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'Justice League' Fans Finally Get Access To Zack Snyder Cut Of Film On HBO Max


After years of campaigning on social media, fans of Zack Snyder are getting what they asked for. You can now watch his director's cut of the DC Comics movie "Justice League" on HBO Max. Now, the original came out in 2017. This version clocks in at a whopping four hours. Julia Alexander writes for The Verge, where she's covered the two films and the fandom behind them. Julia, for the uninitiated, how do we end up with a big-budget superhero movie that was first released in 2017, then rereleased four years later?

JULIA ALEXANDER: You find an army of fans who, every day and every night, do nothing but campaign for this.


MARTÍNEZ: I might have been one of them, Julia, just so you know (laughter). Now, what are the biggest differences between the two films? Because it's essentially the same story.

ALEXANDER: It is. It's night and day, though. I mean, from length time to the fact that Zack Snyder's film clocks in at four hours and one minute to the fact that everything that Joss Whedon, who stepped in when Zack Snyder had to step back in 2017 after a personal tragedy - everything that he's done is basically gone. The biggest change for fans everywhere is that it is a cohesive film that actually makes sense and is far more enjoyable.

MARTÍNEZ: So what's the reaction been so far? It's only been - what? - about a day. But there's been a lot of it.

ALEXANDER: Mostly positive, I think, across the board. People are excited that they finally have Zack's vision that they can watch. People are excited that after four years of campaigning for something that others would've called a conspiracy theory, that they finally were able to watch it. But there's also conversation about what this means for companies like AT&T and Warner Media kind of giving in to fan demand on the Internet.

MARTÍNEZ: And we're going to get to that in just a second, Julia. I wanted to ask you, though - you mentioned how there's a more cohesive storyline. I've only gotten about an hour into it. You know, as we mentioned, it's four hours long. But one thing I notice thats's different - it just seems brighter in a way. Am I imagining that?

ALEXANDER: No. I mean, this is his aesthetic. This - anyone who likes "300" or "Watchmen" or anyone who came up really loving Zack Snyder-type films will look at this and say, I know exactly what this looks like because it feels like a Zack Snyder film. And I think that's what was missing from the original. It's why it led to the fan campaign, you know, just weeks after the movie first came out in November 2017.

MARTÍNEZ: So about that fan campaign - because I understand there were both positive and negative aspects to this group that really became known as the Release the Snyder Cut Collective. Tell us about them real quick.

ALEXANDER: Right. So this started on the Internet, as everything does in this day and age. And, essentially, there was a group of people who really wanted to see Zack's vision. You know, they had watched "Man Of Steel" and "Batman V Superman" and were promised this kind of end to the story that they felt they did not get with Zack. And part of that came from - you know, he stepped back from the film for a myriad of reasons but mostly due to the death of his daughter. And because of that, the fans - a really positive side of this is they've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for suicide prevention awareness. And they've tried really hard to just fight for the integrity of the film. But with any kind of, I think, faceless group on the Internet, with positives come negatives. And so you have a lot of people who would hide behind avatars with Batman or Flash in them sending really vile, crude death threats to, you know, critics and other people all over the Internet.

MARTÍNEZ: Julia, you know, I called this a director's cut. But, essentially, this is a fan's cut, right?

ALEXANDER: It is a fan's cut. It is a bigger win for fans of DC Universe than, I think, anyone except maybe Zack Snyder.

MARTÍNEZ: Julia Alexander of The Verge. Julia, thanks a lot.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF JUNKIE XL'S "AT THE SPEED OF FORCE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.
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