Justice League Snyder Cut needs to — let's face it — clear a very, very low bar. The original Justice League released in late 2017 in cinemas and it was a disaster for various reasons. It had a torturous production, with Warner Bros. shepherding the DC movie like a hawk, owing to negative fan reception for director Zack Snyder's previous epic and its direct predecessor, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And owing to studio demands (WB deemed Justice League had to be under two hours) and a death in the family, Snyder chose to depart deep into production, having lost the will to fight. The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon, who had been brought on to do rewrites, then took over the film and spearheaded extensive and expensive reshoots — the final budget stood at $300 million (about Rs. 2,182 crores) — that would align it to studio wishes.

Initial release: 18 March 2021

Director: Zack Snyder

First episode date: 18 March 2021

Music director: Junkie XL

Budget: 7 crores USD

But Whedon failed to deliver. Justice League was a mess tonally, structurally, and narratively — virtually on every crucial front you can think of. Warner Bros. itself was to largely blame for the debacle. There was simply no way for any filmmaker to cram all of it — to introduce three new superheroes and expand on the ones we've known, follow a world-ending plot involving a hideous-looking big bad, and infuse humour into a grimdark tale of demigods and immortal beings — in 120 minutes. Justice League, essentially, was trying to do Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers all in one movie. That sounds impossible and stupid on paper — and that's exactly what it was. No wonder Justice League failed both critically and commercially.

Now over three years later, thanks to a dedicated #ReleaseTheSnyderCut fan campaign, and a little-known HBO Max streaming service hungry for eyeballs, Snyder gets to present his original vision for the DC epic. As a result, Zack Snyder's Justice League — as it's officially called — is nearly four hours long (3 hours and 53 minutes, to be precise, without the credits). To call it overlong might be an understatement. It's so long that some characters aren't introduced until after the first hour, while others don't show up until we pass the two-hour mark. It's so long that the film's epilogue takes half an hour, featuring multiple “endings” that seem to suggest Snyder put everything he had up on the wall. Justice League Snyder Cut is definitely indulgent. But Snyder knows that he has full creative freedom now, so he's made exactly what he wanted with no inhibitions.