It would seem that the future of the DC Cinematic Universe is emerging out of the darkness into something a little more bright and promising, a theme that has been missing from just about every DC movie that isn’t Wonder Woman or Aquaman. There is a sense of optimism that surrounds the DCEU currently, almost a Rebrith of its own, with Shazam! getting glowing reviews, the James Gunn led Suicide Squad reboot, a new Batman franchise possibly set in the ‘90s, and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 leading a charge towards a new direction. It’s possible for fans to believe that this historic comic company can finally turn the corner and produce films that are able to stand on their own and be excited about. I’m not saying that the films have to be compared to Marvel, although they always will be, it’s important that the films are a fair representation of the characters they’re showcasing. Yet, with all this promise on the horizon, we spent a great majority of the weekend reflecting on the past. More specifically Zack Snyder and the films he didn’t make.
During a screening of the director’s cut of Batman vs Superman, an event being dubbed Snydercon, the director fielded a ton of fan questions where he addressed a number of the rumors concerning BvS and his original take on the Justice League film. A film that eventually was finished by Joss Whedon as Synder dropped out due to family issues. The idea of the “Snyder Cut” version of the Justice League has been floating around the internet ever since the film was released. It almost became a banner for disappointed, hardcore DC fans to rally behind to make an excuse to why the movie was so poorly executed. To these fans the movie flopped not because it was cut and paste, lacked depth, betrayed character but because the single vision of its director was destroyed. And sure, maybe to a degree that played a part but there is little denying that the DCEU was a mess before Justice League even hit theaters, and that is largely due to the leadership of Zack Snyder.
One of the things I’ve argued here at I Am Geek is that Snyder had very little understanding of who these characters are and what makes them heroes, and after his Q&As at Snydercon this weekend, I still feel the same way. Heroes killing became a major obstacle for myself and a large number of fans to overcome with Snyder’s vision. In Man of Steel, Superman kills Zodd when I think it would have been just as easy for him to cover Zodd’s eyes with his unbreakable skin! Superman, the boy scout, should never choose to kill. Ever. It’s that easy. Then you transition to BvS where Batman kills over twenty people. A hero whose one rule is never killing, kills over and over and over again to the point where you’re wondering if the Joker might be wearing the cape and cowl. When addressed with a question about Batman’s killing, Snyder goes on a rant saying that fans who wanted a purer sense of the Batman character is “living in a fucking dreamworld.” Yikes.
Snyder doubles down in his rant as well…
So I guess that’s what I’m saying about, once you’ve lost your virginity to this fucking movie and then you come and say to me something like, ‘My superhero wouldn’t do that’, I’m like ‘Are you serious?’, I’m like down the fucking road on that. You know what I mean?
It’s a cool point. Look, I’m 100% fine with it. It’s a cool point of view to be like, ‘My heroes are still innocent. My heroes didn’t like to America. My heroes didn’t embezzle money. My heroes didn’t commit any atrocities.
I’m like, ‘That’s cool but you’re living in a fucking dreamworld.
I fully understand that Snyder wants to put his own spin on these characters, and that’s fine, but at what point do we realize he’s lost track of who these characters are? Probably around murder twenty-five? Snyder’s problem with the DC Universe is he wants it to be The Watchmen Universe, a film he already did and mediocrely. Granted, it’s a damn near impossible comic to adapt but his film glorified violence in a story that made a point not to glorify violence. A misconception of character/story seems to be a common thread when it comes to Snyder. By saying, “Like Watchmen talked about comic books in the same way that this movie talks about comic book movies”, Snyder is openly admitting that he doesn’t care about the history of DC heroes. Instead, he wanted to make a statement film on par with Alan Moore’s Watchmen except he was using characters with massive mythologies and followings in order to do so. Why not create your own story that tackles this subject? Why sacrifice beloved characters? It all seems very selfish and misguided all in the attempt to course correct the film he blew.
Despite all the evidence, Snyder loyalists refuse to see anything other than the director’s vision seemingly forgetting that these characters belong to DC Comics and not Zack Snyder. Could this film have worked if it was presented as an Elseworlds tale? I think so, it would have been a unique spin on classic characters. Instead, Snyder was used to jumpstarting a shared universe by misrepresenting the characters within it. When the director gets into his original plans for the Justice League movie they seem ambitious and interesting, but having seen his work prior I have zero confidence in his ability to pull it off. With the Knightmare Landscape, Darkseid corrupting Superman, the death of Lois Lane, and time travel the original plan for Justice League sounds interesting but not easily accessible. While the Knightmare landscape was one of my favorite aspects of BvS, I’m not sure the casual fan was ready for a Justice League movie that tore the group apart, made Superman a villain, and then reversed itself through time travel. Again, as an Elseworlds story, hell yeah! As an establishing a shared universe, no. Too many moving parts to make this a bigger mess than it already is which in part lead to Warner Bros bringing in Joss Whedon to repair some of the damage.
Over the next few days, frenzied fans will be petitioning Warner Bros to release a copy of the “Snyder Cut” as reports are claiming that there actually is a hard copy somewhere. While I’m not entirely buying the validity of a hard copy of the “Snyder Cut” being complete, I think it’s within the best interest of Warner Bros, DC Comics, and fans to move away from these past films. It’s hard to dispute the fact that Snyder’s run at the DC Universe was a massive failure setting the DCEU back quite a bit. In a world that has been dominated by Marvel Studios, the DCEU collapsed in on itself trying to duplicate the MCU formula in four movies. An impossible task that clearly didn’t work. Throw in the fact the films didn’t represent the characters correctly and the culmination of these characters coming together was an uneven hodgepodge of a movie… maybe our attention should be directed toward the future. There’s a lot of promise to be had with the DCEU as it moves away from the shared universe and focuses more on its characters. The “Snyder Cut” is opening up old wounds and won’t change anything. The DCEU has a new direction and nothing is going to change that. Fans who defend his DC Universe will love the movie and curse Warner Bros for abandoning it. Fans who hated his DC Universe will most likely hate this cut. There is no winner here. I think all parties involved should move on with their lives.
I understand Snyder being slightly jaded, but what purpose does that serve now? This is a guy who is still defending the “Martha” decision one of the lamest connecting threads in any film. His Q&A will give some fans closure on what could have been but mostly reminds the public of the blundered DC film franchises, something the studio executives would happily try and forget. And while Snyder doesn’t owe Warner Bros anything maybe he owes the fans a little something. Like the opportunity to see their characters represented properly and to be optimistic about the future.
What do you think Geeklings, do you want to see a “Snyder Cut” or would you prefer if we just moved on? Is Snyder correct in his views of Batman? Sound off in the comments or throw me a line on Twitter @iamgeek32.