It’s no secret that I am a huge DC Comics fan; there is something about the characters that feel so real to me. With DC movies being all over the map, I took a look at the issues around Justice League. Enjoy.
Back in 2017, DC was feeling better about itself coming off of positive reviews and an impressive box office run for Wonder Woman, a welcome change from the general loathing of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice released a year earlier. It was time, the studio thought, to bring together the top heroes of DC’s roster to come together for their team-up movie (a la Avengers), however early in the existence of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) it was. So in November 2017, Justice League made its debut to a somewhat better reception than BvS, but not by much.
To understand the inherent problems with Justice League, one need only look towards production. Well into filming, Joss Whedon (responsible for bringing “The Avengers” to screen) was brought onboard to assist director Zack Snyder in delivering an improved product. Come May of 2017, Snyder left due to a tragic family loss (research it, as I am choosing to not bring up specifics out of respect). Whedon was now in the driver’s seat of a vehicle being guided in large part by the directives of the Warner Bros. brass. Worried about tone and depth of the should-be superhero juggernaut film, Whedon reshot a lot of the scenes (reportedly around 25%) and cut out a large part of Snyder’s original vision to take the run-time under two hours. What resulted was dismal visual effects (Superman’s face is all jacked up due to Henry Cavill having a mustache during reshoots), awkward comedic moments that clashed with the more serious tone Snyder had already established, and a hasty rush to the finish line against a meh foe. This isn’t a terrible film, don’t get me wrong. There are some enjoyable moments, but in terms of furthering the DCEU, it essentially set it back even further.
Today, the lore surrounding the Snyder Cut of Justice League promises a much different film than the one that made it to screen. At over three hours long (over an hour longer than the theatrical version), many of the original ideas have since made their way online, in most cases confirmed by Snyder and others who worked on the film. The introduction of Darkseid, arguably the biggest bad of the DC Universe, is the missing piece that hurts the most for me. How about The Martian Manhunter would have been revealed as a character we first met in BvS? Additional appearances by characters from Aquaman and The Flash were also rumored, as were more fleshed out backstories for some of the heroes we had previously not seen on screen (oh hey, Cyborg). In short, fans were robbed.
So where does that leave things? Snyder himself has confirmed that he has a cut of the film, and Jason Mamoa (Aquaman) has stated, with positive enthusiasm, that he has seen it. Warner Bros. has said that they have no plans to release Snyder’s cut. Since then, however, Warner Bros.’s parent company has been acquired by AT&T and, last year, underwent a massive reorganization. In March 2019, the studio chief left his role and new leadership was installed. At this point I am not sure what Warner Bros. has to lose. With the exception of Aquaman and the forthcoming Wonder Woman sequel, the DCEU is stumbling along. Yes, a solo Flash film has finally been confirmed with “IT” director Andy Muchietti now on board, but that is still a long ways away. Ben Affleck has departed as Batman (Robert Pattinson is now donning the suit, though it is unknown if his film will be a standalone), and Henry Cavill is reportedly (and disputably) done as Superman. DC found success with a standalone Joker film, outside of the DCEU, and perhaps that is the new direction they’ll go. So releasing what was originally intended, what started with BvS, would only boost the DCEU, in my opinion.
Fans have not been silent. The “Release the Snyder Cut” movement has been going strong, even fundraising enough to place ads on a bus terminal during San Diego Comic Con and a digital billboard in Times Square. The folks over at @RTSnyderCut (Twitter) and @release_the_snyder_cut (Instagram) have been leading the charge, with part of the funds benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Snyder, for his part, has remained vocal and involved with comments and random tidbits via Vero.
Who knows where the DCEU will go in the future. Constant fumbles have erased the positives and jeopardized characters that so many love due to constant comparison to Marvel and Warner Bros.’ haste in matching what Disney has done. What is clear is that Zac Snyder had a vision, love it or hate it, and by not delivering on the vision that set the wheels in motion the studio has only further muddied the waters.
So I say #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Let’s see it. Give the fans what they want.