I remember watching Joss Whedon’s Justice League when it came out and not immediately particularly disliking it like others did. I think I was so happy to have finally gotten a Justice League live-action movie, that I didn’t notice the many problems with it.
Like all facades, the scales eventually dropped when Zack started releasing details of his version and vision on social media. When I finally watched Zack Snyder’s version, I saw how better, different, and richer, it was overall.
While Joss went for a light, comical, and colourful movie, Zack went dark and gritty. Till date, fans would rather act like Joss’s version never existed, and it’s understandable. However, there are parts of Joss Whedon’s story (which he no doubt rewrote,) that are better, in a sense, than Zack Snyder’s version.
The first failed invasion of Earth arc was better in JWJL
In ZSJL, Wonder Woman told Batman how fearsome Darkseid was with the story of his invasion. A being feared across the universe that the Olympian gods, Atlanteans, Human warriors, Amazons, and even a Green Lantern all had to band together to defeat him and his armada.
In Joss Whedon’s version, however, it was Steppenwolf who invaded earth and lost. This was a better direction to go because, even though Darkseid was still young at the time he invaded in ZSJL and didn’t have the Omega Beams, his loss was still a big disgrace. It also didn’t help that he had amnesia after the defeat (didn’t their ships have location logs?).
If it was Steppenwolf who invaded earth, found the anti-life equation, lost the battle, and had amnesia, it would have better explained why Darkseid punished him by telling him to conquer 100,000+ worlds for such a failure.
Then when you look at how Uxas lost, you wonder why there was a union formed to defeat the being cursed and feared in every universe, in the first place. Zeus and Ares alone could have wiped out that whole army. If Ares was strong enough to wipe out all the Olympian gods, then a young Darkseid and his parademons shouldn’t have been a problem.
Flash’s overall arc was better in JWJL
The inconsistencies where Flash was concerned in both versions were strange. Joss Whedon interpreted Flash as someone who hadn’t fought before and was scared of confrontation, while Zack Snyder took him out of the equation totally.
In ZSJL, Flash had to gather momentum to run fast enough to generate enough electricity for Superman to come back to life.
He had to run around the nuclear plant for the better part of the third arc to generate enough and give Cyborg a huge power boost to access the motherboxes.
Then the Unity destroys Earth and right there and then, he goes faster than the speed of light in less than 10 steps to reverse time.
Yes, The Flash can do that normally, and yes that scene was one of the greatest in comic book history. But that feat ultimately negated the need for him to have run round in circles during the third arc, when he could have helped to, say, defeat the non-existent overwhelming army of Parademons.
The one thing Flash did in Joss Whedon’s version was that he was saving civilians and helping his team during the battle, which explained why he wasn’t fighting Steppenwolf or the Parademons.
Steppenwolf not being much of a threat in both movies
This was prevalent in both versions and the end result was a rich movie with a surprisingly forgettable villain.
Steppenwolf (in the comics) is strong enough to wipe out most of the Justice League. However, the live-action didn’t show this. Even if Steppenwolf wasn’t strong enough, his army of parademons should have been overwhelming enough to keep the heroes busy. At some point in ZSJL, it was only Batman that was fighting the Parademons, which I found strange.
There were times Steppenwolf barely escaped with his life when he went to retrieve the motherboxes. The Amazons were more focused on keeping the box out of his grasp than fighting him.
If Mera almost killed him in Atlantis and pre-King Aquaman went toe-to-toe with him underwater, I don’t see why the combo of Wonder Woman and Aquaman couldn’t finish off Steppenwolf or keep him at bay easily enough before Superman arrived.
With the team’s experience almost easily defeating the main antagonist, it was no wonder why they looked at Darkseid, after Wonder Woman had cut off his Uncle’s head, as if they were baiting him to come through the portal and face them right there and then.
If Steppenwolf had been a serious threat, then they’d have been more worried seeing Darkseid, the being feared in every universe.
All in all, Zack Snyder’s Justice League remains one of the best comic book movies released, and sure Joss will continue taking the hit for messing up the theatrical release. But in the three ways above, his was right to rewrite the story in the way he did.