Dozens of superhero movies exist on the market today, but perhaps none of them are as divisive as Zack Snyder’s contributions to the genre. Those who have seen his movies (Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League) seem to fall into one of two camps. They either swear his films are the greatest cinematic achievements since (or perhaps even including) Citizen Kane. Or they protest the films are the movie equivalent of a yeast infection – they exist, they aren’t particularly enjoyable, and yet some people inexplicably cannot stop talking about them. Either way, strap in, because #ReleaseTheSnyderCut fans have finally swayed Warner Brothers to release Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League.
On its face, one might understandably have concerns at the precedent this can arguably set. “Complain enough online, and a movie studio will bow to your whims.” However, Justice League isn’t quite in the same boat as other movies with large, divided fanbases (Star Wars universe, I’m looking at you). Justice League was in post-production when Zack Snyder announced he would step down following a family tragedy. Rather than postpone the production for a few months – or try to replace Snyder with a film maker with a similar vision – Warner Brothers hired Joss Whedon to complete the film.
Whether you like Joss Whedon – or Zack Snyder – the two directors have vastly different tones to their work. It seemed Warner Brothers wanted to turn Justice League into the next Avengers. If so, their efforts didn’t exactly succeed. The finished product ended up in very murky territory somewhere between the two, failing to really appeal to either camp. It wasn’t Snyder-y enough for those who had loved the darker, grittier, “more realistic” tone of Snyder’s other films in the franchise. And it wasn’t Whedon-y enough for those who liked the fun, irreverent, more lighthearted tone of The Avengers.
So is this setting a dangerous precedent, or is it just the equivalent of releasing a film’s Director’s Cut? Maybe it really is more like the latter. Whether you love the Zack Snyder films or hate them, at least fans – and detractors – will finally be able to see Snyder’s vision to complete the trilogy. The #ReleaseTheSnyderCut petitions can end. And we’ll all get new content, which is hard to come by nowadays.
Maybe the film will be terrible. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe it’ll just be slightly less orange. Either way, fans will be able to see the finished product on HBO Max in 2021. There’s a pandemic going on. What else is there to do?