Is “Justice League” Zack Snyder’s True Vision?

DC fans are a fickle bunch.

Director Zack Snyder delivered “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, and many fans complained they were too dark and gritty.

“Justice League” lands in theatres and fans complain it isn’t as dark and gritty as the two previous films.

Even though Zack Snyder is credited as Director, fans have written an open letter to Warner Bros. demanding the movie studio allow Snyder to release his own “Director’s Cut” of the film.

As previously reported, Zack Snyder stepped down from “Justice League” due to the suicide death of his daughter in March. It was announced that Joss Whedon would be stepping in to take “Justice League” through the remaining post-production stage.

Joss didn’t simply step in cold, he had already been helping out on the film for some time.

The president of Warner Bros. Pictures, Toby Emmerich explained that even with Whedon’s help this is still very much Zack Snyder’s movie. “The directing is minimal and it has to adhere to the style and tone and the template that Zack set,” Emmerich said. “We’re not introducing any new characters. It’s the same characters in some new scenes. He’s handing a baton to Joss but the course has really been set by Zack. I still believe that despite this tragedy, we’ll still end up with a great movie.”

At the U.S. premiere of “Wonder Woman”, producer Charles Roven told Variety, “We were saddened by the events that caused Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder to have to leave and turn the reins over to Joss Whedon. He was already working with us on some of the scenes for the additional photography that we’re gonna be doing shortly, and it was fortunate that – Zack convinced him, and he agreed to step in and finish the movie, help Zack finish his vision, and we’re excited about that.”

Yet, fans are still unsatisfied…

Some are claiming that Whedon shot more than the 15-20% of the film that was reported, going as far as to claim that “almost all of Zack Snyder’s Superman was reshot”. It’s obvious to me (due to the not-so-perfect removal of Cavill’s mustache) that the opening “phone footage” and the first “post-credits” scene were definitely shot by Whedon, with some additional shots during some of the battles. But “almost all” seems like a big claim.

I think the real issues come from the fact that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara wanted the superhero movie to come in under two hours. This necessitated in numerous cuts being made.

So, rather than point the finger at Whedon or the tonal shift of the film, I think the real issue is the running time of the film and the fact that so many scenes featured in trailers and TV spots are missing from the final cut of the movie. This, in my opinion, is what is really driving the fan movement for a “director’s cut”.

Many are calling “Justice League” a “course correction”. There’s no doubt the color palette and tonal shift towards more humor are both evident in this film. But this seems to have been the very reason that those who weren’t fans of “Man of Steel” or “Batman v Superman” have been won over by “Justice League”.

So who is right? Is “Justice League” still Zack Snyder’s movie… just shorter than originally intended? Or did Joss Whedon “ruin so much of it due to his reshoots” as expressed in the “Open Letter” petition started at ComicBookDebate.com?

Interestingly, this situation seems very similar to the story of “Superman II”. However, in that case Richard Donner was removed from the film and Richard Lester was required to reshoot a majority of the film to be credited as Director. This isn’t the case with “Justice League”… Yet similarities remain between both projects. Will we be waiting thirty years for a rerelease of “Justice League” with all the footage Snyder had originally shot for this movie?

Personally, I’d love to see an extended version of “Justice League”. That’s not to say that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the theatrical cut. I did! It would just be interesting to see what difference the extra footage would make to the story.

Steve Younis

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