO Max in the U.S. and Crave in Canada on March 18th.
Internationally, Warner Media will make the movie available on the same day around the world on HBO and various Video on Demand services. So check your local listings.