Four years ago, the team-up movie of DC Comics’ superheroes premiered in theaters.
But there’s more the story of these super-powered heroes than what was originally shown on-screen.
With the highly anticipated premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures and DC’s four-hour HBO Max Original feature film “Zack Synder’s Justice League” HBO GO on Thursday, March 18, the full story, faithful to the director’s artistic vision, can finally unfold.
Determined to ensure that Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.
With a screenplay by Chris Terrio, story by Chris Terrio & Zack Snyder and Will Beall, “Zack Synder’s Justice League” is based on characters from DC, Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film’s producers are Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, with executive producers Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Wesley Coller, Jim Rowe, Curtis Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.
While we wait with baited breath to witness Zack Snyder’s vision come to life, we can tide ourselves over with some little-known tidbits of information from the production notes recently released by HBO.
1. It delves deeper into the superheroes’ backstories.
We get to meet characters integral to the superheroes’ backgrounds such as Victor Stone’s mother, Elinore, and Barry Allen’s potential love interest, Iris West. We also get to see more of Lois Lane’s emotional arc, deepening her connection to Superman and his eventual resurrection while Vulko, the vizier of Atlantis, provides to context to Aquaman’s story.
“Justice League is a story of a group of misfits,” relates Snyder in a recent Q&A. “They’re superheroes but they’re all kind of wayward, and each of them has certain skill sets needed to save the world. It’s the story of the coming together of those lost souls into a family.”
Never-before-seen existing footage featuring Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello), Calvin Swanwick/Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix), and Ryan Choi (Zheng Kai) will round out the mythology.
2. It entailed an additional shoot… featuring the Clown Prince of Crime.
While Snyder mostly mined existing footage from his original movie, an entirely new scene was shot: a scene between Batman and his old nemesis, Jared Leto’s Joker.
“After I realized there would be no more Zack Snyder DC movies, my biggest regret was that there was no Batman/Joker confrontation scene,” explains the director. “It’s the key relationship for both of them. They both went through a series of films and never ran into each other. It didn’t make sense to me.”
3. It was made and completed in the midst of the pandemic.
You would think that putting a film together while everyone is in quarantine will be near-impossible, but Snyder and his crew were able to pull it off.
For some, it was a much-needed culmination of their artistry. Others, struggling from a lack of work due to the pandemic, could put their available time and resources to good use.
From a technical standpoint, a lot of elements that require in-person collaboration (like shooting the movie) were already finished. Most of the visual effects vendors are international, so they work remotely anyway. Snyder was able to work from his home office via an AVID that his editor could control remotely. And when something absolutely needed to be done in person, all safety precautions were taken.
The movie’s score is probably the only element that had to be completely recreated from scratch. So, Zack called Dutch composer Junkie XL, aka Thomas Holkenborg, who had written the score for the movie’s 2017 iteration — and gave him a blank slate.
“Individually, these characters have one thing in common – a tormented past. A lot of darkness and pain and melancholy and sorrow are speaking through their music and I have to find all these different approaches to establish that with each character,” Junkie says.
With the release of the Snyder cut, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a sense of closure that we are able to view the director’s oeuvre the way he wants it to be seen.
“The movie itself is one of those few times I wasn’t making it for anyone, I was just making it,” Snyder shares. “Whether it’s superfans or the uninitiated or whoever watching it. It has nothing to do with it. It’s more like reading someone’s journal than it is reading someone’s novel. I think that’s part of the unique experience of the film. I’ll be honest. It’s kind of the way I work anyway. I’ve always been slightly embattled throughout my career. I think it makes for good rewatching.”
“Zack Synder’s Justice League” will premiere exclusively on HBO GO. This video streaming service is available to SKYcable subscribers for as low as Php 99/month.
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Justice League superfans will also get a chance to win movie snackboxes and HBO GO merchandise for five from SKY by joining this promo.
Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.