A Heroic Effort
Bloomberg Businessweek|March 22, 2021
The new version of Justice League asks moviegoers to watch four more hours of a movie they hated the first time.
James Tarmy

In 2017, Warner Bros.’ Justice League pitted Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and a cast of lesser characters against an alien bent on world domination. Reviews were unkind. The New York Times called it “a confusion of noise, visual clutter, and murderous digital gnats.” Rotten Tomatoes gave it a dismal 40% score.

For a subset of superfans, this wasn’t just a disappointment, it was an unforced error. The movie’s initial director, Zack Snyder, famous for the 2006 homo-fascist bloodbath 300, had been given the keys to the DC Comics kingdom and entrusted to create its answer to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

But Snyder’s first attempts fell flat, and, after his family suffered a tragedy, risk-averse studio executives eventually took over the project. He was replaced by Joss Whedon, who, with two Avengers blockbusters under his belt, rewrote and reshot the bulk of the film. The Justice League that hit theaters was, at least in the Snyder camp’s telling, a sad shadow of the original. To date, there are more than 230,000 #ReleaseTheSnyderCut posts on Instagram. Fans erected billboards and paid airplanes to fly banners over ComicCon in 2019.

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