The Snyderverse: Part II – Snyder’s director’s cut

#ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign resulted in the 242 cut being released

After “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” came “Suicide Squad” and wow, there was a lot going on there. The trailer for “Suicide Squad” and the previous DCEU (DC Extended Universe) joint were released around the same time, and both exhibited a very dark and dreary tone. Then after the release of BvS, it seems that Warner Brothers realized that the dark tones weren’t working out, so they gave “Suicide Squad” to a trailer house for editing, which is why the film ended up as a uniquely awful movie. It’s like if you combined anime and My Chemical Romance but just managed to suck out any of the good elements of either (yes, I like My Chemical Romance, fight me). Instead of being the dark movie shown in the first trailer, the later trailers showed a more fun movie. The final product definitely tried to be a fun movie, although writer and director David Ayer has since said that his film was supposed to be something layered and beautiful and that the studio was terrified to release it. Alas, this nightmare is what we got.

In 2017, we got “Justice League,” which was marred with production issues, some of which only really surfaced in 2020. Warner Brothers was already pretty disappointed with the reception of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” so there was growing turmoil between Warner Brothers and director Zack Snyder. However, he left the production in the midst of his daughter Autumn’s suicide as he wanted to be with his family in those troubling times. Meanwhile, Joss Whedon (the creator of “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the writer and director of “The Avengers”) was hired to rewrite and reshoot numerous elements of the film, which was unfortunately (for the studio at least) a commercial and critical failure. It received mixed reviews and made $657.9 million on a budget of $300 million; the film would’ve had to make $750 million to break-even. The film itself was very bland. Unlike the previous Snyder films, Joss Whedon implemented a lot more humor and made the film more bright (like literally, the color correction makes the color palette really warm in contrast to Snyder’s cool color scheme).

Then came the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign, which finally came to fruition in 2020, when Zack Snyder announced that his director’s cut (dubbed “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”) would be released on HBO Max in 2021. And wow, this is a lot. While the 2017 cut of the film was 120 minutes long, this director’s cut is a whopping 242 minutes long. If I were to judge the film on its own, it’s a pretty solid comic book movie and it feels like a great end of the beginning of a franchise (although at this point, it’s probably just the end); however, that runtime is absolutely daunting, and the fact that reportedly 20% of the entire film is gratuitous slow motion didn’t make matters better. However, the film’s story showed that there was really so much to the film that was missing. So much character development was completely missing from what Whedon had edited the film down to. It was the complete vision of Snyder, and he had finally won that fight.

Now the thing with the production of “Justice League” was that the reasons for Snyder’s departure were only part of the whole picture. Before the release of his director’s cut, it was revealed that Joss Whedon was actually brought on board during the film’s production and was actually on set to essentially course-correct the franchise. Due to the reception to the bleaker entries in the DCEU, Whedon was hired to change the tone of both the film and the entire series. Snyder had tried fighting against this, but after his personal tragedy, he left. He stated that the strength he was using to fight for his film was needed at home instead.

After “Justice League” came “Aquaman,” “Shazam!,” and “Birds of Prey,” all of which had lighter tones and received more consistent acclaim and commercial success. However, after the release of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” fans have been clamoring for the restoration of Snyder’s original plan of five films that he had set up. The franchise would consist of “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” However, he was going to make two more sequels to “Justice League” which were actually set up in Snyder’s cut, but as of late, Warner Brothers has outright said that there are no plans to continue with the Snyderverse, as it is being dubbed.

In the end, the release of Snyder’s ultimate vision for “Justice League” is definitely a win, and a significant one at that. However, it is truly unfortunate that Snyder will not be able to complete his vision due to Warner Brothers valuing money rather than creative integrity.