The successes of modern-era of superhero movies has have been largely helped by numerous advancements visual effects advancements made since the turn of the 21st century. While VFX isn't necessary to make a great movie, it is needed when the stories rely on visuals that can't be achieved with just practical effects. When done correctly, computer-generated imagery can enhance the quality of the film.
Superhero movies from companies like Marvel Studios and DC Films have taken a new expansion into the galactic and cosmic sides of their stories. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Man of Steel require massive work behind the scenes in the VFX department to adequately tell their stories. This will continue to be the case in new projects from both moguls, especially DC's Green Lantern series premiering on HBO Max and Marvel's third movie of Phase 4, Eternals.
VFX details have come from one of these upcoming projects, and the findings are fascinating.
Back in August 2020, Snyder shared that his cut would contain over 2,000 VFX shots. Now, a recent interview with Grace Randolph on the Beyond The Trailer YouTube Channel, Justice League director Zack Snyder revealed that his Snyder Cut will include around 2,800 visual effects shots in total.
It's a visual effects extravaganza... And, you know, my hats off and kudos to my entire visual effects team, they do an amazing job, worked so hard with them every day on this movie. And it's a labor of love for all of us.
Snyder's full video with Randolph can be seen below:
WHAT THIS MEANS
While 2,800 VFX shots may seem like a huge number at first glance, other recent superhero movie releases help to put this number into perspective.
Snyder's first directorial effort in the DCEU, 2013's Man of Steel, utilized close to 1,500 VFX shots in a two-hour-28 minute runtime, averaging out to 10.13 shots per minute. Looking at the Marvel Cinematic Universe's last two huge releases, Avengers: Infinity War included around 2,500 VFX shots in two hours and 29 minutes of runtime (17.6 shots/minute) while Avengers: Endgame had about 2,500 shots in three hours and two minutes (13.73 shots/minute). Many of these shots brought Josh Brolin's Thanos and his children to the big screen for their first starring roles in the MCU.
Since the Snyder Cut is said to be four hours long, the movie will likely average close to 11.67 VFX shots per minute, which comes out as the second-lowest rate of the four aforementioned movies by comparison. With special effects that need to be utilized for the Justice League's powers like Flash's speed and Aquaman's mastery of water, not including the fully CGI Steppenwolf and Darkseid, visual effects work is still a necessity. However, it's interesting to see that the number of shots in the Snyder Cut averages out to be a bit lower than other comparable superhero ensembles.
The theatrical cut of Justice League received its fair share of criticism for some notable CGI mishaps, notably for the Henry Cavill mustache debacle, but Snyder appears to be rectifying that blunder as he releases his vision for the movie. The trailers released thus far already show off hundreds of these shots, with images of Darkseid and the film's heroes, and those are just the tip of this film's VFX iceberg.
The Snyder Cut of Justice League will release on HBO Max in March 2021.