As repetitive as it is, we cannot help but iterate the utter injustice done to Justice League in its 2017 version. Up until The Snyder Cut was released on HBO Max, the popular consensus was that Joss Whedon had not at all done justice to Justice League. What should have been an unforgettable and mind-blowing experience ended up being a complete and utter disaster.
Before the 2017 Justice League, the damage done by Batman V Superman seemed salvageable, however, once the movie released, it appeared as though the DCEU was well past life support. It was bad in the kind of unacceptable and malicious way because of Warner’s efforts to completely undo Zack Snyder’s work and create something utterly substandard and crappy. It was an insult to both the fans and the franchise itself and a very costly mistake to boot.
But redemption is here and in the most beautiful and delightful way possible. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the soothing balm that fans needed, with 4 hours and 2 minutes of pure DC goodness that was very healing. The dedication and care with which every character was crafted, their immersive backstories, and the focus on the plot made this one an ultimate comeback film. It felt good to see everyone’s hope pay-off.
So without further ado, let’s dissect the narrative of the film, and more importantly, the bad guy is Snyder Cut.
*Spoilers from this point forward!*
Who is the bad guy in The Snyder Cut?
DCEU has taken a deep dive into The Fourth World without mentioning it overtly through the entire movie. In fact, we only saw glimpses of it when Steppenwolf attempted to contact Darkseid via De Saad.
To give context, there is no single person/creature/alien who is the bad guy in Justice League. There are a bunch of them and they are the members of the New Gods who are basically these ridiculously powerful creatures who live on Planet Apokolips in a realm called the Fourth World. However, while the collective New Gods have been introduced in The Snyder Cut, it is Steppenwolf who is the main driver of the villain plot in the movie. Here’s everything you need to know about him.
Steppenwolf in the comics
Steppenwolf is a brilliant Apokoliptian general who commands Darkseid’s armies by leading an elite, giant dog-riding set of soldiers. He has lead many battles for Darkseid over the centuries and wields a powerful electro axe in battle. He belongs to the family of the New Gods and is also related to Darkseid who is his nephew if measured by human relations. Besides this, Steppenwolf prefers to ride a hoverboard and is known for his incredible strength. It’s interesting to see Steppenwolf get so much attention in the films as he has always been a secondary character in the comics, never the main antagonist. Steppenwolf still has his position as Darkseid’s commander in the comics, in fact, he is both feared and detested as a member of the New Gods.
Steppenwolf in The Snyder Cut
The Steppenwolf we see in The Snyder Cut has fallen from Darkseid’s good graces thanks to his rebellion. It’s actually quite amusing to see him communicate with De Saad (who is basically middle-management) because he has lost the favor of the main boss. The Two-Horned god is summoned by the Mother boxes thanks to their fear of Superman whom Steppenwolf ends up killing as well. Most of what Steppenwolf does in the movie is opportunistic, like every time he pursues a lead for the Mother Box, it gets him closer to speaking to Darkseid himself. Even all his actions to unite the boxes are driven by the intent to please Darkseid. Planet Earth is simply a casualty that he could not care less about.
Yet, despite how he is or maybe because of the way he is, Snyder made it a point to depict him in an absolutely powerful and lethal way. How can one forget the way he pounded the Amazonians using his brute strength or the way he choked Atlanteans till they conceded? Watching Steppenwolf in action was an amazing experience, but more importantly, he was a reminder of why Superman was necessary for the Justice League to win. It was simply not possible to beat his strength without Superman’s own.
Snyder really fleshed out Steppenwolf’s character in Justice League. He made sure that Steppenwolf was more than just some lackey who is evil for the heck of it. Snyder’s bad guy came with a menacing and calculating edge as well as some great CGI to boot. If Steppenwolf was this hardcore, just how intense will it be when Darkseid and the other New Gods descend upon Earth to look for the Anti-life. Indeed the set-up is quite exciting and sets an amazing precedent for the next movies to come.
It will be a very long time before we can stop hearing Superman’s dying screams and stop contemplating just how haunted Batman is by the future that wasn’t. Snyder’s Justice League was the one that DC fans needed. The idea that a franchise can run simply by piggy-backing off of its fandom was a messed-up approach to take in the first place. Now that we’ve seen Snyder’s cut, it’s safe to say that DC heroes and villains are being depicted as nothing less than iconic. They have been given the kind of treatment that they should have received in the first place. It is indeed a massive relief to see this particular mistake rectified and have a Steppenwolf as well as New Gods who add intrigue and drive the plot in an exciting direction. The only hope is that Snyder continues to direct the future Justice League films and bring out more exciting content in the DCEU. It doesn’t matter if the film is 4 hours or more, we’re in.