Anghus Houvouras is angry that we’ll never get to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League…
The best and worst thing about being an opinion based columnist is that the only requirement to write a column is having a strong opinion about something. For the last month or so, I haven’t. I’ve started a few pieces here and there, but I lacked the passion to follow through and finish them. Sometimes the entertainment world can be less than inspiring. I’d write a piece about the Oscars, but I don’t give two shits about movie awards. This year’s Best Picture contenders are a nice mish-mash of good movies and some mediocre ones. Feels like an even race between Guillermo del Toro’s I Fucked A Fish & Scenery Chewing Outside of Ebbing Missouri. But really, who cares? There isn’t a movie nominated for Best Picture that I feel the need to ever see again, and the only thing that qualifies them as ‘Best’ is the millions of dollars in ‘For Your Consideration’ ads purchased by the studio.
I had my first genuine emotional reaction to a story today when I saw a clip from Justice League. A deleted scene featuring Henry Cavill touring the remains of a Kryptonian ship while the Man of Steel theme slowly begins to swell. This felt like the kind of scene Snyder lived for: lots of iconography accompanied by a symphonic score. It felt like the kind of scene I wanted in Justice League, instead of Joss Whedon’s embarrassing attempts at lightening the tone and making the heroes of the DC Universe more family friendly.
It’s frustrating for those of us who actually found something to like in Snyder’s first two DC Universe movies. I’ll be the first to admit that Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice have flaws and are far from perfect, but I managed to find a lot to enjoy about the dense, meandering and strangely plotted stories. I was looking forward to see the end of Snyder’s vision for this particular story, only to have it ripped out of his hands in favor of Joss Whedon’s pithy, cringe-inducing reshoots and terrible attempts at changing the color palette to a more robust spectrum.
I want to see Snyder’s version of Justice League. That will never happen. The studio has no interest in revisiting this colossal gaffe and bringing more attention to the fact that they managed to utterly decimate the franchise with the most long-term potential. To say Justice League was handled badly is like saying Chernobyl Disaster was a simple workplace oversight. Warner Bros. has no incentive to reveal Snyder’s version.
Releasing Snyder’s version would mean admitting someone made a mistake. In spite of every piece of evidence to the contrary, Warner Bros. is still under the public working assumption that there was nothing wrong with Justice League. It was just another blockbuster release that went according to plan. Massive reshoots, CGI mustache removal, terrible rewrites, two-hour edit mandates, Ben Affleck on the verge of a nervous breakdown after realizing how terrible the movie was… this is all just rampant speculation with no basis in fact. To release the Snyder version would be admitting failure.
Imagine a scenario where they release the Snyder version and people declare it significantly better. The public perception would turn even more toxic towards the bonus-seeking executives who perpetuated this absolute disaster. There also isn’t a financial incentive. If the Blu-ray sells well, Warner Bros. will feel slightly vindicated in their creative bludgeoning of the film. If the Blu-ray sells poorly, Warner Bros. will has little interest in throwing more money into the sinkhole that Justice League has become.
There’s a small part of me that hopes one day this version manages to exist in some form or another. I can’t tell you if Snyder’s version will be any good or enjoyable. But it will be the filmmaker’s original vision for the story and complete what he started with Man of Steel. Snyder has made some deeply flawed, intellectually interesting superhero movies. And while I doubt anyone else will be allowed to take such liberties with these characters again, id like to see what his plans were for the final act of his trilogy.
Zack, I’m down for a private screening.