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Justice League: The Snyder Cut Movement Explained

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Explaining the origins of the movement to release Snyder Cut of Justice League is not a simple task. While the actual movement is really only a few months old, it's actually the culmination of a trend started years ago with Christopher Nolan and the Dark Knight trilogy. Prior to the release of Batman Begins, superhero movies, particularly Batman movies, weren't known for taking a sincere approach to the source material. There were certainly some excellent stand-out comic book movies over the years, including a number of more serious takes, but the general perception was that it took a healthy dose of cheese for any of them to work.

Nolan quickly dispelled that notion with his more grounded take on Batman, and for years, almost any adaptation of a geek or sci-fi property was described as trying to fit that "grounded" and "gritty" model of The Dark Knight, many times to failure. Then Zack Snyder entered the scene. He quickly gained popularity for his revolutionary stylistic take on Frank Miller's 300, showing audiences just how extreme and stylistic an adaptation of a graphic novel could be. This reputation landed him in the director's chair for the adaptation of Alan Moore's Watchmen, one of the most popular graphic novels of all time. Snyder brought a style and tone to the movie that was, again, unlike anything audiences had seen before, yet his no holds barred approach proved to be polarizing, gaining some loyal fans for his unflinching depiction of the violence and moral quandaries in the source material, while others found fundamental disagreement with his interpretation of the movie's core themes or characters. This divide was only the start.

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Related: Zack Snyder Wants You to Believe in the Snyder Cut

One of those that appreciated his approach was Christopher Nolan, who was looking for someone to direct a Superman movie following the conclusion of The Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan valued Snyder's sensibilities and thought his larger than life cinematic senses would be great for depicting the power of Superman in Man of Steel. Snyder brought a level of moral complexity to the story that ignited some people's love for the character, but, again, divided fans on the whole - a trend that continued when he doubled down on a darker story, bringing the heroes to blows through his introduction of Batman and Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Justice League was well on its way to becoming aesthetically and tonally similar to Batman v Superman (although a lighter, more hopeful movie had been promised since before Batman v Superman even released) and Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment execs were tired of getting the same criticisms every time, so Snyder was finally pushed out of the project after completing 100% of principal photography and some post-production, and Joss Whedon reshot a large portion of it to change the story, brightening the lighting and colors, and adding more jokes. Fans were told Snyder left due to a family tragedy (he did suffer the loss of his daughter during production) and Whedon would simply finish his existing vision, but it was very clear upon release that finishing Snyder's vision hadn't been the intent, and fans started campaigning for the movie Warner Bros. had promised them.

A Snyder Cut Exists

This might be the most contentious point of this whole issue, yet the answer is very simple and we've known it for over a year. The Snyder Cut is real. No, that doesn't necessarily mean it's 100% completed or ready for distribution (more on each of those points later), but there was a cut of the movie completed by Zack Snyder before he left, and this fact has been openly acknowledged since the day it became public that he was no longer the director.

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Snyder completed 100% of principal photography and had begun post-production. He screened his cut of the movie for Warner Bros executives, and that early cut was either good or "unwatchable," depending on your source. So we know there was a cut under review as early as January 2017, which was several months before Snyder left.

Page 2 of 4: How Complete is the Snyder Cut Actually?

Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Wonder Woman (2017) release date: Jun 02, 2017
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