10 Scenes in Justice League 2017 We’re Shocked Zack Snyder Shot
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is due for release this week on HBO Max and -thank the cinema gods- the film has earned fairly high praise from most critics (including our own) and fans who praise the film’s humor, heart, performances and action sequences.
However, while many viewers will be staggered by the numerous changes Warner Bros. and Joss Whedon made to the Justice League 2017 theatrical release, just as many will likely be surprised to see just how much of the theatrical release belonged to Snyder.
Here are 10 scenes we were shocked to see in the Snyder cut.
[Disclaimer: most of the scenes on this list remain painful to watch merely because they bring back our PJWCS, or Post Joss Whedon Cut Syndrome, which might take a lifetime to get over. If you suffer from PJWCS, consult your doctor today!]
That Weird Janitor
Early in the film, Silas Stone (Joe Morton) interacts with a peculiar janitor (Anthony Wise) who noticeably spends his days mopping floor grates next to highly secure areas inside S.T.A.R. Labs. Said janitor ends up getting snatched by a parademon and becomes one of the many prisoners taken to Steppenwolf for interrogation, a plot point that leads to that awesome big tunnel action sequence.
While Snyder’s version of the character works a little better by having the janitor come face to face with the Parademon immediately following his conversation with Silas as opposed to hours later in Whedon’s cut (where he presumably mopped the same area all night), the actor looks and acts like an extra from a cheesy, 1950s B-movie; and is far removed from your typical Snyder character, supporting or otherwise.
Steppenwolf’s Quick Exits
Make no mistake, in Snyder’s cut of Justice League, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) is a much more formidable foe. Everything from his design to his fighting style and motivations are an enormous improvement over the bland Mother-loving, Gumby-in-armor villain stomping around the theatrical cut like a crazy old man in dire need of JELL-O.
Still, we were shocked to see the character willingly depart the various battle arenas just as readily as his theatrical counterpart. Case in point: on Themyscira, after retrieving the Mother Box from Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) — knocking the holy shit out of several Amazons in the process — Steppenwolf turns to see a vast Amazon army charging straight at him. Rather than engage the legion of troops like a bad ass or use his remarkable axe to nuke the island entire, Steppenwolf promptly steps into a Boom Tube and zips away as if he were worried about missing the next episode of Game of Thrones (this was 2017, after all).
Now, granted, the big guy accomplished his mission and retrieved the Mother Box, but considering this is an R-rated Zack Snyder film you’d expect Steppenwolf to have a little more carnage-filled fun during his mighty conquest.
Let’s be clear: the jokes in the Snyder cut are a lot better than those in the theatrical version. Flash (Ezra Miller) in particular gets a number of great gags that genuinely induce laughs. The character comes across more as a young adult adjusting to life fighting alongside Batman as opposed to a precocious 10-year old who makes funny faces, dives headfirst into Wonder Woman’s chest and screams “Yuck” after getting covered with slime.
As it turns out, many of Flash’s more humorous moments actually originated with Snyder. Including the bit in which the team vanishes atop a roof, leaving Flash standing awkwardly alongside Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons). “Oh wow,” he beams, “they just vanish. That’s rude.” It’s actually a pretty good gag that earns laughs, though it feels more in line with Geoff Johns and Whedon’s sensibilities than Snyder’s.
[As a side: “funny” moments noticeably lacking from Snyder’s cut are the “I hear you can talk to fish” line along with a second scene featuring Gordon during which the Commissioner praises Batman for “working well with others again.” Were those lines written by Johns? And were the aforementioned Flash gags also written by Johns, but just never re-filmed by Snyder?]
Thumbs Up Flash
Another bit involving Flash happens immediately following the big money shot during the tunnel sequence. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) has just leapt headfirst off a bridge after her sword. Flash uses his speed powers to zip around the tunnel and tap the point of the sword so that Diana can grab the weapon and continue fighting on the ground. Except, the camera cuts to Flash flashing a goofy smile at the camera just before he trips over some metal and stumbles out of his speed force like a blundering goat. Since Whedon treated the character like a buffoon and forced the cast to smirk like assholes after every damned action beat, we expected this moment with Flash to end up in the trash bin alongside Henry Cavill’s ridiculously altered upper lip. Except, the sequence, curiously remains.
Now, in its defense, the sequence isn’t necessarily played for laughs in either version. Flash takes his tumble but then quickly leaps out of the way when Batman’s Knightcrawler nearly lands on top of him. His antics are more egregious in the theatrical cut because it’s one of many instances of poor Ezra Miller being forced to trip over his shoelaces, but it’s still surprising to see the moment remain in Snyder’s version.
In the theatrical cut of Justice League, after Superman blasts his way out of the Kryptonian ship following his resurrection, there’s a random shot of a Mother Box landing on a nearby car. Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Flash, Wonder Woman and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) proceed to take on a shirtless Supes who eventually flies away with Lois Lane (Amy Adams). As the group recovers, Steppenwolf drops down a boom tube and snatches the Mother Box in derpy derp fashion while the league watches from afar like a bunch of morons.
Surprisingly, in Snyder’s cut, the Mother Box does indeed land on a car where it is curiously ignored/forgotten by the league. Except, thank the heavens, in the new version, the ever-dependable Silas Stone (Joe Morton) happens to be close enough to gather the mysterious cube and return it to S.T.A.R. Labs, subsequently setting up the character’s big, emotional Dr. Manahattan-styled death scene.
It’s an important character beat that aids Cyborg’s arc and even paves the way for the climatic third act. Plus, having Silas sacrifice himself in front of his son is a helluva lot more impactful than Steppenwolf sliding down a boom tube shouting, “Na na na na na na” at the league while snatching the box from atop a random vehicle.
Gal Gadot kills it as Wonder Woman in the Snyder cut, successfully washing our mouths of the foul taste left behind by Wonder Woman 1984. And yet, even the mighty Amazon warrior occasionally succumbs to a few silly line deliveries, the most noticeable being her hammy cry of “Kal-El, no!” during the Superman vs. league fight scene — a wince-inducing moment that actually still occurs in the new version.
In reality, Snyder’s Wonder Woman would probably just leap at Superman like a friggin’ rock star at the first sign of trouble and worry about the consequences later.
Batman’s Awkward Entrance
You might see a little bit of a pattern here: we aren’t as enamored with the shirtless Superman fight scene as we are the rest of the film. Superman’s return isn’t a bad scene, mind you. In point of fact, the brief additions in the Snyder cut — including Superman’s chilling red eyes — actually increase the cool factor tenfold. But, as was the case with the theatrical version, once Batman arrives, the whole thing goes south.
Snyder tries to land an emotional blow by having ole Bats confront Supes for the first time since their encounter with Doomsday but fails to make much of an impact mainly because we’re too busy trying to look past Batman’s awkward appearance. The Dark Knight rarely looks impressive in daylight, but here the poor guy is juxtaposed atop bright green grass and a few randomly placed patrol cars. If this scene were at night, it might look a little better. As it stands, the entire latter half of shirtless Superman’s big return still feels like a missed opportunity.
Thankfully, it is but a small moment in a massive four-hour film.
Another surprising Snyder scene was the moment where Aquaman, upon seeing Superman lay a brutal smackdown on Steppenwolf, nods in approval at the massacre and blurts out, “Alright.” Maybe it’s the framing of the characters or Jason Mamoa’s line delivery; or maybe the shot simply recalls bad memories of the theatrical cut — this scene directly followed Superman’s embarrassing “I’m a big fan of justice” line — but this bit always felt like a reshoot. Plus, we needed to hit 10 moments to round out this list.
One of the biggest gripes with the theatrical cut of Justice League was Superman’s abrupt change of character. In BvS, Supes literally held the weight of the world on his shoulders before making the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity; and he’s not too thrilled about returning from the dead, either. In fact, he was oh-so-close to heat blasting the shit out of Batman … and then, suddenly — bam! — he’s all smiles and dopy one liners, including gems such as “I really like being alive,” “Civilians!” “I knew you didn’t bring me back just because you liked me,” and the aforementioned “I’m a big fan of justice” shocker.
Except, plot twist, most of Superman’s cheesier antics were indeed commissioned by Snyder, including the bit where he beams like a cocky superstar while easily sidestepping Steppenwolf’s right hook before gleefully blasting the poor bastard with his heat vision. No, he doesn’t drop any silly lines — instead offering an understated “not impressed” just before freezing Steppenwolf’s axe — and no he doesn’t inexplicably fly off to save that stupid Russian family, but Snyder clearly took steps to significantly lighten the character in this film. The sudden change in demeanor still feels a bit forced but it does play better in Snyder’s cut; and damn it all, that black suit is glorious!
Bruce Bought the Farm
Finally, in one of the closing scenes for Justice League, we learn that Bruce Wayne bought the bank that foreclosed on Martha Kent’s farm — a moment that felt undeniably Whedon-ish given the man’s propensity for fun filled farm scenes starring superheroes. Except, surprise, this moment was also present in Snyder’s original cut!
Again, this isn’t a knock on Snyder. The scene works as constructed and aptly pops the hate bubble mulishly surrounding Bruce and Clark, but there just aren’t many instances of two carefree fellas kicking it like besties in broad daylight within Snyder’s oeuvre. It’s weird to see the man deliver a happy ending where everything seemingly works out for our heroes and — quick cut to Knightmare sequence where Batman swears he will fucking enjoy slowly killing Joker when the time comes. That’s more like it!