Since the release of Justice League, a vocal subset of fans has requested the release of "the Snyder Cut: -- a fabled cut of Justice League that aligns more closely with director Zack Snyder's original vision for the film. The original film was notoriously altered in reshoots and rewrites, with Joss Whedon taking over the production. Characters and scenes were drastically altered, and now fans and actors involved with the film have publicly discussed wanting to see the original cut of the film.
Despite insistent encouragement and pleas from that subset of fans, WarnerMedia appears indifferent to the cut, and there might be a very good reason for it. After such a massive build-up and anticipation, it's debatable whether anything could live up to the impossibly high levels of hype surrounding this idea, es[ecially considering Snyder's prior two DC films and his larger body of work.
The Benefit of Director's Cuts
The great thing about director cuts is that they give directors a chance to reveal their original intentions for a film. Director Ridley Scott's Blade Runner was notoriously ruined in the editing process, but the Director's Cut -- and later the Final Cut -- of Blade Runner are often regarded as vast improvements over the original. However, the changes made are very small. A couple of scenes are changed, some narration is removed and scenes are altered in subtle ways which might escape your notice if you aren't searching for them. This is unlike Ridley Scott's later film, Kingdom of Heaven, which had a massive chunk of the film cut out.
However, in both cases, the original director oversaw the entire production, and the existing film was never effectively replaced by something else entirely. In reality, we have no idea what the original Justice League really would look like as a whole. The Snyder Cut isn't a matter of adding cut scenes or rearranging scenes. It's a matter of essentially reworking an entire film from the ground up, given the understanding that most of the Snyder Cut involves original footage that hasn't been seen anywhere else.
Still, Snyder's director's cuts in the past have improved the quality of their respective films. Watchmen and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice had superior director's cuts that managed to improve the original films. But, once again, these were director's cuts in the traditional sense of the word. They added content into the films. And, in the case of Batman v. Superman, while the director's cut is an improvement on the original, it doesn't really solve the core issues many fans had with the movie.
If it ever comes out, the Snyder Cut of Justice League might end up being disappointing because Snyder's DC movies have always divided audiences. Despite the fanatical zeal that circulates around the idea of the Snyder Cut, there's no guarantee that there's anything worth talking about in the film. Even if it was released tomorrow, there's no guarantee that it would be good or entertaining.
On the whole, Snyder's unaltered vision for the DCEU failed to mesmerize general audiences in Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman. The division that those films sowed is especially telling when considering the wider general acclaim that directors like Patty Jenkins, James Wan. David Sandberg and even Todd Phillips, to an extent, earned for their respective DC movies.
The Snyder Cut has only been revealed to audiences through out-of-context visuals. Snyder has always had a talent for the technical composition of shots and visuals. However, his storytelling abilities have a tendency to meander into confusing, often unfocused, tangents that present huge, heavy ideas without analyzing them properly in the action of the film.
Man of Steel and Batman v Superman spend a great deal of time discussing whether or not the world is ready for Superman. However, this moral conflict never feels real because this moralizing is rarely incorporated into the action of the film, outside of characters reacting to the question in the abstract, not the actions of Superman. In Man of Steel, Jonathan Kent doesn't die because the world isn't ready for Superman-- he dies because he decides the world isn't ready. Superman rarely takes an active role in the moralizing, and, when he does, it seems disconnected from the philosophical build-up throughout the film, making all that feel kind of pointless.
Justice League has none of that moralizing in it and opts for an overall message that's ultimately a safer story all-around. Whedon reportedly shot 80 pages of script. If each page equates to one minute of film time, that means that 80 minutes of the 119 minute film (including credits) was reshot. Film studios don't spend massive amounts of money on reshoots on films they feel confident with.
Snyder's Unfinished Vision
On the other hand, the Snyder Cut of Justice League could be the masterpiece that its devotees believe that it is. However, even if its as well-received as Avengers: Endgame, Snyder's vision will remain unfulfilled since Justice League was originally created to be a two-part saga.
By all accounts, Justice League was created to present Darkseid as a looming threat beyond Steppenwolf. In this sense, he'd be teased throughout the film and promised in the next Justice League film. Since that sequel will not happen, the Snyder Cut won't solve quench the that some fans have -- it'll only increase it.
Since Justice League, DC's movie output has evolved beyond Snyder's vision with well-liked and financially successful films like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam! and Joker. Since all of those films have been more profitable than Justice League -- one of the biggest cinematic flops of all time -- all of those seem like sturdier foundations upon which to build DC's cinematic future.
The dream of the Snyder Cut will only temporarily satiate the thirst of Snyder's fans. Ultimately, it wouldn't enough to complete his vision. It would just show another chapter of it. And, chances are, it won't match the impossible levels of hype that some fans have given it. As DC continues to chart its cinematic future, it seems like a more fruitful endeavor to focus on what's coming next instead of lingering on what could've been.