When I was younger March 18th was assumed to be National Hangover Day. As a good Irish boy, I love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day; green beer, green bagels, green clothes, “Kiss Me I’m Irish”, the works! And sure, when I was younger I might have overindulged a wee bit which usually resulted in waking up on the 18th with a shamrock painted on my cheek and losing the ability to fully open my eyes. I regret nothing. Of course, nowadays March 18th is just the day after St. Patrick’s Day and if I wake up with any of those symptoms then clearly, I made a terrible life choice. Especially if the 18th falls on a weekday. What was I thinking?!
This year, March 18th falls on a Thursday and I already know that the events of that day will be a mix of bad decisions, regret, and wasted hours as the “fabled” Snyder Cut of Justice League is set to release on HBO Max as a four-hour feature film. I just want to repeat that lunacy for a minute. Four. Hour. Movie. Not broken up into four parts. Not even broken up into two parts. No, the Snyder Cut will be longer than The Godfather (the pinnacle of film), The Irishmen, and Lord of The Rings: Return of the King. Like…why?! It seems excessive, doesn’t it? A massive stroke of ego. An attempt to cram every possible thing into a movie that has no future moving forward. Because why not?! It’s not like Snyder is spending his own money, Warner Bros is shelling out over seventy million for this monstrosity so why not get your money’s worth?
I have spoken at length in the past on why I’m so opposed to the Snyder Cut and why I think its existence is a mistake for the DCEU. I’ve been very outspoken about my belief that Snyder does not understand these characters, has misinterpreted the importance of Watchmen, and thinks violence is edgy and “the coolest”. Just look at the fact that the Snyder Cut will be rated R because Batman just has to say “fuck”. Coooooool.
But I don’t want to talk about those things today. It mostly feels like I’m beating my head against a wall while members of the Cult of Snyder tell me to kill myself or that I’m worthless. Instead, I’d like to focus on those members of the fandom, the ones I’ve dubbed the Cult of Snyder, and how the existence of this film is a celebration of their toxic fandom and how Snyder himself is kind of urging them on in their toxicity and abrasiveness because he thinks their actions are “pretty rad”.
Listen, I’m not naïve and I understand that not everyone who pushed for the release of the Snyder Cut is a monster. I have friends who are passionate about this little pocket universe and while I disagree with their opinions, we at least talk like human beings and are able to have discussions. There are pockets of the fandom that raised a boatload of money toward suicide prevention in honor of Snyder and I think that’s wonderful. Those are the type of fans I can get behind. Fans like the Bills Mafia who donate to an injured opposing player’s charity. That warms my heart. The problem here is those fans are in the minority or the louder more vocal toxic members drown out their voices to the point where it’s easy to believe they don’t even exist.
Let’s think about how the Snyder Cut came into existence outside of fan petitions. When you think Snyder Cut it’s hard not to associate it with a guerilla-style social media attacks on all things related to Warner Bros or those who spoke down upon Justice League or any other DC Snyder film. A massive bullying campaign that ultimately resulted in these fans getting what they wanted along with the label of being a toxic fandom. Snyder, in a piece written by Cinema Blend, had this to say…
“I just think that’s sour grapes. There’s really no other way to say it. We know people who were architects of that narrative, and it’s pretty obvious what their agenda is. Those people that I’ve been held back from confronting, by wiser people in the room. Because I’d love to get at some of these characters. Some direct conversation would be nice. Just to say, one, you don’t know shit about what you’re talking about. And we can break down everything they’ve ever said. I can make a list. There’s a few of these guys where I could just get a list of everything they’ve ever said that they thought was right, and I could tell them every single thing they’ve said is wrong.”
If you think this sounds Trump-esq then you’re not wrong. That was one of my immediate thoughts too. To quote Chris Collinsworth, here’s a guy who just doesn’t get it. This very comment is the definition of toxicity. “Held back from confronting…”, what is this Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back? Did you plan on knocking on people’s doors because they said mean things about you on the internet? This is the internet, everyone hates everything. As a creator, you should have thicker skin. I can’t imagine taking every negative comment on the internet to heart. It must be exhausting. No wonder he’s so angry. Do you not understand that keeping a list of comments being made feeds into this toxic fandom? You’re not making a movie for fans, you’re making a movie as a fuck you to those who said it didn’t exist. Why should that be celebrated? This whole venture is rooted in toxicity and venom. And yes, the fans are out of hand at times. I’ve received my share of internet harassment, death threats, and attacks, because of my views of the Snyder Cut, and at the root of all, it is Zack Snyder cheering them on.
“Their websites, their Twitter, their everything…they were paralyzed. They were literally paralyzed. They could make no release. They could talk about nothing. I was talking to an unnamed executive who said that HBO Max would tweet something about Sesame Street, and people would be like, ‘Fuck Elmo! Release the Snyder Cut! That was the world they lived in. And they were like, ‘Jesus Christ, what are we supposed to do? We can’t function!’ That’s pretty rad.” That’s a quote pulled from the upcoming Release the Snyder Cut: The Crazy True Story Behind the Fight That Saved Zack Snyder’s Justice League a book with a title that’s insanely too long, we couldn’t edit this (?!), and one I can’t decide if I want to actually read. Obviously, I’m curious but I don’t want a bunch of pro-toxic fandom propaganda like this incredibly tone-deaf quote here. I’m already a New York Football Giants fan, I put myself through enough torture as it is.
But all jokes aside, this quote is very disturbing. Let’s not kid ourselves, toxic fandom is everywhere. Toxic fandom has affected the way I interact with Star Wars fans. Not to mention the cesspool that can be found in the comic book community. There will always be toxic groups within any fandom trying to ruin it for everyone else. The difference here is, George Lucas isn’t celebrating toxic Star Wars fans telling Rian Johnson to die or telling Sesame Street that Grover is a waste of puppet material. Sure, “fuck Elmo” makes for a cool soundbite if you hate joy and forget that Elmo is for children, but is that really a sentiment you want your movement attached to? Randomly hating things that aren’t associated with the thing they want? Not to mention that there are people associated with these accounts or handles. Not everyone who has been attacked is a corporate entity. People don’t deserve to be harassed like this, and as a creator, Snyder should know better, but he’s too busy keeping tabs on everyone who ever doubted him, his vision, and the universe he created. I imagine he reads Tweets and reviews in a dark basement yelling at his screen and cheering on the vile in the message boards while an ever-rotating cast of assistants talks him out of responding.
Super happy this guy is finishing his movie.
At the end of the day, they won. These cyberbullies and lunatics got what they wanted. After all, HBO Max needs subscribers and clearly, Warner Bros is moved more by the almighty dollar as opposed to the “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” mentally. Firefly fans must be kicking themselves when all they had to do to get a second season was attack random entities and wish death upon others. That type of attitude could have gotten us at least three seasons it seems. But if HBO Max thinks that it ends with giving them the Snyder Cut then they’re delusional. They’ve already lost the fight. They gave in. Now, they’ve opened the flood gates.
Warner Bros has come out stating that this is the end of the Zack Snyder DCEU and there will be no other films by him going forward. From a financial standpoint, this makes sense, as Snyder’s films were a disappointment in the Box Office and missed with critics and fans more than it hit. Probably has something to do with not understanding the characters or the stories that make them great buuuuut I digress. If that was the case, then why even give in to these demands? This does nothing to move forward the DCEU whose future currently looks bright, yes I’m aware that that’s an oxymoron. James Gunn’s Suicide Squad looks like a blast and Matt Reeves’s Batman has me all types of intrigued. DC should be moving on from this failed direction and focus on those properties and their promise because I give it to 8:30 on the morning of March 18th before the Cult of Snyder starts shouting for the release of Justice League 2.
Why shouldn’t they? It’s already been proven that their tactics work. Their leader is in full support of their aggressive behavior. Toxic fandom is a circle and round and round it goes. Snyder is currently looking to drop just about every DC character ever into this movie, and with four hours he’s got the time, there’s no way character arcs get closed neatly. People are going to want a Zack Snyder Martian Manhunter movie. People are going to want a Zack Snyder Jared Leto Joker movie. People are going to want a Zack Snyder Deathstroke movie. Justice League was never intended to be a swan song for Snyder and this cut of it won’t change that. Where does the Cult of Snyder aim their toxicity now? Sex In the City? Big Bird? They already have it predetermined that the Snyder Cut is the greatest film of all time, sorry Godfather, they’re going to want the sequel and they’re already pissed that Warner Bros prevented them from getting it. They will have their voices heard and now you’ll have to try and stand your ground after you folded like a lawn chair. Good luck with that. All you’ve done is guaranteed that this movement will never ever go away. Thanks for that.
The truth is, we don’t deserve the Snyder Cut. We don’t. Yes, for those of you who went about this the right way, I’m happy you got your movie. I hope you enjoy it and it lives up to your expectations. I really do mean that, because like I said, not all these fans are awful. But also understand this, the legacy of this film is shrouded in toxicity and negativity. It is impossible to separate the two. A large group of angry fans bullied and attacked and bullied and attacked until a movie studio caved in and paid an additional seventy million dollars for a movie franchise that will never move forward. Just to appease toxic fandom. And at the center of it is Zack Snyder celebrating their actions. Encouraging them to fight. Ugh, it’s all so Trump like it’s infuriating in its patheticness. The hope is that this “victory” doesn’t give other toxic fandoms hope that they can repeat the success of the Snyder Cut. We certainly don’t need more of this shit on the internet. But then again, when the creator thinks it’s “pretty rad” and studios are caving in… does it even matter anymore?
The Snyder Cut has become a celebration of toxic fandom to the highest degree and just because these fans and the creator are ignorant to that fact doesn’t make it true. The whole thing makes me angry. Angry at Warner Bros. Angry at Zack Snyder. Angry at the cult. I wish the Snyder Cut remained folklore because the precedent it setting is sickening. There is no victory here. Only shame… and a Batman who drops f-bombs now. You did it! Can’t wait to see what new levels of toxicity you develop in the future. Hopefully, by then we’ll have someone brave enough to stand up to your antics, look down on you, and whisper…no.