A fan service project of this stature has never been more ferociously or fervently pursued with the most heartfelt of intentions.
After the sudden death of his daughter Autumn in 2016, Zack Snyder abandoned the Justice League production. Warner Bros. brought on Joss Whedon of Avengers and Buffy fame – a controversial figure more recently – to make a movie following Synder’s formula on his own terms.
Ever since its release, fans have demanded to see Snyder’s intended epic; launching a campaign that has now lead to HBO Max sinking a supposed $70 million into the director’s 4-hour, reimagined and reshot version.
The 6-chapter opus is an intense endeavor that is both well-rewarded and earned. Its a God-like depiction of the Justice League team, not a rag-tag bunch of corny would-be heroes.
Reshoots really mired Whedon’s version, specifically the Superman scenes where CGI on a mustached Henry Cavill morphed him into the human version of Shrek and made memes aplenty.
Snyder is serious about these characters: their lore, how they’re seen in the world today. He basks them in intense shadow, dramatic slo-mo and ancient hymns (less successfully sometimes).
World-building has always been a passion of Snyder’s, something he shared with his late daughter, Autumn. She loved his heroes with the same fever as her father.
And the mythos of Wonder Woman and Superman deserve to fight a formidable opponent.
Steppenwolf underwent a major visual upgrade to give battle scenes with the Amazons some gravitas. His part is also extended to show a servant-master relationship between him and Darkseid: a would-be Thanos to the DCEU.
Perhaps the most potent and important arc is Cyborgs.
Whedon trashed nearly everything that was relevant to the character’s struggles that drove the story in an emotionally satisfying way.
His pain is universal; a Frankenstein-like relationship with his father the stuff of comic book legend that you don’t often see in superhero movies today. He’s the one that saves the day, even if it nearly tears him apart.
Other great caveats of the film: the black Superman suit, long-haired Willem Dafoe (if you’re into that) and that stunning Amazon fight sequence, again.
So, where do we go from here?
Ben Affleck isn’t Batman anymore. There’s a Black-led Superman movie in the works. And the DCEU is lost as we know it.
Snyder got his world-building epic and closed the chapter on it with high drama.
At least for now.