The Justice System

Justice League chapter guide: how to watch the Snyder Cut like a TV show

The HBO Max movie isn't a television series, but you can certainly treat it like one. Here's how.

So, you have a big problem. You want to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but you don’t have a spare four hours lying around to sink into the HBO Max superhero epic. Not a problem — assuming you have those hours available somewhere, just not in a row.

The so-called Snyder Cut is available now on HBO Max, and no, that four-hour runtime isn’t some hyperbolic joke: it’s the actual runtime. But don’t worry, by its nature, the film lends itself to watching across multiple viewings.

Already finished the Snyder Cut? Read our spoiler-filled breakdown with Zack Snyder.

No, Snyder’s Justice League isn’t a TV series, not technically. But Batman and Superman’s latest feature film experience comes equipped with a chapter structure, making it a novelistic cinematic experience. You can pick up and put down Justice League as makes the most sense to you and your schedule, just like a book, or a binge-model TV series.

For me, that was the only way I was ever going to make it all the way through four hours of superheroes slugging it out: treating it like any other streaming service show, stopping for breaks in between “episodes,” and even calling it quits for the night at a couple of points.

I watched the Snyder Cut like it was a TV show over the course of 3 full days — and now, so can you. Here’s how to space it out.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Prologue

Wonder Woman guides you toward the Snyder Cut.Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 9 Minutes

Watch on: Day 1

Zack Snyder’s Justice League announces itself and its tone with authority from the very opening sequence. Moaning music cuts through slow-motion sequences that effectively recap the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for everyone who can’t add an additional feature film’s runtime to their Justice League viewing experience.

If you want the quick-hit taste of what the Snyder Cut is all about, give yourself the first nine minutes to sink into the film without interruption. You can stop there if you need some time to pick your jaw up off the ground, or at least long enough to brew another cup of coffee. Once that’s done, carry on.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Part 1: Don’t Count on it, Batman

Bruce Wayne is counting on you to watch Justice League!Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 30 Minutes

Watch on: Day 1

The first official section of Justice League is the film’s first major dose of dialogue and character. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne begins his superhero team-building tour, heavy on the conversation and light on the fisticuffs. But there are two major fight sequences in this portion of the movie, and it only lasts about a half-hour — a little less, actually.

You won’t meet the full squad yet, but you will see how Snyder Cut differs from the theatrical Justice League both in content and scale. By the end of it, you may end up feeling a little breathless. My advice: call it here for a minute, eat a snack, and enjoy my heartiest congrats. Friend, you just watched the first episode of the Snyder Cut.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Part 2: The Age of Heroes

Justice League, assemble! Wait, wrong catchphrase...Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 30 Minutes

Watch on: Day 1

Whenever you’re ready for “Episode 2,” make sure you give yourself some space in your living room for your jaw to hit the ground. Visually dazzling, the second part of Justice League presents its big Lord of the Rings meets Avengers: Endgame moment, with a glimpse into an epic past war. In this section, you meet a couple of additional Justice Leaguers and spend more time with Jason Momoa’s brooding, boozing Arthur Curry.

But if you’re at all like me — as in, a serious Snyder Cut skeptic — this might be the moment in the viewing experience where you start to suspect the movie is actually … kind of good?

Oh no?

Oh no.

Take the rest of the day off, and think about what you’ve done. Justice League will resume in the morning.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Part 3: Beloved Mother, Beloved Son

Cyborg and your computer need to have a quick conversation.Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 40 minutes

Watch on: Day 2

Welcome to your second day of the Justice League marathon! Two more members of the crew step up into the spotlight: Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone. The Flash and Cyborg aren’t the only players in this part of the film, but they’re the most prominent ones, with introductory sequences of… let’s call it differing quality. Your mileage may vary, especially if you like hot dogs.

Anyway.

This is a very important piece of the film with a good amount of mythology, and even more than that, a powerful showcase for Fisher’s turn as Cyborg. If the Snyder Cut was built only to showcase this actor’s talent, then it was worth the hype.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Part 4: Change Machine

The Flash is ready to change things up.Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 30 Minutes

Watch on: Day 2

In “Change Machine,” the Justice League is finally united, mostly. (“We’re six, not five,” and all that.) It takes a minute for Batman and the others to realize their numbers are short by one. First, they have to rock an underground Gotham City lair and throw down with the minions of Darkseid.

Elsewhere, a seventh superhero makes a very strange debut, one that basically makes no sense at all without the context of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So that’s fun!

On the off chance you haven’t seen either of those movies — at all, or recently — you may want to spend the rest of your evening in a YouTube rabbit hole trying to figure out who that guy is, so you’re more centered tomorrow.

Alright, go get some sleep. You’re going to need it. The Snyder Cut ends tomorrow.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Part 5: All The King’s Horses

Superman is impressed with how you’re flying through Justice League.Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 30 Minutes

Watch on: Day 3

Welcome back to Zack Snyder’s Justice League, friends! Did you sleep okay? Ready for more? Good, because the third (and final) day is a big one.

So, remember Superman? You know, the most prominent superhero of all time, who is finally making his debut in Justice League at well past the two-hour mark? That Superman? Well, here he is, and here’s the good news: you won’t miss Superman for the rest of the movie. He’s here, and nary a mustache hair in sight.

As in the theatrical Justice League, Henry Cavill’s Kal-El shows up to announce the final act and the turning of the tide. But first, some in-fighting. The quest for piecing the Man of Steel back together ends up becoming a battle to keep the Justice League alive — and the rest of Metropolis, for that matter — signaling the movement into the last act of the film.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Part 6: Something Darker

Steppenwolf is ready for the final fight.Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 45 Minutes

Watch on: Day 3

It’s the final battle! The penultimate chapter centers on the Justice League taking it to Steppenwolf and his minions, and in many ways, it’s more or less what you remember. A big difference: Superman has a really cool suit, and he still doesn’t have a mustache.

There are a few additional bells and whistles, which is a softer way of saying “potentially game-changing developments.” For one: Darkseid. For another: Barry Allen. The latter of these big twists will tie up thanks to the upcoming The Flash movie. The world-conquering super-villain, on the other hand, may remain a lingering mystery forever, unless you all mob HBO Max and make those numbers undeniable for a sequel. (Hey, the Snyder Cut wasn’t supposed to happen at all; who says a sequel-by-committee is any less realistic?)

Okay, almost finished, folks. One last push, and then it’s all done. Ready for the big swing? Here we go…

Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Epilogue: A Father Twice Over

It was all going so well...Warner Bros. / HBO Max

Section Length: 20 Minutes

Watch on: Day 3

Alright. Now it’s over.

The Snyder Cut’s final act is a happy one — until it isn’t. The classic heroes get some rest, but the villains score a few wins of their own. And then something truly bonkers goes down.

And then something even more bonkers goes down.

Snyder leaves it all on the table in his final Justice League scenes, offering a look ahead at what might have been — and what could still be, if the noise from the audience is loud enough.

But that’s a fight for another day. For you, for now, fight no more: you watched all four hours of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and it only took you three days to do it. Congratulations! You have more than earned your seat at the table.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is streaming now on HBO Max.