ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE Was Reportedly HBO Max's Third (Not Second) Biggest Debut Of 2021
While we know Godzilla vs. Kong beat Zack Snyder's Justice League in terms of viewership numbers, it's now being reported that the Snyder Cut is, in fact, only HBO Max's third highest-viewed 2021 title.
Zack Snyder's Justice League was far from a flop on HBO Max, but it is beginning to look like it didn't reach the lofty heights many fans expected. While the streaming service doesn't share official viewership numbers, Variety has accessed third-party data which goes some way towards clearing things up.
As we previously reported, Godzilla vs. Kong demolished every other title by pulling in almost as many viewers as Wonder Woman 1984 (that movie's release last December was somewhat unprecedented). It's 2021's highest viewed release, however, which we initially thought left Zack Snyder's Justice League in second place. Now, though, we know it was third.
Believe it or not, the release of Judas and the Black Messiah actually gained more viewers than the Snyder Cut, and in terms of subscribers, HBO Max's launch on Roku last year was vastly more beneficial than what Justice League did for the streamer.
As for the three-day debuts of 2021's HBO Max releases, Godzilla vs. Kong was #1, The Little Things was #2, and Zack Snyder's Justice League was #3.
While this data does come from outside companies, it's no secret that WarnerMedia is looking to move on from the "SnyderVerse," so if we're putting our tin foil hats on for a moment, we can't help but wonder if these numbers are being underreported in order to play down Justice League's success.
That's highly unlikely, though, and the sad reality is that while WarnerMedia's decision to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut was the right one, this is where the story ends.
Click on the "Next" button below to see what we think
did and didn't work in the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League!
10. Did Work: A Ferocious Wonder Woman
If you were left feeling underwhelmed by Diana Prince's portrayal in Wonder Woman 1984 (she didn't wield her sword or shield), then Zack Snyder's Justice League is the movie for you.
The original version of the Amazon Warrior taking out the criminals who plan to blow up those kids is violent, bloody, and a badass take on the character fans will definitely appreciate. This is a proactive Wonder Woman, something that's evident from when she later goes one-on-one with Steppenwolf.
Snyder clearly had a very specific idea for how Diana should be portrayed on screen, and it's one which lines up both with 2017's Wonder Woman more than last year's divisive sequel.
9. Did Work: Steppenwolf
The 2017 version of Steppenwolf was disappointing to say the least, and not just because he looked like a character who had been pulled straight from a video game cutscene. Thankfully, his appearance isn't the only thing that's been improved upon for the "Snyder Cut" of Justice League.
Spurned by Darkseid for a failure thousands of years earlier and forced to travel from planet to planet claiming them for his master (and a sneering Desaad), Steppenwolf's motivations make perfect sense now. He wants to return home, and the only way to do that is delivering the Anti-Life Equation.
This interpretation of the villain looks great in action, and feels like a legitimate threat to the team.
8. Didn't Work: A Little Too Much Overindulgence
Look, at four hours long, this was probably an inevitability. No one can blame Snyder for wanting to including everything he shot here, but there are moments which just aren't necessary.
For example, from how many angles do we really need to see Bruce Wayne riding a horse? This causes some scenes and moments to drag, and while they're few and far between (ultimately, the runtime goes as quick as Avengers: Endgame's), it's hard not to highlight them as a negative.
This is a minor flaw, and not one that's likely to bother anyone who wanted to see Snyder's full vision for Justice League without any cuts or changes. A slightly tighter version would be fun to see, though.
7. Did Work: Gods Among Men
The Marvel Universe's characters are more relatable than DC's, and for many fans, that's because the latter company's are God-like in terms of their powers. Of course, that's a big part of the Justice League's appeal, and Snyder effortlessly makes these heroes feel like mythological beings here.
That's particularly the case when the Flash, for example, taps into the Speed Force for the first time. It's a beautiful, jaw-dropping sequence which shows how powerful the Scarlet Speedster really is.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman also benefit from Snyder's vision, while Batman's actions make much more sense this time. However, it's Cyborg who gets the biggest upgrade in some ways because the way he taps into technology makes him a true Modern Day God Of The Digital Age.
6. Did Work: Everything Makes Sense Now
While Zack Snyder's Justice League follows the same basic direction as the theatrical cut, everything that didn't make sense in 2017 now does! For example, we learn that where the League meets isn't part of the Batcave, but a completely separate location in Gotham City. Batman also has a reason for building that massive troop transport, and is no longer on a suicide mission.
We've obviously talked about Steppenwolf and his motivations, but we're sure you'll be glad to learn that while Superman's resurrection is mostly the same, it's much better explained this time.
With the plot given room to breathe, Justice League massively benefits, and it's crazy to think that so many of these important beats were left on the cutting room floor. Thankfully, this is a far more cohesive experience.
5. Didn't Work: Martian Manhunter
In terms of his appearance, we can't fault Martian Manhunter. The design probably won't be to everyone's liking, but this is a cool take on the character and one many fans will love.
The bigger issue, unfortunately, is that he feels a little shoehorned in. The scene we've heard and seen so much about where he leaves Lois Lane's apartment disguised as Martha Kent probably would have worked better in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and feels a tad random in the wider context of the movie. We won't spoil his second scene, but that works much better.
Honestly, a Green Lantern cameo would have been even better, but for fans of Martian Manhunter, J'onn J'onzz's big screen debut in the "Snyder Cut" will definitely be welcomed.
4. Did Work: Ray Fisher's Amazing Take On Cyborg
Well, Zack Snyder wasn't kidding when he said that Cyborg was the "heart" of his Justice League movie.
For reasons known only to him, Joss Whedon tore that out in 2017, but this version restores Ray Fisher's original scenes (99% of which were reshot) and deliver a much better take on Victor Stone. When a Cyborg standalone feature was announced by Warner Bros., fans didn't get it. Well, after watching this movie, something tells us you'll wish that had ended up happening.
The portrayal of Cyborg's powers is particularly impressive, and a sequence which follows Victor as he contemplates the things he could (but perhaps shouldn't) do with his abilities is fascinating.
3. Did Work: Darkseid Teases
Darkseid doesn't get a leading role in Zack Snyder's Justice League, but he still makes one hell of an impact! Those flashbacks to Uxas' attack on Earth land much better this time around, while any time the villain speaks, he's in equal parts terrifying and feels every bit the big deal Thanos once did.
There's some great stuff nearer the end of the movie with him, but one sequence a little earlier in proceedings promises to be one which DC Comics fans talk about for many years to come.
We won't get into specifics, but suffice to say it involves the Omega Beams (which we saw in the latest trailer) and a glimpse ahead at what might happen should Darkseid conquer the Earth.
2. Didn't Work: Not Enough Superman
Another nitpick, but this lack of screentime for Superman will definitely disappoint the Man of Steel's fans.
He doesn't return until relatively late in the proceedings, and it's clear Snyder planned to give the hero a much larger role in the two sequels he had planned. Superman's battle with the League works better here, particularly when it comes to his confrontation with Batman. A couple of decent lines of dialogue Whedon added are missed, but not to a particularly significant extent.
Everything on the farm is infinitely better here, as are the hints about where Clark and Lois' relationship goes next. As for his role in the final battle, Henry Cavill definitely shines as this badass Supes.
1. Did Work: Batman Meets Joker
The "Knightmare" sequence Zack Snyder chose to add to this cut of Justice League is a lot of fun, and a great tease for a sequel...we probably won't ever see. Of course, we once thought that would be the case about the "Snyder Cut" itself, so it's way too early to write that off as a possibility.
Regardless, while Deathstroke doesn't bring much to the table (neither does Mera aside from a weird English accent), rest assured that Ben Affleck's Batman sharing the screen with Jared Leto's Joker is just as much fun as you might expect. The hatred they feel for one another is palpable, and there are some great comments about the past which will grab your attention.
Whether it's a movie, anime follow-up, or comic book sequel, we need to see more of these two together.