Zack Snyder has explained why he shot Justice League in a different aspect ratio than what was used for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The director's latest for Warner Bros.' DC cinematic universe - which apparently doesn't have an official name - returns Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman as he joins forces with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to battle Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds).
Batman v. Superman certainly didn't skimp on the action and sprawling visuals, even though only part of it was shot with IMAX cameras and it was mostly captured in the standard 2.39:1 aspect ratio. At some point, though, Snyder decided to shoot the entirety of Justice League in IMAX's 1.85:1, evidenced by it's less widescreened trailers. He recently revealed in simple terms why he went full IMAX for Justice League: he just loved the format.
As reported via Batman-News.com, Snyder responded to a fan on the Vero social network who asked him about the increase in IMAX shooting from a handful of scenes in BvS to the entire Justice League film. Some of BvS was shot in 1.44:1, which was converted to 1.9:1 for IMAX's digital formats - so this marks the first time Snyder will shoot an entire movie specifically at 1.85:1. Here's what he told the fan:
"I had so much fun shooting the IMAX sections of my movie (BvS). Sort of fell in love with that giant, less rectangular aspect ratio and so that’s why I shot JL 1:85."
This is largely uncharted territory for the director, who has traditionally shot his films (including Man of Steel) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It's nothing new for movies featuring Batman, however, as Christopher Nolan shot some of both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. Filming mostly or entirely in the format, which fully fits the square-like screens of IMAX theaters, is common with recent documentaries but relatively rare for feature films. Nolan's Dunkirk and Clint Eastwood's Sully are two recent examples of films shot almost entirely with IMAX cameras, as was the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
The fact that Justice League was shot solely in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio means that IMAX theaters will present the definitive version of the film. Nolan showed with Dunkirk how immersive the full-screen IMAX experience can be, and that appears to be what Snyder was going for with his follow-up to BvS. The IMAX version of the film has a good chance to deliver some stunning action sequences that can only be fully realized in that particular setting.
Of course, action and visuals weren't the issues that Snyder had with BvS, which buried its story in a maelstrom of effects and also suffered from an overly bleak tone. The director decided to go even bigger and louder with Justice League, so it remains to be seen if he solved those cinematic problems. But even if Justice League is more of the same in that department, that probably won't adversely affect its box office numbers.
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020