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"You know, I never thought I'd see the defenders of Earth united, fighting as one." note 

Arthur Curry: Fighting the devil and his army... in hell.
Barry Allen: I mean, this guy's probably fought hundreds of thousands of other super-beings on the other planets he's destroyed, right? And we have to assume he's won.
Bruce Wayne: I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells — he's never fought us. Not us united.
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Zack Snyder's Justice League, also known informally as Justice League: The Snyder Cut note , is a 2021 superhero film initially released through HBO Max and various international streaming and VOD platforms. It is part of the DC Extended Universe and revisits the cinematic gathering of the iconic DC Comics Super Team, the Justice League, based on what was originally intended by director Zack Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio before the film was heavily modified without their contribution for the theatrical version. It's developed by Warner Bros., DC Films, and The Stone Quarry. The project was taken out of The Shelf of Movie Languishment due to multiple factors, most notably a fan campaign to release it that had been going on since the theatrical version's release in November 2017.

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Following the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) gathers an alliance of metahumans, with the help of Diana Prince/Diana of Themyscira (Gal Gadot), as he feels the Earth needs protection against a threat from beyond the stars as prophesied by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) after the death of Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman (Henry Cavill). Three other members join the alliance — Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Bruce's fears soon become reality, as the New God Steppenwolf arrives on Earth in search for long lost artifacts of destruction, himself the herald of a much darker threat.

The movie is not a conventional Director's Cut in the sense of including a few Deleted Scenes in the home video. As suggested by the title, Zack Snyder's Justice League is a ground-up rebuilding of the original movie Snyder was trying to make. As such, the many changes that occurred for the theatrical release — between extensive reshoots filmed by Joss Whedon, significant amounts of editing removing numerous subplots and backstories, and other results of Executive Meddling from the studio — are functionally gone. Without the constraints of a traditional theatrical release, the movie expands the story and numerous subplots to clock in at a length of 243 minutes. note  To account for that length the film is divided into six "chapters" and an epilogue, so that viewers may approach it as a Mini Series if they so choose (an Intermission is planned for any future theatrical presentation).

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The content of the film is based on the abundance of footage from principal photography that was weeded out, reshot or remade for the theatrical version back in 2017, alongside a handful of new scenes with additional photography filmed in 2020. The bulk of the work, though, lay with restarting and finishing the post-production cycle including ADR with the original cast, remade visual effects, revamped color grading, an adjusted aspect ratio, and a score by original composer Junkie XL (who was replaced by Danny Elfman for the theatrical version) based on the musical template set by himself and Hans Zimmer in the previous films.

A limited IMAX Roadshow Theatrical Release is in the works (given that the film was shot with the format in mind), and a Deliberately Monochrome version of the movie (referred to as the Justice is Gray edition) was released on HBO Max on March 25, 2021. Furthermore, the movie will be available to other HBO services abroad before transferring to HBO Max afterward. A physical release for Blu-ray is also confirmed to happen before the end of 2021.

Snyder has expressed interest in continuing the story in some way afterward; the film was initially conceived as the third chapter in a four-chapter (and later, five-chapter) Myth Arc. However, he made no promises, as he's noted that he's grateful that he got the opportunity to finish his movie in the first place. He also mentioned that whether or not he can do more with DC's intellectual property isn't solely up to him — rather, it's up to the owners of the umbrella DC Comics IP, WarnerMedia, who are so far not interested in adapting his stories for the other two movies in his intended arc, the intended spin-offs tied to those movies, or partake in a similar effort to restore David Ayer's original version of Suicide Squad.

See also the Justice League franchise page for more information on other works and adaptations of the Justice League of America.

Previews: Teaser, DC FanDome Trailer, Third Anniversary Trailer (Monochrome), Third Anniversary Trailer (Color), Official Trailer, Final Trailer.


Zack Snyder's Justice League contains examples of:

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    Tropes A-K 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Flash digs deep into the Speed Force to run faster than the speed of light so he can travel back in time to undo everyone being too late to stop the Unity and the whole League's deaths, and give Cyborg an extra charge so the latter can dismantle the Mother Boxes. He momentarily taps into this earlier in the plot when dashing to energize the Mother Box to resurrect Superman, having momentarily exceeded it as he was a micro-moment too late to discharge into the cube before the glance across the light barrier. The climactic event, however, was a deliberate exertion on Flash's part, as he psyched himself up to break the rules..
  • Abandoned Playground: The abandoned town of Pozharnov where Steppenwolf sets up his base has a playground. His teleportation there causes a spring rider to move.
  • Absentee Actor:
  • Academic Athlete: We see a sequence of Victor Stone's football career, with his mother Elinore encouraging him in the stadium stands, interjected with a scene where Elinore is called by the principal of Gotham City University. He says that while Victor is a genius student and a star member of the football team, that didn't give him the right to hack into their network to give better grades to another student that had just lost her home the same year.
  • Accent Adaptation: In the theatrical cut, Amber Heard uses a standard American accent for the Atlantean Mera. In this version, Heard puts on a British accent. Oddly enough, you can hear her slip between the two accents in the theatrical version, denoting which lines were reshoots. However, if James Wan's and Jason Momoa's claims that Aquaman expressly follows this cut indeed hold water, it's unknown why Mera seemingly dropped it a year later.
  • Actionized Sequel: The film packs way more action sequences than Batman v Superman.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted. In the theatrical cut, there was considerable disagreement, particularly between Bruce and Diana (with Bruce carrying the Jerkass Ball), over using the Mother Box to resurrect Superman. Here, the League comes to a unanimous decision about it fairly quickly, with only Barry and Alfred raising some brief concerns.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The Flash is more action oriented, taking on Parademons more directly (with a signature "tap with two fingers" attack) and utilizing Flash Step to save people from falling debris. He is also more confident with his powers, with the range and upper limits more fully explored, culminating in him managing to reverse time by a few seconds to save the League and the rest of the Earth from the Unity.
    • Batman steps up more to coordinate the team and strategize, making him more visible in the action sequences. He gets tossed around less and his ability to multi-task is increased, making his role in the Final Battle considerably more useful, essentially handling the elimination of Parademons and their defense turrets around Steppenwolf's base all on his own. Oh, and he does know Icelandic.
  • Adaptational Dye Job: Darkseid's armor is much darker than the blue armor he normally wears in the comics and cartoons.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Several sequences that were greatly reduced in runtime for the purposes of the theatrical version (mandated to run a mere two hours) get a substantial amount of time to breathe in this version of the film. This film doubles the theatrical release's runtime, but features more content than that due to none of Whedon's content being included in it.
    • The war sequence between the forces of Apokolips and the alliance of Olympian gods, Humanity, Atlanteans, and Amazons, along with at least one Green Lantern, is a full action scene rather than just snippets shown via flashback. Furthermore, Uxas (a young Darkseid) is present in the battle.
    • The theatrical version removed almost all of the backstory elements that was not absolutely mandatory for the main plot. With a longer runtime, scenes of Aquaman with Vulko, the Flash with Iris West, and Cyborg with his parents Silas and Elinore Stone are all reinstated before any of the characters officially join the team. All this in addition to more scenes further developing the worlds of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The lines of the "reactionary terrorists" Wonder Woman fights are changed, omitting mention of them blaming the Kryptonian attacks as retribution against modern technology, making them more like Terrorists Without a Cause now.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Snyder removes Steppenwolf from the battle between the alliance of Earth and the forces of Apokolips, now led by Darkseid. This is reflected in Diana's adapted retelling of the Battle to the other Justice League members. However, later in the film, Diana also knows who Steppenwolf is, despite him no longer being present in that ancient battle, and this being his first appearance on Earth in this version of the film.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Batman's Jerkass Ball moments from the theatrical release were removed, and he is overall much more hopeful, even encouraging Alfred to have faith in the plan to resurrect Superman.
    • Arthur is generally a lot more sympathetic towards Victor (pointing out the pressure being put on him to handle the Mother Boxes and empathizing with Victor's generally sad life), wheras in the theatrical version, he was much less so (calling Victor out for not having much control of his abilities).
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Mother Boxes were simply a Plot Device in the theatrical cut. In the recut version of the film, they are revealed to be malevolent Artifacts of Doom, as seen when they try to tempt Cyborg into joining Darkseid.
  • Adapted Out:
    • The Russian family who had a subplot in the theatrical cut about needing to be evacuated after Steppenwolf took over their city are completely absent from this cut note , as are all the other civilians Superman and Flash had to save during the climax. This version makes it a point to establish that the ruined city Steppenwolf makes his base in is completely uninhabited due to radiations.
    • The four replacements to the real Superman in Superboy, the Cyborg Superman, Steel and Eradicator never show up either in this movie despite being a core part of one of the source materials, Reign of the Supermen.
  • Advertised Extra: Jesse Eisenberg is billed amongst the main cast, but is only seen in the Genesis Chamber in the opening credits without a word spoken, and in the Epilogue having a conversation with Deathstroke.
  • Alien Invasion: The 2017 film showed an ancient invasion that was repelled by united forces of Olympian gods, Amazons, Atlantis, Green Lanterns and the rest of mankind. Only here, the invasion is led by Darkseid (when he was still known as "Uxas"), who was replaced by Steppenwolf in the theatrical version. The "Knightmare" shows a possible future in which a later invasion succeeded.
  • All for Nothing: The Amazons seal the entry to the stronghold that their Mother Box was in to trap Steppenwolf and his parademons, killing a good number of their own in the process as the building falls into the water. This is all for naught as Steppenwolf and the parademons rise out of the water afterward.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Trope Namers, of course. They do their darndest to prevent Steppenwolf from getting the Mother Box once he lands on Themyscira. They are fearless and ready to sacrifice themselves at that, but despite their efforts (showcased by how long the action sequence is this time around) and heavy losses, the New God gets away with the artifact.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: The movie plays with this regarding Barry in his introductory scene where he is very hyper, talks over people and has strong reactions to random noises. It's heavily implied through editing and sound design that being a speedster means he sometimes has a hard time tuning himself to the same speed as everyone else (a dogs bark begins slow and then speeds up). When in Bullet Time, he is notably much more confident with himself and his environment, and those various quirks diminish over the course of the story.
  • Annoying Arrows: Steppenwolf's back is covered with arrows shot by the Amazons (which doesn't seem to slow him down). He even uses his armor to snap several of them. In the "History Lesson" scene, Darkseid is shot by several arrows, but barely even seems to notice and quickly pulls them out.
  • Anyone Can Die: The "Knightmare" timeline has a high body count, including Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Vulko, Harley Quinn, Kilowog, and even Batman as confirmed casualties, and presumably several other named characters dead. However, if Joker's speculation is of any indication, along with Mera indicating that Superman killed Aquaman (when we previously saw Darkseid stabbing him in an earlier vision), there may be multiple iterations of this timeline, and not all characters are necessarily doomed.
  • Apocalypse How: A physical Annihilation on a planetary scale is started by the Unity but not finished because the Flash reversed time to cancel it out and give Cyborg the charge he needed to enter it and destroy it from within. The "Knightmare" sequence shows oppositely but due to Darkseid's success.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The "Knightmare" visions showcases the wasteland that once was Earth. The giant Apokoliptian spaceships and columns of fire add to the "wow" factor.
  • Arrowgram: Diana goes to a Greek temple and finds the arrow that her mother Queen Hippolyta shot to warn her about the invasion of the New Gods.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Steppenwolf has a new, more alien and H. R. Giger-esque, design. It's based on the design he was teased with in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the theatrical version was a compromise made relatively early on to lighten the film with something a little less scary and a little more comics accurate.
    • Superman was originally filmed with the classic blue and red costume on set and seen in the original film. This film color-corrects it to black and silver, since no black and silver costume was actually made. It's meant to resemble the costume he wore after his resurrection in the comics.
    • The movie was originally shot in the IMAX 1.43:1 aspect ratio but released in the more standard 1.85:1, this version returns to what was originally intended. The color grading as a whole was also restored to be more in line with the darker, muted color palette of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The theatrical release had artificially brightened the colors in response to the Real Is Brown complaints from audiences, but resulted in numerous other technical problems with composition, framing and wardrobe note .
  • Art Imitates Art:
    • The "Time, Time, Time" promo (originally intended to be a title card sequence for each episode when the movie was briefly reimagined as a miniseries) shown at IGN Fan Fest depicts all founding members of the Justice League as metallic reliefs generated by Mother Boxes. Considering Snyder's Creator Thumbprint of recreating classical/Renaissance religious art imagery in his direction, this comes as no surprise.
    • A teaser has Darkseid sit in a Thinker Pose.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Marc McClure, the original Jimmy Olsen from the Reeve films, had a cameo in the original version as a security guard at Heroes Park, jumping out of the way of Superman's heat vision. This film shows him and Lois as having a friendly relationship as she comes to visit the monument regularly, bringing him coffee, and even given the name Jerry.
    • Mera has a few additional scenes but notably in the Bad Future she is part of Batman's team, swearing vengeance against Darkseid for killing Arthur.
  • Ascended Meme: The official trailer ends with a sequence featuring the Joker outright saying "We live in a society..." — that particular meme is tied to the Clown Prince of Crime ever since it spawned at the time of The Dark Knight (due to that film's Joker's nihilistic views of society) and gained renewed traction in 2019 with Joker. Jared Leto ad-libbed the line, which is not featured in the actual film. It's also part of a deleted take.
    "We live in a society, where honor is a distant memory. Isn't that right... Batman?"
  • As You Know: Lampshaded. When Steppenwolf realizes that the Anti-Life Equation is on Earth, he contacts DeSaad and begins to explain how Darkseid found (and later lost) the location of the Equation. DeSaad cuts him off, stating that “the Defiance” is common knowledge on Apokolips. Up until this point, all the audience knows is that Darkseid tried and failed to conquer Earth, and no mention of the Anti-Life Equation is made until Steppenwolf’s Mother Box-induced epiphany.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: More detail is given to the difficulties of bringing these heroes together, which Bruce bears the brunt of the responsibility and initiative. Being the Team Normal he views this as his only real worthwhile contribution, with some implication that he expects to die in the oncoming battle but is satisfied that he brought them together to go forward from there.
  • Badass Boast: Batman has only one thing to say when talking about the threat that Steppenwolf presents:
    Batman: I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells, he's never fought us. Not us united.
  • Badass Bystander: One for the villains! A parademon manning a defense cannon has a moment showing them locking in to Flash's movement pattern and managing to not only knock him down but also wound him, taking him out of the fight for a few crucial seconds (one meme going around is saying "Give that man a raise!").
  • Bad Future: The "Knightmare" from Dawn of Justice is revisited in this movie. The Hall Of Justice is in ruins, gigantic spaceships of Apokolips fill the skies of the wasteland that was once Earth, and pillars of fire erupt from the ground. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are both dead in this future, alongside at least one Green Lantern, and Batman leads a desperate resistance that includes survivors of the Justice League (Cyborg, Flash), a vengeful Mera, and even former enemies of his such as Deathstroke and even Joker.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • The "Knightmare" seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and this film is essentially a future in which Darkseid managed to conquer the Earth and turned Superman into a tyrant that would carry out his will.
    • For the briefest moment the Unity had enough time to finally activate, with the Flash being knocked down in the outskirts of the city and Cyborg unable to separate them. The entire team was obliterated in an instance, and the Flash had to exceed the speed of light and reverse time to just before that happens.
  • Bash Brothers: The team members had some problems working together at first, partially due to the logistics of understanding each others abilities and partially due to changes in the situation that they all react differently to. When confronting Steppenwolf underground, they all get separated, with Flash even exclaiming "This was not part of the plan!" Later on, when Superman is resurrected and not entirely "there", he does some Deadly Dodging such that Flash accidentally runs into Aquaman, who gives an angry look at the speedster afterwards. But by the climax, they are a more cohesive team and work together more efficiently, culminating in the team helping rescue Batman in the Batmobile from the Parademons and they all advance on the enemy stronghold together.
  • Big Bad: Unlike in the theatrical cut, Steppenwolf is simply an underling who shares his master's goal of obtaining the Mother Boxes to create the Anti-Life Equation to rule the planet and the cosmos. Steppenwolf is still acting outside of Darkseid's direct control (him and DeSaad are dismissive of his ability to finish the job), but more firmly establishes Darkseid as a Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Naturally, for a superhero film, epic feats are sprinkled throughout the runtime. The biggest one and that gets the most fanfare is courtesy of Superman himself when he completely shrugs off an axe swing by Steppenwolf meant for Cyborg during the climax, all within the blink of an eye.
  • Big Good: Batman would found the Justice League to protect the Earth from planet-ending threats after the temporary death of Superman.
  • Billed Above the Title: Not only is Zack Snyder's name above the film's title on the black and white posters, but it is rendered in a much larger size than the "Justice League" text on the earlier ones.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Justice League has saved the world from certain destruction with each team member feels more personally fulfilled and ready to move on to their next adventure. Unfortunately, Darkseid has his sights set on Earth and is already planning a full-scale invasion. Lex Luthor also broke out of Arkham and is conspiring with Deathstroke to kill Batman. It's also implied that events have been set in motion which will inevitably lead to Darkseid's victory, the deaths of Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, and the corruption of Superman. (With that in mind, what details that are out there about Zack Snyder's intended story arc indicate that the story has a happy ending where this timeline is averted.)
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Steppenwolf violently slices through Amazons and Atlanteans, notably spattering blood with every strike. This is in stark contrast with the relatively bloodless bulk of the DCEU films outside Birds of Prey, the theatrical version of Justice League especially.
  • Book-Ends: The beginning of the film shows the death of Superman with Doomsday and how his death cry sends a shockwave that reverberates around the world, and the Mother Boxes respond to that pulse as a sign that "The god is dead." When Steppenwolf puts the Mother Boxes together into the Unity, a similar pulse is emitted that can be felt around the world, from Atlantis to Themyscira. When Superman arrives he begins beating Steppenwolf down and every punch sends a similar shockwave, seeming to indicate "The god is back."
  • Bullet Time: Used more than ever here to emphasize the effects of the Flash and Wonder Woman. The scenes with the Black Clad are more emphasized to drag out the leader's bullets being blocked by Wonder Woman. Also more scenes from the Flash's point of view with the reversal of time to reverse the unity. Also Superman fending off Flash twice as well as the Money Shot. Lastly the team kill of Steppenwolf by Aquaman, Superman and Wonder Woman is slowed graciously.
  • The Cameo:
    • Calvin Swanwick (Harry Lennix) appears briefly in the film. It's revealed that he's actually the Martian Manhunter, although he briefly impersonates Martha Kent before meeting with Lois Lane.
    • Ray Porter (who did Darkseid's voice and motion capture) also played one of the blacksmiths who built the metal casing of the Mother Box that was entrusted to the humans after Darkseid's defeat in ancient times.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • Zig-Zagged. Zack Snyder himself claims that this film is not part of the DC Extended Universe canon. However, James Wan has said that Aquaman (2018) is based on what happened in this version of Justice League. While the Joss Whedon cut has already been used to continue continuity for other films that took place after this one in-universe, all callbacks to the theatrical cut have been very vague so it's feasible that this could change.
    • Speaking of Aquaman, there's a lot of inconsistencies about the Atlanteans between the two films despite Wan's claims. The best explanation would be that Wan made a Broad Strokes follow-up to what's established of the Atlanteans in Zack Snyder's Justice League, resulting in prominent Early Installment Weirdness. It's also possible that Aquaman was based off an earlier/shortened version of Zack Snyder's Justice League, and the contradicting footage might not have been in the film Wan watched. This is seemingly supported by a scene in this film where Mera states her parents are dead, which is contradicted by Aquaman where her father is an important character in the film.
  • Central Theme:
    • Parentage. The character development of Barry and Victor is punctuated by the relationship with their parents, the expectations set upon them, and how the world is influenced by them. It is Silas' kidnapping and subsequent sacrifice which drives Victor to join the League, and it is Henry's words that inspire Barry to go far beyond the speed of light to save everyone. Moreover, the epilogue is called "A Father Twice Over", with Silas' audio recording to Victor playing over the Dawn of an Era ending.
    • It can be argued that "parentage" is also the overlying narrative connecting the Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Justice League trilogy. Man of Steel deals with Clark trying to live up to the expectations that Pa Kent and Jor-El set for him, and in this film, he finally manages to reconcile both, and Batman V Superman has Batman motivated by the death of his parents, - it's when he loses sight of his original purpose that he becomes a jaded cynic willing to murder Superman - and it's also the knowledge that Clark has a loving mother and family that breaks him out of his funk.
    • Unity: Both heroes and villains alike believe in the power of being united as the best way to beat obstacles. Steppenwolf describes Earth as “divided, at war with one another, too separate to be one”, citing that their free will must be ripped away from them and “given absolution in one glorious belief”, obviously referencing how his master Darkseid believes in unity under his domain, eradicating individuality. The Justice League believes in unity while maintaining their own free will and individuality, combining their different sets of skills and powers. Bruce assembled the team with the idea that “divided (they) are not enough”, Darkseid’s loss in the past was possible only due to the defenders of Earth working together despite never doing so under normal circumstances, and his possible victory in the Knightmare timeline is achieved only by the League being divided.
  • Character Development:
    • Bruce has notably had a major change of heart after witnessing Superman's sacrifice in the previous film, and seeking to build a team as penance for his own mistakes. He has a couple conversations with Alfred where he admits he is putting aside rational thought and is instead relying on faith.
    • Barry is going all over trying to get a Criminal Justice degree and working multiple jobs, which his father criticizes as him "running in place." He immediately joins Bruce's team knowing that he needs friends, and at least proves to himself that he can keep pace with the best of the best. He returns to his father having gotten a real job in police forensics, which makes him extremely proud.
    • Victor has had to deal with a lot between an inattentive father, his mother's death and his own body being warped by cybernetics. More than even Arthur he has no interest in joining the team, wanting to cut the world out of his life. He learns to appreciate what his father has done for him despite his failings, and his time with the League helps him understand that others are dealing with similar struggles. "I am not broken. And I am not alone."
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Star Labs laser is fired at a piece of Kryptonian metal during a demonstration by Silas in the middle of the movie. The metal heats to extreme temperature, later on, Silas uses it on the Mother Box of men to heat it, allowing the heroes to track it to Steppenwolf's base.
    • The energy-absorbing gauntlets that Alfred tests come in useful for Batman twice. First against parademon weapons fire, then again against Clark's heat vision (the latter was too hot for them though and caused Batman to take one off).
  • Chekhov's Skill: When looking to revive Superman with the Motherbox, Flash says that he can generate a lot of energy the closer he gets to the speed of light, but that time starts acting "weird" for him. Indeed, right before he reached the falling Motherbox time actually starts reversing for a nanosecond. He later has to go well beyond the speed of light in order to Time Travel before the Unity's detonation and reach Cyborg so that he can stop it.
  • Civilization Destroyer: Darkseid is said to have destroyed an uncountable number of worlds, so that comes with it.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Diana describes the technology used to create the Mother Boxes as so advanced that they appeared to be magical.
  • Collapsible Helmet: It turns out that Steppenwolf's armor can retract in an organic way, but made of metal. This is established in a scene of him communicating to the people on Apokolips, which not only reveals that the horns on his helmet are his real horns underneath, but that he can "shed" the armor on command.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Zigzagged. Barry refers to Diana as Wonder Woman, the only time she's called that in the whole DCEU, even Justice League (2017). However, Barry himself is never referred to as the Flash. Diana calls Victor "a cyborg" once, but we never learn if the term is ever used again, let alone if he takes it as his name. The ruined Hall of Justice is seen in the Knightmare vision that Cyborg has, and the words "Justice League" can be seen, though they're never spoken aloud. Aquaman, Batman, and Superman are all explicitly called such, but Ryan Choi is never called the Atom. Justified in his case, because he (presumably) hasn't built the Atom suit yet. In the epilogue, Deathstroke is only ever called "Mr. Wilson", but Calvin Swanwick introduces himself to Bruce as the Martian Manhunter.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: When meeting Deathstroke on his yacht, Lex Luthor serves himself some Goût de Diamants ("Taste of Diamonds" in French). It is the most expensive Champagne (and alcohol overall) in the world, it costs about $1.2 million for a single bottle - the alcohol itself doesn't contain diamonds of course, the bottle is encrusted with diamonds. Lex can afford it, of course.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The movie opens with the death of Superman and Doomsday, showing that their final screams echoed around the world and caused the motherboxes to stir.
    • Batman recalls the Knightmare sequence in BVS and says Barry was looking at him and said "Lois is the key."
    • The exact video footage of Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg from BVS return as Bruce and Diana discuss their recruitment strategy.
    • Kryptonian armor and weapons previously seen in Man of Steel appear as various devices being utilized or experimented on.
    • Bruce Wayne’s satellites become a minor plot point in this film. One previously appeared as an Easter Egg during the final fight in Man of Steel.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: In contrast to the theatrical version, the town surrounding the defunct nuclear plant was genuinely abandoned because of the radiation. Steppenwolf chose it for their stronghold for that reason, and the motherboxes absorbed that radiation to convert into their defenses. This makes the entire climax free to be as destructive as they want without fear of civilian casualties.
  • Cool Plane:
    • Bruce Wayne's private jet. The interior is sleek and spacious, complete with a bathroom, leather seats and a small scale computer akin to the one he has in the Batcave.
    • The Flying Fox, a three-story plane conceived by Wayne. The Justice League uses it as transport and mobile HQ.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: The Amazons are outnumbered and outmuscled and they know it, but they make a valiant effort to combat the physically powerful Steppenwolf and more technologically advanced parademons. Their tenacity does give a Hope Spot or two that they can win, but only shows just how relentless Steppenwolf is.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Even as he has just scored a victory for the GCU, Victor Stone is disappointed to find out that only his mother attended the football game, not his father.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Henry Allen admonishes Barry for his obsession with getting a criminal justice degree in an attempt to get him out of prison, telling him he is the best of the best and wasting his life with this pursuit. In the climax Barry manages to reverse time a precious few seconds to save everyone and thinks of his dad that "Whatever happens I want you to know, your kid was one of them, dad. One of the best of the best." In the 2017 theatrical cut, it was Batman who filled this role instead of Henry.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie is more serious in tone compared to the theatrical release, going into more detail about the hopelessness that the world feels after the demise of Superman and delving into a post-apocalyptic timeline. Additionally, the film also has an R-rating for some bloody violence and language (see Precision F-Strike below).
  • Dead Hat Shot: Diana uses her vambrace attack on the terrorist leader at the Old Bailey. In the aftermath, his Nice Hat slowly falls down onto a cop car in the street below.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Compared to the reshot version of the film, Silas Stone dies by vaporization. In the theatrical release, he's last seen giving Cyborg an upgrade.
    • According to DeSaad, the Mother Boxes were outright destroyed after the Justice League defeated Steppenwolf. In the theatrical version, the boxes were returned to their respective guardians.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The first posters for this film are black and white versions of the early 2017 teaser posters, the same way all the screenshots of the film that were shared by Snyder on Vero in the two years prior to the announcement were black and white. Snyder's black and white images were later revealed to be the negatives from his copy of the movie, which he saved right before leaving post-production, effectively being a Justified Trope.
    • The three teaser posters released in 2021 are also in black and white, except for Snyder's own name on the movie canister one, which is written in red.
    • All of the posters except the international release one were in black and white.
    • The Justice is Grey edition of the film is a black and white conversion of the movie akin to what Mad Max: Fury Road and Logan got.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "The Daily Planet: Reporting on the Planet Daily".
  • Despair Event Horizon: The trigger for Superman's tyranny in the Knightmare timeline is revealed to be the death of Lois Lane, which puts him at such a low point that Darkseid is able to use the Anti-Life Equation to make him his slave.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Instead of being overcome with fear and consumed by his own army of Parademons as they are sent through a Boom Tube to parts unknown, Steppenwolf is stabbed from behind and hoisted skyward by Aquaman using his quindent before Superman punches him towards the Boom Tube, with Wonder Woman beheading him with her sword on his way out.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The nature of the Mother Boxes is more fully explained than in the theatrical cut. They are living supercomputers so advanced they appear to be magic, and can reconstruct matter at an atomic level. Individually they are quite advanced, one created Cyborg and was referred to as a Change Engine at Star Labs, but when the three are merged together they are called the Unity and capable of Hostile Terraforming an entire planet.
  • Doomsday Device: Once completed by Steppenwolf, the Unity of the Mother Boxes detonates, and the blast is powerful enough to disintegrate everything in its path, even a half-goddess and a Kryptonian.
  • The Dreaded: Diana finds an ominous painting of Darkseid and is clearly taken back by what this implies — the same Diana who was fearless going against Ares and Doomsday. It shows how much of a threat he is.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the strife, conflict and loss throughout Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and this film, our heroes not only emerge victorious over the threat of Apokolips (for now at least) but also as better, stronger individuals.
  • Elseworld: One of the hurdles to getting the movie made was an issue surrounding how the film impacts the DCEU slate, which has changed significantly from when it was first made. As such Snyder agreed to view the movie as a separate incarnation from what the theatrical cut did and any movies that were/are in the pipeline. That said, the only outright Continuity Snarl with future movies is Arthur having hostile feelings towards his mother leaving him, while in Aquaman he idolizes his mother, a contradiction already present in and retained from the theatrical version of Justice League.
  • Enemy Mine: In the Bad Future, both Deathstroke and the Joker are members of Batman's post apocalyptic team. While Deathstroke comes across as The Lancer to Batman and have some degree of mutual respect, the continued hostility between Batman and Joker is palpable.
  • Epic Movie: With a storyline featuring the clash of (both figurative and literal) gods, a booming soundtrack and a run-time of over four hours, this version of Justice League is appropriately grand in scale.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Cyborg/Victor gets two in his introduction scene. As Victor, before the accident, we are told how he helped a fellow student that had lost her house the same year by hacking into Gotham City's University network and giving her better grades. As Cyborg, the first heroic deed he does after accessing the virtual landscape, is helping a struggling single mother that was recently evicted by hacking into an ATM and giving her $100,000. This establishes Victor as a compassionate man that won't hesitate to break laws or social conventions in order to help others, and how despite being transformed by an alien piece of machinery, he remains the same kind, empathetic man at heart.
    • Barry gets one as we are introduced to his father, Henry Allen. He has just started his fourth dead-end job in order to pay for his tuition in order to earn a criminal justice degree, just to get his innocent father out of jail. Later, when asked by Batman to join the League, he automatically jumps at the call and admits that he really needs friends. This establishes him as a man running in circles and knowingly hindering his own potential, but only doing so in order to help those he loves, and also his eagerness to prove himself to the world.
  • Everything Is Online: Cyborg having a Story-Breaker Power in the digital age is explored in detail, with his control of the entire world's nuclear arsenal and being able to manipulate the economic balance being a trivial matter. This sequence is paired next to a monologue by his father Silas telling him how powerful he has become, but also how important his restraint is in using that power.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Inverted. When Clark fully comes back to himself and embraces being Superman, he selects an all-black costume with a silver S-shield. In flashes of the Bad Future, we see Superman in the traditional (and more colorful than in previous DCEU films) red-and-blues as Darkseid's Earthly enforcer.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The second glimpse of the Knightmare future reveals that several of the supervillains, including the Joker, Deathstroke, and Harley Quinn, banded together with the remnants of the Justice League in the aftermath of Darkseid's invasion and Superman's fall to the Anti-Life Equation.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The film's runtime is just over four hours, longer than any previous film in the setting, and longer than any previously released Snyder film.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Unity of the Mother Boxes can produce the Apokoliptian equivalent of a nuke. The resulting blast is powerful enough to disintegrate everything in its path, including even a demigoddess (Diana) and a supercharged-biology Kryptonian (Superman). Only Flash withstands it, by making himself intangible with the Speed Force. He then runs beyond the speed of light to Time Travel and save the League from the blast.
  • Flashback: Aside from the invasion in the Earth's distant past, the first scene of the film showcases Superman's last moments fighting Doomsday before his (temporary) death.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Whenever he's in the digital world, Victor/Cyborg prefers using an avatar of his previous self from before his crippling accident, usually wearing his GCU jacket. In the very last instance of this, he is finally able to visualise himself in his cybernetic, post-accident appearance.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: Technically inverted, as this is essentially the film that Snyder was making prior to his departure from the film... While also being played straight, because this is an extended version of the movie that he was going to make anyway, with further modifications made by himself after getting the greenlight from HBO Max. Nonetheless, this movie and the theatrical release version are as different as night and day. Some points of note:
    • This version and the theatrical film only share scenes that Snyder himself filmed, doing away with any and all reshoots made after his departure. Several deleted scenes (some noticeably missing according to the trailers) from the 2017 release, previously unseen, are reinstated.invoked
    • Among the more notable scenes from the theatrical version, the opening iPhone interview with Superman, Batman hunting for a Parademon in Gotham using a burglar as bait, Bruce having a drink with Diana, Aquaman saying he doesn’t want to die and that Wonder Woman is "mmh", Barry's "brunch", "never done battle, only pushed some people and ran away", and "Pet Sematary" lines, Lois talking to Martha Kent at the Daily Planet, the Russian family trying to escape Steppenwolf's rampage, Superman's dialogue with Batman after resurrection, the Parademons attacking Steppenwolf and him being teleported back to Apokolips alive, and the race between Flash and Superman in The Stinger, all added by Whedon, are removed completely (or rather don't appear at all, since it's not the theatrical cut that was used to work on the HBO Max-released version).
    • The various deleted roles from the theatrical release of the film are reinstated. This includes Iris West, Elinore Stone, Ryan Choi, Antiope, Nuidis Vulko, Darkseid, DeSaad, Granny Goodness, and Doomsday. There's also the Martian Manhunter, who was intended to appear in the film, but his scene was never fully filmed until additional photography. Also added in additional photography is The Joker; unlike the others, he was not involved with the original production at all. Other characters that were reinstated also include some of the named Amazons from Wonder Woman, a Metropolis cop played by Marc McClure (Jimmy Olsen in the Superman films), a Struggling Single Mother who gets help from Cyborg, a cameo from Ray Porter (Darkseid's voice) as one of the ancient men who got entrusted with a Mother Box, and Zack Snyder's own Creator Cameo inside a café behind Lois near the Superman memorial in Metropolis.
    • The trailer shows Uxas (a young Darkseid) is leading the ancient invasion of Earth instead of Steppenwolf, as he was originally supposed to. Steppenwolf does not appear in the scene.
    • All of Danny Elfman's musical scores in the theatrical cut are replaced by new ones from Junkie XL, who was working on the original film score with Hans Zimmer (who left after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) before leaving alongside Snyder. The scores are based on the cues he wrote while still attached.
    • Steppenwolf's CGI is completely redone so that he has his spiky, H. R. Giger-esque design that was planned all the way back at the time of Batman v Superman instead of the one Snyder used out of compromise with executives (which is the one that ended up in the theatrical cut). The two designs can be compared here.
    • Snyder revealed that invokedstudio execs vetoed the use of the black suit for Superman for the theatrical version. He complied and shot the scenes with the normal blue and red Superman suit, but made sure the suit was made of specific materials and colors so he could easily alter it via digital means in case he was allowed to release a Director's Cut... which eventually happened. His suit was normal in the bonus deleted scenes from the theatrical version's Blu-ray.invoked
    • The heavy editing of the theatrical version means that that even familiar scenes with Snyder's footage play out differently, since alternate takes and camera angles are utilized. For instance, the team shot at the end of the first trailer shows identical staging and camera movement as in the theatrical version, but is a different take with different CGI, likely done on the same day. Many of the shared scenes between both films are adjusted to fit the new color grading (Wonder Woman landing in Steppenwolf's lair is the same with a different color palette, before including Aquaman and Cyborg next to her) and aspect ratio (which keeps roughly the same amount of horizontal content, but more vertical content). Whedon added several minor scenes in the reshoots that weren't used, but also filmed close-ups and inserts with enough visual differences in them to visibly indicate changes that had been made to existing scenes (including Ben Affleck's fake beard to match the real one he grew for the fishing village scene, Ezra Miller's haircut changing between shots, Jason Momoa's footage switching between on-location and green screen, and — of course — Henry Cavill's CGI mustache removal).
    • Some lines carried over from the theatrical version have different audio takes in this cut, such as Diana's invoked"Kal-El, no!"
    • A handful of new scenes were shot to showcase visions of the Knightmare timeline and to include the Martian Manhunter.
    • In a literal "night-and-day" difference, the climax in the theatrical cut occurred in late afternoon, while in this version, it takes place at night.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Darkseid leads the invasion in ancient times (instead of Steppenwolf in the theatrical version). Barry recalls that Steppenwolf has destroyed other worlds.
  • Ghostapo: The Nazis were interested in the Mother Boxes and found the one that was hidden by the humans in ancient times, but the Allies prevented them from using it further.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Barry comments to the team that the closer he gets to the speed of light time starts acting weird for him, so he avoids doing so. When the Unity forms and the team is killed in the explosion, Barry slows down to Bullet Time and tells himself he has to break his rule to make this right.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: There's a sudden cut when the car accident that cripples Victor Stone and kills his mother Elinore happens.
  • Gratuitous French: In the Bad Future, upon hearing Mera's false assumption that Batman doesn't know what it's like to lose loved ones, the Joker laughs and says "Au contrairenote , my little fish stick."
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Darkseid led the first invasion of Earth, but serves as a mainly background villain to Steppenwolf in the modern day. Darkseid aims to control Earth to use the Mother Boxes to create the Anti-Life Equation to rule Earth and the galaxy.
    • Lex Luthor also applies, given that he orchestrated the death of Superman, and his death is what caused the Mother Boxes to react in a way that alerted Apokolips to their presence. He's also responsible for whatever Deathstroke does to Bruce Wayne, as it was Luthor who told the assassin Batman's true identity. However, Luthor does not factor into the main plot.
  • Heroic BSoD: Cyborg after his father's death. He becomes near suicidal in his dedication to the mission and willingness to sacrifice himself, and starts speaking in a blunt monotone sort of like a robot.
  • Hologram: Steppenwolf uses an alien interface made out of metal and fire to communicate with his superiors DeSaad and Darkseid.
    • Victor has a curious mental world that showcases information as building-shaped blocks of data, and gives him communication with living technology (the Mother Boxes) as if they're people.
  • Homage: The Krypton reprisal that plays when Superman blocks Steppenwolf's axe open with brass instruments, akin to the John Williams theme.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • The scene of Doomsday impaling Superman as himself is impaled with the Kryptonite spear is featured again from different angles in slow-motion as Superman's dying screams awaken a Mother box on the other side of the world.
    • In the ancient times battle, Darkseid kills the alien Green Lantern by impaling him with the pointy end of his polearm's handle.
    • In the Final Battle, Batman maneuvers the Batmobile in such a way that some of the Parademons harassing it get thrown aside. One of them impales itself on a sharp metal beam.
    • Steppenwolf gets impaled by Aquaman's trident before Wonder Woman beheads him at the end.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: When the project was announced, the director's name was not only included in the title, but it was given even bigger letters than "Justice League" in order to better distinguish it from the theatrical version.
  • Intermission: The theatrical release of the film will have a ten-minute intermission set to a suite from Junkie XL.
  • Irony: Everyone from Gotham City who was close to Batman or knew him well/made up "his world" has died in the Bad Future... except two of his most bitter foes, Deathstroke and especially The Joker. And he must work out a truce with them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During a flashback, the Dean of Gotham City University admonishes Victor Stone for hacking into the school's database to alter the grades of a struggling fellow student. While his mother tries to argue that he's just trying to help someone who really needs it, the Dean is completely right to be mad at Victor for, effectively, helping a fellow student to cheat.
  • Jumped at the Call: Barry Allen eagerly volunteers to join before Bruce Wayne can even finish pitching the team to him. Only this time he doesn't go on a tangent about "brunch".

    Tropes L-Z 
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: A unique example, as the basic outline of the story was already shown in the theatrical version, with the details on what was missing surfacing after the release. As such, while the ad campaign for the original film was coy about things like how Superman is resurrected in an effort to avert the Trailers Always Spoil phenomenon, there's no Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer treatment for the Man of Steel here. In fact, the teaser trailer outright shows the entire team line-up, which was originally a carefully guarded image. Aside from revealing Superman's involvement in the story, the trailers — alongside the various set photos and stills that Snyder revealed following the theatrical release — have revealed a host of other spoilers from this version.
  • Lighter and Softer: Interestingly, it's between this and Darker and Edgier. While the movie as a whole is a little darker, serious and more violent than the theatrical version, the overall tone is much more optimistic than the sense of doom that permeated most of Batman v Superman. The Flash by himself serves a lot of comic relief, while Batman expresses more warmth and joy because of the satisfaction of bringing all the heroes together, not to mention how he tells Alfred to keep faith and lets a Badass Boast out that defies the New Gods themselves to motivate the nascent League.
  • Logo Joke: At the end of the DC logo, Doomsday's orange lightning bolts appear behind it, which leads into the opening with Doomsday and Superman's fatal battle.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Played With. Flash gets hit by a Parademon cannon while running extra fast to charge up energy. He stands back up and over the intercoms tells the team with heavy panting that he got the wind knocked out of him and he just needs a moment to recover. The camera then shows he has a nasty gash in his side, he was downplaying his injuries to reassure the team that he WILL get his job done. Thankfully, he has a Healing Factor.
  • Manly Tears: Victor/Cyborg sheds a tear after he sees his father being disintegrated by the lasers he used on the Mother Box.
  • Mind Probe: Steppenwolf uses a small spider-like robot that seeks useful informations in the mind of its victim and holographically displays them. Cyborg destroys it during the battle in the tunnels.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: In a homage to The Death And Return Of Superman, which was already partially adapted in the previous film in Snyder's series, Superman wears the black and silver Recovery Suit. It was manually color-corrected in post-production from the standard red and blue filmed in the movie, because of that it's still the same physical design as the blue and red costume. The movie's version of the suit gives him a charcoal grey cape since the original did not have a cape at all, due to the studio constraints Zack Snyder had to deal with back when filmed it in 2016 (in short, he had to use a blue suit with a cape out of invokedExecutive Veto, the suit could be easily darkened digitally but the cape proved to be impossible to erase during the 2020 work on the film).
    • Also, Darkseid's armor is much darker than the blue armor he normally wears in the comics and cartoons.
  • The Multiverse: Dialogue from Steppenwolf and Diana both indicate that the forces of Darkseid originate from "the dark place," meaning its own universe and not just somewhere else in the physical plane. Steppenwolf even mentions the end goal of Darkseid is the domination of the Multiverse.
  • My Card:
    • Bruce Wayne gives his business card with the Wayne Enterprises logo on it to the chief villager in Iceland when looking for Aquaman.
    • In the Knightmare, Joker hands Batman his own Joker playing card as a sign of their truce, stating that all he has to do is tear it in half when he wants to go back to being enemies. Naturally, Batman takes it with a promise of retribution on his part to Joker.
  • Mythology Gag: Enough to have its own page.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Steppenwolf actually does complete the Unity, the Mother Boxes do indeed merge and begin to ravage Earth and in the process incinerate every member of the Justice League present at the scene. Barry, in a last ditch effort, taps into the Speed Force and runs like he never has before and goes back in time a few seconds to undo the devastation.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Pozharnov, the radioactive dump where Steppenwolf establishes his base in Russia, is said by Wonder Woman to be a ghost town since a nuclear disaster over thirty years ago, the movie taking place in 2017 - quite obviously standing in for Pripyat and the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukrainian SSR of the Soviet Union in 1986. It could also be partially based on the much lesser known Kyshtym disaster, which happened in 1957, in the Russian SSR this time.
  • No Swastikas: Inverted. The March 2017 trailer showed a glimpse at Victor Stone/Cyborg walking with a yellow banner behind his back. The scene was invokeddeleted from the 2017 theatrical version, but the 2021 film features it, and it turns out it's set during World War II. The setting is holographically generated by Cyborg, with the banner being a Nazi swastika.
  • Not So Different: Arthur and Diana have a moment talking about the cultural conflict that had developed between the Atlanteans and Amazons, but with both of them distant enough from their people that it's not a real sticking point between them. Arthur mentions a saying in Atlantis about darkness and light, which Diana finishes with a smile because it's also a saying in Themyscira.
  • One-Woman Wail: Accompanies every appearance of Wonder Woman and the other Amazons. The English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing describe this as "ancient lamentation music".
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Diana gets killed by Darkseid in the Bad Future, and her mother Hippolyta attends her ancient world-like funeral.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Steppenwolf are super strong guys, but they're overshadowed by Superman in the climax. It's very much downplayed compared to the 2017 theatrical version however, as Superman can't prevent the detonation of the Unity, which wipes out the League — it's Flash who saves the day here by time-travelling with his Super Speed. Superman also lets Aquaman and Wonder Woman finish Steppenwolf off, so they get to shine as well here.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Superman gets a great one in before utterly dominating Steppenwolf in a fight.
    Superman: Not. Impressed.
  • Precision F-Strike: Several. The Luddite terrorists in London drop one as they cow their hostages before Diana can swoop in and save the day, Victor curtly responds to her recruitment attempt with "Fuck the World," and Knightmare!Batman tells the Joker that he will "absolutely FUCKING kill him," as he had promised a dying Harley.
  • Production Throwback: This isn't the first Zack Snyder-directed DC Comics adaptation to utilize Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (referring to the trailer). Snyder later explained that the song has personal significance to him and his family, and was specifically a favorite of his daughter Autumn, who took her own life during the original production, necessitating Snyder's exit from the film. (Interestingly, the theatrical version of the film utilized a cover of Cohen's "Everybody Knows" in a montage sequence reminiscent of the opening credits montage seen in Watchmen, the song was Whedon's choice.)
  • Product Placement:
    • Rather "Charity Placement" than "Product". When Bruce picks up Barry and they're driving to the airport of Central City, a billboard can be seen and saying "You Are Not Alone", by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Zack Snyder supports this foundation since the suicide of his daughter Autumn back in 2017, and so did/do many fans who invokedcampaigned to get the movie released. Snyder also plans to donate part of the movie's profit to them.
    • We get a very glamorous insert shot of a name-brand razor when Bruce is shaving in the first act.
    • It's no coincidence that Wonder Woman and Bruce Wayne both drive Mercedes Benzes.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Steppenwolf is only conquering worlds on behalf of Darkseid because he has a debt to pay. He really, really wants to go home. After betraying Darkseid, he was given the punishment of conquering 150,000 worlds, and was about two thirds of the way through his sentence by the time of the film's events. When he teleports into the guarded Mother Box temple on Themyscira, he delivers a speech spoken in about as bored and fatigued a tone as possible, as he's presumably had to deliver it thousands of times before.
    Steppenwolf: I've come to enlighten you to the great darkness. I will bathe in your fear.
  • Race Against the Clock: Once Steppenwolf manages to gather the three Mother Boxes, he starts completing the Unity with them and the Justice League doesn't have much time to stop him. They fail at first, but thankfully Flash is able to undo it via Speed Force Time Travel.
  • Re-Cut: The film's scenes are in the order Snyder intended them to be unlike the 2017 theatrical cut, in addition to adding all the footage and scenes that were missing from the 2017 version and not using any Whedon footage. Interestingly enough, this version is actually longer than the 214 minutes cut that Snyder had in his possession prior to his departure — which serves as the basis of this movie — effectively making this movie an Extended Director's Cut.
    • The talking scene between Martha Kent and Lois after Clark's death has been repurposed. Martha turns out to be Martian Manhunter, with a segment filmed with Harry Lennix outside the apartment being added to it.
  • Refusal of the Call: At the end, Mera and Vulko come to see Arthur/Aquaman to talk to him about important matters. Arthur simply chooses to go back to his father.
  • Remake Cameo: Officer Jerry is played by Marc McClure, who played Jimmy Olsen in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Barry makes sure to be as careful as possible when using his Super Speed because of how he interacts with the environment. In his first scene, his regular shoes explode off his feet the instant he makes a turn, and when he's trying to guide Iris to the ground safely, he is ultra gentle with repositioning her in mid-air. When Bruce sees his costume, he notes that it's made of space-age materials able to withstand high levels of friction.
  • Retcon: See here.
  • Retirony: A villainous one: Steppenwolf finally negotiates his sentence ending early on account of finding the Anti-Life Equation and promising to deliver it to Darkseid. The Justice League deliver his corpse back to Apokolips before he can do that.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • After killing a Green Lantern, Darkseid — who is the God of Tyranny — fails to claim his ring, which is powered by one's will and imagination.
    • When Batman is trying to climb out of the cooling tower to stand with the rest of the League, Superman offers him a hand so he can escape from the darkness. If one also looks closely, the latter was holding his grappling gun, which he drops when accepting Superman's hand. He has finally abandoned his cynical, unfettered ways and embraced faith and hope, which is what Superman embodies. It aso doubles as a Call-Back to one of Bruce's nightmares in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Bruce dreamed of being dragged into the darkness by a bat-like monster during his time as an enemy of Superman.
  • Scenery Gorn: More glimpses of the "Knightmare" Bad Future show the post-apocalyptic Earth after it's been razed to the ground by Darkseid's invasion. A broken and dilapidated Hall of Justice is in the foreground of a fire pit as Parademons swarm around. The movie itself adorns this with the corpse of the Green Lantern Kilowog, the sword and shield of Wonder Woman, the trident of Aquaman, and Batman's cowl.
  • Secret Keeper: The Icelandic villagers mock Bruce Wayne as he's come to them in search of a "magical man from the sea" (Arthur Curry/Aquaman). They actually do so to protect Arthur, as he's right among them when Bruce comes and has been helping them for quite some time, not knowing Bruce's intents.
  • Senseless Sacrifice:
    • We are led to think it's being played straight as Silas dies putting the Mother Box on the laser cage at S.T.A.R. Labs, seemingly trying to destroy it. But Steppenwolf retrieves the unscathed Mother Box and boom-tubes back to his fortress. However, it's soon subverted as it turns out his actions enabled our heroes to track it to the previously invisible Apokaliptian fortress, as the now superheated alien piece of machinery easily shows up in Batman's satellites.
    • When Steppenwolf arrives on Themyscira, Hippolyta is told by her commanders that they need to seal the chamber. In the theatrical version, this was just smashing some support pillars to implode the exit corridor. In this version, it sets off a chain reaction that results in the structure collapsing and falling off the cliff into the water. It is absolutely clear no Amazons still inside survived, but a Hope Spot is given that Steppenwolf was stopped. He wasn't, of course, but it showed how determined the Amazons were to keep him away from the Motherbox.
  • Sequel Hook: There are at least five in the epilogue that set the stage for hypothetical follow-ups.
    • The first, most surprisingly, was a recurring partner of Silas Stone at S.T.A.R. Labs, Ryan Choi (one incarnation of The Atom), getting higher clearance and a reference to his specialty in nanotechnology. Snyder confirmed this was part of him campaigning for Warner Brothers to make a movie with the character.
    • The second involves a Meaningful Background Event in the montage, showing that Lois is preparing for her pregnancy while Bruce congratulates Clark on both the proposal and their child.
    • The third involves Lex Luthor and Deathstroke, much like in the theatrical version. However, instead of proposing the Legion Of Doom, Lex hires Deathstroke to target Batman, telling him that he is Bruce Wayne.
    • The fourth involves a new Knightmare sequence where Batman has a new Justice League made up of Cyborg, Flash, Mera, Deathstroke and even Joker. Then the Anti-Life-controlled Superman finds out where they are. Slightly earlier in the movie provided some more context to this by indicating that a possible cause for this future is Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips killing Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Lois Lane, with the last causing Superman to fall to the Anti-Life Equation — leading to a continuation of the Knightmare seen in Dawn of Justice in which the aforementioned characters, Batman, and Kilowog are all dead.
    • The fifth involves Bruce waking up from the aforementioned nightmare, only to be visited by Martian Manhunter — previously revealed to be General Calvin Swanwick — proposing a partnership with the Justice League going forward, effectively becoming the team's seventh member.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Flash comments that when he approaches the speed of light, time starts acting weird, and when charging the Mother Box in the scout ship, time starts to reverse by a nanosecond. In the climax, Flash is trying to make a similar charge to assist Cyborg but loses momentum after being hit by a Parademon cannon. The Unity manages to activate and detonates, disintegrating everything in its path, including the Justice League members. Flash, in slow-motion, is able to react to that explosion by phasing through it and then undoes the advancing terraforming wave by running the fastest he's ever run to reverse time back to just before the Unity triggers.
    • In the Knightmare sequence, it seems that Bruce is using Barry to try and prevent the Bad Future from coming to pass. Given the Joker's comments about alternate timelines, it sounds like they have been trying to do this many times over without success.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hippolyta responds to a curious thought of an Amazon soldier saying maybe the box went back to sleep.
    • When Flash resurrects Superman, the Kryptonian ship states "The future has taken root in the present." This line is directly lifted from Excalibur, one of Zack Snyder's favorite movies and key creative influences.
    • When Superman punches Flash and he falls near the memorials, one of the dead people's name is Ben Parker. This is visible only for a split second.
    • The Knightmare is set in an apocalyptic future where the remnants of humanity fight a highly advanced foe and resort to time travel to prevent the future from happening. So of course their list of allies would include a one-eyed assassin that's also known in the comics as The Terminator.
  • Skyward Scream: Picking up where Batman v Superman left off, Superman is seen from above after he and Doomsday took part in a Mutual Kill, screaming as the burst of energy from the dying Doomsday is released. That scream is powerful enough to cause soundwaves across large distances on Earth.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Darkseid and DeSaad are only in a couple of scenes, but their presence adds a lot of context to what Steppenwolf is trying to accomplish as well as set up a greater threat on the horizon.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Subverted. Background clues indicate that Lois is about a month or so into a pregnancy thanks to Clark making love to her in their apartment during the events of the previous movie. However, Superman ends up being very much alive, and Bruce congratulates him both on his engagement to Lois and their future child.
  • Spot of Tea: Alfred gets to teach Diana/Wonder Woman how to properly prepare tea.
  • Stock Footage: Due to the limitations with post-production and the COVID-19 Pandemic, the film's crew was unable to film much in the way of reshoots with the original actors. Sharp-eyed viewers might notice some recycled or unused footage from the previous films being repurposed (especially if you pay attention to subtle hairstyle and costume differences between the films), often with digital manipulation to recontextualize what they had.
    • Additional footage utilizing Henry Cavill in Cyborg's vision comes from alternate takes of Superman's reaction to killing Zod from Man of Steel instead representing him falling to the Anti-Life Equation thanks to Darkseid killing Lois Lane, alongside a completely digital shot of him flying over the remains of the Hall of Justice and discarding Batman's cowl. Later, the Knightmare epilogue utilizes other alternate takes from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice showing Superman landing and preparing to use his heat vision to close off the sequence.
  • Struggling Single Mother: Upon exploring the extent of his powers, Cyborg spots Linda Reed, a struggling mother who works as a waitress and has trouble making ends meet and even gets expelled from the apartment that she rents. He decides to help her by hacking into her bank account and dropping $100,000 into it.
  • Sword Sparks:
    • During the battle in the tunnels, Wonder Woman's sword produces sparkles when hitting either Parademons or Steppenwolf's armor and electro-axe. Batman's metal gauntlets also produce sparks when he punches Parademons.
    • Mera produces sparks when she vigorously draws Aquaman's trident in the Bad Future, with its non-pronged end hitting the ground.
  • Team Shot: The final battle concludes with Clark helping Bruce reach the top of a cooling tower. After the camera slowly pulls back, it reveals that the other members of the Justice League are also there, emphasizing how the heroes won against all odds.
  • Technopath: Cyborg, naturally, even moreso than in the 2017 theatrical version. His ability to interact with technology has him refer to machinery as though they are alive, such as Batman's Flying Fox vessel. His main goal in the climax is trying to interface with the Mother Boxes' Unity, as they are referred to as living machines.
  • They Have the Scent!: Mother Boxes have a distinctive scent apparently, and Parademons can track them using this.
  • Time Dilation: Barry Allen/Flash experiences this when reaching speeds close to lightspeed. He eventually uses this in the climax to undo the Unity's explosion that kills the Justice League, via Time Travel.
  • Time Skip:
    • Following the opening scene, the main story itself is set about a month after the death of Superman.
    • The Stone family graves confirm that Silas Stone perished about two years after his wife Elinore, give or take a few months.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor Victor Stone. He's caught up in a brutal car accident that kills his mother and leaves him horribly disfigured and on the verge of death. His father attempts to save him, and in the process, causes a Mother Box to transform his son into a half-cybernetic being, which drives a wedge into their already strained relationship. Then he gets to watch his dad disintegrate in front of his eyes due to the same technology that gave him new life.
  • Unseen No More: Darkseid, previously only alluded to in Dawn of Justice and the theatrical version of the film, appears in four scenes, ranging from his participation in the "History Lesson" sequence to a more modern look at him on Apokolips.
  • Villain World: We get glimpses at the "Knightmare" timeline in the epilogue, in which the forces of Apokolips successfully invade the Earth and harvest its resources. The Hall of Justice is demolished, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are dead, Superman winds up being brainwashed by Darkseid using the Anti-Life Equation, and Batman is leading a desperate resistance trying to survive and hopefully Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Villains Never Lie: Averted. Steppenwolf taunts Wonder Woman that he and his Parademons burned Themyscira to the ground as Hippolyta and the Amazons begged for their lives. Diana instantly claims he's lying, which he is note .
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Yalan Gur, the ancient Green Lantern, gets a little extra amount of screentime here compared to the theatrical version... But not too much, as Darkseid chops his hand off and impales him.
  • We Have Those, Too: Diana is not at all impressed at the fact that Alfred and Bruce have managed to create a gauntlet that absorbs and deflects energy, since she already possesses gauntlets that do exactly that. She even sarcastically asks if Alfred is going to try and make a version of her lasso of truth as well.
  • Wham Shot: The shot of the Anti-Life Equation carved into the surface of Earth.
  • Worthy Opponent: Steppenwolf acknowledges Wonder Woman as the most difficult opponent he has to face, and so across their various encounters he often singles her out with a snarling "Amazon!" He also manages to shake her confidence by talking about his attack on Themiscyra.
  • Wrecked Weapon: In a fight against the Greek Old Gods, Uxas gets his glaive-like staff broken by Ares. Later in the film, Superman breaks Steppenwolf's ax with his frost breath and smashes it with his bare hands.

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