Zack Snyder’s “Justice League”: What You Need to Know

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the new director’s cut of DC’s 2017 superhero film Justice League! Faster than a streak of lightning, more powerful than the pounding surf, mightier than a roaring hurricane, the new DCCU (DC Cinematic Universe) film, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, came out on HBO Max and in theaters on March 18. The purpose of this new cut was to fix the storyline in the original Justice League from 2017 that left many fans unsatisfied. That film only received a 40% fresh rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website, the Internet’s leading aggregator of movie and TV show reviews from critics. The higher the percentage, the more favorable the reviews from critics. The new director’s cut, in comparison, received a 72% fresh rating on the site.

While Zack Snyder was the original director of the 2017 film, he and his wife Deborah Snyder

(the film’s producer) stepped down when their 20-year-old daughter, Autumn, took her own life in March of 2017. The film’s studio, Warner Brothers, then hired Joss Whedon, the director of rival comic company Marvel’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron to film additional scenes and finish the film. 

WARNING: The Following Content Contains Spoilers.

Snyder’s new cut is a whopping four hours long, divided into four parts with a chapter title for each (plus an epilogue), and is presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio as opposed to the standard 16:9. Also, the new version is rated R as opposed to the original film’s PG-13 rating, restricting younger fans from watching it.  There is also a black and white version (Justice is Gray) that was released on HBO a week later on March 25. 

Darkseid is the main villain in the SC cut. (Photo courtesy of

After being inspired by Superman’s sacrifice in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman (aka Bruce Wayne, played by Ben Affleck) allies himself with Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince, played by Gal Gadot) to gain more heroes to defeat a new evil that threatens humanity once more, Darkseid. Now before we move on, Darkseid needs a bit of an explanation. Thousands of years before the present Snyder cut, Darkseid went by the name of Uxas and tried to invade the Earth to take it over. He was in search of something called the Anti-Life Code which controls all life and the entire universe. However, Uxas failed as he was not prepared to face the Atlanteans, Amazons, Gods of Olympus, Green Lantern, and the humans who all worked together to take him down. Steppenwolf, Uxas’ uncle, was the main antagonist of the original 2017 Justice League, but in the new SC (Snyder Cut), he serves only as a servant to Darkseid who gets all the mother boxes to make a portal for them from their dimension to Earth. 

A lot of fans may think after watching Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War that Darkseid is just DC’s copy of Thanos since they both have similar intentions, but Darkseid was created in 1970, three years before Thanos debuted in Marvel’s comics in 1973.

As far as the SC goes, after watching the 2017 version of Justice League, many viewers were unclear about some of the characters since not much backstory about them was given. Taking advantage of the four hours in the new cut, Snyder dives deeper into characters like the Flash (aka Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (aka Victor Stone, played by Ray Fisher). For example, after watching the original Justice League, many viewers thought of The Flash as just an annoying kid with the ability of super speed. . However, in the SC we get to understand a lot more about him, like how important his relationship is with his imprisoned father. We also get to see how much Barry looked up to Superman, as he says,  “Superman was my hero.”  The Flash plays a much bigger role in the Snyder Cut, too, as he is instrumental in preventing Darkseid from fusing the mother boxes. 

Regarding Cyborg, after the 2017 cut, many fans were not satisfied by the little information given about his character, However, in the SC, his character is more fleshed out and the audience understands how frustrated and embarrassed Victor was with his new abilities. 

The last thing we see in the epilogue of the movie is a heavy foreshadowing of another possible sequel. 

“I think that they are trying to do something like The Avengers set up for a sequel in a few years,” said seventh-grader Jackson Zentner. 

Not featured in the Whedon Cut, the epilogue shows us a dream Bruce Wayne has where it seems that the apocalypse has arrived and Darkseid is on Earth. Viewers see Batman, the Flash, Cyborg, and others in the dream.  However, it seems as though they are all that is left of our heroes. We hear that Aquaman was killed by Deathstroke (aka Slade Wilson), and the rest, including some of the Atlanteans, and are forced to work with him.  Also, the audience meets the Joker (who was completely unmentioned in the original cut) who tells Batman that if he hadn’t let Lois Lane die, Superman would not have turned on them. 

In my opinion, if you have not seen the original cut, watch the SC, instead (if you have some time on your hands) as it is a much better movie on the whole. After the success of this movie with fans, DC could make a comeback and maybe even catch up with their rivals at Marvel Comics.  The Snyder Cut may not have done nearly as well as  Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: End Game, but it has bolstered fans’ expectations and could lay the groundwork for more successful films. As Batman once said, “Success never comes without a risk, even if you are the smartest or most hard-working.”