The Synder Cut of Justice League debuts on HBO Max next year, but this wouldn’t be the first time for a DC superhero movie to get a newly edited re-release on home video. Lest we forget, back in 2006, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut was released. And while the budget for that recut was nowhere near that rumored for the Synder overhaul ($20m+), the intent was precisely the same.
Cut the lame comedy imposed by another director (Richard Lester for Superman II, Joss Whedon with JL:DOJ) and restore the mythic tone that was originally an integral part of the story. Bearing in mind the considerable problems the restoration faced (missing footage/audio/effects), the Donner Cut is a worthy effort – at least in my mind.
Are there any other examples of superhero movie re-cuts? Well, Josh Trank apparently has no desire to release his cut of 2015’s Fantastic Four. There are of course many examples outside this genre, such as Brian Helgeland’s preferred version of his 1999 Mel Gibson thriller Payback which was released on DVD, shorn of the blue colour palette and compromises of the cinema release.
We’ve also had other ‘restored/director’s cut’ versions movies such as Lord of the Rings, Daredevil, Blade Runner, Once Upon a Time in America, Kingdom of Heaven, Apocalypse Now, Alien III, Alexander and even Snyder’s Watchmen, along with quite a few others, but I think none born from the painful circumstances of the two DC superhero films by Donner and Snyder.