Justice League is finally in theaters, and the numbers have been ... underwhelming. Domestically, the film failed to crack $100 million in its opening weekend. And while international numbers will help bail the movie out, it's clear that the version served in multiplexes is not the one fans were looking for. There's even a petition being circulated by rabid DC fans to secure a release of Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League, seeing as how he had to leave the project for family reasons, and handed the final cut over to Joss Whedon.
I'm here to tell you those fans are right.
Warner Bros. should be thinking long and hard about getting the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League prepped for a theatrical release. It would be an unprecedented move... and I think it would be the wisest move. Here's why:
The Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman is a vast improvement
Zack Snyder did this before. Hearing from fans that they wanted a longer cut of his Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Snyder put together the Ultimate Edition of the story, including it on the Blu-ray and home video release of the film. And in virtually every aspect, it was an improvement. It filled in story gaps that were brushed over in the theatrical cut. It fleshed out character moments, elaborated on the manipulations of Lex Luthor (Jess Eisenberg), and clarified why Batman (Ben Affleck) was falling into the deep distrust of an "alien" (Henry Cavill) who really should have been his ally. Yes, it was longer. But the length served a purpose, and led to a better movie.
An "Ultimate Edition" of Justice League could serve a similar purpose, filling in crucial character moments for members of the League that felt shortchanged by the tight edit of the theatrical cut of the film. Analysis of Justice League scenes that were in early trailers suggest a lot more footage for Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and even more time in Atlantis with Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard). There's no telling how those scenes could have affected the pacing and the tone of Justice League, and I think that including them -- maybe even addressing Snyder's real plans for Superman's resurrection -- would give fans an improved look at this ensemble story.