This is definitely not click-bait. Neither is this controversy for controversy sake.
If you love Zack Snyder, you should be thanking the WB executives and Joss Whedon for messing with his version of Justice League in 2017. (The theatrical mess is popularly known as Josstice League by fans). It made thousands of people around the world come together to fight for his original vision.
But how?! How is it that the very reason people foughtfor the Snydercut, is the reason the we got to see the Snydercut? Like the scene in MoS, when Jonathan Kent sacrifices himself so that Clark does not have to reveal his powers. You have to look at this from a wider perspective.
TOO BIG FOR LITTLE MINDS
It was the MCU’s growing success that made WB want to create a similar universe with spinoff potential. The MCU -believe it or not- actually never had a 23 movie plan in mind and made stuff along as they went. Zack Snyder actually had a plan for the DCEU. Initially it was to be a self-contained 5 movie arc for Superman with other Justice League characters eventually showing up.
WB sensed the spin off potential here. Snyder amended his plans to include spinoff solo movies. These would be additional material without being necessary viewing to the main story. A bit like the comics themselves. Thus the first DC films slate consisting of Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Batman, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps was born.
You could watch the main overarching movies like BvS, JL 1 and JL 2 without watching the solos. Each director would bring his own touch to the movies without having to confirm to one tone and story. It was an innovative departure from the MCU’s episodic model.
However, WB’s reactionary tendencies especially after the mixed reactions to BvS led to the butchering of this unique model in favour of wanting the quippy, comedic duplicate MCU. If good business sense has taught us anything it is that copying your competition never works unless you are a counterfeiter barely looking to survive.
Snyder was already made to compromise on many things by the executives and Geoff Johns during the filming of JL. The runtime was curtailed. Several things deemed ‘too dark’ were trimmed down. Bloggers were invited on set to earn their favour. Snyder simply did not have the clout to fight back at that time. Although Snyder exited the project due to a personal tragedy, he had the good mind to shot most of what he wanted…the story of the defiance is well known. Joss Whedon rewrote and reshot almost 90% of the entire movie to include more Whedonisms. (Sexist jokes, cutting out roles of people of color…things he excels at)
Josstice League’s failure led to shakeup of the executives at WB. Creative control was taken away from Geoff Johns. It allowed time for creation of HBO Max etc etc. Look at this from a Flashpoint perspective- Had things gone another way, we would have never had awesome things like Cyborg’s Knightmare vision, or the Batman- Joker interaction or the R –rated epic 4 hour runtime of the Snydercut had it originally been released in 2017.
ENDGAME: A NEW BEGINNING
Even if things had gone as originally planned in 2017, Justice League would never have received such widespread appreciation as it has now.
From 2013-2019, the Disney marketing machine had conditioned people to accept movies only way. The only way to tell a story of ensemble of characters was through solo movies for EACH and EVERY character. Suddenly people who claim to be ‘film analysts’ forgot that sincerity of emotion without comedic quips, slow world building and intelligent dialogue existed.
Lord of the Rings, Inglorious Basterds etc seemed like movies from some forgotten decade. Even previously successful franchises like Star Wars suffered from this change in perspective because now suddenly they couldn’t introduce new characters in the movies without a solo movie first. All blockbusters needed to have MCU type quippy ‘humor’ or they were too ‘grim’.
DCEU being a comic book movie franchise would always have been in the shadow of MCU. Justice League 1 & 2 would perhaps have had to face the same comparative hate that BvS faced with Civil War. (Although touted as gold standard at the time, even MCU stans barely discuss CW these days. Even after 5 years, people still talk about BvS.)
MCU finally brought their Infinity saga to close in 2019 with Avengers: Endgame. This allowed people to finally move on from what had become the only acceptable formula to build a franchise. Josstice League’s failure actually created a strategic breathing space where audiences and critics could grow the hell up. This allowed them to open their minds to other ways of story-telling.
LOCKDOWN: OPEN UP
One of the most overlooked reasons we got Zack Snyder’s full uncompromised vision was the COVID 19 pandemic. Also, the timely launch of Warner Media’s HBO Max streaming platform really helped it gain access world over. Had it not been for HBO Max Snyder would possibly have had to release a less VFX complete version.
Snydercut released during a time when the theatrical model and the compulsions that come with it were dispensed with. Plus, it had a lot more acceptability since people world over sitting in their homes are just hungry for content. Even if the content is R-rated, 4 hour super hero operas.
The apocalyptic failure of Josstice League thank fully ensured that the right conditions and timing were created for us to get Zack Snyder’s Justice League in it’s fully glory.
Like how even Gollum had a role to play in LoTR at the end; the meddling, racist and egoistic executives behind Josstice League actually made ZSJL possible. Let’s now hope it leads to restoration of the Snyderverse. The world is ready and asking for it.
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