'Justice League' and the saga of the Snyder Cut
'Justice League' was released on November 17th, 2017. Or, maybe it wasn't.
For nearly two years, there has been an incessant hum of noise from quarters of the internet calling - nay, demanding - that Warner Bros. release the fabled Snyder's Cut of 'Justice League'. It's almost become a joke, with a list of things ahead of it more likely to be released including the Marilyn Monroe tape and Area 51.
The story goes that Zack Snyder, prior to departing 'Justice League' to deal with a family bereavement, had submitted a rough cut of the movie to executives from Warner Bros. around May of 2017. Joss Whedon was brought in to help guide the movie through post-production, but eventually ended up taking two months of expensive reshoots.
Cavill had grown out a moustache for 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and was barred from shaving it by Paramount executives. The standoff between the two studios eventually meant that CGI had to be used to mask Cavill's facial hair, which ended up looking ridiculous. This, sadly, was just one of many problems with the version of 'Justice League' that arrived in cinemas.
In the simplest terms, 'Justice League' was a mish-mash of ideas, half-baked plots, and jarring swings in tones that spoke to a deeply troubled production from start to finish. When it came time to assigning credits, Joss Whedon received a writer's credit while Snyder was given a director's credit. Charles Roven, one of the movie's producers, said that Whedon directed approximately "15, 20 percent" of the movie.
'Justice League' was, of course, a bomb at the box office and ended up costing Warner Bros. close to $60 million.
Critical reaction was tepid at best, and had effectively derailed the studio's plans for the next phase of the so-called DC Expanded Universe. Although 'Aquaman' and 'Shazam!' were box-office hits and received decent reviews, neither of them made any reference to 'Justice League'. What's more, talk of a 'Justice League' sequel quietly went away and, it seemed, the story and failure of 'Justice League' was done.
Yet, for two years, there have been near-endless calls for Warner Bros. to release the so-called Snyder Cut of 'Justice League', with actors such as Ciaran Hinds publicly acknowledging that the version released in cinemas wasn't up to much. For what's it worth, the same was said of the Snyder Cut itself.
Much had been made of Snyder's exit from 'Justice League', but reporting around the time leading up to its release had it that Warner Bros. were extremely unhappy with the movie. Collider reported that Snyder's early rough cut of the movie was "unwatchable" and that there were numerous sources citing this. What's more, an entertainment journalist who was leaving the industry claimed that Snyder was fired from the movie by the studio, but couldn't report it as such.
The campaign for the Snyder's Cut hit on Twitter yesterday and trended for a short time worldwide, with a sustained and coordinated campaign to have the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hit the trending topics. Subsequently, US outlets picked up the topic and ran stories about the campaign.
Long-awaited director's cuts are nothing new in movies. Hell, the famous Richard Donner cut of 'Superman 2' didn't happen until 26 years after its initial release. Ridley Scott's cut of 'Blade Runner' went through several changes before he finally finished with the 'Final Cut' in 2007, some 25 years after the fact.
Whether 'Justice League' gets its Snyder Cut remains to be seen, and there is no doubt that there is renewed interest - both with the Twitter campaign and the incoming CEO of Warner Bros., Ann Sarnoff. Yet, for all of this, the question still looms over 'Justice League' - will it be any good?
The odds are is that it won't be.
For one, 'Man of Steel' and 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' were both needlessly long and far too dark and murky for them to be taken seriously. Not only that, an extended director's cut of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' barely improved the movie's silliness or the ridiculousness of having Batman throw down his weapon because his mother's name was the same as Superman's.
On top of that, the fact remains is that the characters weren't developed enough nor were they written well enough to have them suddenly decide to team up. Compare it with Disney's efforts, there were efforts made to introduce and form a runway that lead up to 'The Avengers' and then took off into the cinematic universe. With the DC Expanded Universe, it crash-landed before it even made it off the runway.
In two movies, 'Justice League' appeared. There were five movies before 'The Avengers' happened, of which two were sequels. Likewise, 'Avengers: Endgame' only came about after a total of 22 movies. Did 'Justice League' need more movies to beef up the plot? Maybe. Maybe not.
As it stands, there are no plans for Warner Bros. to release the so-called Snyder Cut of 'Justice League'. Warner Bros., likewise, have made no comment on the campaign and almost appear to be ignoring it. Snyder himself, meanwhile, has only offered up cryptic mentions of his own cut of the movie, and glancing references here and there to what went on behind the scenes.
It's hard to know if there is a real, genuine desire beyond a fervent collection of people who seem to excel in gaming social media to make their voices heard.
No studio has ever lost money giving people what they want, so why not release the so-called Snyder Cut then? Is there that much interest in it at all?