Zack Snyder has revealed yet another detail from his unreleased version of Justice League. Snyder's cut didn't have any subplot about a Russian family living in what would become the scene of Justice League's final battle.
Throughout Justice League, the film keeps going back to an unnamed Russian family. The family is living in an off-the-grid village where villain Steppenwolf chooses to compile his Mother Boxes. The Russian family cutaways are among some of Justice League's most jarring moments. The League, specifically Barry Allen, ends up saving the family from certain doom but it doesn't really add much to the movie that earlier scenes didn't already accomplish. The whole sequence is undeniably strange. However, according to Snyder, the family would've never shown up if he had remained the movie's sole director.
As usual, Snyder revealed this information on the social media platform of Vero. Captured by a fan on Twitter, Andy Warth, the topic of the Russian family was brought up on Vero. Snyder responded with a simple but comical, "What Russian family?"
It's a throwaway line from Snyder but it does reveal quite a lot about Justice League. For starters, it's clear that Snyder still hasn't seen the movie and likely never will. Further, it also shows, again, how much the film changed after Snyder stepped away. Snyder's vision for Justice League is completely different from what was delivered in the final product.
The Russian family aren't major characters in the film. None of them are even given names within the script, but they are a rather prominent subplot. The story of the Russian family is charted throughout Justice League. They first appear shortly after Steppenwolf arrives on Earth and are revisited several times. The moment when they are saved by The Flash is meant to be one of catharsis. Instead, it just explains why so much time was spent on these supposedly meaningless characters.
From the movie's release, it's been theorized that the Russian family was added by second director Joss Whedon. After all, The Flash saving the Russian family shares a lot of thematic similarities with scenes from Whedon's The Avengers. Although instead of Captain America saving a nameless waitress from an alien attack, The Flash is saving nameless Russians from an alien attack. It wasn't until Snyder's sly joke that it was confirmed the Russian subplot is all Whedon. Snyder wouldn't have had the family at all, let alone make them one of the biggest subplots of the movie. The family and Superman's mother, Martha Kent, probably get the same amount of screen time in Justice League.
The intentions of the Russian family and their subplot aren't all that strange. It's a very typical "save the cat" moment where the hero or heroes do something selfless to endear them to the audience. It's also meant to show that despite the isolated location, there is a civilian cost to Steppenwolf's actions. The consequences of the innocent population have been sort of absent in the DCEU movies, especially in Man of Steel during Zod and Superman's over-the-top Metropolis brawl.
However. the problem is that too much time is spent on the Russian family. The devotion to the subplot not only takes away from other moments the movie could be focusing on, like the formation of the actual Justice League. It also writes a check that the film's climax can't quite cash. The Flash had already proven himself a hero by saving the employees of STAR Labs earlier in the movie's plot. Barry (and the movie) didn't really require more scenes of him saving innocents, at least not in a way that needed to be built up the entire movie.
The mythical Snyder Cut of Justice League will probably never materialize. Snyder's original cut might not even be a better Justice League movie than the one that was delivered to audiences already. Yet at least fans know that one of Justice League's weirdest subplots wasn't at all included in Snyder's original vision.
Source: Zack Snyder/Vero
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