Greatest Redemptions of the Justice League Snyder Cut
After years of rallying cries, petitions, and all around DC Comics fan support, Zack Snyder’s The Justice League premiered this year on HBO Max. The film was released with 6 full chapters, initially meant to act as episodes of a longer series. Instead, the film ended up being a massive 4 hour adventure, spanning time and space—and we do truly get to see space.
While the original release of the film featured a few of the same scenes, the Snyder Cut provided insight and context to the larger world surrounding these characters. It’s that insight and time spent in new places with new characters that truly brought the film to the next level.
But what exactly made this film stand out? Let’s check out the greatest redemptions this new vision offered to fans.
Cyborg- A True Hero
With four hours of footage, Zack Snyder made sure to take the time to tell every story that was meaningful to the larger context of the film. It was a directorial decision that advocated for emotional connections with the characters. And while we did get to see the struggles of Barry Allen as The Flash, and the pain that Lois Lane had when mourning Superman, Snyder made sure to spend the real bulk of the time with the truest hero of them all: Ray Fisher’s Cyborg.
Victor Stone was a high school student, an excellent football player with a bright future in store, and a son who went out of his way to make his mother and father proud. While his mother was there through all of his trials, tribulations, and successes to support him and celebrate right along with him, his father kept himself far too busy with his scientific work. He wasn’t there when Victor wanted him to be.
But when Victor and his mother got into a car crash, Victor’s father was the only one who had an idea for how to save his son’s life. He made the decision to combine Victor’s broken body with highly complex Mother Box technology. There was no way he could have known exactly how it would affect Victor, but when he woke up with a body completely integrated with technology, there was no doubt that his life would never be the same again.
The Snyder Cut spent time not only showing the complicated relationship between Cyborg and his father, but also showed the complicated relationship Cyborg had with himself. Cyborg struggled with his self-image. When a world of people looked at him as a monster, it was hard to understand how his new body and abilities could have any benefits. And yet, he had been testing his personal limits, just like he did when he played football. He pushed himself as far as he could, and ultimately realized that his new form gave him the ability to affect the world on a global scale.
The Snyder Cut painted the picture of Cyborg’s powers as a mental landscape where Cyborg could alter reality with just a flick of his wrist. If he wanted to launch every nuclear warhead in the world at once, he could. If he wanted to destroy the global economy, it just took the will to do so. He could become a puppet master, and mold the world in his image with his technological outreach. If he wanted to help someone pay their bills, all he had to do was add a couple zeroes to their bank account. And of everything he had the power to do, he chose the smallest story, the most meaningful interaction, and the most thankless act of heroism of all.
Ultimately, he saw the true level of power that he had obtained from the catastrophic accident and subsequent experiment on his body, and rejected nearly all of it. He allowed the world the freedom to make its own decisions instead of acting on the impulsive positive intentions that Cyborg had. Instead, he used his abilities to perform selfless acts based on a group’s idea, not his own misconstrued attempt at good.
Not only that, but he decided throughout the film to primarily stay out of the digital space. Cyborg chose the harder battle of grappling with his internalized notions about his own body. He had to connect with it as if it was someone else’s and learn to claim it and its power as his own. He learned to fly, he learned his strength, he learn his defense mechanisms (since Superman was definitely a dangerous threat) and he learned to communicate with his own body in meaningful way.
While he’s a valiant hero on a global scale, his true heroism comes from the unspoken selfless acts that he chooses to perform, and the powers that he doesn’t even consider abusing. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is the truest hero in the film.
Darkseid- A True Villain
What is a true hero without a true villain to fight against? Where Cyborg represents freedom, by not abusing the power granted to him, Darkseid represents his opposite. Darkseid has always been after one specific thing: the Anti-Life equation. This would give him the power to control all the masses. There would be no life in the universe, no one able to make their own decisions or live in opposition to his vision of the world.
Cyborg returned power to the people, and Darkseid fought across the universe, through multiple dimensions, searching only to take power away from every living thing.
Despite this, he was not a brute meant only to destroy; he represents a philosophy that Zack Snyder’s Justice League fundamentally disagrees with. The film believes in individual choice and freedom and presents Darkseid as the impending doom of freedom being ripped out from underneath our hero’s feet—literally. The key to Anti-Life was quite literally carved into the surface of the Earth! And while his henchman, Steppenwolf, did not succeed (thanks to Cyborg’s intervention) it seems clear that Darkseid’s mission wasn’t over. He intended to get the Anti-Life equation at all costs.
In the Snyder Cut, there is a brute meant only to destroy: Steppenwolf. That allows this action movie to flex and show its epic fights. And yet the true villain remains off screen, only in thought and conversation. He is a looming threat that will never truly arrive.
Justice League- A True Comic Book Film
Instead, it’s a creator’s perspective on beloved characters brought to life with a tangible passion. The story can be messy and confusing, with timeline hops, alternate Knightmare futures, and a variety of strange superhero feats. It’s not perfect because no comic book is perfect. Continuity can be messy, interpretations can vary, and heroes you love can suddenly seem like characters you’ve never seen before.
And yet it is that factor, how it stays true to the creator’s vision despite precedent or comic book trends, that allowed the SnyderCut to reach its full potential.
What was your favorite part of Zack Snyder’s The Justice League? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!