*DISCLAIMER: This is not a review of the film itself, merely a discussion of the events surrounding it. One day, I do aim to provide you with that review.*
The Zack Snyder cut of 2017’s Justice League was finally released this week and I thought it was good. My response to anyone who has asked about its theoretical quality over the past few years has been ‘that’s not what’s important so I don’t care’ and that is almost entirely true. However, I’d be lying if I said that Zack Snyder’s Justice League being as bad as the 2017 cut wouldn’t have been a little embarrassing for all of us who asked for its release. Yes, we would have asked for a bad, movie but the movie’s quality still isn’t the important aspect in that scenario. You read that correctly by the way, I am indeed one of those #ReleaseTheSnyderCut people that you’ve probably read about, although I also probably am not. I’d imagine that you’ve read about the ones who were screaming at and harassing people on a daily basis as well as sending the occasional death threat but (I like to think) that those people are part of the very vocal minority. They aren’t tolerated by me and they also aren’t tolerated by Zack Snyder. I’m on of the fans who was quietly campaigning on Twitter and donating money to charities and just being a decent human being. When I jumped on the campaign almost 4 years ago, it had nothing to do with ‘getting a better movie’ and everything to do with allowing a creator to finish his vision. I choose to believe that this was the core reason for a lot of people, although there certainly were some bigger players who just wanted a better film, and I won’t belittle them for that. The only portions of this fandom that I refuse to be associated with are the aforementioned harassers and the previously unmentioned adults who screamed like children because they felt like they were entitled to this version of the film. The only people who truly deserved this film were the people who poured hours into making it, including the cast, crew and the Snyder family.
This all began before the initial film had even been released, while it was still in post-production in late 2016/early 2017. At a time when the finishing touches should have been added, Zack Snyder stepped away from the project to deal with the tragic passing of his daughter, Autumn. The project had already been slightly troubled, with the executives at Warner Brothers having very little faith in Snyder after he directed the box-office disappointment that was Batman Vs Superman. With Snyder gone, Warner Bros hired Joss Whedon to re-work the script from 4 hours down to 2 and shoot the footage he needed to make that possible. Between the re-worked Snyder footage and the CG’ing out of the moustache Henry Cavill had grown for Mission Impossible: Fallout, the Whedon Cut was a mess, and worse than that, it was an act of betrayal by a company who should have been more concerned about their directors. Zack Snyder was dealing with probably the most traumatic event in his life, while Joss Whedon was continuing to be a racist, misogynistic and aggressive piece of work. In the end, what some have dubbed Josstice League was 2 hours, with around 10-15 minutes of that being Snyder’s footage. This was mentioned at the time by those who worked on the project, later re-affirmed by Deborah Snyder, and eventually proven by the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. What really interests me is the footage that Whedon elected to keep, which seems to mainly consist of battle footage and, to my surprise, the scene where Bruce Wayne meets Barry Allen (although Joss did add some K-Pop footage on Barry’s monitors that was later removed for the Snyder Cut).
After nearly 4 years of fan campaigns and millions raised for suicide prevention charities. Warner Bros finally granted Zack Snyder money to finish his vision. This $70 million went to the VFX artists and composer who worked on getting it completed as well as to a finally ‘Knightmare Sequence’ near the end of the film which was the only new footage. Zack Snyder himself refused to take a single penny. There have been a lot of conversations recently, and I’m sure they will only continue. that if fans yell loud enough then they can get whatever they want changed and that is definitely a conversation worth having. The entitlement that some fans seem to have is but one of several problems plaguing every fandom, but I don’t thing that these conversations should include the Snyder Cut. There certainly was a lot of shouting, but this film came about due to such a unique set of circumstances that it really isn’t comparable to anything else. When you look at the reason the director left the project, the amount of unused footage that was shot, the amount of footage that was shot to replace it, the reason the initial director came back and the amount of effort that went into this film’s restoration, there’s really only one thing that matters.
Zack Snyder loves this film and, if his daughter was anything like him, I’m sure she would have too.
Until Next Time…