Though Ben Affleck deems 2017’s Justice League “the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business full of s—ty experiences,” he does appreciate the “genius” of Zack Snyder’s director’s cut for HBO Max.
Justice League starred Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg, in a storyline that resurrected Henry Cavill’s Superman to help battle a CGI Steppenwolf. Snyder, the original director, was forced to step away from the project during post-production due to a family tragedy. Joss Whedon stepped in to complete what was ultimately a poorly received film, leaving fans to (very) vocally wonder what Snyder’s version would have looked like.
Reflecting on that original, Frankenstein’d filmmaking experience, Ben Affleck told The Hollywood Reporter in a new cover story, “You could teach a seminar on all the reasons why this is how not to do it. Ranging from production to bad decisions to horrible personal tragedy, and just ending with the most monstrous taste in my mouth.”
“That was the worst experience I’ve ever seen in a business which is full of some s—ty experiences,” Affleck added. “It broke my heart” — to a degree that the actor-director has vowed not to “squander any more of my life” on further DCU projects.
But in May 2020, after much bellowing from fans to “#ReleaseTheSnyderCut,” HBO Max announced it would stream Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a four-hour remix of the two-hour original that debuted almost exactly two years ago today.
TVLine readers gave #TheSndyerCut an average grade of “A-,” with 87% saying it improved on the OG Justice League.
“The genius, and the silver lining” of that “monstrous” original experience, Affleck says, “is that Zack Snyder eventually went to AT&T [now Warner Bros. Discovery] and was like, ‘Look, I can get you four hours of content.’ And it’s principally just all the slow motion that he shot in black-and-white. And one day of shooting with me and him.”
To pull off that latter addition, Affleck says Snyder “was like, ‘Do you want to come shoot in my backyard?’ I was like, ‘I think there are unions, Zack. I think we have to make a deal.’ But I went and did it. And now [Zack Snyder’s Justice League] is my highest-rated movie on IMDb.”
Surveying his film career, Affleck notes, “I’ve never had one that went from nadir to pinnacle,” as Justice League did. “Retroactively, it’s a hit. All of a sudden I was getting congratulated for the bomb I’m in.”