The Snyder Cut Versus Justice League: How Editing Can Change Everything

In 2017 Joss Wheadon's Justice League movie was released and for the most part, reviews weren't great. The movie seemed like a bad mishmash of conflicting ideas and tones, which lead it to be panned critically and it was also a financial disappointment. After years of campaigning, Zack Snyder's original vision is here and it feels like a different movie. 

A recent video from Thomas Flight takes a deep dive into the differences between the originally released Justice League movie and the Snyder Cut. After re-watching both movies, it's clear that there are many distinct differences between both versions and it's not just the previously unseen footage. 

As much as the "new" scenes in the Snyder Cut impact the tone and depth of the movie, it's the subtleties that seem to add a great deal to the overall feel. Color, for example, is one of the key ways to control the mood and feel of any given scene. The simple act of using a slightly different color palette makes a huge difference and it's felt quite clearly between both of these movies. The choice of music that is used between both movies dramatically changes how each scene is felt too.

The video above goes into a great deal of detail, breaking down many of the editing choices. Exploring these changes and their impact on the overall feel could be a great help to those still developing our skills. This could be one of the few occasions where a big blockbuster movie can be directly compared to itself. Seeing how each director implanted their vision into the movie could be a great way to learn and improve our filmmaking skills. 

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11 Comments

David T's picture

This isn't just a cut or edit. They said that only like 5 minutes have been reshot, but the movie is 60% CGI anway and a LOT has been redone. The cost is apparently between 40-70 million - more budget than lots of movies.

The movie is better, but not much. Took out bad parts to replace with other bad parts, way too much exposition through dialogue, no chemistry/bond.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Although I enjoyed the content of the video, I do find it amusing that a YouTuber who critiques a film's editing and stylising can have soooo many bad / jump cuts and lack of continuity as well as poor framing and debatable lighting...

If we could persuade the YouTubers out there, that if they screw up on a single sentence, it isn't OK to jam in an alternative take, and we're hoping they'll at least get to the end of a sentence before an edit.

Heck we've even got adverts trying to emulate this bad editing technique now in an attempt to be more "current."

I wonder if they just say everything 15 times and choose the best words from each pass? :)

David T's picture

Ornithologists don't have to be birds

Lee Christiansen's picture

True, but I'd hope that a person offering such a technical critique might display some ability of which he speaks.

Otherwise I'm off to critique, well almost everyone - if it turns out I don't have to have any actual ability, just a willingness to say stuff...

The best critiques I've ever seen, or discussions of this type are almost always from people who have skin in the game. These are the people who display skills of which they talk of and so inspire confidence in their opinion.

But even that all aside - is it too hard to talk to camera more than one sentence at a time. What is with the current trend of an edit every pause or even mid-sentence. Autocue is cheap these days, and memory is even cheaper, (albeit obviously scarce... :)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Pot kettle, possibly?

Lee Christiansen's picture

How so? (Or are you agreeing with me?)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You were criticizing his video of a critique because you say his video lacks the technicality of which he speaks. Yet, your videos are absent which might display some ability of which you speak.

I've never heard of this dude, but, whatever he's doing or talking about, people are watching, jump cuts and all.

Lee Christiansen's picture

I'm not sure why I'd put my video work on a photography website for you all to watch. You're not my demographic or potential client base.

But I'm credited here and there on BBC, ITV, Ch4 programmes etc, and I've an entire video website to showcase my work as a 25+ yr DoP and some of that work is stuff I've edited. I'm listed on various professional TV websites and my work stretches from post work on Sex Pistols, grading on a recent Julian Temple documentary, a couple of industry awards for editing and filming, far too many corporates shot around the world for big pharma edited by me, oh and the couple of decades as 1s choice DoP for many of the top production companies here in the UK. Feel free to search me out. I don't get my TV work from advertising or a web presence, so it's a bit old - but you'll get the gist. But if you'd rather have a video or two uploaded here... sorry about that.

Of course if it requires video work on display with FS to notice the travesty of jump edits mid-sentence, then I fear for the future of TV editing.

Yes, the video in question shows very poor technical skills with respect to editing. Unless we're finding a creative reason for it - are we finding that? Even my 80 yr old mum can see bad edits, and she doesn't have videos uploaded on FS either.

I have a simple rule of thumb. Don't actually display a distinct lack of skill on one hand and then critique the skills of others with the other hand.

You're assuming things about my work because you've not seen it. Always a risky course. But I don't have to assume anything when seeing this particular video. It's there for all to see.

People will watch almost anything, so if that is the new criteria for making TV, then again I fear for our industry. Views, likes and smiley faces don't change bad edits into good edits. Nor do they convert any other questionable technical skills. And alas there isn't any standard to hit anymore, so we get all sorts of stuff. This would be more acceptable if the content was about cake making or painting your car...

He's free of course to edit in any way he wants. And if he gets viewers then all good stuff for him. But at the point where he sets himself up as a critic of how films are edited, them urrrm, at least lose the jump cuts every 20 seconds.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

--- "I have a simple rule of thumb. Don't actually display a distinct lack of skill on one hand and then critique the skills of others with the other hand."

That is so flawed. I don't have to be an actor to know bad acting when I see it. I don't have to be a FX specialist to know shitty special effects when I see it.

--- "People will watch almost anything, so if that is the new criteria for making TV, then again I fear for our industry."

C'mon, man. Let's be real. I seriously doubt he's going to bring down the TV and movie industry into jump cut world. smh

N A's picture

oy vey that editing style... it's the reason I can't watch Phillip DeFranco and his ilk. Homage to the Bob Rock school of rock editing I suppose.

sentence <cut> word <cut> word <cut> word word <cut> senten<cut>

Virtually unwatchable.

It's also one reason I hold talented radio DJ's in such high esteem. Back in the day, even if a radio show was recorded, it was typically spontaneous and at least partially unrehearsed. Great DJs not only had a distinctive voice but also had well developed vocabularly, quick wit and the ability to rapidly adapt to changing situations.

Kids producing videos today could learn a lot from those guys.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Initially, I thought Snyder's cut was a totally new movie. And, the 4 hours felt like 2 hours.