But did it really need to be 4 hours long?
Because my memory of the Whedon Cut was so limited, I watched it right after the Snyder Cut, just to see the stark contrast between the two films. And there is quite a difference between the two.
After spending a great deal of time with these two movies, I?ve come to a conclusion: both movies are like Frankenstein?s monster.
The difference is that I want to kick one of them out of town and the other I didn?t mind spending a few hours with.
Both movies are a hot mess, but the Snyder Cut has heart, knows what it is, and has something to say. The Whedon Cut feels like it?s trying to recreate The Avengers and does so quite poorly.
Here are the differences that I think sets the Snyder Cut above the Whedon Cut.
The Order of Events
Obviously, the order of events in any film is important. We take bits and pieces from a previous scene into the next scene. Each moment helps us understand more about the characters and their world. If these are out of order, we form different opinions or draw different conclusions.
In many cases, Whedon changed the order of events in certain scenes. I get that some of this was out of necessity to cut down on runtime. But there were other moments where changing the order of events made the scene far less interesting.
One small example is the bank robbery scene that shows off Wonder Woman?s skills. (Honestly, I think that one scene alone in either cut is way better than anything we saw from her in Wonder Woman 1984?but maybe that?s just me.)
In the Snyder Cut, we see the main bad guy arm the bomb first, before Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth to interrogate a mid-level criminal. The audience knows that the bomb is armed and that she?s running out of time before she does. Because we have this information first, the audience feels a sense of anxiety that Wonder Woman hasn?t yet been clued into.
In the Whedon Cut, the mid-level bad guy tells her that it?s too late and that a bomb will go off. Then we see the head honcho bank robber arm it. That didn?t feel nearly as tense because, in the next second, she bursts through the doors to save the day.
It?s such a small detail but one that?s indicative of the difference between the two films.
I think that Zack Snyder (even with all his faults) has a better grasp on how to create tension and resolve it satisfyingly. We see over and over again in the Snyder Cut! But the Whedon Cut isn?t as satisfying to watch because the payoffs just aren?t there.
Though many of the scenes were the same in the two films, I focused on different things. It?s amazing how some of the same material can create such vastly different stories!
In the Snyder Cut, I was focused on this ragtag team who just so happened to be facing a world-destroying event. This film was more character-driven than event-driven.
In the Whedon Cut, I focused on this world-ending event that just so happened to be thwarted by this odd group. It was more an event-driven plot.
For me, I will choose character-driven over event-driven plots any day of the week.
I enjoyed the slow introduction of each character in the Snyder Cut. Each one has different pieces of information to share with the group ? each person is a necessary part of the team.
In the Whedon Cut, we?re focused on the main three: Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Those three were really driving the train and are clearly the characters that are the most important. Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman are there for additional color or texture, but aren?t nearly as important to the plot.
And I get it. Whedon had to produce a movie that had a runtime under 2 hours, so he had to pick and choose what he would focus on. Because of the mythology around the Snyder Cut, he was able to produce an indulgent, 4-hour long movie, so he could focus more on these characters.
Still, I think that Whedon could?ve done more to explore Cyborg and The Flash if he had wanted to. To me, it seemed like that wasn?t a priority for him.
To me, it seemed as though Snyder really valued each character. He gave each one enough space so the audience would also have an opportunity to enjoy them. On the other hand, it seemed as though Whedon was just paying tribute to the characters who already had a stand-alone movie. His cut gives less opportunity for the others to continue on in the franchise.
After finishing both movies, I wonder what might have happened if we originally got Snyder?s version of the movie. Maybe, with his version of the film, the DCEU would have more of a clear path forward, instead of being a mishmash of films that lack clear direction.
Steppenwolf just looks cooler in the Snyder Cut. After watching that, I was pretty disappointed by his look in the Whedon Cut.
I also can?t believe that Warner Brothers (and company) spent all that money to re-CGI him along with everything else they had to redo for the Snyder Cut.
But there?s more to Steppenwolf than a facelift and armor upgrade in the Snyder Cut. In this film, he has a backstory that makes sense. I was intrigued by him and the larger universe that was created. He also seems like a villain worthy of the combined efforts of all of our heroes.
In the Whedon Cut, he?s just going around calling these boxes ?Mother? and getting upset when other people want to talk to his ?Mother.? It was just creepy.
At times, it felt like a deranged version of the Dr. Seuss book, ?Are You My Mother??
No, Steppenwolf, the box is not your Mother. Please, go away.
The Type of Humor
I think that writing humor is hard because there are so many different types of humor. What I find funny might not be what you find funny. Creating something that works with the characters and the tone of the film, that also connects with audiences has to be a difficult task.
For me, the humor in the Snyder Cut just worked better. The lighter moments didn?t feel out of place tonally in the film and felt consistent with each character.
For example, I loved Ezra Miller?s lighthearted version of The Flash in the Snyder Cut. He is quirky and has just the right level of awkwardness. He is a good balance to the rest of the team that tends to take itself way too seriously. I wanted to see more of him because he brings so much to each scene.
In the Whedon Cut, I felt so bad for The Flash because he wasn?t just a little awkward, he seemed as though he had been locked in a room his whole life and had never interacted with any other humans. Some of the jokes went too far and became thoroughly unfunny.
I really didn?t like how the Whedon Cut handles Wonder Woman. There are a few moments in the film where you clearly see Wonder Woman?s butt sticking out of her skimpy costume, and I really hated that. I get that her costume is what it is, and there?s not much you can do about it, but I didn?t appreciate those moments. I also hated when The Flash fell on her during one fight scene. That?s unnecessary and simply not funny.
I wanted to be able to praise the Whedon Cut for taking so much time to explore the idea of Wonder Woman being the leader of the group. Still, it?s hard to appreciate that message when there are subtle moments throughout the film that objectify her.
I get it, she?s gorgeous and has a great bod, but she?s also so much more than that. Can we get to a point where female superheroes don?t have to be fighting in impractical skin-tight clothing? I get that men have largely been the audience for comic books over the years, but that?s changing, and it would be nice if Hollywood could get that memo.
In my opinion, the Snyder Cut is better written and paced than the Whedon Cut. Neither movie is spectacular, but I enjoyed parts of the Snyder Cut, whereas I couldn?t wait for the Whedon Cut to be over.
I don?t think the Snyder Cut needed to be 4-hours long (surely he could?ve shaved off some minutes if Zack Snyder wasn?t so in love with slow-mo). Still, I get how this Frankenstein?s monster of a movie came to be that way. With all of its flaws, it still has a lot of heart and is very watchable. I think it?s brilliant that it?s broken up into parts so that people like me can get up and make dinner or take a walk around the block before sitting in for the next sequence.
One last thing.
I must ask: Why did anyone think that Ben Affleck was the best choice for Batman?
I know I?m many years too late with this complaint, but it was the question running through my head during the whole 4-hour time.
He?s a good actor and has created some wonderful movies over the years, but he does not scream Batman to me. Instead, I was just worried that he was going to break a hip every time he donned his Batsuit. I wanted him to just be sequestered with Alfred where it?s safe, especially since he moves with the grace of a bull in a china shop.