(Cybertech) – The Justice League is back! DC’s answer to Marvel’s Avengers hit the big screen in 2017. While the film earned $650 million at the box office, it was a critical failure. But the Zack Snyder Cut might change that.
Also: How to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League and what to expect
Zack Snyder previously directed Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. He started 2017’s Justice League, but, tragically, he suffered a family tragedy with the death of his daughter, which led to him leaving the film before it was finished. Warner Bros tapped Joss Whedon to finish out the movie, and the rest is history. Basically, it disappointed DC fans around the globe.
Fast forward to the present day, and Zack Snyder was granted a massive $70 million budget to rework Justice League into what he originally had in mind. Now, the second release of Justice League – aka the Snyder Cut – is set to premiere via HBO Max on 18 March 2021.
If you’re planning to watch it – either again or for the first time – you should see a few DCEU films in order to remember or know everything that’s going on in the Justice League. To help you out, we’ve rounded up what you need to watch.
What to watch before Zack Snyder’s Justice League
NOTE: Go to the bottom for a bulleted version of this guide to skip any spoilers.
Man of Steel (2013)
This star-studded origin story sees Henry Cavill take on the mantle of Superman. It also casts Russel Crowe as Superman’s birth father, Jor-el, as well as Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as the Kents, who adopt and raise Superman on Earth and name him Clark Kent.
Following his adopted father’s death, Clark blames himself, travels the world, and attempts to hide his true identity and powers. Eventually, Clark must accept his identity as Superman in order to save the planet from a group of evil Kryptonians led by General Zod (Michael Shannon).
Zack Snyder served as director for this film.
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman vs Superman shows how two of the most recognizable superheroes end up hating each other.
Ben Affleck’s Batman views Cavill’s Superman as an unstoppable alien force that’s too great a risk to leave unattended. Meanwhile, Superman views Batman’s brand of vigilante justice as just another example of crime running rampant. While they each work to outmaneuver the other, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is behind the scenes making a weapon powerful enough to beat them both.
Zack Snyder also directed Dawn of Justice.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad takes place one year after the conclusion of Batman vs Superman and sees the government considering new ideas in the wake of Superman’s death. This leads to the creation of a new team of crime fighters, called Task Force X, which is composed of imprisoned supervillains like Dead Shot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and more.
The villains have to come together to stop another recruit for the squad – a demonic witch known as Enchantress – from destroying Midway City. But the real reason this film is worth watching before the Snyder Cut is that we get to see a little bit more of Jared Leto’s take on the clown prince of crime, Joker. We know that Leto will appear as his character in the new version of Justice League.
Wonder Woman (2017)
Wonder Woman serves as an origin story for the Amazonian goddess Diana (Gal Gadot).
Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman sees the titular character enter the fray of World War I after she rescues US pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Trevor tells Diana of a German scientist working to make a deadlier version of Mustard gas. She believes the scientist is the evil God of War Ares in disguise, so she leaves her island home of Themyscira to face Ares and stop the release of his poisonous gas.
James Wan wrote and directed the first standalone Aquaman film starring Jason Mamoa. This film technically takes place after Justice League, but it’s one of the better DCEU films, and Aquaman features heavily in the plot of the original Justice League.
So, check it out while you’re waiting for the Snyder Cut.
It sees Arthur, aka Aquaman, forced to stop his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), who is uniting the underwater people in the hopes of attacking the surface. In order to halt their plans, he has to obtain a mythical trident that belonged to one of Atlantis’ original rulers.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
This Wonder Woman sequel was directed by Patty Jenkins, who also directed the first Wonder Woman movie. It sees Diana living in the 80s as she works in a museum. There, she comes in contact with a rare artifact that grants wishes. While, initially, the artifact seems like a blessing as it returns her lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana soon learns the artifact’s true nature.
For each wish it grants, it takes something else back from you. This leads her having to face off with two others who understand the power of the artifact in the form of Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minerva, aka the Cheetah (Kristen Wiig).
Optional: Justice League (2017)
If you want to notice every difference between the original Justice League and the new Snyder Cut of the film, then it wouldn’t hurt to check out the original. Of course, once might have been more than enough viewing experiences for Whedon’s take on the Justice League.
If thats the case, then by all means save your mental health for the Snyder Cut.
The film stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. The characters must come together with other famous DC heroes in order to stop the alien villain known as Steppenwolf from destroying Earth.
Other DC movies you could watch:
These two films are also part of the DCEU. However, they both take place after the events of Justice League and don’t feature any characters that appear in Justice League other than a stray mention of Batman or Superman.
- Shazam! (2019)
- Birds of Prey (2020)
Spoiler-free version: What to watch before Zack Snyder’s Justice League
This is the same guide as above, only bulleted in list form and free of spoilers:
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Suicide Squad (2016)
- Wonder Woman (2017)
- Aquaman (2018)
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
- Optional: Justice League (2017)
- Other DC movies you could watch:
- Shazam! (2019)
- Birds of Prey (2020)
Did you like this?
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Writing by Maggie Tillman.