Summary

  • The defeat of Steppenwolf in Zack Snyder’s Justice League is widely regarded as the best on-screen demise of a DC villain.
  • The Snyder Cut of Justice League showcases a more formidable and compelling version of Steppenwolf compared to the theatrical cut.
  • While Steppenwolf’s defeat in the Snyder Cut is deserving of praise, its lethal nature may contribute to its restrained acclaim due to discomfort with superhero movie villains being killed.


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The coolest DC movie villain defeat—which is from Zack Snyder’s Justice League—still has not gotten the praise it deserves. In the long history of DC movies, villain defeats have often been one of their most memorable elements, whether it’s Batman’s defeat of his enemies in The Dark Knight trilogy or Superman’s still controversial killing of General Zod in Man of Steel. However, arguably the best on-screen demise of a DC villain is the defeat of Steppenwolf in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

The history of Zack Snyder’s Justice League (or the Snyder Cut for short) has made it a unique example of superhero cinema, and one of the film’s most praised elements is the massive upgrade of Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). Widely criticized as a weak and unmemorable antagonist in the 2017 theatrical cut of Justice League, Steppenwolf returned as a far more fearsome Apokoliptian villain with a tragic backstory in the Snyder Cut. To top it off, Steppenwolf’s defeat during the Zack Snyder’s Justice League ending is not just leaps and bounds above how he is vanquished in the theatrical cut, but the best villain defeat in any DC movie.

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Justice League’s Steppenwolf Battle Is IncredibleZack Snyder's Justice League Snyder Cut Wonder Woman Flip Steppenwolf

The Justice League’s final battle with Steppenwolf and his Parademon army is considerably trimmed down and disjointed in the 2017 version of Justice League, through a combination of the movie’s extensive reshoots and studio mandated two-hour run time. By contrast, Zack Snyder’s Justice League culminates in a far more grandiose and epic showdown, with the League working in tandem and each hero having a specific role to play, along with their own highlight moments. It all comes to a crescendo when a portal to Apokolips is opened with Darkseid (Ray Porter), DeSaad (Peter Guiness), and Granny Goodness looking on at the defeated Steppenwolf.

Just as Steppenwolf prepares to launch another attack, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) impales him from behind with his trident, while Superman (Henry Cavill) flies in to punch him back towards the portal. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) then rebounds off a wall to chop Steppenwolf’s head off as he is sent through the portal, with his head bouncing right under Darkseid’s foot. In all, the teamwork and individual displays of powers in the finale of Zack Snyder’s Justice League make Steppenwolf’s downfall far more worthy of a villain of his caliber, compared to the Parademons turning on him after smelling his fear in Justice League‘s theatrical cut.

Why Not Enough People Praise The Justice League’s Victory

Zack Snyder's Justice League team image

While Steppenwolf has been praised as one of the Snyder Cut’s many redeemed characters following a poor showing in the theatrical cut, the praise for his defeat has not been quite as voluminous as other elements of the movie, and that might have to do with the fact that it involves Steppenwolf dying. Zod’s death in Man of Steel was one of the movie’s most controversial elements, while the more violent conduct of Batman (Ben Affleck) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice also drew criticism. These suggest that superheroes taking lives is a concept that many still hold an aversion to.

Snyder has generally delivered some of the most intense superhero movie battles ever put to screen, where heroes and villains alike endure harsh punishment and even death. Meanwhile, the discomfort with superhero movie villains being killed even in wholly justified circumstances could explain why Steppenwolf’s death has not been quite as praised as the rest of the film. Sill, while its lethal nature might keep its acclaim somewhat restrained, no DC movie has taken out a villain as memorably as Steppenwolf’s demise in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

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