Fans are getting their wish, thanks to HBO Max believing releasing Zack Snyder’s “director’s cut” of Justice League will work out for them. There was a whole movement on the internet because people think Twitter is representative of the population since that’s the power of the louder voice, even if that voice is wrong. This could either be the biggest thing for HBO Max or doom them.
Except that last option may not be an option. In the below episode of Film Theory MatPat goes over why even if the Snyder cut is as terrible as some of us expect, even if it gets the characters even more wrong than the hybrid Snyder/Joss Weadon cut, it will still make huge bank. I’m worried that he’s right, and what that misread message will send to Warner Brothers and maybe even DC Comics.
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I’m not convinced that Snyder would change much of anything. The DCEU movies he’s directed (and the half of Justice League that came from him) follows his usual tone and style, as seen in previous superhero movie Watchmen, his adaptation of 300 (another comic adaptation), the other movie I know him for, Sucker Punch. He likes darker themes. He shares Alan Moore’s more cynical views of superheroes and does not believe in aspirational heroes, which is what annoyed DC fans in general and Superman and Batman fans especially. I don’t see him changing this, brightening the colors, or taking a more heroic examination. In a recent interview that I plan to dissect when I have time to watch the video he even defended his take.
Snyder confessed he isn’t sure he was driven by the allure of seeing a darker Superman as much as wanting to take the first superhero on a journey.
Do I love the evil Superman? I’m not 100% sure if that’s [true],” he said. “Other than that I will say I love the idea of Superman going on a journey with his character.”
Snyder continued stating his interest was grounding Supes and having him “reconcile” with things of this world. He explained, “I love the idea of Superman having to reconcile his morality, reconcile his place on Earth, reconcile his love affair with Lois, and how that affects the way he relates to humanity and all those things as we all do with the normal relationships we all have in our daily lives. So I think when you see Superman grapple with those things, he becomes a lot more relatable.”
“And I think that was more interesting, but I do have a huge respect for his moral code, and I think his ultimate place as sort of the top of the pyramid of the DC superhero world. In the end, he has to achieve that pinnacle,” Snyder added.
Except that Superman’s moral code came from his upbringing by John and Martha Kent in Smallville (though not necessarily in Snyder’s version, where Pa kept discouraging him from using his powers yet kept insisting that he was destined for something great through them). Superman isn’t relatable, he’s aspirational. We see what he does with those powers and want to be like him. You can tell a story about his moral code versus the perspective of people in today’s society. “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way” (adapted into the movie Superman Vs. The Elite) does just that, but that’s because by then Clark’s code already existed. We don’t see him with that moral code in Man Of Steel. It talks a lot about hope but doesn’t really show anything that hopeful. Snyder doesn’t understand Superman or his character archetype, not to mention his moral code, and can’t really show us what he doesn’t understand.
The folks at Warner Brothers and HBO Max however are going to only see how many people watched the Snyder Cut and guess how many new subscribers came to their still new streaming service and that’s all they’ll see. Not only will they ignore negative criticism about how Snyder’s vision doesn’t resemble the DC Universe they love, or even if somehow MatPat is wrong and the Snyder fanbase doesn’t fawn all over the movie/miniseries simply because it’s the Snyder version, they don’t really care about these characters. They may not even be comic book or superhero fans. They just want to gain a ton of money from their investment and that’s all they care about. That’s how a bad movie can get a sequel. Enough people went into it thinking it would be good and it wasn’t, but all the studio saw was that it made money on opening weekend and that’s ultimately all they care about. That means any possibility of not steering the DCEU back to the Snyder version after the backlash of Batman V Superman that even they couldn’t ignore would go be low and you’d see the DC Expanded Universe return to that darker vision, something we’re still trying to get the comics to come out of with Dan DiDio’s departure.
So this may well be successful, which means fans hopes of getting a proper return to the more colorful and hopeful DC Universe they loved in the comic, seen with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the unfortunately adapted New 52 take on Shazam! instead of the proper Billy Batson, will disappear. It looks like no matter what happens, fans of the true Superman and Batman are going to lose this one.