Well, it’s finally here. Zack Snyder’s Justice League has been dropped on HBO Max. So now we have two versions of the same movie but they are poles apart. Practically, they are completely different films with only their title being in common. So one is two hours long and the other comes in at a whopping four hours. But there is much more to what sets them apart. What separates them from being a ridiculed rehash and a dark immersive epic. Let’s take a look at nine of those key differences.
Before we get into the plot details and character changes, let’s begin with what hits you immediately. The tone of the Snyder Cut is a quantum shift from the Joss Whedon version. The 2017 release was aiming for that lightweight adventure that is more akin to the MCU. Ensuring guaranteed “family fun” with 2-dimensional characterisation and “PG” rated action. Sparing the popcorn audience from any ‘unnecessary’ exposition. Anyone who knows Snyder’s work, especially his superhero films, know this is not how he does it.
Zack’s exploration of the DCEU has always been with a more darker and serious tone. This began with ‘Watchmen’ (which had another 3 and a half hour ‘Ultimate Cut’) which is probably the most sardonic and cynical superhero story ever. This would be followed by his venture into the DC icons – Superman and Batman. Both ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ would take the source material very seriously. Very little leeway for humorous banter here. So we can’t be surprised at how the Snyder Cut has turned out. If Ingmar Bergman had every delved into the comic universe then it wouldn’t have been much different. But this does mean it’s an acquired taste and certainly not for everyone.
Whedon vs. Snyder
Whedon had reshot 80% for his version and none of this has been used here. All the glib humour and clunky dialogue has gone and replaced with what was originally shot. The language is more grown-up now with even F-bombs being thrown about. All the main characters have a clearer story arc and a deeper sense of purpose within the film. While some show their damaged personalities and relationships.
A good example of these changes is when we see Wonder Woman rescuing the school children from the gunmen. This is a longer and more violent scene. Her removal of the bomb plays out to a better finish and there is a positive and empowering moment with the children.
Another strong example of the more serious tone is the attack on the Amazons by Steppenwolf. This is much more emotionally gruelling as many Amazonians fall in trying to protect the Mother Box. The stone temple, where it is kept, is destroyed and falls into the sea along with many warriors.
Another important factor that strengthens this tone is the change to the soundtrack. Danny Elfman had scored the 2017 edition which highlighted the vision they had for the direction of the first film. Elfman perfectly exemplifies the “goofy” comic origins of the medium. His work with Tim Burton on his ‘Batman’ films and his wonderful theme for ‘Men In Black’. They epitomize what he can do with these projects when they are played tongue in cheek. This has now been replaced by a more darker and operatic score written by Junkie XL (Thomas Holkenborg). This instantly changes the dynamic of the movie and creates some memorable scenes. It’s as if Richard Wagner has spun an operatic finale to his career.
Bruce’s initial meeting with Aquaman now becomes more meaningful to both characters. The White Stripes punchy rock song has been lifted and replaced with something more sombre from Nick Cave. Snyder would personally pick specific songs for the movie as their lyrics struck a note with the scene.
Victor Stone becomes a centre stage to the plot of the movie. Unlike the 2017 version, where almost all backstory had been removed, we now get to see his troubled past. We see his origin story of how he loses his mother and almost his life. We see more of his father, Silas Stone, who is able to save him by turning him into a cyborg. Though the method will have far-reaching consequences for them all. In the end, his father will try to reconcile with Victor but it will be too late for both of them.
Zack had stated that, for his Snyder Cut, Cyborg/Victor Stone would be central to his story. This has certainly provided a stronger foundation to the plot of the film and puts a lot of depth to Ray Fisher’s character.
The main villain from the original release has had a major reworking. His look and armour have been remodelled and more to what was originally designed. He is no longer the “Head Honcho” and instigating the attack on Earth by himself. Now he has a more complex personality and subservient to someone else. He is serving his penance for a “betrayal” committed and must conquer 50,000 worlds to appease his Master. The Mother-boxes do not belong to him and he uses his parademons to smell them out or people who have come into contact with them.
His demise is different too. Instead of being attacked by his own parademons he is gruesomely defeated by the Justice League. Stabbed by Aquaman, punched by Superman before being decapitated by Wonder Woman! This is not PG material.
Following closely with the source material from the DCEU, the major villain makes an appearance. We now see who Steppenwolf is obeying and trying to appease. We get a better backstory for his prior attack on the Earth as he fought the Gods before and lost. So, now understand his overriding desire to conquer the Earth – this is personal!
This early battle is of epic proportions as Gods from all epochs are fighting together. Even Zeus plays his part in fighting them off!
Unlike the 2017 version, where the defeat of Steppenwolf brings the threat to an end. We now see that Darkseid has not finished with us yet and plans a full invasion. Here we see other new characters who are his minions, including DeSaad.
6. Black suit
The way the Justice league make the decision to revive Superman is different too. It is now undertaken as a group discussion and decision and fraught with apprehension if they get it wrong. How they gain entry into the Kryptonian ship is better explained. Cyborg uses his access into STAR Lab’s computers leads to an evacuation. Silas Stone discovers their presence and does all he can to assist them in their cause.
Superman’s late return to the story saw a subtle change in colour. Rather than the bright red/blue uniform, he is wearing a suit of all black. This was a major sticking point to the studio before. They were uncomfortable with this dark look and insisted the Man of Steel should look as he normally does. But Snyder, wanting to pay homage to a critical 90’s comic book, “The Death of Superman”, made sure this was restored.
7. No more Russians
Not surprisingly, the end of the movie is drastically different too. This is now played out as a cataclysmic struggle between titans. Which means there is no appearance of any stray Russian families. This would be one of the most bizarre story arcs in the Joss Whedon version. Putting an unknown family into the most irradiated place on Earth with no other purpose other than for Superman and The Flash to rescue them. A complete distraction to the main action, this has now been removed. We now have a better-structured finale that ends with a better resolution.
There is now an extended epilogue to the movie. If it’s good enough for “The Return of the King” it’s good enough for the “Justice League”!. Here was get a frightening look into events that are yet to happen. In a desolate world, we find a heavily armoured Batman accompanied by an equally ravaged band of heroes. These include Cyborg, Mera (The Amazonian), The Flash (even more armoured than Batman!) and Deathstroke. But the biggest shock is seeing that a part of Batman’s allies is The Joker. Jared Leto would once again don the makeup and still be a thorn in Batman’s side. We find out that many superheroes have fallen as Darkseid and his armadas have destroyed the world. But things get worse for them as Superman makes a sudden appearance and he is not part of their clique!
Luckily Bruce Wayne wakes up just at this point so this might just be a bad dream for him….or is it a premonition of things to come.
9. Martian Manhunter
After Bruce wakes up, we get another major difference to the 2017 rendition. One of the Green Lanterns, Martian Manhunter, appears to Bruce and warns him that they face a bigger danger and he wants to help him fight it. Earlier in the film, we discover that he had visited Lois Lane disguised as Clark’s mother. He implores her to get back to the Daily Planet and start reporting again.
The story has been carefully crafted to set up an exciting sequel but this may never happen now. If the Snyder Cut is a roaring success then, just maybe, we might have a conclusion to the epic tale.
Thank you for reading about nine key differences in Zack Snyder’s Justice League compared to the original cut. Do you agree with our thoughts? What did you make of the movie? Let us know in the comments below.
Love DC? Check out our thoughts on who’s been the best Joker HERE.
Check out IMDB information on Zack Snyder’s Justice League HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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