3 things you didn’t know about Zack Snyder’s Justice League

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.

Click here to know more about HBO GO.

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.

Four things I like about Captain Marvel

The first solo female-led film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (since Black Widow is part of an ensemble in Avengers and the Wasp co-headlined Ant-Man and the Wasp), Captain Marvel carries with it a lot of expectations.

The movie is centered on Carol Danvers (played by Oscar winner Brie Larson), a US Air Force pilot who was given superhuman powers when she absorbed the energy from an explosion.

Being an MCU geek, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see it on its first day of theatrical release. While I’ve been seeing mixed reactions about the movie on the web, let me share four reasons why I think it’s awesome.

I will try to minimize spoilers in this blog post but there will be some references to scenes in the movie or other MCU releases so be warned…

Here be spoilers.

One: It passes the Bechdel test.

Why would I start my review with the movie’s most academic aspect?

Well, much has been hyped about Captain Marvel being the first female-led MCU outing, and I’m glad to see, with its depiction of the abiding friendship between Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau (played by Lashana Lynch), that it passes the one of the most basic of standards for female representation in fiction.

The Bechdel Test asks whether there are at least two women in the movie who talk to each other about anything other than a man.

Danvers’ reunion with Maria after a long separation empowers and reaffirms her without needing to include a male in their conversations.

Two: The absence of a love interest.

Nope, Captain Marvel doesn’t need a love interest to inspire her or stir her to action. Her notable interactions were with her Kree mentor Yon-Rogg (played by Jude Law), her friend Maria Rambeau, and a young, quippy Nick Fury (played by CGI-de-aged Samuel L. Jackson), not with a potential boyfriend.

Oh, and the fact that the movie didn’t have the need to explain why there’s no father-figure in the Rambeau household is remarkable.

Three: Younger and work-in-progress Fury.

Since Iron Man 2 to Avengers: Infinity War, Nick Fury has always shown up as nothing less than the BAMF director of SHIELD.

Here, he is still a desk jockey, starting to navigate his way through the realization that a bigger universe exists other than the one he’s known. His banters and quips with Carol Danvers are light and breezy, an indication of the friendship and respect between them that will carry over to when Captain Marvel makes her appearance in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame.

Oh, and we see a young Phil Coulson (played by a similarly CGI-de-aged Clark Gregg) in the movie as well, just when I was despairing of ever seeing him again in an MCU movie after his demise in Avengers (and subsequent resurrection in the TV series Agents of SHIELD).

Four: The nods to the 90s

Being a child of the 90s myself, I found myself excited to see the various references to the decade, from Captain Marvel’s crash landing into a Blockbuster Video store, the boxy computers with the slow loading icon and the on-point musical accompaniment to key scenes (No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” for instance).

For me, Captain Marvel does an admirable job in introducing a new addition to MCU’s superhero roster, and tying her story to the rest of the films (guess where Fury got the idea to name his brainchild project the Avengers Initiative).

To some, it may be another cog in the machine that is the MCU, but really, what do cogs do? They keep the machine going.

What do you think of the movie? Share your thoughts in the comments.