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Zack Snyder seems to have done the impossible. He actually has gotten me excited about the DC Cinematic Universe again with his updated version of the Justice League movie airing now on HBO Max. I actually watched the new movie twice before writing this, which was time-consuming with a four-hour movie but worth it. When the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League was first announced as happening, like many, I had my doubts. The original theatrical release of the movie was so bad for such a variety of reasons, it was hard to imagine a few edits could really make much of a difference. If you are not really up on the whole original vs Snyder Cut thing, here is a brief recap of what happened. Snyder, who had directed both the previous Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice movies, began work on the third chapter in his story with Justice League. Before that project was completed, the director faced family tragedy after his daughter’s death by suicide. He stepped down as director to be with his family, and the reins were handed to Joss Whedon to finish post-production. At the time, Whedon was heralded for his success of the first Marvel Avengers movie. I think it is safe to say the folks at Warner Bros wanted to see the same success for Justice League. Even though Snyder’s name was kept on the original Justice League movie released in theaters in 2017, the released movie differed widely from his original vision. It’s hard to say who really was responsible for these changes, Whedon himself or the studio who saw this as an opportunity to create a movie with a lighter tone similar to the highly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. Regardless, the end result was not well received by fans, and the movie was deemed a failure. After that, the studio seemed intent on dumping all plans for their comic universe while starting anew. Even though movies like Aquaman starring Jason Momoa, Wonder Woman 2 starring Gal Gadot, and Shazam were released, you could tell the films tried to distance themselves from the Snyder vision. I might add, other than perhaps Shazam, all those movies in my opinion were quite bad. Fast-forward to the present. After a tremendously long fan-led campaign to convince Warner Bros to allow Snyder to tell his original story for Justice League, we have the Snyder-Cut version of Justice League. Personally, I don’t think Warner Bros. had much faith the recut movie would be any better but saw an opportunity to hype their newly launched streaming service, HBO Max as the exclusive distributor instead of movie theaters. The Snyder-Cut movie isn’t just adding back in a few scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. Snyder took this opportunity to create a seemingly new movie with re-shoots and editing that turned a 2-hour movie into a 4-hour, 6-part saga. So was it all worth it? In my opinion, yes. I was amazed at how much better this version of Justice League was over the original release. Honestly, I don’t know if this is truly what Snyder had intended for the original, or if several years of fan feedback on the theater release allowed him to make something better. We know even if Snyder hadn’t stepped down from the original movie, it wouldn’t have been four hours long. Nevertheless, this new movie allowed him to do things that were sorely missing from the original, like develop the character background on all Justice League members, beyond the big three of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The one benefiting the most from character development was Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Not only did his character become a much more integral part of the story, we were actually allowed to see what drives him and how he came to be. Since the original movie, accusations have come out against Joss Whedon for abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable behavior while working on Justice League. Fisher was the first to publicly make these accusations against Whedon, but other actors have come forward to support the claims. I don’t know if the friction between Fisher and Whedon played a part in Cyborg’s character being downplayed in the original release or not, but when you watch this new movie, I think you will come away finding Cyborg much more interesting than before. Another thing sorely missing from the original release was the real main bad guy for the DC Cinematic Universe, the character known as Darkseid. In the original movie, Darkseid was barley even mentioned let alone seen. Imagine if Marvel had tried to build up to Avengers: Endgame without ever showing or barely referencing Thanos. Snyder provided a more prominent role for Darkseid in this new version. Much of the Snyder-Cut of Justice League plays out like the original, only fleshed out with more depth and updated special effects. This movie's main bad guy Steppenwolf, a CGI character, looks much better than he did originally. Many of the fight scenes also look better, although you still get a fair amount of the Snyder-style slow-mo stuff seen in other DC movies. They also removed some of the lighthearted stuff, which I felt was originally added to be more like a Marvel movie. Scenes like when Aquaman was sitting on Wonder Woman’s lasso are thankfully gone. That’s not to say there still aren’t some lighthearted moments in here. The first time Flash meets Bruce Wayne which was one of my favorites is still there, and there are even a few additional scenes with Flash that have been added that I think are good. It’s the ending however where the recut movie is completely different from the original, and for me it was the original ending I hated the most. The way, this movie not only tells an overall better story, it sets up much better for what’s yet to come. It adds to things that were originally started in Dawn of Justice, which until now I found pretty confusing. In fact, I would argue that not only does this new version make Justice League better, it also helps make Dawn of Justice better. Dawn of Justice is a movie that I initially wasn’t a huge fan of, but then they released an extended version of that film that explained in more depth how Lex had manipulated Bruce and Clark. After that, I found myself liking that movie more. Along with the Snyder-Cut of Justice League, they released the “Ultimate” version of Dawn of Justice on HBO Max. I do recommend you watch that before watching Justice League. To me, Dawn of Justice is really Chapter 1 of Justice league, and the two movies come together well now as one big story. As for the length of the movie. Well, I’ve seen it twice now, and the four hours never once dragged for me. I am glad this is a home release, because I admit sitting in a theater seat that long is not appealing. For those I’ve seen complain about the runtime, I do wonder if they would have complained if this was a movie they were truly seeing for the first time. Since a sizable portion of the movie is similar to the original, there is an element at play of already knowing what’s going to happen, at least until you get to the end. So for me the big question is, where do we go from here? Assuming this Snyder-Cut is deemed a success by the studio, will that convince them to continue what has been established here? Will the studio, even if they wanted, be able to get all the actors back including Fisher, or even Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, both of whom seem to have moved on from the DC movies. One of my biggest fears for this Snyder-Cut movie has been — would it almost be worse if I ended up really liking it, because now I want more of something that may never come. I have to wonder if that is now where we stand?
Warner Bros' DCU Chaos Continues - Flash Delayed, Ben Affleck & Henry Cavill Out Entertainment by Jay Cochran - [edit post] October 16, 2018 Variety is reporting the the Flash stand-alone movie which is slated to star Ezra Miller from the Justice League movie will be delayed till some time in 2021. While the movie has never received an official release date, it was expected to start shooting next March and be released some time in 2020. According to the report, the script for the Flash movie is still being tweaked and that Miller himself will soon begin working on the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts trilogy where he has a sizeable supporting role, hence causing him to have a scheduling conflict. Warner Bros' DC Cinematic Universe has been struggling with chaos ever since their Justice League movie failed to perform well at the box office. Variety in this very report seems to confirm rumors that both Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill are officially out as Batman and Superman. Up until now the only modern DC movie to do well at the box office has ben Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman which is already getting a sequel later this year. After that in December Aquaman who is portrayed by Justice League alum Jason Momoa is next up for the stand-alone film treatment, but it is unknown how well it will perform. It's got its work cut out for it if you ask me. If Aquaman has another lack-luster performance at the box-office for Warner Bros, one has to wonder if they will be willing to role the dice at all on Flash or if they will just try and start over completely from scratch. We already have seen them starting to move forward with a Joker stand-alone movie that will star Joaquin Phoenix and seemingly has no connection with the Jared Leto version recently seen in Suicide Squad. Suicide Squad itself may be heading for a major re-haul as it was another movie that was not received well by most DC fans. Recent reports have suggested that Warner Bros is looking to bring in former Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn to write the script and possibly direct the next film. Gunn himself was recently fired by Disney for old tweets dug up online dealing with rape and pedophilia. While many fans have been willing to continue to support the somewhat disgraced director, the move to bring him in on another comic book based project has been viewed by some as nothing more than a publicity stunt on the part of Warner Bros. The future of the DCCU is unclear but everything Warner Bros. does seems to scream to me at least that they really have no clear cut vision for the property, and are just being reactive instead of proactive with it. To me that doesn't bode well for a comic book based universe that will ever be able to dethrone Marvel and Disney as king of the big screen super heroes.
THR reports that contract negotiations between Superman actor Henry Cavill and Warner Bros. has broken down and that he will definitely not be making a cameo in the upcoming Shazam movie, and likely will not don the red cape and blue tights again for the studio. The main reason for this is because the studio is shifting focus to making a Supergirl movie which would require a younger Kal-El and that there are no immediate plans for another Superman solo story anytime soon. Cavill isn't the only Justice League actor likely on the way out the door as Warner Bros. looks to try and reset their DCCU yet again with recent lackluster box-office performances from both Justice League and Dawn of Justice. Reports also indicate that Ben Affleck is out as Batman. The move to do a Supergirl movie is likely due to the fact that the only recent DC based movie to be deemed a box-office success for Warner Bros. was Gal Godot's Wonder Woman, which will see a sequel being released next year. Aquaman is the next movie up for release in December, but the hype for that movie has been pretty lack-luster at best, so I'm not getting my hopes up for it being a huge success.