Photo Credit: HBO Max/Warner Bros.
Justice League Snyder Cut has several endings. A bit fitting given the DC movie — which released Thursday on HBO services and video-on-demand platforms worldwide — feels like several movies packed into one, which is why it runs for 4 hours and 2 minutes. As I said in my review, Justice League Snyder Cut is so long that even the ending takes forever. After the Justice League defeats the big baddie, we go through several false endings as part of the epilogue chapter titled “A Father Twice Over”. It's exasperating. There are no actual post-credits scenes — for all intents and purposes, that's essentially what most the epilogue scenes are — but that's only because Zack Snyder has included everything he could think of in Justice League Snyder Cut's epilogue.
Spoilers ahead for Justice League Snyder Cut, as well as the original version's ending.
Like the original, Zack Snyder's Justice League culminates in Russia, with the titular superhero group finally coming together at the end. A resurrected Superman (Henry Cavill) joins the rest — Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) — at a pivotal moment. And though Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) is able to stall them long enough for the three Mother Boxes to synchronise and unify — killing everyone for a split second — the Flash comes to their rescue by running so fast (quicker than the speed of light, as he notes) that he essentially reverses time and saves the day.
We discuss Justice League Snyder Cut (starting at 25:32) on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, this week. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.
Cyborg and Superman then destroy the Mother Boxes by pulling them apart, to the horror of Steppenwolf who is stabbed in the back by Aquaman, punched really hard by Superman, and then decapitated by Wonder Woman. His severed head and the rest of the body fly through the portal and lands at the feet of his master Darkseid (Ray Porter). As the portal closes, Darkseid vows privately to DeSaad (Peter Guinness) that he will go to any length to get their hands on the “antilife equation” — another MacGuffin like the Mother Boxes, it's somewhere on Earth — and instructs him to “ready the armada”. This time, they will attack Earth “the old way”, as we saw in a flashback.
Justice League Snyder Cut closes out Part 6 “Something Darker” with a heroic shot of all six of them. The photo at the beginning. that's the one.
The epilogue begins with Victor Stone (Fisher) re-assembling his father's tape recorder, which he had broken earlier in the movie. As the recorder continues the message from where it left off, it explains the title of the epilogue. Silas Stone (Joe Morton) is Victor's father twice over, because he brought him into the world and then saved him from dying by turning him into Cyborg.
As Silas's tape message continues to play, we take a tour of the rest of the Justice League. Arthur Curry/ Aquaman (Momoa) tells his vizier Nuidis Vulko (Willem Dafoe) and his to-be love interest Mera (Amber Heard) that he's going to see his father — whom we've already met in the 2018 Aquaman movie.
With Silas dead — he survived in the original Justice League — his assistant Ryan Choi (Zheng Kai) is named Starlabs' director of nanotechnology. That's where Silas had been studying the Mother Box. This is Snyder fleshing out the larger DC universe, because in the comics, Choi goes on to become the superhero Atom and join the Justice League.
Bruce Wayne (Affleck), Diana Prince (Gadot), and Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) visit an abandoned mansion to turn it into the Justice League headquarters. Bruce imagines a big round table with six chairs — there are six of them right now — only for Diana to add, “But room for more,” to which Bruce agrees.
Barry Allen/ Flash (Miller) visits his dad Henry Allen (Billy Crudup) in prison — whom we saw earlier in the film — and tells him he got a job in a crime lab. This is part of Flash's origin story from the comics, but he already has his powers in the DC Extended Universe. Barry notes that “my foot is in the door”, which excites his dad as he starts to shout “his foot's in the door” over and over.
Clark Kent (Cavill), his mother Martha (Diane Lane), and his now-fiancée Lois Lane (Amy Adams) move back into their Kansas home. How did Bruce rescue it from the bank, Clark wonders. Bruce says he bought the bank. He then congratulates him on his engagement to Lois.
We circle back to Cyborg, who visits his dad's grave and then takes off to the skies.
Gotham City commissioner James Gordon (J.K. Simmons) lights up the Bat signal and we see Batman (Affleck), standing on a giant new Batmobile that looks more like a tank, looking out at the Gotham skyline.
Diana goes to Greece again, cradling Artemis' arrow in her hand, suggesting she's missing her home. Flash goes on a joyride through the streets of Central City. And lastly, Clark, back in Metropolis, steps into an alley and reveals the Superman suit underneath.
This was originally the only post-credits scene in Justice League, and Snyder has now tweaked it, while making it part of the Snyder Cut epilogue.
Much of it is the same. We open in a prison, where “Lex Luthor” refuses to answer the guard or move from his cell. The guard eventually walks up to him, only to discover that the bald inmate is not Luthor. The real Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has escaped from Arkham. He's on a yacht.
Slade Wilson/ Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) pays a visit to Luthor who's drinking to Superman's return from the grave. But the scene changes from here on out. In 2017's Justice League, Luthor had invited Deathstroke because he wanted to start a league of their own: the Injustice League.
But on Justice League Sndyer Cut, Deathstroke is here because he wants to kill Batman free of charge, because of some “personal” reasons. Luthor has called on him because he has important info. He reveals to Deathstroke that Batman's real name is Bruce Wayne.
The longest scene in the Zack Snyder's Justice League epilogue is an entirely new one. Snyder shot this back in October as something that would set up Justice League 2 (a movie that will never be made, according to Snyder) and give fans a taste of Batfleck vs Jared Leto's Joker (in a new avatar).
“The cool thing about the scene is that it's Joker talking directly to Batman about Batman,” Snyder said then. “It's Joker analysing Batman about who he is and what he is. That's the thing I also felt like fans deserved from the DC Universe. That is to say, the Jared Leto Joker and the Ben Affleck Batman, they never really got together. It seemed uncool to me that we would make it all the way through this incarnation of Batman and Joker without seeing them come together.
It opens in a post-apocalyptic setting with Darkseid's armada flying across the sky. What remains of the Justice League is living in the shadows. That includes Batman in a pared-down costume, alongside a better-equipped Cyborg, Mera wielding Aquaman's trident, Deathstroke without his helmet, and the Flash with a helmet, beard, and upgraded armour.
Cyborg wonders how much further to their destination; he's worried about being in the open because “he” will come for us. Except Mera wants him to come so she can stab him in the heart and make him pay for what “he” did to Aquaman. Who is this he? Batman says he understands how she feels, but Mera retorts that he has no idea. Who have you ever loved, she wonders.
Cue Joker's maniac cackle. Batman turns around to reveal Leto's new Joker look, donning a SWAT bulletproof jacket and holding a rifle. Joker points out that Batman knows exactly what it's like to lose someone, listing out what everyone knows: he lost his parents at a young age. Batman warns him to be careful what he says next but Joker nevertheless proceeds: “Like an adopted son?”
This is an obvious reference to Robin, whom we've never seen in the DCEU but has been confirmed to have been killed by Joker at one point. This was hinted at in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where we see Robin's armour spray painted with the words “Ha ha, joke's on you, Batman”.
“I'd always wanted to explore the death of Robin,” Snyder has said. “And if there ever was going to be a next movie, which, of course, there probably won't be, I wanted to do a thing where in flashbacks we learn how Robin died, how Joker killed him and burned down Wayne Manor, and that whole thing that happened between he and Bruce.”
Joker taunts Batman further, wondering how many dead eyes he can look into before he himself dies inside. Batman says he's reaching his breaking point, but Joker isn't scared: “You won't kill me, I'm your best friend. You need me, to help undo this world you created by letting her die. Poor Lois, how she suffered so.” Joker claims Batman is afraid to die himself and further wonders how many alternate timelines has he let the world be destroyed.
He then proposes a truce, as long as Batman holds onto a Joker card that he fashions out of nowhere. All Batman has to do is rip it in half if he wants to dive into more psychoanalysis, before Joker again rubs it into Batman over Robin's death: why did you send a boy wonder to do a man's job?
That's enough to get Batman to his breaking point: “You know, it's funny you talk about people who have died in my arms, because when I was holding Harley Quinn and she was bleeding and dying, she begged me with her last breath that when I killed you — and make no mistake, I will f---ing kill you — I do it slow. I'm gonna honour that promise.”
Joker pretends to be scared and shaking — “Oh you're good, you almost had me” — and then starts to cackle like before.
As Batman turns around, Cyborg says that “he” has found them just as we hear a sonic boom. The “he”, if you haven't figured it out with all the clues yet, is Superman. As he lands with a thud, the group readies for a fight. Cut to Superman, back in his signature red and blue and eyes lit up red with rage. So, Justice League 2 is part Batman v Superman 2?
Given Joker's words (not that you can ever believe him), it would seem that Lois died, which pushed Superman over the edge, I guess. This fits in with Batman's worries from earlier in Justice League Sndyer Cut, when he notes to Wonder Woman that Lois is the “key to everything”.
But before we can go any further, Bruce wakes up to reveal that he was having a nightmare. It's not the first time he's had them, there was another in Batman v Superman. Bruce even referred to it during his chat with Wonder Woman, calling it like a premonition. Snyder has emphasised that in the past, noting that Justice League 2 would've been primarily set in this world that he has dubbed “Knightmare”. Batman is The Dark Knight and this is his nightmare — get it?
Snyder added then: “I'm a huge fan of [the post-apocalyptic world] and, really, the idea was that as the [Justice League] movies progressed, the next movie — if there ever was one, and it doesn't seem like there ever will be, but if there was — it would exist primarily in that world with them trying to set it right. [The Knightmare sequence in Justice League Snyder Cut] doesn't overstay its welcome, but it definitely does what I needed it to do for the story and for us. Beyond that, I think it's a spoiler.”
This is the “massive cliffhanger” that Snyder was talking about, I suppose.
The final scene in Zack Snyder's Justice League epilogue is technically the same scene, as it stems from where we left off.
Bruce, having woken up from the nightmare, hears a sound from outside just like Superman's sonic boom. He gets up from his bed and walks out. We see a flying being float down. But it's not Superman, it's Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix).
We also saw him earlier in Justice League Snyder Cut when he paid a visit to Lois disguising himself as Superman's mother Martha. Lennix first appeared in Man of Steel as US Army Lieutenant General Calvin Swanwick, and was revealed to be Martian Manhunter by Snyder in late 2019 on social media.
This is no doubt the hero cameo that Vanity Fair mentioned in its in-depth interview with Snyder. But reports of it “blowing hardcore fans' minds” have been greatly exaggerated. After all, it was already known that Lennix was going to play Martian Manhunter on Justice League Snyder Cut. Lennix revealed that himself.
To be fair, this might be a big surprise for some. After all, not everyone has seen the Lennix interview. Or Snyder's social media post. Anyhoo, back to the scene.
Bruce wonders if he can help the flying stranger. Martian Manhunter says: “I'm sure you know Darkseid is not finished with Earth. The antilife equation is here somewhere and we need to find it before he does. There's a war coming and I'm here to help.”
“I'm sorry who are you again,” Bruce naturally wonders. Martian Manhunter replies that he has gone by many names but like Batman, he has realised he “has a stake in this world and it's time I started fighting for it.” Bruce adds: “Well, we can definitely use the help, so glad you're here.”
Martian Manhunter says he never thought that the defenders of Earth would be united as one, and credits Bruce for bringing them together, before adding that his parents would've been proud of him. “Hope so,” Bruce remarks.
“Well, I'll be in touch,” Martian Manhunter concludes, “and oh, some call me the Martian Manhunter.” He might be talking to Bruce, but he's really addressing the audience.
Bruce mutters to himself: “Guess I'll see you around.” As the background score builds to a crescendo, we see Martian Manhunter fly off screen.
Cut to black and the words “For Autumn”. Snyder had previously revealed that the director's cut is dedicated to his daughter who died by suicide in 2017. That was the big reason why Snyder left Justice League. Struggling at home with his family, Snyder lost the will to fight Warner Bros.' demands — and choose to quit, which in a way led to this moment.
Justice League Snyder Cut is now available worldwide. Platforms vary by region.