(Spoiler alert! For a non-spoiler review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, see here.)
While we think that the #SnyderCut is largely a case of “more, but kinda,” there’s still quite a lot of additional content to enjoy in this four-hour Director’s Cut! What we actually have here is a lot more context fleshed out, while following the main narrative beats of the original release.
This list is not exhaustive, but highlights the most notable differences from the original theatrical release by Joss Whedon. Please be warned, spoilers after the jump!
The Narrative Flow In Six Chapters
The original Justice League film was only 2 hours long, while Snyder’s version is twice as long, clocking in at 4 hours. Naturally, this means a lot more breathing room to tell the story – properly explaining many of the disjointed and unexplained moments from the first film. This is why there are six “chapters” to the storyline as well as a new epilogue:
- Don’t Count On It, Batman
- The Age of Heroes
- Beloved Mother, Beloved Son
- Change Machine
- All The King’s Men
- Something Darker
- Epilogue: A Father Twice Over
How Superman’s Death Triggered The Mother Boxes
The opening scene begins with Superman’s death but, this time, we see how his final cries echo across the world awakening the three Mother Boxes. This explains why and how the Mother Boxes were triggered with greatly improved coherence and context.
Flashback Expositions Galore
Several times in the film, the plot takes us back in time to explain and flesh out the mythology of the SnyderVerse. For example, we get more context on Steppenwolf and takes us back to that first battle for the Mother Boxes, which saw the various factions of Earth come together to fight Darkseid! Other characters also have their backstories fleshed out in more detail.
Darkseid Is… Seen
Speaking of Darkseid, he’s more than just a hint compared to the previous film. In the Snyder Cut, Darkseid is clearly Steppenwolf’s motivation: he desires to return to Darkseid’s good graces after the loss of the Mother Boxes at the first battle. Unfortunately, that’s about it. Despite the trailers teasing him as the Big Bad, Darkseid never battles the Justice League, because he was originally meant to become more prominent in subsequent Justice League films.
More backstory Introducing Barry Allen As The Flash
This time around, Ezra Miller’s The Flash gets more screen time to flesh out his origin background. We see Barry Allen being late to an interview and but when trouble in the form of a accident suddenly occurs, he springs into the Speed Force. Everything warps into slow motion and Allen ends up meeting and saving Iris West.
Cyborg Is Now A Main Character
Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone/Cyborg has his onscreen time restored – making him a far more central character than compared to how he was depicted in the original release. His story is fleshed out a lot more with flashbacks to his days as a school football star, his relationship with his parents, and the trauma that spurs him on to being a hero in the end. We also now get to understand why he is a crucial asset to the formation of the Justice League.
Martian Manhunter Makes An Appearance
As anticipated, Jon Jonzz the Martian Manhunter makes his appearance. He shows up midway through the film in disguise as Martha Kent to encourage Lois Lane to move on with her life and then morphing into General Calvin Swanwick, who was last seen in Man of Steel. The Martian Manhunter makes an appearance again in the final scene – albeit due to a change. Initially, Snyder wanted that last scene with Bruce Wayne to feature Green Lantern Jon Stewart but was told the studio had other plans and he couldn’t use the character. So, as a compromise, he redid the scene featuring Jon Jonzz instead.
So, So, SO MANY More Characters
So, you’ve got the stars of the show, namely Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman; Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman; Amy Adams as Lois Lane; Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman; Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg; Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman; Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash.
Then, you’ve got the supporting cast: Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko; Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor; Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth; Diane Lane as Martha Kent; Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta; J. K. Simmons as Commissioner James Gordon; Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf; Amber Heard as Mera and Joe Morton as Silas Stone, Victor Stone’s father.
Now here’s a whole bunch of folks you didn’t see in the original release that make an appearance in the original film: Kiersey Clemons as Iris West; Ray Porter as Darkseid; Peter Guinness as DeSaad; Harry Lennix as J’onn J’onzz/Calvin Swanwick/Martian Manhunter; Jared Leto as the Joker; and Joe Manganiello as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. Green Lanterns Yalan Gur and Kilowog also appear through CGI special effects.
The Climactic Battle Is Tweaked
There are several tweaks to the final battle between the Justice League and Steppenwolf. First, it now takes place at night, instead of that red-hued daytime view from the original release. Second, the battle now takes place at the site of a former nuclear accident, so there aren’t any innocents to save unlike the previous film. There’s also a bit where the Flash has to travel back in time to save all the heroes because they initially die battling Steppenwolf the first time around. Finally, in keeping with the gritty mood of the SnyderVerse, Wonder Woman decapitates the villain, instead of just kicking him through a portal.
A Brand New Epilogue
While most of the film reuses whatever Snyder previously shot, the epilogue was the only thing Snyder reshot. After the heroes save the day, we suddenly see the dystopian “Knightmare” future where Batman, Cyborg, Flash, Meera, Deathstroke, and Joker try to figure out a way to undo the disaster which has befallen the world. Superman, red-eyed and ostensibly in the thrall of Darkseid’s Anti-Life Equation, Superman arrives on the scene… and Bruce Wayne wakes up. He’s then, approached by Martian Manhunter who warns him about Darkseid and offers help.
No More Quips And Jokes
For the Snyder Cut, Snyder committed to only using what he shot, which means not a single part of Whedon’s work was included. This results in a serious tone that is probably more consistent with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. We think it’s a good choice to make because the alternative was Whedon trying to make DC’s version of the Avengers, which didn’t work.
There are definitely plenty more little nods, winks, hat tips and changes throughout the entire movie that we weren’t able to cover here. Let us know what else we should have noticed?
Also, now that you know what’s been changed, how do you think about Zack Snyder’s Justice League? Yay or nay?