By Evan Gamber

Ever since DC Comics and Warner Brothers released 2017’s “Justice League,” hardcore comic book fans and film junkies alike have been campaigning for the studio to “release the Snyder cut.”

This demand has become a reality as of Mar. 18, 2021, but there was an incredibly unique and heartbreaking story behind this latest DC Comics film. “Justice League” was originally directed by Zack Snyder, who had previously helmed “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” for DC Comics and Warner Brothers. However, due to the sudden and tragic suicide of his daughter, Autumn Snyder, Mr. Snyder stepped down from the movie.

WB elected to replace him with Joss Whedon, the director of the first two “Avengers” films, and reshot the majority of the film, completely erasing Snyder’s original vision and mandating it to have a runtime of just two hours.

It is not entirely known what exactly happened behind the scenes during the reshoots for the theatrical cut of “Justice League,” but it was clearly an unpleasant experience for many involved, with Cyborg actor Ray Fisher even going as far as tweeting that “Joss Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of ‘Justice League’ was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable. He was enabled, in many ways, by [producers] Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.”

The theatrical release of “Justice League” was marred by things such as amateur CGI and uncomfortable and unnatural attempts at humor. Disappointed fans began a campaign to “release the Snyder cut” of the film, meaning the original version that audiences were to enjoy in theaters. The campaign spread like a wildfire on social media platforms, particularly Twitter, where the hashtag seemingly began, and currently boasts well over 2 million tweets.

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” was finally released by WB on March 18, 2021, exclusively streaming on HBO Max. According to ScreenRant, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” was streamed by 1.8 million households in the United States on its opening weekend, which is a massive number.

Among the many viewers that enjoyed the film were Northwest University’s very own Felix Duppong and Taylen Walks, two seniors who watched the film together. The two students were kind enough to spare some time to offer up their thoughts about “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.”

When asked to compare this version of the film to Whedon’s 2017 theatrical release, both students agreed that Zack Snyder’s version was far better, with Duppong even joking that he has decided to ignore Whedon’s film, jokingly saying, “What 2017 theatrical release? ‘Justice League’ was only released on HBO Max a few days ago”

The movie itself is no walk in the park, with a runtime of 242 minutes, or roughly just over 4 hours, but these students powered through, and watched the entire movie in one sitting. Walks recalls, “I would have liked to have seen it in a movie theater…we almost split it into two parts, but we just decided, no, let’s watch it all.”

Both students agreed that Snyder did “literally everything” better than Whedon, with Duppong in particular noting how much more Snyder “gave actual respect and depth and a real backstory to Cyborg as well as the Flash,” two characters he felt were especially lackluster in Whedon’s version.

Given the positive reception of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” fans have already began campaigning for a sequel using the hashtag “#RestoreTheSnyderVerse,” although WB seems to have no interest in doing so.

When asked about how this project may affect future DC Films, Walks stated, “it’s hard to believe that they’re not going to follow this up, because of how well some parts of the movie set up future projects.”

Duppong echoed Walks’ sentiments, saying, “I think this film showed that when the fans are given what they want, and a good director is able to fulfill their vision, good things happen,” adding “all we can hope for is that they can make the right decision” in regards to continuing the stories that were set up for these iconic heroes.

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is now streaming on HBO Max, alongside a black and white version, dubbed “Justice is Gray.”