Is “Justice League” Zack Snyder’s True Vision?

DC fans are a fickle bunch.

Director Zack Snyder delivered “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, and many fans complained they were too dark and gritty.

“Justice League” lands in theatres and fans complain it isn’t as dark and gritty as the two previous films.

Even though Zack Snyder is credited as Director, fans have written an open letter to Warner Bros. demanding the movie studio allow Snyder to release his own “Director’s Cut” of the film.

As previously reported, Zack Snyder stepped down from “Justice League” due to the suicide death of his daughter in March. It was announced that Joss Whedon would be stepping in to take “Justice League” through the remaining post-production stage.

Joss didn’t simply step in cold, he had already been helping out on the film for some time.

The president of Warner Bros. Pictures, Toby Emmerich explained that even with Whedon’s help this is still very much Zack Snyder’s movie. “The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” Emmerich said. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing a baton to Joss but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”

At the U.S. premiere of “Wonder Woman”, producer Charles Roven told Variety, “We were saddened by the events that caused Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder to have to leave and turn the reins over to Joss Whedon. He was already working with us on some of the scenes for the additional photography that we’re gonna be doing shortly, and it was fortunate that – Zack convinced him, and he agreed to step in and finish the movie, help Zack finish his vision, and we’re excited about that.”

Yet, fans are still unsatisfied…

Some are claiming that Whedon shot more than the 15-20% of the film that was reported, going as far as to claim that “almost all of Zack Snyder’s Superman was reshot”. It’s obvious to me (due to the not-so-perfect removal of Cavill’s mustache) that the opening “phone footage” and the first “post-credits” scene were definitely shot by Whedon, with some additional shots during some of the battles. But “almost all” seems like a big claim.

I think the real issues come from the fact that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara wanted the superhero movie to come in under two hours. This necessitated in numerous cuts being made.

So, rather than point the finger at Whedon or the tonal shift of the film, I think the real issue is the running time of the film and the fact that so many scenes featured in trailers and TV spots are missing from the final cut of the movie. This, in my opinion, is what is really driving the fan movement for a “director’s cut”.

Many are calling “Justice League” a “course correction”. There’s no doubt the color palette and tonal shift towards more humor are both evident in this film. But this seems to have been the very reason that those who weren’t fans of “Man of Steel” or “Batman v Superman” have been won over by “Justice League”.

So who is right? Is “Justice League” still Zack Snyder’s movie… just shorter than originally intended? Or did Joss Whedon “ruin so much of it due to his reshoots” as expressed in the “Open Letter” petition started at ComicBookDebate.com?

Interestingly, this situation seems very similar to the story of “Superman II”. However, in that case Richard Donner was removed from the film and Richard Lester was required to reshoot a majority of the film to be credited as Director. This isn’t the case with “Justice League”… Yet similarities remain between both projects. Will we be waiting thirty years for a rerelease of “Justice League” with all the footage Snyder had originally shot for this movie?

Personally, I’d love to see an extended version of “Justice League”. That’s not to say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the theatrical cut. I did! It would just be interesting to see what difference the extra footage would make to the story.

Steve Younis

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s-shield
Member
There are a lot of scenes in the movie with “talking heads,” wherein two characters talk and their faces take up the whole screen, obscuring the background, instead of the usual “torso up” shots, usually showing a ton of background. I think it’s safe to say that those are all Whedon, in an effort to insert his trademark dialog and minimize background rebuilds. I’m pretty sure most of the action scenes are Snyder’s, as that’s what he’s best at. The JLA vs shirt-less Superman fight is all Snyder, I believe. I didn’t notice any “CGI Cavill Face” in there except… Read more »
Rod
Member

I also thought the opening scene in Gotham was a reshoot because the action just seemed so rough. They also added a bit when Barry first meets Bruce. The family, I’m sure that was added by Joss as that is a Joss-esque thing to do.

Fruchtzwerg
Member

Who cares? It’s a great movie.

redcape
Member

Great movie it is. But a directors cut would be exciting to look forward to!

Kal-Ed
Member

The director(s) are surely not to blame. The studios who interfere with the director(s) are the ones who pull the strings and the ones who decide against the director(s) artistic vision. Though I did enjoy the film, despite its imperfect and unpolished special effects. As stated in an earlier post, I do wish nevertheless wish to see a Snyder version as originally intended for home release. That would be a treat. There were a few scenes from the trailers missing, and that made me left my head scratching.

Rod
Member

A few?? Almost all of what we saw in previous trailers was missing and or altered.

Kal-Ed
Member

Scratch that you’re right.

redcape
Member
Good point regarding Superman2. But that was changed so Donner wouldn’t appear on the director credits. For that to happen Lester had to re-shoot, I believe it was 70% of the movie. He didn’t change the script per say but his direction certainly changed the tone of many scenes. But when Lester took full control of Superman3 his direction was full of camp and I wouldn’t say comedy, but there was enough of his directorial nonsense through out. If there would be a similar direction with JossW then I wouldn’t want him directing the whole movie. Justice League had just… Read more »
MattComics
Member
The first problem going in is that Zack Snyder never should have been given carte blanche over the DCEU to begin with. Moving away from grimdark is exactly the kind of course correction that was needed but it was always going to be awkward trying to do that literally mid-stream when you have the guy who gave us the previous direction is half or most of the way through making the film. Also something that was always going to be in question is if WB did start listening to people about the films being too dark would they actually take… Read more »
MattComics
Member

One of the things I fear is that WB/DC will blame Superman for the DCEU’s troubles falling back on their tired old “hard sell” type excuses.

World of Cardboard
Member
I think Affleck may be the fall guy….with the allegations of misconduct and his alcholism. I dont know if that is fair and I think he is a pretty good Batman. I just don’t see how anyone can watch Justice League and say Superman or his portrayal is the problem. Maybe Warner Bros. should have had him in the promos and admitted that he was coming back. I know my brother wouldn’t bring his lids because he didn’t know the comics and didn’t know he was coming back. Now he will that we have both seen it….but it still remains… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member

I’m starting to think that Ben might not want to be batman anymore. Is there any indication on his feelings on the part if he is staying?

Spidey2878
Member

I was watching Gotham last week and the cast of Justice League were promoting their movie. Ben was they only one I noticed that didn’t seem to enthusiastic in the that commercial. I mean it’s one thing if he’s promoting his part of the film and to stay in character, but if he’s not happy being batman why keep him for the part?

NeoRanger
Member

I actually kind of doubt that, this time around. Superman received a very warm reception from the audience, comparatively, in this outing. Furthermore, the lighter tone is something Superman is associated with (for better or worse), which makes him a good horse to bet on.

That is assuming the box office returns satisfy the studio, because things are kind of rocky on that front at the moment. Also, the RT score must hurt them quite a lot and though the audience score is actually really high, I’m not sure that’ll be enough. It’s a Suicide Squad situation.

KalWill
Member

These are the versions I want in the box blu-ray set:

1. Theatrical Cut
2. Extended Cut
3. Zack Snyder Director’s Cut
4. The SupaStache Cut

I know I’m probably not getting number 4 but here’s hoping :-p

Spidey2878
Member
I noticed that when the news first came out that Joss Weeden would be involved in the justice league film, there were complaints. Complaints of him making the movie too much like the avengers. Well I did see some similarities, but it wasn’t a carbon copy of the avengers. Yes they both involved a villain with an alien army trying to take over the world, but it had it’s own theme as well.I believe Joss’s involvement for this superhero film only helped the movie. I also find it interesting that the people who were complaining about Joss are now basically… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member
I thought Superman’s first interaction with the Justice league right after his return wasn’t right. It was not what I wanted to see for Superman. I didn’t like it. Especially how he acted towards wonder woman and Batman. At first I thought he was the same superman that I saw in Batman V Superman, or worse. But after his reunion with Lois and his mom he changed. He changed into a version of superman that I was very familiar with, and one that I have been wanting to see for a long time. I admit that when Superman showed up… Read more »
kal-bert
Member

I think that what they tried to do with Superman’s comeback scene was emulating the same that happens when (usually Ra’s Al Ghul) is resurrected in the Lazarus Pits. That temporary madness and disorientation he experiences.

Kal L
Member
I’ve seen it 3 times. I agree with Steve, the mustache scenes that were evident were the first scene with the cell phone, and the last scene with Flash. The rest looked and seemed like all Snyder, with possible Dialogue redubbing. The “Do you bleed” apparently had a stiff lip, but it wasn’t as bad as the previous scenes mentioned. So maybe some intense acting. Otherwise they’d have made the other 2 scenes look as clean and crisp as that. I think that Whedon reshot and shot mostly dialogue scenes. As for the tone, Zack stated many times the tone… Read more »
Rod
Member

I definitely agree with everything you said

Guest
The film is definitely not Snyder’s true vision, but that’s not Whedon’s fault. The studio heads are the ones truly to blame. Snyder made 2 of the most intelligent and thought-provoking superhero films ever (MOS & BvS extended version). Justice League was dumbed down for all the people who just can’t handle their superhero movies making real world analogies or being something more than “bad guy arrives, good guys unite to fight him.” Having Gal smirk at the camera every 10 minutes, making the Flash over the top goofy, and having Batman crack jokes when there is supposedly a huge… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member

I’m with the group of fans that would thank Whedon for making superman act more like superman. At least for the beginning, the fight with Stephenwolf, and ending of the film. I was liking what I was seeing, which was something that with the two previous Cavill/Superman movies I did not. In my opinion it’s not perfect, but I do believe its definitely an improvement from the previous Snyder Superman movies. And I feel that it’s starting to head in the right direction for Superman.

redcape
Member

I’m not so sure he changed the flavor of Superman to that extent. Re-shoots and other modifications are the norm in most movies. You can certainly assume that any scene where Henry’s lip was altered was JW’s doing, but aside from making a few scenes possibly more cohesive he might not have actually changed or added that much.

Rod
Member

word is when Superman comes back he see Johnathan and his dad tells him to embrace Superman and so he finally becomes the Superman that we see in the movie, that had NOTHING to do with Joss, that was Snyder’s doing.

Kal L
Member

I remember reading about this rumor. I hope that its in the extended cut. That’s a call back to Adventures of Superman #500 if its true.

redcape
Member

Just makes it stupid! Well that’s the “lightening” up part isn’t it? Another problem is how do you have something of this magnitude and there’s no blood and guts anywhere? As for the post credit scenes, I didn’t feel like they added anything. They weren’t conclusive with moving forward in any way. I just didn’t think they were necessary and to me it just made me feel as I was sitting in the theater, that the movie wasn’t going to totally end until I saw those two extra scenes. I do agree 100% with you regarding MoS and BvS.

Spidey2878
Member

Some people will complain no matter what their stance on the film was. Weather if it was because they changed Zack Snyder’s vision a little bit, or if part of the movie Superman didn’t act like the way that some people wanted him to act. But the movie did find a good balance for both parties I believe. Some people were happy to see Henry Cavill back as Superman, and I felt positive about some parts of the film. No Superman movie is perfect, but for this movie, for superman fans,I would call it a win.

Steve Eden
Member
I am not going to quibble about blame (if there is any), CG, darkness, too much of this or too little of that. These are things that are subjective. The fact is that we all see them a little (or a lot, in some cases) differently. Not everyone enjoyed the movie. Many people did. I’ve been a Superman fan for 61 years now. I’ve been influenced by this character in many ways in that time period; from George to Henry (I found the movie serials much later in life). Superman taught me how to read, how to look at things… Read more »
Spidey2878
Member

It’s always nice read a fellow fan of superman’s appreciation for the world’s greatest superhero. Superman is always cool.

Adekis
Member

I assume it’s mostly Snyder. I’m the type that’s hoping for a director’s cut even if it’s different (or even if it’s worse!) from the theatrical cut.

LarGand
Member
They should’ve gone full Snyder – at least then we’d have got a movie that leaves us with something to think about, rather than this fun-but-forgettable CGI fest. I didn’t hate ‘Justice League’ – I just thought it was extremely superficial compared with both its predecessors (and I had some serious issues with ‘BvS’). Also, Superman’s resurrection was rushed and nonsensical. My feeling is that the studio panicked over the reaction of some fans to ‘MoS’ (which I’ve always thought was a straight-up brilliant film), then again over the critical reaction to ‘BvS’, so they decided to try to imitate… Read more »
NeoRanger
Member
I have a theory; it’s a fairly terrible theory, extrapolating from many different unconfirmed rumors. Midnight’s Edge, on Youtube, did their usual fantastic job breaking down the problems behind the production of the film that may have led to its box office performance and the suggestion they give at the end is that WB needs to fix the DC brand, because it has been damaged (which it has). What if WB was trying to do that exactly with Justice League? Based on the rumors, the Justice League we were supposed to get was fairly different than this. Especially when it… Read more »
LarGand
Member
Interesting take. I’ll be honest, I was praying that they wouldn’t go the “evil Superman” route, but that was mainly because I really felt that they’d hardly given Superman a chance to be GOOD before killing him off. If only we’d had a ‘Man of Steel 2’ before ‘Batman v Superman’, that could’ve allowed Clark to really shine against a worthy opponent, like Brainiac, and shown how he won the affection of the world despite the destruction Metropolis suffered in the first movie. They could also have ramped up more gradually into ‘BvS’ – making it clear that Luthor was… Read more »
NeoRanger
Member
I don’t disagree; I love BvS and I’ll defend it any day of the week, but I was ready for a different Superman as well. Juxtaposition is important; the somber, conflicted Superman of BvS doesn’t work without contrast. WB really screwed the pooch on a number of things, but in retrospect, they probably should’ve made a Man of Steel that was a little more conventional. BvS would be better received afterwards and even what is rumored to be the original plan for JL (two parts with the first being Darkseid-controlled Superman) would flow better as well. I’d be interested to… Read more »