A Lot Of Zack Snyder's Original Footage Has Been Completely Cut
And with the big additions stated, it's time to move to the other side of the story: what was cut. In a word, lots. Justice League's marketing blitz has been intense, which has given us an awful lot of footage from the film (pretty much every major moment not featuring Superman) and even more that didn't make it through.
Trailer shots not being in a movie are not necessarily always sign of changes - often they can be never intended to turn up in the film but liked by the marketing department enough that ceases to matter - but in this case, we can glean a lot. The first two trailers, from July 2016 and March 2017, were made before any reshoots and so can be read as "pure Snyder", whereas what came after - most notably the SDCC 2017 extended sneak and Heroes trailer from October 2017 - are done post-reshoots. We're going to use the earlier ones more for evidence.
So, a lot's gone: Bruce's extended journey to Amnesty Bay; all of Cyborg pre-transformation; Barry breaking the window with his finger; Bruce watching the Superman hologram; most of Bruce and Diana's recruitment discussion; the League rallying before fighting Steppenwolf in Gotham - Cyborg not believing in Batman and Wonder Woman preparing the team; Cyborg saving the policeman at Hero's Park; Aquaman fighting up towards Steppenwolf in the finale; Cyborg flying into the sky; the gang stood heroically against an orange sky. Additionally, although they were never in the trailers, Willem Dafoe's Vulko and Kiersey Clemons' Iris West are nowhere to be seen. Notice that these are all moments with actors, meaning we're not just dealing with altered effects shots but actual days of principal production undone.
And then there's the biggie: the SDCC 2017 trailer money shot of Alfred meeting who we presumed to be Superman. Not only is that not here nor any of the surrounding scene, but it's nigh on impossible to place it. It can't be straight after Superman's return because Batman himself brought him back. It may be Supes turning up in Gotham after his jaunt to Kansas just in time to help the team - Alfred's attitude fits - but that also feels strange, which means it could not have been Superman after all; either late additions to the proto-League Cyborg or Aquaman before the tunnel fight. Whatever the case, this is an example of entire elements being exorcised.
All that said, there are still some very clear Snyder ideas prominent in the film. The aforementioned Aquaman joke and Wonder Woman standing on Lady Justice are his typical style, and we have a lot of character meetings from the trailers that are kept. It's also fair to assume the Themyscira sequence was conceptualized by him. Perhaps the biggest untampered thumbprint of Snyder's, though, is the opening sequence, with the cover of "Everybody Knows" over a montage of the world post-Superman an artistic cousin to his Watchmen "The Times They Are A-Changin'" sequence (although the lyrics of the song could be read as a meta-take on this entire director issue). And, of course, one stylistic choice that looms large is the aspect ratio; Unlike Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, for Justice League Snyder opted for an IMAX-style ratio throughout, which obviously Whedon continued with.
Now, it's easy to conclude most of these shots were cut in reaction on the overriding changes already discussed and the fact the studio mandated a two-hour runtime. Indeed, they do point towards the notion that the general story thrust was similar in both versions of the film, with the big distinction being how Superman fits in. However, that's ignoring the grander scope of these tweaks.
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