Who says fans don’t have power in Hollywood? After a huge upswell of fans asking Warner Bros to release Zack Snyder’s Justice League (better known as the Justice League Snyder Cut), the new version of the 2017 DC Comics superhero team-up feature film will debut soon as an exclusive on the HBO Max streaming service.
Read more: Upcoming DC Comics shows on HBO Max
But just what is the Justice League Snyder Cut? How will it differ from the version that was shown in theaters? And finally, when will it drop on HBO Max? Stand by, because we will tell you everything you need to know about this highly anticipated reboot. You can sign up for HBO Max at the link below.
What is Justice League, anyway?
To unravel this unusual production, we have to go back to where it began, and that’s with director Zack Snyder. Snyder was asked to revamp Superman for Warner Bros. The end result was Man of Steel, and it debuted to solid box office results and mixed (but mostly positive) critical reactions in 2013.
Warner Bros decided to use Man of Steel as a launch point for a new movie shared universe, similar to what Marvel Studios had created for its highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe film series. In 2016, Synder directed the sequel to Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It fully introduced the new versions of Batman and Lex Luthor, along with the first live-action film version of Wonder Woman. Other DC Comics characters that showed up in that movie in brief cameos included Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg. It got mixed to negative reviews, but still managed to bring in over $873 million worldwide at the box office.
Snyder was then hired to direct Justice League, which teamed up Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg against a common threat. However, after principal photography was completed, Snyder decided to leave during the post-production phase, due to the unexpected death of his daughter. Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron for Marvel Studios, was hired to lead the post-production efforts. That included about two months of Whedon directing reshoots and rewriting.
When Justice League was finally released in November 2017, the reviews were mostly negative. More importantly for Warner Bros, the $300 million production brought in about $658 million at the box office, less than Man of Steel and far less than Batman v Superman.
What is the Justice League Snyder Cut?
After the disappointing release of Justice League, fans of Zack Snyder went online to drum up support for a “Snyder Cut” of the movie, with all of the footage he shot put back in. Warner Bros did release longer versions of Batman v Superman and Watchmen as home video releases, so there was precedence for this happening.
After over two years of fan pressure on Warner Bros, Snyder announced the studio had finally relented and would allow the director to re-edit the movie. The official name of this new version will be Zack Snyder’s Justice League and it will be released as an HBO Max streaming exclusive.
What experts think of Zack Snyder’s Justice League
I personally got to watch the review screener of the film this weekend. Overall, it didn’t feel like watching a four-hour movie and I was captivated the entire time. While the storyline is basically the same as the 2017 version (with the exception of the final 20 minutes or so), the film expanded on a lot of the original’s set pieces to great effect. Visually the movie looks more rich and detailed than before.
That said, I’m no movie critic so here’s what some of the most prominent reviewers in the space are saying:
- Rick Marshall at Digital Trends, had mostly positive things to say about the film, “Although it doesn’t fix all of the problems of Justice League — some of them created by Snyder’s earlier DCEU films, the baggage from which is carried over to this one — this new film does offer a much more cohesive, entertaining, and most importantly, rewarding culmination of the studio’s big-screen superhero stories so far.”
- Another positive review comes from Sam Machkovech at Ars Technica, who wrote: “This is easily Snyder’s best work in that murky in-between realm, an area he has trafficked in for years. I’m glad to see it—especially because of how much better the film gets every single hour.”
- Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman loved the movie. He wrote, “It’s a grand, nimble, and immersive entertainment, a team-of-heroes origin story that, at heart, is classically conventional, yet it’s now told with such an intoxicating childlike sincerity and ominous fairy-tale wonder that it takes you back to what comic books, at their best, have always sought to do: make you feel like you’re seeing gods at play on Earth.”
Other reviews have not been as kind:
- Polygon‘s Joshua Rivera stated, “This cut isn’t going to win anyone over — it’s a self-serious sermon to the converted that isn’t terribly concerned with getting the audience to like its characters — but it all goes down much smoother than the theatrical cut, which feels garish and jagged by comparison.”
- Deadine’s Todd McCarthy also seems to feel the same way. He wrote, “One could easily damn Justice League with faint praise for its single-minded sense of purpose, exceptional technical expertise, and consistency of tone. You could more easily lambast it for the same reasons. It just drones un-varyingly along, like a spaceship on a very long journey.”
When is Zack Snyder’s Justice League being released to the masses?
Warner Bros has finally set a date of March 18, 2021 for the movie to drop on HBO Max in the US.
Who will be in Zack Snyder’s Justice League?
Nearly all of the characters in the original movie will be in the Justice League Snyder Cut. That includes all of the members of the superhero Justice League team: Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne-Batman, Henry Cavill as Kal-El-Clark Kent-Superman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince-Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen-The Flash, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry-Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone-Cyborg.
We will also see some characters that were cut from the original movie in this new version. That includes the major DC villain Darkseid, who is the boss of Steppenwolf, the main antagonist of the original film. Jared Leto will also return his role as the Joker from Suicide Squad in the Snyder Cut edition.
What will be the difference between the original Justice League and the Snyder Cut?
Snyder has indicated that none of the footage that Whedon shot for Justice League will be in his version of the movie. That means that the vast majority of the film will consist of footage that was originally directed and shot by Snyder but didn’t make the final edit of the 2017 theatrical release. However, the main storyline will be the same for both films.
In addition, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will use updated visual effects, along with new music. Finally, in October 2020, Snyder spent about a week filming additional live-action photography for his version, which will end up as about four to five minutes of extra footage. Affleck, Cavill, Miller, Fisher, and Leto all participated in this extra footage, along with Joe Manganiello, who plays Deathstroke, and Amber Heard, who plays Mera. The final cost of the new footage, editing, music, and visual effects is said to be as much as $70 million.
What’s the deal with the odd Justice League aspect ratio on the trailers? Is that going to be in the final movie?
Both the teaser trailer and the full trailer seem to use an old-fashioned 4:3 aspect ratio, rather than the 16:9 ratio that’s now common for most flat-screen TVs sold today. According to Screen Rant, Snyder originally shot the movie for the IMAX screen in mind, which has a 1.43:1 ratio that’s similar to a square. However, when the film was actually released, the top and bottom parts of the film were cropped off so audiences could see the movie in the more traditional 1.85:1 widescreen ratio.
For Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max, the director went back to the 1.43:1 ratio. That means when you watch it on your widescreen TV, you will see black bars on the left and right side of the screen, just like in the trailers. However, you will actually be getting the full experience this time, as the movie won’t have to crop out the top and bottom parts. Even with this odd ratio, the movie will still support 4K resolutions for TVs that support it.
How will Zack Snyder’s Justice League be released outside the US?
Since HBO Max is not available outside the United States yet, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be streamed in a variety of ways overseas on March 18. In the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the film will be available on Sky Cinema and Now TV. In Canada, it will stream on Crave. in New Zealand, the film will be available on Sky’s Neon streaming service. In Australia, the movie will be available to stream on Binge.
It will also be available on HBO services in many other European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland, Montenegro, and Croatia. In Asian markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, the movie will be released via HBO Go. In Latin America, the movie will debut when HBO Max launches in those territories in June 2021.
That’s all you need to know (for now) about Zack Snyder’s Justice League. We will post more information on the “Snyder Cut” when it is revealed.