Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” Released: How The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut Movement Came To Be


Image via The Verge

Ryan Gorneault, Entertainment Editor

Director Zack Snyder’s four-hour-long cut of 2017’s “Justice League” was finally released to audiences on March 18th, 2021, finally fulfilling the wishes of DC Comic fans and casual superhero fans alike for him to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. The theatrical cut of the movie was not well received by critics or fans. Much of the criticism was due to Joss Whedon’s directorial style and allegations of misconduct levied against him.

Snyder, the original director of the movie, had to pull out of post-production due to his daughter’s death, Autumn, resulting in Whedon being called in to finish the movie. Whedon went on to reshoot many scenes, completely change the flick’s tone, and remove scenes that would have given more insight into many characters. Receiving a 40% and a 45% score on critic review aggregator sites Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, the movie seemed to underwhelm many in almost every way.

On top of that, “Justice League” actor Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg, claimed that the filming experience was a very negative experience for him and the rest of the cast. “Joss Wheadon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable,” he explained in a Tweet back in July of 2020. “He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg” (Johns and Berg, both producers for the movie). Whedon had also recently been accused of abuse and mistreatment while at the helm of the popular television show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Even before accusations against Whedon came to the forefront of the conversation, fans created an online petition in hopes that they could get the so-called “Snyder Cut” of the movie released, without really even knowing if the “Snyder Cut” existed. This resulted in the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag gaining prominence, which many cast members showed support to, including Ben Affleck (who played Batman) and Gal Gadot (who played Wonder Woman). In 2019, Snyder revealed that his version of the movie still existed, and by May of 2020, it was revealed that the movie would be released in early 2021 on HBO Max following an additional shooting.

While the massive runtime was off-putting for many, critics (mostly) noted a considerable quality improvement. The new cut, which gained Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores of 75% and 55%, respectively, was considerably darker than Whedon’s re-edit and a lot more fleshed out. Cyborg’s character, for example, was a lot more instrumental in the “Snyder Cut” of the movie than he was in the theatrical cut.

It is too soon to tell whether there will be a “Justice League” sequel (with or without Snyder). However, it seems as if the seemingly new-and-improved version of the movie will be enough to keep fans happy until the next installment of the DC Extended Universe is made.