The day that many DC Comics fans have been waiting for has finally arrived, as Zack Snyder's Justice League has now made its debut on HBO Max. The four-hour epic has provided fans with an incredible and expansive look at the DC Comics universe, one that varies wildly from the Joss Whedon-spearheaded theatrical version that debuted in 2017. Even though some of the main beats of the Snyder Cut might bear some resemblances to the theatrical cut, there is undeniably a lot that is different — right down to the film's conclusion. The Snyder Cut of Justice League provides fans with a very different third act, one that takes a very unique approach to expanding out the DC universe. Spoilers for Zack Snyder's Justice League below! Only look if you want to know!
The third act of the film sees its core heroes -- Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) — descending on the desolate Russian nuclear plant that Steppenwolf (Ciran Hinds) has taken over, as his base of operations for tracking down the Motherboxes and taking over Earth. After finding the third Motherbox and beginning to form "The Unity" (which will remake the world in the image of Darkseid (Ray Porter)), the League unleashes a no-holds-barred fight to stop him, and are soon joined by a Black suit-wearing Superman (Henry Cavill). As Cyborg tries to break apart the unity between the Motherboxes, he is hit with a vision of a possible future where Darkseid succeeds — one where Darkseid brutally kills Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and manipulates Superman (who is heartbroken by the death of Lois Lane (Amy Adams)) into controlling the world — before everything explodes in a white beam of light. The Flash manages to stop this from happening, running fast enough to be able to reverse time and give the League the upper hand.
The team then uses that upper hand to their advantage, dealing their final blows to Steppenwolf as Darkseid, Desaad, and Granny Goodness watch on through a Boom Tube. Wonder Woman ultimately decapitates Steppenwolf entirely, sending his body through the Boom Tube and back to Apokolips, where his head is squashed under the boot of Darkseid. Darkseid and the League then wordlessly stare each other down, before the battle fully finishes.
Then, the members of the League each go back to their separate lives — Aquaman decides to go reconnect with his father, The Flash gets a job at a crime lab to help prove his dad's innocence, Cyborg continues to refine his powers of flight, Wonder Woman revisits the shrine to the Amazons, and Batman and Superman resume their respective civilian and superhero lives. All the while, Bruce, Diana, and Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) make plans to give the League a base of operations, utilizing the grounds of the old Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) escapes from prison and holds a meeting with Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello), and offers Batman's identity as leverage.
Off of that optimistic note, the film then pivots into something else entirely — a vision of that potential "Knightmare" timeline. In it, Batman, The Flash, Cyborg, Deathstroke, Mera (Amber Heard), and The Joker (Jared Leto) serve as a ragtag band of rebels in an apocalyptic world, and attempt to find a way to make it to safety without calling the attention of Superman or Darkseid. Batman and Mera — and later, Batman and Joker — have various debates about the plan ahead and the team's very idea of survival, before Superman flies down and prepares to attack.
Then, we learn that this is all a dream that Bruce was really having, as he frantically wakes up in his bed. Bruce then goes outside to be visited by another costumed hero — Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix) — who introduces himself, applauds the team for their fight against Steppenwolf, and argues that the threat against Darkseid isn't over quite yet, before flying away.
While elements of the ending were reflected in the theatrical cut — The Flash's new job, the scene in Wayne Manor, and Superman doing the iconic reveal of his costume on the city street — the ending is starkly different from the one that fans might have recognized. It's just one of the many surprises that Zack Snyder's Justice League brings to fans, and to the DC universe as a whole.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is now available to stream exclusively on HBO Max.