The much-anticipated Justice League cut has been released on HBO Maxin 2021, bringing the filmmaker's original vision for the DC superheroes to the streaming service. The film, which is now available for purchase digitally, was released more than three years after Joss Whedons 2017 theatrical release drew widespread attention.
The program is also four hours long, so be sure to have plenty of snacks before you dive into Batman and his company's epic adventure. I can save you a little time by reminding you that there are no mid- or post-credits scenes as weve grown to expect in superhero films. Instead, the last 20 minutes or so serve as an epilogue.
Let's take a look at what happens at the end of the film and consider what it might mean for the DC Extended Universe's future. Be warned, full SPOILERS lurk ahead like a creepy clown.
Scene 1: Lex's lovely yacht, Deja vu
If you saw the theatrical version, this scene might seem familiar. Our heroes recover to their previous ways and enjoy satisfying endings. However, a guard at Arkham Asylum discovers some bald guy has taken the place of Lex Luthor (who was detained at the end of Batman v Superman), giving the supervillain a chance to escape.
Lex (Jesse Eisenberg) meets Deathstroke, aka Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello), on a yacht, where he is joined by Slade Wilson, who happens to be responsible for Deathstroke losing an eye. Lex reveals that the Caped Crusaders' real name is Bruce Wayne, so Deathstroke can kill the hero.
What does it mean?
This one is quite straightforward: The Batman/Deathstrokes feud is about to get more personal. Alfred has to be careful. Lex claims that he has more important tasks to do than just knowing Darkseid is coming. What a scamp.
The scene is also linked to the canceled Ben Affleck solo Batman film, which would have featured Deathstroke as the main antagonist, but this could be revisited later on.
Lex Luthor is spotted on a boat.
A shorter, poorer version of this scene from Whedons' theatrical adaptation Lex suggests he and Deathstroke form a league of our own to combat the Justice League. The new one takes Deathstroke on a more focused, Batman-murdering path rather than simply involving him in a team of baddies (or managing an all-female baseball team).
Although, there is still no explanation for Lex suddenly appearing to be the Gene Hackman version of the character.
See all photos.
Scene 2: A visit to the post-Apokolips area
The final scene plunges into a dark, yucky future (which Snyder had previously anticipated in BvS) in which Darkseids have laid waste to Earth. However, there's still hope Batman, Cyborg, the Atlantean Mera, a mohawked Deathstroke (it appears Bats and Bats buried the hatchet) and Flash have formed a resistance group.
And there's one more person: the Joker (Jared Leto), who has an excellently creepy laugh that sounds like a cracked door. As he taunts Bats about the loved ones he has lost, the clown adds a little more dramatic flavor.
He asks me to assist you in undoing this world you created by allowing her to die. Poor Lois, how she suffered so.
The Joker wonders about the number of times in which Batman has let the world be destroyed because he lacks the courage to commit suicide. The clown gives Batman a Joker playing card that implies a truce between them. If Bats wishes to renew their feud, he just must remove the card.
Batman replies by revealing that Harley Quinn (the Jokers' former girlfriend) died in his arms, but pleaded with Batman to give the Joker a slow death when he kills him. This post-apocalyptic moment about death and vengeance needed to be extra hardcore.
The arrival of Superman (back in his red and blue costume), who prepares to turn on his laser, seems to make their plans, threats, and profanity more palatable. (They dont).
In the present, pre-apocalyptic world, Bruce wakes up from this apparent nightmare in his sweet lakeside pad and finds Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix) outside. The alien hero warns Bruce that Darkseid will be returning looking for the Anti-Life Equation and practically invites Bruce to join the Justice League.
We get a glimpse of the post-Darkseid world, and it isn't a pleasant environment to be in.
What does it mean?
There's a lot to discuss here, but it certainly seems to be a great base for some great sequels (I love seeing realities where the bad guys won). The Joker scene was the only new one shot for the Snyder Cut, all other footage was preexisting.
My main regret was that there was no Batman/Joker confrontation scene in the production notes when I realized there would be no more Zack Snyder DC films. They both went through a series of films and never ran into each other. It didnt make sense to me. So, I thought maybe I could correct that.
Darkseid returned to Earth in his quest for the Anti-Life Equation, a mathematical formula that would enable him to rule all life, and took over. You may remember allusions to this around an hour and 40 minutes earlier in the movie, when the Kryptonian ship warned Cyborg against activating the Mother Box.
Cyborg gave us a peek into the beginning of the dark future.
At that point, we became aware of a time when a dead Wonder Woman was burned on a funeral pyre, Aquaman had been impaled by Darkseid, and Superman was cradling a charred corpse, with Darkseid looming over him.
Lois Lane was the body, and her death left Superman emotionally devastated enough for the big baddie to control his will. Darkseids Omega Beam laser eye move makes Supes seem to be extra nasty, so he should just hit Darkseid into the sun.
Adding to the problem that Lois is pregnant we see a positive test in her nightstand during the film. The situation is pretty similar to the one seen in the Injustice games, in which Superman becomes a brutal dictator after Joker trickes him into killing a pregnant Lois and blowing up Metropolis.
This epilogue also connects to two scenes in BvS: the Flashs warning, where future Flash uses his powers to go back in time and warns Bruce to fear Superman, and the Knightmare sequence, in which Bruce fantasizes of a dark future in which Superman has gone bad, since Batman is alone, is captured, and is ultimately murdered by Superman.
It's unclear why Superman will wear his red and blue suit again in the dark future, surely the moody black outfit he wore after getting resurrected would have been a better option? In the comics, Superman wore a black suit specifically designed to help him absorb more solar radiation after returning from the dead. He would have worn it by the time of the dark future events.
The black is back.
Snyder has provided some plot details about the Knightmare future in the years since the theatrical version enraged fans. Flash used a Cosmic Treadmill, a time machine he uses with his powers to travel back in an effort to avert the dark future. When he sees BvS Bruce, he realizes he has gone too far in the timeline (since Bruce hadnt met Flash at that point).
When Flash warns BvS Bruce, the scene at the end of the Justice League presumably takes place before Flash returns, and the team is likely to prepare for his journey through time.
Snyder told Vanity Fair that his original intention was for the dark future timeline to be reversed, but Batman would die. The mantle would have been taken by Bruce Kent, the powerless son of Lois and Clark.
Joker is unable to explain why he should do this terrible future or why Harley died, but it's entirely plausible that this Batman-like creature will finish him as soon as he can, and he has no problem killing at any point in the timeline.
Every one of us is saved from hell.
The adopted son line alleges to Robins' death at the Jokers' hands. In BvS, you may remember seeing a graffitied Robin costume that was intended to be Dick Grayson's version of the character. In the comics, Joker killed Jason Todd (the second Robin).
It's possible that this plotline will never be repeated or it will play out in next years Flash film due to Snyder's leadership. In Matt Reeves The Batman, we'll see Affleck reprise his role as Batman, along with Michael Keatons as the titular character from the Tim Burton series.
My brain is slumbering right now; too much time travel and alternate realities. Wake me up when Flash comes out.