Knock. Knock. “Hey, could you guys tone that down a lil’ bit?,” I humbly requested my neighbor to pull down the volume of his speakers as he opened up his door. “By the way, is there any special events that you guys are holding?,” I further queried, bewildered by the sight that he was clearly not alone.
“Yeah,” he said. “We’re celebrating for Zack Snyder, you know, with his newly released trailer of Justice League and all that? Have you not seen it?”. “Nah,” I replied with a tinge of embarrassment.
“Hey, you really should. I mean, Uxas, or wait, he’s better known as Darkseid, looks sick. There are so many new scenes, so many new faces that honestly, I don’t have any clue about them. All that and with that Hallelujah-song playing in the background? It feels almost mythical,” he pushed on, visibly unable to contain his excitement.
Except for the part that my neighbor is an imaginary character, the rest sound just about right. The newly released trailer of Snyder Cut alone is already enough to make it clear to the world who the big brother is among the Justice League ‘twins’. There’s an evident message that Joss Whedon’s Justice League was merely tickling your feet when it was released in 2017, and now, the bigger, badder brother is out to get you. In case you need a refresh, here’s the trailer again:
The triumphant note mostly came from Snyder’s song choice for the trailer, which is widely received by fans as being associated to the director’s success of staging a comeback and making his own version of Justice League a reality. Of course, Snyder himself did not explicitly state that, and if you know the reason why he stepped out of the first Justice League, you would have already known that the man had gone though a lot. Still, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for Snyder Cut as what fans might perceive.
Initially, fans were even more fired up when it was revealed that Zack Snyder’ Justice League will run for a total of four hours, me included, since I am a total sucker for lengthy films like Lord of The Rings. You just need to put up yourself in a state of meditation to suppress any urge to pee or eat, or so I thought.
Then, came another revelation, but this round, it was reported that the mighty Snyder Cut will be cut into four separate, hour-long installments. What. Is. Happening? It was an unnerving experience to learn about that, to put it simply.
Certainly, many will argue that it will still be available as an ‘unbroken’, 4-hour film as reports like this surface online, but still, that does not address the elephant in the room. If Snyder Cut is meant to be a 4-hour film all along, why is there a further need to cut it into smaller bits for the streaming service? Have they completely forgotten about the pause button?
Even if you try to dig deeper, as of the time of writing this, there is still no viable source of confirmation whether these 1-hour ‘episodes’ of Snyder Cut will drop at the very same instance, or will be subjected to a staggered release. “It’s going to be in four parts, one-hour each. So four hours of Justice League is coming your way. We’re going to work on a way of bundling it together at the end, so you can watch it as a single film if that’s the way you want to experience it,” Snyder revealed, via Den of Geek.
It is pretty clear now, isn’t it? The default viewing mode is still treating it like kind of a miniseries, where you watch one episode after another, with that ‘bundled’ viewing mode remaining as an option. It is fairly safe to say that if HBO Max has to choose one over another, the ‘bundled’ viewing mode will be wiped out, clean. Snyder Cut ‘episodes’ released one week (or even month) apart from each other just sounds so much more attractive to the executives at HBO Max, especially if their bosses recently yelled at them about “viewer retention”.
Now, there won’t be even the slightest of an issue to watch a 4-hour long film with three long pauses in-between, what more if you survived the year-long torment of waiting for Avengers: Endgame. Except, that it is not a 4-hour long film to begin with. In order for a miniseries to work, Snyder has to time each ‘cut’ with some sort of cliffhanger, or otherwise, it would feel unnatural. True enough, that is precisely what happened, as Snyder’s pitch to HBO Max has been reported to contain elements of episodic cliffhangers, just as the director was gearing up to reveal the green light given by HBO Max.
Even if eventually, we all have the choice to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League in one go, either via HBO Max or hopefully, in theaters, will those three built-in, mini-cliffhangers stick out like sore thumbs? The people behind Warner Bros has an appetite of trimming down run-times, as revealed by Snyder himself, and it is hard to dismiss their directives as a pulling-string that caused Whedon’s Justice League to shed weight and squeeze itself into a relatively lean runtime of around two hours.
Whedon’s Justice League is already dubbed a Frankenstein by many, and my only hope is that Zack Snyder does not succumb to the higher-ups radical push for subscription figures, and forsake his prized Justice League as a pure, singular film. The last thing I want to see is memes of Thanos popping up in the internet of the future, captioned “I use a Frankenstein to create a Frankenstein.” No prizes for correctly guessing what it means.
Originally published at https://www.thefilmaddict.com on August 25, 2020.