Zack Snyder once said, “I think I just have a natural operatic aesthetic.” His spectacular vision was witnessed in one of the best superheroes film ever made, Watchmen (2009). With the kind of grip he has on narratives, visuals, and scores, very few directors are able to create such magic on the screen. Zack Snyder’s films are a Cinematic Celebration that we loathe, and his director’s cut of Justice League, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an addition to his world of wonder.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League runs for approximately 4 hours and is divided into 6 parts with an additional Epilogue scene that acts as a post-credit scene or a cliffhanger. The story of Snyder’s Justice League is similar to the film released in 2017. However, Snyder’s version just feels better written, plotted, and graphed. It is a great example of “Editing and Re-Shoot could do wonders to the story and its character.”
‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Summary
The film begins with the death of Superman (Henry Cavill). Following the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2015) where Luthor’s genetic monster kills Superman. Batman (Ben Affleck) saves the day but he fails to save Superman.
Since then, the world feels unsafe in the absence of Superman and Luthor warns Batman about upcoming danger. In a series of montages, metallic boxes referred to as Mother Boxes in the film, start emitting light and energy. The two boxes are guarded by Atlantians and Amazons, while the third lies in the closet of Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher).
Following Luthor’s warning, Batman sets out on a journey to assemble the band of heroes that include Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Cyborg, and The Flash (Ezra Miller). Together, the team would form Justice League.
In a simultaneously running storyline, Steppenwolf and his legions of Parademons are collecting the Mother Boxes from their respective stronghold. Steppenwolf aims to regain the trust of his master, Darkseid, by assembling the three boxes and creating, “the Unity.”
“The unity cleanses a planet with fire, transforming it into a copy of the enemy’s world. All who lives become the servants of the Darkseid. Alive but drained of life. Parademons.”Wonder Woman
Steppenwolf easily assembles the two boxes guarded by Atlantians and Amazons due to the lack of unity among the Earth Heroes. But in his plight, he discovers an ultimate weapon of the universe hidden on earth, The Anti-Life Equation. The motivation to get this weapon is enough to lure Darkseid to infiltrate the earth and that is the concern of the heroes.
Without Superman, the heroes are struggling to put up a fight against Steppenwolf, and thus, with the help of the third mother box held by Cyborg, the team brings back Superman.
Superman comes back but he remembers nothing and perceives Batman as his ultimate enemy. He was about to finish Batman when Lois Lane saves him. During the fight, Steppenwolf takes advantage of the situation and steals the third mother box.
Justice League decides to fight Steppenwolf without Superman. They infiltrate his defense tower and tries to stop the assembling of the mother boxes. It is when Superman arrives and saves the day. Superman kills Steppenwolf but the greatest danger is yet to arrive.
In a post-credits scene, the narrative displays the upcoming doom. Darkseid plans to attack Earth and get hold of The Anti-Life Equation. The team of heroes is getting ready for the attack.
Major Spoilers Ahead
What are Mother Boxes?
According to Diana / Wonder Woman, Mother Boxes are indestructible killing machines, made from science and so advanced that it looks like sorcery. It isn’t the first time when the agents of Darkseid have attacked the Earth. Thousands of years ago, Darkseid came to take over Earth. By creating a unity of these three mother boxes, he wanted to transform the planet into his own and make people his slaves. Though at that time, A Golden Age of Heroes, combined power of Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, Vikings, and lanterns defended Earth and defeated Darkseid. Injured Darkseid had to leave the planet without these three boxes and they were thus preserved on Earth by Amazons, Atlanteans, and Vikings separately.
Mother Boxes have the power to rearrange matter at the will of their masters. The film calls it, “Power to Regenerate and Reinstate.” Particles of a matter that constitute all things cannot be destroyed. It can only be transformed. In simple words, energy cannot be destroyed but could be changed into different forms.
“Burn down a house, the particles still exist. Particles of the house become Particles of smoke. Anybody with a match can turn a house to smoke. But a mother box turns smoke back into a house.”Cyborg
Victor/Cyborg’s father Dr.Stone used a mother box to save the dying Victor, who was severely damaged in a car accident. Following the process, the team plans on bringing back Superman from the grave with the help of the mother box.
What is Anti-Life Equation?
Darkseid has been on an eternal pursuit to find the ultimate weapon of the Universe. As indicated by the Mother Boxes, Steppenwolf figures out that this weapon, The Anti-Life Equation is hidden on Earth, somewhere.
The Anti-Life Equation is the key to controlling the will of all living beings throughout the multiverse. Once, Darkseid did find the clue to this ultimate weapon and that’s how he came to earth thousands of years ago, but the age of heroes sent him back. Now, his servant Steppenwolf has found that primitive planet that holds The Anti-Life Equation.
“The Anti-Life Equation is carved into the surface of this very world.”Steppenwolf
Through Anti-Life, Darkseid would be able to control the minds of all living beings without transforming them. It will make him the GOD, quite instantly. The powers and use of this weapon will be explored further in the second installment of Justice League.
Zack Snyder’s Vision and Visual Marvel
Zack Snyder is a sorcerer of Visuals. The kind of shots he designs and his obsession with aesthetic details are mindblowing. In Justice League (film), the introductions of all the heroes and the fight sequences are visual masterpieces. Though we had witnessed some of these scenes in the previous version of the film, yet a re-cut and dip into Snyder’s vision of those shots, totally changes the essence and perspective. Some of the sequences give you goosebumps.
Another remarkable expertise of Snyder is to fill these stunning visuals with moving background scores. The way he used Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin” as intro music in Watchmen is something fans couldn’t forget. With Justice League, he tried the same experimentation and while they do create a feeling, the impact doesn’t last long. Watchmen still rules our hearts, maybe, it was Bob Dylan.
Snyder’s Obsession With Flawed Heroes
Most of Zack Snyder’s protagonists are heroes without superpowers. He has always tried to write superhero characters who are more human and more relatable. Whether it was Rorschach in Watchmen or Batman in DC. Marvel has adopted the same formula of heroes without superpowers with Iron Man, though, Batman is the most popular among all.
There could be millions of theories about what is Batman and what does Batman does. In Snyder’s universe, Batman is a superhero who is trying to save the world from the villains and superheroes who have gone insane. It is where he started the fight against Superman. He thought he is a lethal weapon, dangerous to Earth.
The purpose of narrating the story from Batman’s perspective is to make it more relatable to humans. It is a way to make it more inspiring, like the way Nolan wrote, “even a common man can be a hero.” In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, this superhero without superpowers is literally fleshed out.
Batman is approaching the heroes to assemble because he knows he doesn’t have the power to fight against Aliens. It is a character arc of the most egoistic superhero who has accepted his flaw. But that doesn’t make him less courageous. When the time comes, Batman is the first person to jump in. His fearlessness, zeal, and strong will set him apart from the other superheroes. These human virtues are his greatest superheroes.
Batman’s ultimate power is, “he can foresee the upcoming DANGER.”
‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Ending Explained – Batman’s Nightmare
There is something, Snyder cheated us all with. He showcased Joker in the trailer and then hid him away. Not until the Epilogue scene, which can also be called the post-credit scene, where we see the introduction of three major characters that are going to join the DC Universe.
Lex Luthor runs away from Arkham Asylum and hires Slade Wilson / Deathstroke to make his own league against Justice League and Superman. Lex also reveals to him the real identity of the cape-crusader, and now Bruce Wayne can’t hide anymore.
A nightmare scene portrays the post-apocalyptic scenario after the devastation of Earth by Darkseid. This new sequence is shot by Snyder in the patch shoot schedule. We see deserted earth where a bunch of heroes and villains, Batman, Joker, Cyborg, Mera, Flash, and Deathstroke form an alliance. They are running from an ultimate danger that is revealed in the last, it’s Superman.
In an enthralling conversation between Batman and Joker (Jared Leto), it is suggested that Batman’s fear and anticipation of approaching danger come true. At various instances during Justice League (film), Batman perceives a notion of upcoming darkness that has something to do with Lois Lane and Superman. Joker hints further by blaming Batman for this doomed world. Joker tells Batman “You need me to help you undo this world you created by letting her die. Poor Lois.”
Batman was already skeptical about Lois and now his fear has come true. Joker also blames Batman for destroying many other alternate timelines of the universe by letting Lois die because Batman himself didn’t have the guts to sacrifice himself.
“How many can die in your arms before you grow numb to death? And how many dead eyes can you look into before you die yourself?”Joker
According to Joker, Batman sent “Boy Wonder” Superman to do a man’s job, which might be to fight Darkseid. However, Darkseid might have got hold of The Anti-Life Equation and through it, he controls Superman, the strongest man in the universe. In a fight between Superman and Justice League, Lois would have lost her life and that is the trigger that made Superman, the root of all doom. At the end of the nightmare, Superman finds Batman and was about to laser him when Bruce wakes up.
The Martian Manhunter, who is an integral part of the Justice League team is introduced in the film. He meets Batman at the end of the film and promises unity to defend the Earth against all upcoming dangers.
At 4 hours, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a task for the generic audience, but for the DC fans and comic-book geeks, it’s a cinematic gem. Not everyone is going to enjoy the film but for those, it is made, they are going to love it. Watching Zack Snyder’s vision and version is the best thing that happened this year and Studios should let this man approach his wisdom without constant interruptions. The man is a visual genius and he sure knows how to create marvel on Screen.
If you are not a superhero freak, you can watch the film in intervals as it is already divided into various parts, it will help you to grasp the storyline better. If I missed out on anything, do let us know in the comment section below. If any confusion, feel free to write to us.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming on HBO Max.
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