By Benny Streeter
Quick zoom-in shots of heroes flying by, extreme fight choreography between spartans and dark depictions of a twisted criminal world. These are some of the specialties of director Zack Snyder. Throughout this piece, I’m going to rag on him pretty hard so I felt that I should mention his strengths first.
Snyder was a major part of the creation of the DC universe and has, as of now, directed three films within the universe. Each film came out to negative reviews but one movie, in particular, received some extra attention. Justice League (2017) was a hot mess with Snyder’s name slapped across the cover, but fans of the DC universe eventually learned of the existence of The Snyder Cut. During the production of Justice League, the directors had been swapped replacing most of Snyder’s work with Joss Whedon’s. The Snyder Cut is the original 4-hour depiction of the 2017 film that was mostly directed by Joss Whedon. Jump forward to the present day, The Snyder Cut is said to be released early next year and fans are getting very excited. While I expect this version to be better than the original, people need to lower their expectations.
The first reason why I believe The Snyder Cut will disappoint is that Snyder has already shown his incapability of understanding DC characters. He botched Superman’s character and left no way to fix it. I have nothing against Henry Cavill. I believe he is great casting for the character seeing as he is a giant nerd who understands Superman, however, his Superman is the reason that most of my generation thinks that the character is boring. The very first scene in Justice League is the perfect example of this character’s main problem. In this scene, Superman talks to a group of his fans, but there is a problem. He talks as if he doesn’t understand humans or like he is some sort of god among men. I’ll touch on Snyder’s insistence on religious symbols in Superman’s character, but the main issue here is the cold and stoic personality. Superman grew up on earth and was raised like a normal person. Superman is a disguise, the man is really Clark Kent. This concept is barely explored in Man Of Steel, Batman Vs Superman, and Justice League. He is always just an emotionless “god”. The real Superman, Clark Kent from other pieces of DC media is awkward but in a human way, he is driven and leads a normal life behind the scenes but, most importantly, Clark is a human. This mischaracterization of Superman in recent DC films is the reason Superman is seen by movie-goers as a walking Jesus metaphor who’s only passion is Lois Lane. What I’m trying to say is that this character is beyond repair and The Snyder Cut’s release can’t and won’t change that.
I’d give Snyder the benefit of the doubt, Superman is a very tough character to portray his character has more moral depth than one may expect him to have.
Batman, on the other hand, isn’t a very deep character and has been done well countless times. How Snyder managed to mess up this bad is beyond me, but let’s get started. The death of Bruce Wayne’s parents is what defines his motivations, he refuses to take lives so that no living being will have to endure what he has. Even if it may do more evil than good, even if keeping someone alive endangers the entire world he never kills. It’s this philosophy that makes Batman unique and most writers and directors have no trouble with it. Snyder, though, felt the need to deviate. In the three DC films that Snyder worked on, Batman kills dozens of people with no hesitation and no regrets. This would be okay if Snyder had gone full-throttle on the character and made a more twisted version of Batman, but Snyder says in multiple interviews that his Batman still holds his moral compass but that the deaths of those around him are collateral damage and not intentional. Remember this, the reason Batman fights Superman in Snyder’s film is that he’s mad at Superman for the collateral damage he caused to the city in Man Of Steel. I find it impossible to believe that this man is expected to have created some sort of masterpiece of a film out of the piece of coal that is Justice League when this is how he makes his characters.
The Snyder Cut is said to be around four hours long with extra fights, interactions, and character developing moments. Dozens of visual changes are also confirmed to appear throughout the film. These many changes will definitely improve the film but at the end of the day, a four-hour film just isn’t worth these changes. The story might get better but it’s still Zack Snyder. There’ll be cool action scenes, but those weren’t the problem in the original; they may visually fix the intimidating villain and Henry Cavill’s CGI, but the film will still suck. There is such a thing as too many ideas, many films fall into this trap and end up like Valerian (2017): a long and off-putting jumble of undeveloped ideas that converge into a mess of a film. This is likely what will happen in Snyder’s four-hour director’s cut, not doubling the length of your film for a director’s cut is basic moviemaking and that having a film with poor writing in the first place will bore the audience beyond the bounds we thought we once knew. The average director’s cut is around thirty to forty-five minutes of extra scenes, The Snyder Cut adds two hours to the film not counting the scenes that were changed from what Joss Whedon had done. The odds are pretty stacked against Zack here but who knows, maybe it will be a masterpiece that breaks records for movie comebacks.
A big part of me would love to be wrong, but I know deep down that I’m not. This film has such a slim chance to be worth it that it feels like they shouldn’t put it out. The Snyder Cut should be kept as just an idea, something too good to be real but still a symbol of hope for the DC universe seeing as it’s not dead yet. Leaving the reputation in the hands of the DC solo films is a much better idea than betting everything on Snyder. This may end up deciding the fate of not only Snyder’s reputation as a director but the DC films as a whole.