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The Snyder Cut of Justice League Is Finally Being Released. Do We Care?


Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher in Justice League (2017)

It’s finally happening as …. well, everyone predicted. The long-rumored “Snyder cut” of Justice League will see the light of day on HBO Max, HBO’s upcoming video on demand streaming service. Now, don’t get too excited just yet, because it won’t be available until 2021, according to a statement from HBO Max and Warner Brothers. That is if you’re excited at all. For many of us the idea of a different version of a crappy DCEU movie from a director who already made two other pretty crappy DCEU movies … less than thrilling.

The drama around “Snyder cut” of Justice League started almost as soon as the film came out, thanks to the fact that it was edited and put together mainly by Warner Brothers and Joss Whedon, who joined the film for reshoots and punch ups after Snyder left the project, following the tragic suicide of his daughter. Even before that though there had been tension between the director and studio. The directorial changes didn’t save the film however and the cut of the movie that came out was, uh … what’s the word … terrible.

Despite that many fans and reviewers felt that Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman were kinda meh or really bad, depending on your perspective (our Princess Weekes recently did a great rewatch of the DCEU to consider that question), fans of the Snyder’s DCEU latched onto the idea that there was a better, truer version of the movie out there that didn’t suck. This Honest Trailer for the “Snyder cut” shows just how much this mythic cut has been hyped.

From the rage of certain fans, who harbored a dream of a DC film that was actually good (that wasn’t about a stinky girl like Wonder Woman) came the cult of the Snyder cut. And Snyder himself and the actors of the film also fed into it, as well as others like Kevin Smith. They confirmed they had seen versions of it, and hyped it up even further. Snyder himself addressed the cut often. Fans placed billboards lobbying for the cut to be released around San Diego Comic-Con last year, and also raised significant money for suicide prevention in honor of Snyder’s daughter (which is a genuinely wonderful thing, so credit where it is due there).

Many speculated previously that the Snyder cut would come to HBO Max, and low and behold it, today’s announcement that the Snyder cut would truly see the light of day, but again … in 2021. I assume that the delays will be to finish visual effects, and not to edit the movie; otherwise, the delay would prove that there was no set Snyder cut in reality. But what do we actually want from this movie? Is there really a version of Justice League that’s anywhere close to good?

Will this version give us a Diana Prince we can love and fewer leering up the skirt shots? Will Cyborg and Aquaman have plots and characters and not be completely forgotten? Will we eliminate the scenes where Henry Cavill’s mustache was badly erased with crappy CGI? Will there be a villain that matters? Or is scary or interesting?  I’m not sure if there’s a version of Justice League out there that’s good. It’s certainly possible that the Snyder cut is better than what we got. But that bar is pretty low.

Snyder and Warner Media (which owns HBO Max) seem pretty excited to give this to the fans. Snyder shared in the announcement: “I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality.”

In the meantime, if you want a great version of Cyborg while you wait for the Snyder cut to be released for real in 2021, HBO Max might still be a great choice, because he’s a main character on the truly excellent Doom Patrol, which will be available on the service with a new season launching in June. Because really, why would you want to slog through bad CGI upper lips instead of enjoying a talking cockroach and sentient street?

(image: DC Comics/Warner Bros.)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.