The official trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League—the official title of the “Snyder Cut”—arrived yesterday and it is largely the same trailer we saw for the Justice League three years ago. This has been one of my central issues with the Snyder Cut all along: that it will not be a substantively different movie from the one we’ve already seen. All the same story elements are there: Superman is dead, Bruce Wayne has to bring together the Justice League, Steppenwolf attacks Themyscira, Wonder Woman saves everyone at the bank. Or not? In the theatrical cut of the movie, Wonder Woman chucks the bomb out of the roof and it explodes in the air, in this trailer it looks like the bomb explodes inside the bank, which would suggest Wonder Woman fails. Maybe that’s not the case, but WOULD you EVEN be surprised if Zack Snyder changed that scene so that Wonder Woman boffs it and a bunch of kids die? Remember, this is a guy who consistently makes art about how heroes are fundamentally pointless and doing good for good’s sake is weak. (I recommend Maggie Mae Fish’s excellent three-part video essay on the subject.)
The Snyder Cut is going to be four hours long—Jesus Christ—and this trailer hints at what will be making up the bulk of the extended run time. For one thing, we get to see Superman in his black suit, which is supposed to help him “recharge” by absorbing more of the sun’s radiation but which I think Snyder has interpreted as “evil” Superman, and now Jared Leto’s Joker is back. It looks like the “Knightmare” sequence is expanded here, with Leto’s Always The Worst Joker taunting Batman about living in a SOCIETY. Do we live in a society, though, when we’re subjected to MORE of Leto’s Joker? How is JARED LETO the first guy to reprise the role of the Joker in live action film? We truly are living in the darkest timeline.
It also looks like Snyder has restored a lot of his backstory for Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the Flash (Ezra Miller). A lot of this stuff was teased years ago but did not make it into the theatrical version of the movie because this is exactly the stuff that tends to get cut out when you have to keep your movie to a two-hour runtime. Time has no meaning for streaming services, though, so Snyder can put it all back in. The bit with Barry Allen visiting his dad (Billy Crudup) in prison is also from that long-ago original trailer, and we get to see Barry saving Iris West (Kiersey Clemons), something that was teased initially and later cut. I guess this will make Justice League a better movie?
This goes back to my central issue: this is, essentially, the same movie, just with more stuff. Will “more stuff” make it better, or will it just be more stuff? To hear Snyderbros talk about it, the Snyder Cut is guaranteed to be a masterpiece (and it absolutely will not matter to them what anyone else thinks of the movie, it is already a masterpiece. This is probably the single most review-proof movie in cinema history). I do think it will be a more CONSISTENT movie, because it will be the work of a sole authorial vision, and not the Frankensteinian mess of the theatrical cut, which clearly suffered from the Snyder-Whedon director switch. In this sense, it will be a better movie because at least it will solve the tone problem from the theatrical cut. But I have seen nothing to indicate that the essential story problems will be any different than they were three and a half years ago. It's the same story, and the same fundamental misunderstanding of the heroes, especially Superman. But now all those existing issues come with the addition of Jared Leto’s Joker. OH GREAT, JUST WHAT EVERYONE WANTED.