Well, it has finally happened. Zack Snyder’s Justice League will premiere on the upcoming HBO Max streaming service in 2021. Enlarging the 2018 superhero film into a substantially longer, darker, and more cohesive project. It is all that fans might have hoped for — and that’s precisely why they should not have gotten it.
Whether the Snyder Cut is good or bad, its very presence will make a lot of folks happy. And goodness knows we could all use a little pleasure lately. But I have to figure out the Darkseid of what sounds to be an innocuous-at-worst, exciting-at-best film launch. On its own, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is another straight-to-video director’s cut. That has been around almost as long as the house movie itself has. It hurt Volume Effect. And now, it seems poised to beat DC too.
Fans shouldn’t always get just what they want at the risk of earning a very unpopular point. Because when they do, it can blind them to the things they don’t know that they need.
What’s the Snyder Cut?
Without rehashing the entire narrative, Zack Snyder was the first director of the Justice League film. He directed its predecessors, Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, a family tragedy pulled Snyder off midway through creation. And DC brought in Avengers manager Joss Whedon to complete the movie.
Justice League had a reasonably mixed reception, but fans did agree on one thing. The film felt very much like the product of two creators pulling the job in various directions. Snyder’s dark, brooding interpretation of the team battled with Whedon’s optimistic, jokey interpretation.
When fans learned that there was seemingly enough raw footage to a complete”Snyder cut” of this movie. They started an online campaign somewhere between”vocal” and”unhinged.” To be able to observe the original director’s version of the film.
To tackle a salient point, I do not think the Snyder Cut will necessarily be wrong. In reality, if it’s not”much better” than the theatrical version, it’ll probably be a more cohesive and daring film.
In a perfect world, Snyder could have completed the project as planned. So, that the Snyder Cut will be more accurate to his first vision for the project. There’s nothing inherently sacrosanct about the theatrical cut of a film. Lots of director’s cuts are better than the original releases, from Blade Runner to Terminator 2.
No, the problem has to do with buff expectations — and enthusiast entitlement. Over the past couple of decades, lovers of a franchise have become accustomed to the idea. Usually even more than it”belongs” to a creative group.
There’s some logic to this view. In the end, long-running series like Batman and Star Trek. That has been around for decades, and together. We have invested more time in them than the writers, directors, and manufacturers.
And these are not even the original authors, directors and producers. They are simply fans having the opportunity to shape the narrative in ways that we do not.
The problem, of course, is that lovers do not necessarily think about storytelling precisely the same way that professionals do. Storytelling isn’t only wish-fulfillment or finishing every plot thread in the most logical approach. Good narratives confound our expectations and deliver the stories that we did not even know we desired.
Nevertheless, if creators are pressured into committing fans what they request. We are inclined to get watered-down experiences that aren’t satisfying to anyone.
Justice League: The Mass Effect effect
To illustrate my point, let’s look at two inflection points in fandom-driven storytelling in the past decade. They both happened in 2012: the launch of Mass Impact 3 in March and Lucasfilm’s acquisition from Disney in October.
If you played with Volume Effect after the fact, you might not remember this at all. But if you played with every game as it came out. You almost certainly heard concerning the #RetakeMassEffect effort on Twitter. This no-holds-barred social media blitz occurred because people hated the end of Mass Effect 3.
Fans took to social media and email in droves. Rivers of digital ink were spilled carrying one side or another. The fans saw themselves as an aggrieved party. He was betrayed with a creative team in whom they had invested so much time, confidence, and cash.
The Mass Effect creators ultimately held the reins, but the fans felt they were owed a specific sort of resolution. They were not able to it,” they stated.
A sad, defeated BioWare published a patch that expanded the end considerably. Except that it did not change any of the circumstances or choices which fans loathed a lot. It only gave them further context. The revised Mass Effect 3 ending was the kind of supplicatory half-measure that pleased no one.
The creators had to compromise their vision, while the lovers had to sit through something more prolonged but not satisfying. Their online demands had made the entire experience worse, for most everybody involved.
Star Wars suffered from similar problems but within a longer time scale. However, the resentment had struck a fever pitch by 2005. When the prequel trilogy underwhelmed audiences. Seeming more calculated to meet Lucas’s creative urges than to delight fans.
They revolted — plus they never ceased revolting. From 2012, Lucas was sick of this backlash. He was prepared to unload the entire franchise and never touch it again. The first thing that the House of Mouse did would be to guarantee fans everything they’d been clamoring for.
The cluttered, experimental Expanded Universe? Prequels filled with new, unproven personalities? No thanks — let’s bring all the original actors back for The Force Awakens. A movie that was only Episode IV again, but more and flabbier.
When Rian Johnson tried something different in The Last Jedi, fans cried”foul” once more. It was not allowed to experiment. Star Wars must tell a specific story about a particular family. And if it doesn’t do so, then the founders are wrong. In a situation where the fans are always correct, deviating from expectations can be a risky strategy.
To”fix” the problem, Disney released The Rise of Skywalker. A halfhearted effort to reconcile the nostalgia of The Force Awakens using all the subversive The Last Jedi. So far as I could tell, the movie made exactly no one joyful. Leaving lovers feeling relieved, instead of satisfied. That the whole thing was finally over.
What Star Trek Can Teach Us
While Star Trek is by no means free of this kind of fan pressure. The most economical way I have seen to approach enthusiast campaigns came from Nicholas Meyer. A longtime Star Trek manager and producer that spoke at a seminar in 2016.
A woman in the crowd, dissatisfied with the recent Star Trek reboot films. They requested Meyer if the upcoming Discovery series could listen back into the”real” Star Trek that fans knew and loved. Rather than reassure her, Meyer dismantled the premise of her question.
“Art isn’t achieved by committee,” he said. “It’s not a voting achieve. To say that the audience was mystified is an understatement, but he continued. “All I am suggesting that you should go with open minds and open hearts, you may be rewarded. If you go in with a set of impossible-to-realize expectations. That even you can’t specify, then we fail bound.”
Meyer’s words are as valid now as they were four years ago. Fans do not understand what is ideal for them. And if you liked or hated Discovery, it was a very different take on well-worn source material.
The problem with Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Finally, has very little to do with Zack Snyder’s Justice League as a movie. It’s to perform emboldened, qualified fandom civilization. Fair enough.
However, what happens when fans do not like the Snyder Cut? What happens if fans do not enjoy the next DC film? What happens when storytellers concede — as they have already begun to acknowledge. That fans are the highest authority on what happens in a narrative. Given that it’s a narrative in a favorite series?
With the achievement of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut hashtag, enthusiasts have discovered. That they wield a considerable quantity of power over their favorite franchises. Let’s hope that, such as the Justice League itself, they all learn to use their energy.