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Comparing Joss Whedon’s Treatment of the Amazons to Zack Snyder’s

Including how the fighting shifts between both versions for Diana.

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One of my biggest problems with Joss Whedon’s Justice League was the overly sexist undertones throughout the entire movie. I hated what he did to Diana, and I hated what happened with the Amazons. In Whedon’s cut, it was a nearly constant problem, and the very few times I wasn’t angry about his treatment of the women in it, something else happened to make me mad again.

Rewatching Whedon’s cut (honestly, I should be commended), the first time we see Diana is completely different in tone. It’s almost very Batman-esque in the cheesy nature of these terrorists, and there is a shot that is straight up so you can see up Diana’s armor. When the terrorist is shooting at the civilians, we see him more than we see Diana blocking the bullets. This entire scene is supposed to show Diana’s strength and heart, and instead it’s focused on the man. Sure, these same shots and scenes exist in the Snyder Cut, but Zack Snyder changes the entire tone of the scene, making it about Diana’s strength and the fear she puts into these terrorists as she’s fighting them, and it completely rewrites what Whedon had.

At first, it was frustrating to see—especially because my favorite hero in the DC world (and one of my all-time favorites) has been Diana for as long as I can remember. So, watching her become a sexist plot device in Whedon’s theatrical cut wasn’t really fun for me. Even the lines in Whedon’s are a cheesy mess. In Snyder’s cut, the terrorist simply says “I don’t believe it,” to which Diana responds “Believe it.” Whedon’s doest even have that beautiful moment between Diana and the children behind her, just a cutaway when Diana uses her gauntlets and … why? Why take that moment away from audiences?

That’s why we love Diana.

But more than all of that nonsense, the Amazons are really who got the short end of Whedon’s sexist stick. In Whedon’s, when Steppenwolf comes for the mother box, the Amazons almost look weak in comparison to him and his parademons. They’re thrown around, destroyed, and there isn’t really much to the scene other than the death of Amazons and Queen Hippolyta watching as her warriors perish.

Sure, in some regard, that’s showing Steppenwolf’s strength, but it’s doing so at the expense of the Amazons. And not establishing that the Amazons are, frankly, badass. All it does is kill them and have Steppenwolf take their box and that’s that.

In the Snyder Cut, we see a buildup to the battle. Hippolyta goes to ask about the mother box in time for Steppenwolf to show up. He comes and threatens the Amazons, telling them that he will “bathe” in their fear. Hippolyta says, “Daughters of Themyscria, show him your fear” to which the Amazons respond “we have no fear” and that, right there, is why Snyder’s version of the Amazons is so much better.

He establishes that the Amazons are warriors. That they’re badass. That they can take on the greatest of foes, so when Steppenwolf still comes out victorious, even though the Amazons do put up a fight, it’s a demonstration of just how vicious Steppenwolf can be that also makes a point of the Amazon’s strength. “Honor us, it’s right” Hippolyta is told before she closes the Amazons in with Steppenwolf, sealing their fate, but they know that it is their duty to try their best to keep him away from the mother box, even if it means their lives. It’s a choice. It’s not an instant thing that Hippolyta does, and the Amazons understand the sacrifice.

All of that was missing from the Whedon cut. Instead, I watched these warriors die because what? Women? Because Whedon just assumed we’d know that they’re all the fiercest warriors without putting in any work to establish that? Sure, some of that exists because we know of their strength. But it’s not enough. Whedon’s just showed us Amazons dying and no context as to why. Snyder gave us that context while showing us just how strong they are.

The differences in the fighting styles between Whedon’s cut and Snyder’s didn’t stop there, either, especially for the female characters. In Whedon’s, I often felt like Diana was the “support” in most fight scenes—just the backup to characters like Arthur Curry and the Flash. In the battle in the tunnel when the Justice League has to save Victor’s father, Whedon had a line for Batman where he says something like “and I didn’t bring a sword” as he’s taking out parademons—as if Diana didn’t destroy multiple parademons on her own.

It’s just little sexist comments like that that completely ruined my enjoyment of Whedon’s on top of Diana’s need to “mother” everyone and Cyborg being reduced to a barely-there storyline all because Whedon didn’t want to worry about those characters. If that’s not the case, that’s how Whedon’s version of Justice League felt.

Sure, in both versions, Diana gets that final moment with Steppenwolf, but in Whedon’s, it felt like a “here you go for helping, Diana” move versus Snyder’s where she was right up there fighting alongside the rest of the team the entire time. She didn’t mother anyone. Barry Allen didn’t fall in her boobs as a gag. She didn’t have to take care of Bruce Wayne because he got bruised, and she wasn’t a “nag” about bringing Superman back to life. She was a leader and fierce, and the Amazons were badass warriors ready to do what what was necessary in order to stop Steppenwolf. And that’s why the Snyder cut is far better in its treatment of the Amazons and Diana.

Not to mention the fact that Whedon’s Justice League just like has Wonder Woman’s hair switching styles every five minutes without care because … well … Whedon didn’t care about Diana. He didn’t care about Cyborg. And after seeing how both Diana and Cyborg’s storylines were different in the Snyder Cut, it’s clear that Snyder did a much better job and honored them both as they should have been from the start.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.