SPECIAL REPORT | 'Justice League: The Snyder Cut' is just what DC desperately needs to regain its lost edge
The biggest reason to come back and give 'Justice League' another shot: Zack Snyder
DC is in dire straits, and is in need of a rescue by its band of superheroes. Zack Snyder's cut of the 'Justice League' with its brand new additions, cameos, and classic Snyder treatment might just be what the flailing franchise needs to get back in the game. DC has made losing fanbase look ridiculously easy: Make a bad flick, heal the wound in the form of a promising new feature and then go back to making abysmal content again.
'Wonder Woman 1984' was supposed to be the savior. After the sorry outings of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' and Joss Whedon's what-did-we-do-to-see-this 'Justice League', Gal Gadot's return as the titular superhero with Patty Jenkins at the helm was supposed to bring back the edge DC lost. Except it didn't. With a 59% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film fared just marginally over average and that turns all the attention to Snyder's enigmatic flick.
DC needs this version of 'Justice League' to work. Snyder managed to live up to the promise of the franchise taking a new direction with Henry Cavill's 'Man of Steel' but every film after that was a damp squib. The very news of the release of the Snyder cut meant there was a new lease of life for DC ardents. Staunch fans say the film has a lot of weight on its shoulders, and rightfully so. The lead-up to 'Justice League' was downright terrible and shoddy.
Originally, 'Justice League' saw Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) attempt to stop the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons after the death of Superman. It was criticized for quite a few factors - the plot and writing, the average score, slow-ish pacing, and a terrible villain. The film has a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the critic consensus reading: "Justice League leaps over a number of DC movies, but its single bound isn't enough to shed the murky aesthetic, thin characters, and chaotic action that continue to dog the franchise."
Among the many things Snyder has said to generate the buzz and not making it seem like a cash grab, Superman's black suit is one of the things to watch out for. Darkseid foraying into the DCEU is a major move forward for the franchise. The comic storylines that are delicately weaved in will surely be a point of discussion. The four-parter is supposed to make sure people will flock to watch it. Most importantly, the biggest reason to come back and give 'Justice League' a shot is because it's Zack Snyder.
Snyder's 'Man of Steel' changed the way DC made movies. And despite the lukewarm response the film received, it set the tone for what to expect. Kal-El/ Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) rescues people from a burning oil rig in the middle of the ocean. He rescues a waitress at a bar from a sleazy truck driver, and his life-saving days started in his teen days when he pulled out his drowning school bus rescuing his friends.
So it wasn't the usual, outdated approach to the character. Adding to this was the fact he was aware of the supreme, god-like abilities that also made him an alien to this planet. This also presented Clark as someone unsure whether his abilities were a boon or a curse. It couldn't help save his father, Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), who died trying to save lives during a deadly hurricane. Then there's that thought of trying to adjust to this world as his home. While Clark grew, so did his connection to Earth.
'Dawn of Justice' has one silver lining and it isn't the Wonder Woman cameo. It was the relationship between heavyweights, Clark and Bruce. 'Justice League' made it a lot more comical with Affleck grumpily saying 'something's definitely bleeding' as a hilarious throwback to its predecessor flick, but with Snyder, there will be a sense of gloom, a sense of confusion, and most importantly, a sense of overwhelming emotions. He humanized Superman, chances are he would do the same for the rest of the superheroes.
Then there's the whole reason to do it for Autumn, his daughter, whose death saw Snyder leave the film midway. In a Vanity Fair interview, the director says the end has a title 'For Autumn', making it crystal clear this project for him was more than just business.
An excerpt from the interview reads: "At the end of the movie, it says ‘For Autumn,’” Snyder says, sitting in the shadows of a darkened editing suite, frames from the movie frozen on the screens around him. When he talks about his daughter, the otherwise scrappy, ebullient 54-year-old filmmaker always looks away. “Without her, this absolutely would not have happened."
And sometimes that just might do the trick. It just might be enough to breathe life into a franchise that so desperately needs a winner. The other DC movies have done what they can, but they never could cement DC as a franchise that could flex its muscles like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Snyder's cut of the 'Justice League' with its twists, turns, cameos, and a gritty storyline might just do the trick. Or in fact, it should.
'Justice League: The Synder Cut' releases March 18, 2021, on HBOMax.