I’m not kidding. Release the ‘Snyder Cut’ of “Justice League” already.

I’ll pre-order the Blu-ray right now.

I’m not about to call AT&T Customer Service to ask them to release it or anything but, sincerely, I absolutely think Warner Brothers should release the Snyder Cut. Whatever my personal antipathy towards much of the DCEU’s output, there is a hardcore group of dedicated fans who are so fiercely devoted to Synder’s interpretations of DC’s most iconic characters that, if it exists, they should absolutely get to see it. If I were in their position and something I loved so much was withheld from me, I’d get pissy too.

So by all means, let’s release the Snyder cut. Let his dedicated fanbase revel in the shallow darkness and savour the brooding, misanthropic nihilism. Let them bask in the hollow, crypto-fascist, neo-brutalist visual rhetoric, in all its multi-obsidian-hued palette. Let them witness the ultimate triumph of a virtuoso comic book graphic novel aesthete.

If they love it that much, they should be given the chance to enjoy it.

However, it seems to me the greatest trick Zack Snyder ever pulled was convincing his devotees his ‘vision’ extended beyond the zeitgeist coolness of the comic panels he was flawlessly transposing to the silver screen. Struck down by the DCEU before his creative myopia was exposed any further, he has become more potent than they could possibly have imagined as he feeds and nurtures his acolytes with innuendo and trinkets from half-realised production details, stoking their fervour with claims of symbolism and significance which are no more credible that J K ‘revisionist’ Rowling’s post-publication and adaptation revelations about the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

That Snyder is a visual genius is beyond any doubt and there has probably never been a film director who can so masterfully take a static comic book image and translate it to the screen with such exactitude and faithfulness. “300” and “Watchmen” demonstrated that in abundance and the same visual mastery is laced through “Man Of Steel” and even “Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice”. But “Watchmen” also demonstrates Snyder’s greatest weakness: his interest, beyond the visuals, is superficial; he struggles with character and with story. His “Watchmen” is amazing to look at and an enjoyable movie in its own right, but it jettisons much of the meaning of Alan Moore’s work.

So it was with the DCEU. Naturally, he gravitated towards the darker character of Batman, because there was little in the story of a Superman that appealed to him; well, beyond the Nietzschean that is. No matter how fervently his fans wish it, the Synder Cut would never have delivered the multi-billion-dollar box office that Warner Bros had craved since they first regarded Marvel’s spoils with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, drew their plans to copy them. Snyder was the wrong guy for the job and that’s not his fault, it’s the studio’s.

For better or worse, Snyder is not a director who appeals to the wider general moviegoing audience. Yes, he has a devoted (to say the least) following, especially amongst comic book fans, but nowhere near enough to deliver the results that competing in today’s superhero movie market demands. If those legions of fans were enough, “Batman Vs Superman” wouldn’t have underperformed (it didn’t exactly flop but its box office performance did disappoint) and had that unfortunate knock-on effect on “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League” both in terms of audience interest and panicky studio interference. There’s even an argument to make that his lack of directorial involvement in “Wonder Woman” helped propel that good (but not great) film to hitherto undreamt-of heights because audiences were voting with their ticket purchases for something moving in the opposite direction from the doom and gloom Snyder had been building up.

This is not a ‘Marvel is better than DC’ diatribe. It’s not even an anti-DC or Anti-Snyder attack piece. But it is a recognition Snyder hasn’t – yet – found the right balance to truly broaden his appeal. I’m a fan of “300”, “Watchmen” and even “Sucker Punch” and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” and I like much of “Man Of Steel” but there’s so much more in his interpretation of the DC Universe that I didn’t warm to that even when the Ultimate Edition of “Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice” was released, for me it fixed some minor plot holes but was essentially just a longer version of the film I already found to be mean-spirited and bitter. That being said, I’ve seen every DCEU movie in the cinema at least twice and I own Blu Rays of them all. I’ll always buy a ticket to the next one because underperforming superhero movies hurt all superhero movies and the more successful superhero movies there are (whatever the brand), the more secure the genre that I enjoy becomes. A rising tide floats all boats but it only takes one disaster to shut down the whole shipping line.

So yes, #ReleaseTheSnyderCut and when/ if they do, savour every frame of it that you’ve waited so long and wished so hard to see. But please don’t expect it to be the epiphanic moment when the scales fall from the eyes of everyone who checked out of or turned away from the DCEU because it’s just not going to happen. They’re good movies (well, except “Suicide Squad”) but they were never going to be mass market break-out hits, because that means families and, by and large, families don’t go to brooding, dark, violent movies together. At least, I know mine doesn’t.

You got some thoughts on the Snyder Cut or the DCEU? I wanna hear ’em.



  1. Peter B June 20, 2018

    With really good scripts, who knows what a Snyder-led DCEU might have looked like? His vision looks off-putting now, but maybe with foresight, and some consideration of factors like story structure, WB could have placed something in Snyder’s hands that made sense, and his weird, dark aesthetic might have come off as cool. I don’t blame Snyder. Sure he made mistakes, but the suits were making bigger mistakes, mistakes that could not be countermanded. If you’re a filmmaker with any integrity, and a sense of style of your own, you have to be crazy to wade into the shared universe waters.

    • The Craggus June 20, 2018

      Until Justice League, his vision was largely intact. He shoulders the blame for the finished product not connecting with the general audience but the suits carry the blame for thinking he ever could. Imagine instead of they’d tapped Matt Reeves or someone else that they’re now turning to?

      • Peter B June 21, 2018

        Was Snyder really in total control of BvS? That movie had “studio interference” written all over it. If it was the work of one man, I think he’s rendered the Hollywood execs obsolete!

        The DCEU could have been amazing. I love the characters so much more, and I love the tone.

        Too bad.

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