Released in 2017, Justice League was met with less than stellar reviews and criticised for its failure to tell a coherent story and commit to a set visual tone. The film’s issue with tone and aesthetics boils down to its chaotic production history. The film’s director, Zack Snyder, stepped down during post-production following the sudden death of his daughter. The film was finished off by Joss Whedon who oversaw reshoots in order to achieve the light-hearted and humorous tone he personally favoured and also cut down the runtime.
The fabled Snyder Cut is an alternate version of Justice League that follows the vision that Zack Snyder had been attempting to make a reality since he pioneered the DC Extended Universe with Man of Steel in 2013. This version of the film includes expanded backstories for the film’s central characters as well as world-building teasers that set up future films. The disappointing theatrical cut of Justice League has spurred not only fans to campaign for the Snyder Cut’s release, but also cast members like Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck. Perhaps the biggest believer in the Snyder Cut is the director himself. Snyder has periodically teased fans with previously unseen still frames from his cut of the film and, in a recently conducted live stream screening of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, teased the existence of his version of Justice League as a better sequel to Batman v Superman.
Dedicated DC fans want to experience the better cut of a film that was highly anticipated because of its source material and potential to rival Marvel
Fans’ investment in the Snyder Cut is simple and understandable. Dedicated DC fans want to experience the better cut of a film that was highly anticipated because of its source material and potential to rival Marvel’s Avengers films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. The Snyder Cut potentially holds the ability to legitimise the DC Extended Universe as a genuine rival to the MCU and challenge its monopoly on quality and critical acclaim within the superhero film genre.
Despite all the attention the Snyder Cut has garnered, Warner Bros. seem reluctant to let it see the light of day. Kevin Smith of Clerks fame revealed that according to contacts he has that have seen the Snyder Cut, it isn’t a finished film and was not made “for mass consumption”. After the critical disappointment of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and the theatrical cut of Justice League, it is suspected that Warner Bros. has no interest in using the Snyder Cut to exonerate the latter film of its bad reputation. Instead, the studio is apparently more focused on the company’s future rather than their past. With the success of Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Joker, it seems that they are cautious of paying any more attention to Zack Snyder’s original vision and his plans for the cinematic universe. Ultimately, the most likely answer to Warner Bros. failure to release the Snyder Cut is probably the fact that its release is likely to make the studio very little profit and incur costs for the resources needed to polish the cut before formally releasing it.
With the success of Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Joker, it seems that they are cautious of paying any more attention to Zack Snyder’s original vision and his plans for the cinematic universe.
However, even if hope for the Snyder Cut’s release diminishes constantly, there is still a chance that the Snyder Cut movement may eventually bear fruit. Industry analyst Shawn Robbins notes that if the campaign continues to rage on as hard as it has so long after the film’s theatrical release then success for die-hard Snyder Cut advocates may come. With Zack Snyder constantly teasing fans with new titbits about his mythical director’s cut, the hype doesn’t look set to die down just yet. The argument for its release its stronger than the argument for it to be kept locked away. Justice League’s theatrical release reportedly lost Warner Bros. $60 million and its unlikely a quiet release of the Snyder Cut on streaming services could do any real further damage. For Zack Snyder, his version of Justice League was a small but vital piece in the bigger picture he hoped to create through a five-film arc. Even if Snyder doesn’t get to ever direct another DC film and fulfil his vision, the Snyder Cut should still be released to give fans a better idea of the story Snyder wanted to tell.