The Snyder Cut
I bought HBO Max for one month just so I could watch this movie. I am much more of a Marvel fan than DC, but I knew I had to watch it. I think the MCU has much better characters because they have had more time to develop in all the movies, something the DCEU hasn't been able to do yet. I haven't seen any of the Superman movies or Wonder Woman 1984, but I have seen the rest of the recent DC movies. I think the best way to do this is talk about the characters, and then compare the Whedon edition (very excited for this part). Also, I just gotta say that with other life stuff, it took me over 8 hours to watch this four hour movie, and I was absolutely mentally drained by the end. It is not a movie for the faint of heart or people who don't care that much (aka me).
Batman is a very different Batman than other movies. There was a big pushback against Snyder on Twitter a year or two ago because Snyder said that Batman kills in other movies, just in a more indirect way. Someone getting thrown into a wall has a better chance of dying than someone who isn't thrown into a wall. I really enjoyed this more brutal version of Batman. It made him less of a rich guy running around in a costume for fun, and more of a real hero, albeit a darker one. He also is seen in the Snyder Cut speaking in different languages and understanding complicated concepts. That again shows that he is more than a rich guy running around in a suit, which is what I thought of him in Batman v Superman.
I love Diana Prince, and Wonder Woman is one of the best female-led action movies I've seen. I know I wanted to save the Whedon version slander for the end, but I can't avoid the fact that Whedon heavily sexualized Diana where it was completely unnecessary. He did some of the same things in Age of Ultron with Natasha (low shots from behind, making a male character landing on top of their chest in an attack), and it's really just disgusting. Snyder did not try to make her ugly or undesirable at all, but his camera work and dialogue surrounding Diana was much more respectful. She was a person in this movie, not the token female hero in a short skirt. There were so many scenes showing her being a strong and inspirational hero and dealing with the attack on Themyscira where she couldn't help. Also, in contrast with the Whedon edition, her romance with Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman was not used as an excuse for her acting certain ways by male characters. She brought him up once herself, and no one else disparaged her for losing a man she cared deeply for, and changing because of it. Diana Prince is an amazing character, and the Snyder Cut showed her as a person, not an object for the male gaze.
Aquaman was better in this movie than both the Whedon Justice League and Aquaman (the movie). I did not like his personal movie at all, and will never rewatch it. In both that movie and the Whedon Justice League, he's just a dude-bro surfer who only helps because it directly affects him. While he still joined the team in Snyder Cut only when it impacted him personally, the Snyder Cut does a great job setting up his backstory. This was supposed to come out before his personal movie, so the viewer gets a lot of exposition they already know, but it would have helped set up the independent Aquaman movie quite nicely.
I have seen the TV show The Flash so I knew a bit about Barry Allen's backstory, but this movie does a great job setting it up for people who are unfamiliar. I know Ezra Miller's Barry will have an independent DCEU movie coming out in 2022, and this did a good job setting that up. We know the backstory of why his father is in jail, his drive to study criminal justice, and the bare minimum of who Iris West, his future girlfriend, is. Snyder also does a wonderful job at explaining the weirder parts of his powers, using his ability to run faster than the speed of light to change time in several scenes. This certainly explains his absence in the final battle during Whedon's version, as he was on his own little mission to change time.
Now it's time for my favorite character of this movie, which will be a great lead in to how badly Whedon did on his Justice League. Cyborg, aka Victor Stone, was the best part of the Snyder Cut. There is no competition. How he became a cyborg and his very complicated relationship with his father is explained in great depth, and adds so much that we never got from Whedon. Victor's body may be made of metal now, but he is still a human who has thoughts and emotions. He is the key to fixing everything, since he was made with one of the Mother Boxes that could be used to destroy the Earth, and he does it. There is a lovely scene of him discovering all that his cyborg powers can do for him, like crashing world banks or launching all of the nukes in the world. The first thing he uses these powers for is to save a single mother from eviction, showing how genuinely good he is. Victor watches his father die in front of him to give the team a chance at finding the villain's secret hideout, and Ray Fisher, the actor who plays Victor, does a masterful job at showing how distraught his character is. It is a travesty that Whedon cut all of this out.
I watched the Whedon Justice League the night before I watched the Snyder Cut, and all that did is showcase how absolutely terrible Whedon's version is. Ignoring the fact that he threw Snyder, who had to leave filming due to his daughter's death, under the bus at any possible chance when Whedon got backlash for the choices he made for the movie, Whedon's movie is distinctly worse in every way. Batman? Rich guy in a costume. Wonder Woman? Hot dumb lady. Cyborg? Robot with human face. Aquaman? Dude-bro surfer. The Flash? Socially awkward nerd. Snyder brought a little personality to each main character. Whedon totally changed the design of the main villain of his movie, making him look much less cool and scary than Snyder's same villain, Steppenwolf. Snyder showed Steppenwolf's motivations, his fears, and his plans in a masterful way. He set up a possible sequel, with Steppenwolf telling his boss Darkseid that the "anti-life equation" is on Earth. Full disclosure, I have no idea what the anti-life equation means in the DCEU or DC Comics so that one went over my head, but I do know Darkseid is similar to the MCU's Thanos, so that could be cool. All in all, despite being the longest movie I have ever watched, the Snyder Cut was very enjoyable and made me have some hope for the future of the DCEU.