WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, now available on Digital HD.
The debate over Zack Snyder’s vision in the DCEU is one that still rages to this day, with fans still vocal about the Snyder Cut of the ill-fated Justice League. Many felt the director wasn’t the man to keep bringing DC’s heroes to life on the big screen as Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice came off very violent and lacked coherence in their narrative at times.
This all culminated in Joss Whedon finishing Justice League but the film wasn’t uniform and ended up being a broken product of two directors. Since Snyder left the DCEU, Warner Bros. has been trying to course-correct his bleak films with lighthearted movies such as Wonder Woman and Shazam!. However, if one wants a look at how Snyder’s roadmap could have played out, they need to look no further than Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.
The animated film has everything Snyder wanted to bring to life, including excessive violence and a grim world where heroes are super-aggressive. At the heart of it, Superman and Batman want to invade Apokolips to strike against Darkseid and remove him before he invades. This proactivity is similar to Snyder’s Dark Knight wanting the Man of Steel off the table. Snyder, who keeps dropping behind-the-scenes pics and hints about where the plot of his film could have gone, said that Justice League was a two-parter and that he wanted to have his heroes going after Apokolips.
There’s another big parallel with Darkseid taking Batman under his control here. It’s a flip of the Knightmare tease Snyder had where Superman lost his loved ones, became Darkseid’s lackey, and then went after Batman’s resistance on Earth. In this movie, Batman loses his loved ones and is enslaved by the overlord, and he then oversees a broken Superman There’s also Cyborg’s Mother Box technology being used as a spy device by Darkseid in a similar way to what Snyder had in mind when he wanted to use Vic Stone as the bridge between the heroes and Darkseid’s legions.
Additionally, Snyder also wanted to use more of the Flash and time-travel to help the heroes win, as seen in the BvS sequence where Bruce Wayne has the vision with Barry Allen. The director was interested in the Speed Force as a deus ex machina and Barry trying to use it to defeat the villain. And in Apokolips War, while it’s only employed after Darkseid falls, Flash resets the universe with another Flashpoint run.
Last but not least, the action is all Snyder because you’ve got over-the-top deaths of heroes left, right and center, which throws back to when he killed off Jimmy Olsen quickly in BvS. It’s the end of the world so many members of the League, Teen Titans and Suicide Squad, and meaningful faces like Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Harley Quinn, all die in brutal fashion, matching Snyder’s philosophy that everyone and anyone is expendable.
When Darkseid invades Oa and has magma poured over the Green Lantern battery and John Stewart, it punctuates this is the kind of the world Snyder wanted to continue sculpting. This is reiterated when vicious Parademons start ripping people in half, chomping on them like fast-food. Ultimately, watching the animated movie paint a broken, desolate Earth plunged into darkness has Snyder written all over him. So, while fans might never see a Snyder Cut, they can always look at Apokolips War as a potential Snyder Future.
Justice League Dark: Apokolips War stars Matt Ryan as John Constantine, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Taissa Farmiga as Raven, Stuart Allan as Robin, Tony Todd as Darkseid, Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Christopher Gorham as the Flash, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane and Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor. The film is out on Digital HD and arrives on Blu-ray May 19.
With Justice League Dark: Apokolips War's over-the-top violence and dark aesthetic, the movie feels like Zack Snyder's intended finale for the DCEU.