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Justice League ‘s opening credits song was one of the additions that Joss Whedon made to the film, according to Whedon himself. Whedon received co-screeenwriting credit for his efforts on the movie, which he oversaw the reshoots for after director Zack Snyder stepped away from the project.
Justice League opens with a rather dour montage, exploring the fallout of the death of Superman in Batman v. Superman. During this montage, the sounds of Norwegian pop star Sigrid can be heard, covering Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”. It’s a sequence that seems perfectly in line with Snyder’s darker vision of the DC Films universe, going back to 2013’s Man of Steel . Yet on his Twitter account, Whedon is claiming that he is the one who decided to add the cover to the montage.
Responding to The New Yorker ‘s Emily Nussbaum, who put some of the lyrics of the song up on her own Twitter account, Whedon claimed that he “stuck” the song into Justice League (see the Twitter exchange included below). This implies that while the opening montage was all Zack Snyder (which makes perfect sense), it’s the musical choice that Whedon added to the sequence.
(I stuck it in JL too)
2:35 PM - Dec 4, 2017
131 64 270 22h Emily Nussbaum @emilynussbaum
"Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
The finished product of Justice League does feel a bit at odds with itself, as some things about the film are undeniably and unquestionably Joss Whedon . Other sections of the film, particularly some of the darker bits, feel much more at home in Zack Snyder’s deconstruction of the DC Universe. Still it’s good to know that Whedon and Snyder agreed that the movie should open in a dark time, with the world mourning the loss of Superman.
However, the specific use of music in Justice League was one of the brand-new elements of the movie and universe. DC’s cinematic universe hasn’t included many established music pieces in its soundtracks to date, with Suicide Squad being the obvious exception that proves the rule. The decision to bring on Danny Elfman as composer and to include the classic cinematic themes of Batman and Superman, rather than the ones created for BvS and Man of Steel , has proven to be one of Justice League ‘s most controversial decisions. Similarly Justice League includes way more covers than the average DC film.
On the other hand, the opening montage and its song choice felt appropriate in Justice League , especially since the movie aimed to move from the darker tone of Snyder’s world to a more hopeful and optimistic world. Still, it would be hard to argue with any fan who felt that the use of “Everybody Knows”, and the film’s music choices overall, weren’t somewhat jarring when compared to what had come in the franchise before.