Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Colbert Cut of Justice League is funnier, a lot shorter

Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

Stephen Colbert either pithily encapsulated an infamous Hollywood ego trip or trolled some furious fanboys when, on Monday’s Late Show, he described the thought process behind recent release of the hysterically hashtagged-to-heaven “Snyder Cut” of the 2017 superhero bust Justice League. Calling the newly unleashed, shrug-inducing, expensively re-jiggered four-hour-and-two-minute version of the DC Comics second try the perfect thing for people who thought, “Yeah, that film sucked, but what it was twice as long?,” Colbert—who was interviewing a star of a non-Snyder-ed comics cinematic universe later that night—happily joined the collective DC dog pile.

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But noted geek/nerd/enthusiast Stephen Colbert is all about helping his big screen comic book heroes, not hurting. The proud bearer of Captain America’s (replica) shield, Colbert zeroed in on the one part of the original Justice League he liked, showing the entirety of the 30-second post-credits stinger where Jesse Eisenberg’s now comics-bald Lex Luthor hosted DC supervillain assassin Deathstroke The Terminator (Joe Manganiello) aboard his opulent super-yacht to plot the creation of their own, decidedly less altruistic league. As yet, we don’t know if that’s the Legion Of Doom, the Injustice League, the Injustice Gang, the Secret Society Of Supervillains, or, in keeping with director Snyder’s tendencies, something even more hyperbolic. But, according to Colbert’s recut and extended version of the Justice League scene, we can all be assured it will strictly adhere to the tangled web of Disney/Sony/20th Century Fox/Netflix rights issues and continuity. Whoops, that’s the singularly more lucrative and acclaimed Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, still, it will definitely feature Luthor’s new pal Deadpool.

Wait, that’s Deadshot. Nope—he’s in the Suicide Squad. Deathstroke! Yes, that’s it, as Luthor finally figured out with the help of an exasperated Slade Wilson (a.k.a. Deathstroke), and not Wade Wilson (secret identity of Marvel’s Deadpool). And in no way Floyd Lawton’s Deadshot, who, unlike Deadpool, is actually a DC character who’s a preternaturally deadly assassin who’s been featured in a big, largely disappointing would-be blockbuster, and, look, let Colbert’s bald-capped Luthor just break out this handy chart. But we kid Wilson (that’s Slade Wilson), who was not only around first, but who was the basis for knockoff Marvel character Deadpool in the first place. Plus, Deathstroke is considered the world’s greatest assassin, routinely going toe-to-toe with Batman—although, as Colbert’s Deathstroke confesses, the comics’ Deathstroke is more obsessed with attacking Batman’s former sidekick, Robin. “The kid?,” Luthor asks incredulously, before tempting the wrath of a guy who once fought the entire Justice League to a standstill single-handedly, teasing, “Wait, your whole thing is that you fight a team of teenagers? Where do you duke it out—the mall?”

C’mon, Luthor, this is the Teen Titans/Titans we’re talking about—they’re no slouches, even if they are made up of sidekicks likely to append the word “-lad” to their superhero monikers, and do you want some help in taking down the Justice League in the now-inevitable sequel anyway? With (Slade) Wilson dutifully sitting through Colbert-Luthor’s 45-minute presentation on just how that other universe is run, things seem to be getting on track, at least until Luthor, unable to help himself, starts mocking Deathstroke’s supposed fanbase. “What are they called, ‘Stroke-heads?,’” Luthor taunts, finally causing his new pal to storm off-yacht in a huff (and leaving a ticking briefcase behind). Could this be the end of the Injustice Legion Of Doom Society? Um, maybe.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.