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Three and a half years after the original “Justice League” was released in theaters, Zack Snyder’s director’s cut has finally arrived on HBO Max. The film, which hit the streaming service on Thursday, March 18, clocks in at just over four hours long.
Snyder’s cut is plumped up with previously unseen footage, and more of his signature aesthetic. The plot follows Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Superman (Henry Cavill), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), on a mission to save the planet from a catastrophic threat.
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has just one new scene — a dream sequence featuring Batman, Cyborg, The Flash, Mera (Amber Heard), the Joker (Jared Leto), and Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello). Like a lot of film productions hampered by the pandemic last year, it wasn’t easy to get the actors in the same room together. Affleck and Leto shot their scene separately, and Snyder directed Miller (who was on location in England) via Zoom.
Snyder’s “Justice League” marks the latest Warner Bros. film to be released exclusively on HBO Max. Subscribers can stream even more from Warner Bros. films, D.C., and Studio Ghibili, plus over 10,000 hours of new hits TV shows and movies, and classic favorites. If you’re not already subscribed, the service costs $14.99 a month, which gives you instant access to a huge library of blockbuster films, addictive series, and tons more.
For Snyder’s “Justice League,” the road to HBO Max started with a social media campaign driven by fans. Snyder stepped down from the film in 2017 after his daughter’s suicide. He was replaced by Joss Whedon, whose version bombed at the box office, and with fans.
Snyder’s “Justice League” isn’t much different from its predecessor, writes IndieWire’s chief critic Eric Kohn. “On one level, the four hours and six parts (plus one interminable 30-minute epilogue) in this bizarre refashioning of old material is marred by sleepy performances, cheesy subplots, and inane world-building that makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe look like Shakespeare. Yet the overall arc of this ‘Justice League’ coheres throughout, providing occasional dashes of intrigue and inspired visual conceits, and sometimes it’s even fun. Re-centering the drama around ostracized actor Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and drawing out some of the ostentatious fight sequences to their breaking point, ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ displays genuine effort to make this impossible gamble click.”
Snyder revealed that he didn’t actually see the Whedon-directed “Justice League,” and doesn’t consider his version to be a director’s cut, in the traditional sense. “It’s hard to say it’s a director’s cut because I haven’t even seen the original version of the movie, so I have no idea what happens in it,” Snyder told IndieWire. ”It’s how you define director’s cut I think is more the question. If you define the director’s cut sort of as the pure director’s vision of the movie without any studio notes, and/or audience testing or anything, then yes, in that category it fits. But if you say you did one version of the movie and now you’re doing a second that has more of your ideas in it, in that way it’s not [a director’s cut].”