Justice League: why Zack Snyder used the 4: 3 format


Zack Snyder’s Justice League debuted on HBO Max – and other platforms in Brazil – on the 18th. However, one thing seemed unusual on the screen. The black bars on the sides configure the 4: 3 ratio that the director decided to implement in his version.

A warning at the beginning of the film tells viewers that HBO Max is presenting the image in that proportion to “preserve the integrity of Zack Snyder’s creative vision”. And yes, Snyder intentionally filmed the production with that ratio in mind.

The presentation, which works extremely well on an IMAX screen, offers taller images that capture more of the top and bottom of a scene, while reducing on the sides. It is almost like a square (which would be a balanced 4: 4 ratio) and, according to Fabian Wagner, the cinematographer of the film, this was a conscious decision by the director from the beginning.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, Wagner said: “I think we must respect each filmmaker and the choice and opinion of each filmmaker. When I had my first meeting with Zack about the Justice League, even before he offered me the job, he mentioned the format and said he would love to do something in that proportion. It is a format that was used a lot in the 50s and 60s, but I always loved the idea, because now we are very used to seeing those Hollywood films in this widescreen aspect ratio, and many of them look the same. So, when Zack came up to me and mentioned that idea, I thought it could be incredible ”.

Ideally, DC fans would be flocking to IMAX cinemas to watch the four-hour version of the film, in which the aspect ratio chosen for the Snyder Cut would fit perfectly.

Still, HBO Max did not alter Snyder’s images to fit the mold of people’s television sets or computers.

The director said in an interview that there is a narrative reason behind the decision to shoot at a 4: 3 ratio. He explained that, in Man of Steel, the narrative was completely horizontal. In Batman vs Superman, it was slightly horizontal and slightly vertical. Now, in Justice League, he wanted to tip to the vertical.

The director added: “And I think it’s all about, and the story is about … getting up and meeting and becoming complete. And I think that’s what the aspect ratio is also trying to do. ”

Justice League: Snyder Cut can be rented by Brazilian fans on several platforms.


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