The circumstances in which the movie “Justice League” was finished were really not great. After personal tragedy Zack Snyder retired from the project completely; leaving Joss Whedon, director of the two first Avengers movies with the herculean task of finishing up this massively anticipated product. The movie opened in November 2017 with a poor reception from critics and fans alike, leading towards an emerging question: ¿Was this Snyder’s vision? Speculation arose and even though Zack Snyder was credited as director; the tone of the film resembled the style of Whedon. Moreover, there were several missing scenes that were teased in the trailers that never showed up in the finished movie. These signals were considered evidence of a crime. Eventually leading to the creation of the hashtag “ReleasetheSnydercut”.
Lets flash forward almost three years to 2020. The pandemic took over the world but in the middle of one of the worst years in recent memory, an announcement was made. A black screen showed the HBO Max logo while Leonard Cohen’s iconic song “Hallelujah” commenced. When the very first frame appeared on screen, every single fan knew what it was. The Snyder Cut was finally official and the messenger of this splendid news was Darkside himself. However, could this be just an empty cash grabbing opportunity for the corporations? Well, let’s find out.
On one side some recent news suggest that this is just a simple move in a long list of small and big plays to consolidate a relationship between HBO and Warner Bros. In response to the lack of engagement that cinemas got with audiences in 2020, both companies struck a deal concerning the exhibition window within the first month of every single release of Warner Bros movies. We have already witnessed the beginning of this new business model when “Wonder Woman 1984” was released last Christmas. This ensures that HBO Max (HBO’s new streaming service) gets a healthy amount of new subscribers and also guarantees Warner to make more money than cinemas are currently offering with the box office revenue. Even though this seems to expand the total number of potential viewers, cinemas and filmmakers alike are not happy with the fact that they were not informed. So maybe, this #releasethesnydercut is only one more inclusion to the roster of HBO Max’s new exclusive content.
Or perhaps this can actually be the opportunity to let Zack Snyder tell his version of the narrative or even improve upon it. You see, there are a couple of factors that point in favor of this new improved version of “Justice League”. The very first one goes all the way back to “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”. This movie (also directed by Snyder) had poor reviews all around the scope mainly because of its structural and storytelling problems. Be that as it may, when the time came for the movie to hit its home release an extended cut was announced with an extra 30 minutes. Finally as a result, the extended edition was praised as a more cohesive experience and was generally seen as a better product than its theatrical release. So, can we expect the same results from the Snyder Cut?
In all truth, is it impossible to really predict what will happen. All I know is that the runtime has been extended drastically from 2 hours to 4 hours. Also, it appears that somehow they managed to reshoot some scenes and add new content like the inclusion of Jared Leto’s new Joker portrayal and the big bad himself, Darkside. Taking into account that 2020 was a year that did not allow to go into big productions also encourages the idea that Zack Snyder could just invest his time in the editing room making sure everything went smooth, as seen by the improvement of several visual elements like Steppenwolf’s armor or the color palet of the third act battle.
As much as we can complain or praise what’s going on with Warner Bros and HBO in regards to their movie releases and production on thing is certain, this has the potential to make history as a new type of remake. And even if the corporations are only pursuing money, in this case they are giving a second chance to the rightful director to tell his story, and that is worth a shot.
So, what do you think? Will this be a course correction or just a corporate strategy with no substance at all? Don’t forget to come back in March for our full review of this new experience!