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The Snyder Cut of Justice League has been out on HBO Max for almost a week — which still hasn’t been enough time to process everything that happened in its four-hour runtime, from the appearance of Martian Manhunter to Lois Lane’s pregnancy test revelation. However, there is one thing that almost instantly became very clear from this version of the movie, as compared to the original one finished by Joss Whedon and released in 2017: Wonder Woman gets her due.
Moviegoers had many complaints after the original movie’s release about the way Diana was treated in the film. NBC News’ Think pointed out that there’s a bit of mansplaining in Justice League: "The greatest hero in the world is reduced to merely the greatest female hero; she ultimately needs a man to teach her about superheroing," it said. SyFy Wire noted that Diana became a "lame rom-com protagonist," nagging, bickering, and flirting with Batman despite the way he shoehorns Steve Trevor into a conversation to get an emotional reaction out of her. She became victim to completely gratuitous up-skirt shots and gags about boobs, while her action scenes were (as we now know) truncated, turning her into a mere sidekick and focusing on the men instead, as The Mary Sue noticed. One of her action scenes, also, seemed "clearly like a Whedon reshoot created for fan service, as it has zero to do with the wider plot," SyFy Wire said.
Thanks to the Snyder Cut, though, that view of Wonder Woman is gone. She now claims a front and center position in the Justice League’s battles against Steppenwolf, showing that she was leading — with her trademark compassion and care — the whole time. So, let’s discuss that scene when Wonder Woman battles Steppenwolf and cuts off his head.
The scene showcases Diana’s power and her skill as a warrior
The scene takes place in Part 7 of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the final confrontation between the heroes and Darkseid’s minion. While every one of the heroes participates in the standoff, Cyborg and the Flash’s specialized abilities mean they focus on making sure the Unity never happens. The plan is for Flash to whip up a charge that will allow Cyborg to disrupt the synchronization of the Mother Boxes. The others — Batman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman — are left to deal with a Steppenwolf who seems especially to enjoy taunting Diana, telling her she abandoned her sisters and bringing up her mother’s death. Superman soon enters the fray, helping both groups. When the plan fails, the Flash turns back time to give everyone a second chance.
In the end, Superman takes off Steppenwolf’s horn, and Aquaman spears him. But it’s Diana who gets in the killing blow as Superman pushes the alien menace back toward the portal that will bring him back to Darkseid. Diana jumps in with her sword, slicing his head off just before he enters the Boom Tube.
This was the intended ending to Justice League all along — and it’s one of the reasons that fans are loving this restored version of the character. "This is easily the best movie that has ever been made about Wonder Woman," @MrConductorFan posted on Twitter. "Her personality, culture, family, abilities, strength, wisdom, etc. She carries the action in the film, and they give her a TON of screen time to showcase her power in a way I’ve never seen anyone do before."
The scene allows Diana to exhibit her fierceness and boldness as a warrior, removing any doubt about her abilities and bringing back a vision of the character that should never have been allowed to lapse, as it did in the original Justice League.
Gods should defeat gods, according to Zack Snyder
There’s no doubt that Steppenwolf is a powerful foe, requiring the combined efforts of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, despite their own formidable strengths. In DC Comics canon, Steppenwolf is a New God. Diana is a demigod: her father was Zeus, and her mother was Hippolyta of the Amazons. In this way, they are equals.
This means that, to director Zack Snyder, Wonder Woman killing Steppenwolf is basically the only ending that makes any sense. By definition, gods can’t be killed, at least not by mere mortals — even ones with mutant powers, like Aquaman, or ones who get theirs from the yellow sun, like Superman.
In 2019, Snyder made a post on Vero that revealed his concept of that climactic scene in three unfinished images. In the caption, he noted, "Not sure how they killed Steppenwolf in the theatrical version of JL this was never finished all the way but I use Gods to kill Gods."
This post clearly shows the director’s intention, now restored and reinforced in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. And it turns out, his idea of Wonder Woman seems so reasonable that it’s the one many others are embracing, too.