This week the SnyderCut is finally coming out. For those of you that need a refresher, here is (roughly) what happened.
Zack Snyder was creating the Justice League movie, following his Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as the Wonder Woman movie. Unfortunately, Snyder had some serious family issues arise, his daughter’s death. This left him with the lack of energy to have the fights with the studio that always happen with blockbuster movies. So instead, Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) to finish the film.
Of course, when you bring another director on board, especially one with the following of Whedon, they are bound to try to force the film into their new vision of what it should be. This became a bit of a square-peg-in-a-round-hole situation. The movie suffered greatly, and it just wasn’t good. This was also partly because the studio refused to push the release date back at all, meaning that Whedon had to come in with his rewrites and reshoots, with just as much time as Snyder had originally.
Now, if you read my Justice League article that I wrote after I watched it (in November of 2017) then you’ll see that I actually enjoyed the film more than I did Man of Steel or Batman v. Superman. The movie seemed a bit more fun, but still just as bizarre to watch. I’m not a fan of Snyder’s style, and so adding the Whedon-ness into it made it better for me. That doesn’t mean I like the movie though.
However, some people REALLY like Snyder’s style, and seeing it watered down with the Whedon-ocity was a huge bummer for people. After the film’s release, Snyder announced that he had a very different vision for the film, and people immediately began campaigning for his version of the movie.
All over the web, people started posting about the SnyderCut, a film that only existed theoretically, that they all assumed would be better. At first is was more of a meme, a running gag throughout the internet, but some were taking it very seriously, and didn’t see this as a joke at all. They demanded that Zack Snyder should get a chance to return to his film, and release it the way he wanted to.
I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I believe that art is never done, and that at some point you have to accept that it is what it is. You could always continue to improve something, but once it’s released, just allow it to be complete. On the other hand, I do subscribe to auteur theory, the idea that a film’s finished product is due to the director’s vision and ability to create said vision. Snyder didn’t get to create that product, and the studio was unwilling to allow Snyder an extension on his film, based on his family’s tension. So shouldn’t he get a chance to actually make the movie he wanted to make? On another (third?) hand, by bending to the will of the fans, this puts a lot of power into the hands of the audience at large. This led to fans strong-arming Paramount into redesigning Sonic the Hedgehog, which increased the budget of that film greatly, and had probably no bigger of an audience than it would have, especially considering it’s theatrical run was at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
Either way, eventually Warner Bros. decided to allow Snyder to go back to the studio, and continue working on his SnyderCut. Since then, not only has Snyder filmed footage he hadn’t filmed, but he is extending the total runtime of the film. This means that this is not, actually, the movie he was originally planning on making. Sure, this might be his “initial vision” but he is taking advantage on fan’s outrage and making more and more of this film, changing designs, adding story, and more. Above I mentioned how a piece of art is never really finished, and this is evidence of that. Adding the years that he had to continue working on his movie, as well as seeing what the theatrical filmed succeeded and failed at, this is not the movie he would have made.
Overall, I don’t believe that the Justice League deserved to be remade, that the fans earned a reward for their push, or that this movie should be celebrated as a win for anyone besides toxic fans that feel they can yell and get what they want.
Some people will disagree with me. They’ll call me a MCU fanboy (true) child, who doesn’t understand the “true art of Snyder”. However, people’s opinions (mine included) on this movie aren’t unlike their politics, in that what the believe is based more on their feelings than actual evidence. People that agree with me will have already agreed, and people that think I’m wrong were already thinking that. Ultimately, I just needed a place to process why I didn’t care about SnyderCut, and I think given this space, I know I won’t be getting on HBO to watch this 4-hour movie, or six-part miniseries, whichever they end up choosing.