The year 2020 is turning out to be an amusing one! Well, let’s not recount the horrors that we have seen since the beginning of the year. But let us look at the promise the future holds. And the future holds Zack Snyder’s Justice League Cut for us!
Yes, haters said it was a myth, a hoax, it doesn’t exist! But fans believed… believed and demanded something that they truly deserve. For 3 long years, #releasetheSnydercut trended and finally melted down the internet.
Watch: Justice League: The Snyder Cut – Official Trailer
Seldom happens that fans get a win over a big Hollywood production house. And when they do, it’s a victory of art, the artist and the art appreciator.
DCEU fans brought justice for the Justice League and its creator Zack Snyder.
What is Snyder’s Cut?
If you’re not living under a rock, in the past week you must have heard about Justice League Snyder Cut, in passing. Back in 2011, Warner Brothers, DC’s parent company trusted director Zack Snyder to helm its extended universe. Not one movie but the entire DC universe!
Snyder took up the mantle from Christopher Nolan whose Dark Knight series set a dark tone for the DCEU. Fans had widely appreciated Nolan’s dark take on the caped crusader. While Heath Ledger’s Joker and Tom Hardy’s Bane are truly unparalleled. Nolan is well known for his non-linear storytelling and deep-diving into a character’s psyche. He brought out Joker’s madness in the rawest of its forms. Truly showcasing Joker as the Yin to Batman’s Yang.
The climax scene where Joker pits Gotham’s citizens against each other in two boats is an iconic example of psychological dilemma showcased on-screen be it writing, direction or performance.
Watch: How I wrote The Dark Knight
Similarly, Tom Hardy’s Bane is the only villain who has broken Batman’s back, literally! In Nolan’s vision, closer to its comic book origin Bane stands equal and sometimes taller than Batman – both in brains and brawns.
Christopher Nolan has the ability to articulate his characters in a way that the viewer identifies with both the villain and the hero, in their strengths and weaknesses. Around the same time Marvel Cinematic Universe had kicked in with Iron Man in 2008 and 2012 Avengers was a smashing hit. DC jumped into the bandwagon. The 2013 Man of Steel with Henry Cavill as Superman kick-started the DCEU.
The DC Extended Universe
WB’s DC Extended Universe comprised of Henry Cavill as its Superman, Gal Gadot as its Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck as its Batman, and Jason Momoa as its Aquaman – all picked by Snyder. In Snyder’s original vision, he set out to make three Justice League films with the finale focusing largely on villain Knightmare’s plotline (which never happened in the theatrical version) and the second film ending in our heroes’ defeat.
Snyder introduced Gadot and Momoa in 2016’s Batman Vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice. The same year he shot Justice League and by January 2017 he produced a 4-hr long cut of the movie. However, inspired by Marvel Studios’ comic family-friendly tone of superheroes, WB didn’t want to release Snyder’s cut of the Justice League. The Hollywood Reporter recently revealed in an interview that Snyder had cut his magnum opus in a rough 2 hr 20 minute run time and both he and studio agreed a lot of work was yet to be done.
Snyder who has done some brilliant work like Sucker Punch, 300, Watchmen – continued Nolan’s dark tone with the DCEU. He wanted to explore various themes like, what happens when Gods are pit against each other? What happens when an all-powerful ethical hero turns to the dark side? Keeping Men and Gods on the same ground he wanted to tell stories about moral and ethical questions it raises. And we thought choosing a side in Captain America: Civil War was difficult!
DC always had the guts to show the ethically flawed side of their heroes. In the DC comics, superheroes do have regrets. Which makes the characters more relatable than ever. Not everything is painted in rainbow colors in DCEU, Superman has never refrained to don a Black Suit! And he is the biggest cultural icon DC has, entertaining people for over 80 years.
However, Snyder’s Batman Vs Superman didn’t sit well with the fans. The movie was too dark and slow for the critics. Some felt it was “Batman-ization of the Superman.” The reviews made WB insist on setting a lighter tone for the future movie.
However, Snyder never finished his original cut. As misfortune struck Snyder’s daughter passed away by suicide. He left the production in between to spend time with his family. Some even say he was fired!
DC’s Superhero Failure
And hence started the fall of DC.
WB got 2012 Avenger fame director Joss Whedon to finish the movie. What we got was a patchy, inconsistent, contradicting movie. Whedon is the king of geek humor, a tone that now dominates MCU. For example, Genius billionaire playboy philanthropist can only be Tony Stark! Or be it Banner, who is ‘always angry,’ and let’s not forget Hulk’s “Puny God!’ Wheadon spun humor that demands new geeks even in MCU Phase 4 and 5.
On the other hand, Zack Snyder prefers darker pallets and grittier plots when telling his stories. His superheroes have the dark, violent even farcical side; Think 300, Leonidas kicking the Persian messenger into the well as he screams, This. Is. Sparta.
So, when Whedon took over Snyder’s vision Justice League 2017 happened. The movie was bright, had colors and it was bubbly! This wasn’t Snyder’s vision. The movie was dissed by fans and critics alike. It was such a big Hollywood fail that instantly Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck both exit the franchise.
In one single sweep, DC lost its age-old Superhero charisma. And fans demanded #bringbacktheSnydercut!
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Snyder Cut is not only a victory for fans but for artists around the world. More often than not artists, directors and producers have to compromise on their visions under various pressures from the Studios. The result might be cash grab but the vision is never realised.
Watch: Justice League Snyder Cut 2021 on HBO Max official trailer
His fans left no stones unturned to bring back the movie from renting a billboard in Times Square to booking an airplane ad at San Diego Comic-Con to a Change.org petition till trolling DC executives and critics.
When Zack Snyder announced his Justice League, it was a collective win for his vision and fan’s admiration for his world.
In 2021, Zack Synder’s Justice League cut debuts on HBO Max, another WB subsidiary.
What’s In it For WB?
Reportedly, Snyder will get a huge budget to finish post-production. Even before announcing his cut, Snyder and wife Deborah, who is his producing partner, were reassembling the old post-production crew to score, cut, and finish the movie. The production shutdowns in Hollywood almost put the project on the back burner but the couple thought it was the right time.
“No, this is the right time’ because our visual effects houses that rely on so much are running out of work, so now is the time to be doing this. It also helped that many of those post facilities had held on to the original assets.”Deborah Snyder told THR
In a post-pandemic world where ‘new content’ is scarce releasing, a pre-shot movie seems like a profitable idea. And no wonder marketing won’t need a penny. However, there’s no existing cut reel to showcase, the post-production, editing, VFX, reshoots process will go on for the year the come. Also, HBO Max the new streaming service now has a distinguished stand among its already established peers like Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus among others. In one clear sweep, WB made HBO Max the sought out streaming service to exist right at its launch.
While Marvel content for Disney’s streaming services has proven a gold mine. In a new era of digital consumption, Snyder’s cut proves to be a profitable idea for all parties involved. And maybe, it’ll bring back the edge and style that were synonyms to the brand DC. And while we are at Justice League’s Snyder Cut can we now look at the Change.Org petition for Game of Thrones Season 8? (I wasted 8 years on it and so did you!)