Having been a DC fan forever and having fallen in love with the MCU, it was a tad frustrating to see the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) doing a mediocre job with their stories. Especially considering that they have a plethora of amazing stories to choose from.
Although The Dark Knight trilogy was superb and perfect, there was more that we DC fanboys wanted. A lot of us grew up with the Justice League animated series on Cartoon Network as kids (if you’ve watched it, you are already recalling that incredible intro) and after the first Avengers movie, it was impossible to not wish for a Justice League movie.
Then came Man Of Steel, which was a decent movie and after that, there was Batman vs Superman, which wasn’t as good. Especially considering that it was inspired by “Death Of Superman”, which is an amazing comic. But the movie was bad (the extended cut was good but it was a case of too little, too late) and the infamous Martha scene managed to induce both a migraine and a heartache. Would Justice League be any better and help the DCEU redeem itself?
Sadly, the answer was a thundering “No!“. I watched it the first day and all I could say was, “What the hell was that!”. Having read and watched a lot of DC stories, it was baffling to see Steppenwolf, who most of the DC fanboys didn’t even hear about, get a whole movie, while Doomsday, who in the main comics is the only one to ever kill Superman, shows up just to get killed with little to no build up. Plus, you had all the characters there that you admired even as a kid. Except that you don’t care about any of them. Unlike The Avengers, where you had the standalone movies establish the heroes first, Justice League didn’t really build any character properly. Except for Superman in Man of Steel. Why, then, would anyone be invested in the movie?
Of course, it was easy to say that Warner Bros wanted to make money just like Marvel did. Who doesn’t? But when Snyder left the movie midway because of a personal tragedy, Warner Bros brought in Joss Whedon (who directed The Avengers) to finish the movie. Although DC and Marvel are all about superheroes, they’re fundamentally different (especially in terms of characters and narratives). But Warner Bros somehow forgot (I think they didn’t care) what made DC ‘DC’ in the first place. And the result? It wasn’t a DC movie. It wasn’t a Snyder movie. It was merely a bad movie. Let’s not get into what was wrong with it (that’s a rabbit hole we don’t want to get into). Looking back, it wasn’t a surprise that the movie was trashed by everyone.
Why? Why? Basically, in our heads, DCEU was done. “Jai MCU!” was what I thought I had to contend with, even if it felt like blasphemy.
But Zack Snyder is something. A man who made gritty, ultra-violent, dark (could say the same about DC) epics like 300 and Watchmen. Yeah, he made Batman vs Superman too, but he was at least keeping the spirit of DC intact. And anyone who loves Snyder’s movies knows that the theatrical version of Justice League was a heavily watered down, diluted and adulterated version of Snyder’s vision. Not to mention the surplus of cringeworthy quips that work for a Marvel setting but do not fit in the usual DC environment.
Thankfully, an online community of fans was actively venting its grievances and frustrations about the movie and even signing petitions to sanction the director’s cut of the movie. If you were active on Reddit at this point of time, you must have had a frustrating yet exciting time. The fandoms were more alive and every now and then, there were posts about how the movie that Snyder made was different from what we got to see. Every tiny crumb of information regarding the director’s cut would be posted and discussed heavily. Any reference to a possible existence of a director’s cut had us freaking out.
There was this website called ForSnyderCut.com and it was a haven for every Justice League-induced heartbroken person. All of us would digest whatever information we could get. Always getting our hopes up. Always getting disappointed. It was agonising to be a DC fan.
And then Snyder himself started teasing a director’s cut, posting pictures of scenes that weren’t there in the movie. Also, there were other celebrities too who endorsed it. Jason Momoa posted on his Instagram that “The Snyder cut is ssssiiicccckkkkkk“. The hashtag #luckyformesucksforu at the end of the post fanned the flames of our hope further. “There is indeed a director’s cut and we effing want to see it!” was the general sentiment. But nobody addressed the elephant in the room – are we ever really going to get to watch it?
Would Warner Bros actually go ahead and do it? Wouldn’t they look stupid releasing a movie that’s already been released? After all, the petition to sanction the director’s cut garnered close to 180,000 signatures and that didn’t lead to anything. #ReleaseTheSnyderCut started trending on social media and even casual fans started to take notice. A fan campaign to get a director’s cut of a movie released was probably unprecedented. You were confident that a studio like Warner Bros would cash in on this but then, you’d already been let down by them more than once. It was a phase where we were feeling euphoric and utterly optimistic but we also had to let that kid inside prepare for the eventual disappointment that this was just hype and nothing would ever manifest.
Around last year, or the end of 2019, Snyder posted bluntly that the Snyder Cut existed. We went nuts. But there were a lot of articles we read about how directors’ cuts take many years to materialise. Also, there were many who said that only the rough cut would be released. What did that mean? Unfinished CGI, audio not mixed well and stuff like that. Kick in the nuts.
Then the pandemic happened. Nobody had a clue about the fate of theatrical releases and production. It was during the lockdown that HBO Max arrived. A blessing in disguise. With that, an official release was finally announced after years of getting our hopes up and getting disappointed. That’s it. That’s it. THAT’S IT!
We all went SuperWonderFlashCyborgAquaBatshit crazy! It would take a year and we would have to wait. And wait, we would. And wait, we did. We’re a patient fandom.
The whole of last week was full of nervous exhilaration. I wanted to watch the whole thing in a single go and I waited until the day ended. And I finally watched it.
At this point, you might be expecting a quick review. Maybe a binary answer as to whether it’s worth watching. Or maybe a rating confined to merely five numbers or ten at the most. A summary of sorts that’ll help you decide what to do about the movie. But I’m not here to review it. I’m too biased to try to give a halfway-objective opinion of the movie. I only have one thing to say about it: POETRY.
That’s all I can say. I’m not going to talk about what’s good and what’s bad. I’ve already written way too much. Frankly, it hasn’t entirely sunk in. All I’ll say is that it’s been a pretty satisfying ride, as satisfying as the sound of the hammer hitting metal at the end of Avengers: Endgame. With that, the bad memories have been erased. An epic personal journey that I shared with a lot of fellow DC fanboys and fangirls, especially the virtual ones, comes to a close.
Zack Snyder, I love you.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.