Zack Snyder wanted Justice League to differ from the other films in Warner Bros.’ unofficially titled DC Extended Universe in look and feel. The studio’s newly-formed DC cinematic universe officially launched with Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 – a follow-up to the filmmaker’s 2013 film, Man of Steel – and continues with Justice League this month. The film unites the world’s finest heroes – Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) – for the first time.
Justice League is meant to be a rebirth for a number of characters, namely Batman and Superman, while also acting as a launch pad for future DCEU solo movies for Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash. A great deal of the DCEU (and other DC films in general) have been associated with bleakness and having a more serious tone, but that’s something that Snyder wanted to change with Justice League, making the film less dark and having more humor – but the tone was only part of changing the feel of the movie.
Related: Justice League Is Not a Comedy
In an interview with Kodak, Justice League cinematographer Fabian Wagner mentioned that he and Snyder clicked during their first conversation because they both wanted the same thing out of the film: to make it look different from the other DCEU movies.
“Zack was incredibly nice and open. He is a huge fan of the original comic books and the characters and has a fantastic knowledge of that world. We chatted for an hour or so about his general ideas for the production, moving the look forwards. Zack wanted to get away from the stylized, desaturated, super-high contrast looks of other films in the franchise. I am someone who likes to light very naturally, so that fitted my work ethic. It had already been decided that Justice League would shoot on 35mm film, and although I had not shot celluloid for several years, I was excited by the prospect.”
Snyder’s films are easy to pinpoint from still images alone, especially since the filmmaker has worked alongside cinematographer Larry Fong for the vast majority of his blockbuster films – but that wasn’t the case with Justice League. A number of people who worked on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice continued to work on Justice League, whereas several people were replaced for the follow-up, such as Fong (who originally replaced Man of Steel cinematographer Amir Mokri) who was unable to work on the film due to scheduling conflicts.
Wagner, who’s mostly known for his work on HBO’s Game of Thrones, boarded the project when Fong couldn’t return, and it looks like he and Snyder have come up with something unique, if Justice League‘s early reactions are anything to go by. It’s now a matter of how successful the movie will be critically and commercially when it hits theaters next week.
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