In a year in which film culture has had extended arguments about the likes of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joker, Midsommar, and Irishman, one of the most frequently discussed topics has involved an unseen version of a movie from two years ago that may or may not actually exist.
Ever since the DCEU film Justice League was released in November 2017, fans of the DC movies have been calling for a release of “The Snyder Cut,” a supposed version of the film consisting of the unvarnished, uncompromised vision of director Zack Snyder.
Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, is the credited director of Justice League, although he stepped away from the film midway through, following a family tragedy, and was replaced by Joss Whedon, leading to a finished film consisting of a striking contrast in tones.
…“The Snyder Cut,” a supposed version of the film consisting of the unvarnished, uncompromised vision of director Zack Snyder.
At some point after that, it became conventional wisdom that Warner Bros. had assembled a cut of Snyder’s version of the film. And even though Ben Affleck is no longer Batman and DC has moved beyond the Snyder era, it has become a viral hashtag movement to #releasethesnydercut.
Yet, despite all of that tweeting – and even a push by actors Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa – The Hollywood Reporter said last week, citing “insiders,” that “no announcement of a release of any such cut is imminent.”
This is good news. That’s because the “Snyder Cut,” if it exists, should never, ever be released.
In the Vaults for a Reason
There are a few reasons for this. One, as I’ve long said, is that releasing the Snyder Cut would only serve to make a long bad movie even longer and even worse. Of all the movies from the last five years in which they could be an opportunity to see a director’s cut consisting of the filmmaker’s unfettered vision, Justice League probably wouldn’t crack the top 200.
We already got a long, unvarnished Snyder movie about these characters, and it was Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, probably the worst superhero movie released by a major studio in the last five years.
Additionally, it’s not like Snyder’s version of the film is just sitting on a shelf completed. The “Snyder Cut” almost certainly does not currently exist in anything close to releasable condition. Sure, there’s probably an assembly cut of some sort, but completing it would likely cost Warner tens of millions of dollars in special effects shots, reshoots, and other efforts. That’s money almost certainly better spent on, well, anything else, including a mid-sized movie or two.
And finally, giving the Release The Snyder Cut people what they want would reward some of the worst fandom behavior ever.
Rewarding Toxic Fandom
There’s a lot of competition in this regard, but DCEU/Snyder fans have earned a reputation over the years as one of the worst-behaved fandoms in the world. You name it, harassment,conspiracy theories, and the belief that liking Batman makes one part of a marginalized, discriminated-against minority. It’s absolutely not the type of behavior that deserves to be rewarded at all.
Superhero movies now rule pop culture with a seemingly unrelenting grip, and those who are fans of them have gotten just about everything they wanted. This has led to an attitude that it’s not enough for the genre to dominate film culture, but no one is allowed to dissent, as we saw when Martin Scorsese shared that he’s not a fan.
All of this has left me wishing that after AT&T completed its purchase of Time Warner last year, some executive had gotten up at Comic-Con, produced a reel labeled “Justice League Cut, Z. Snyder,” and then set that reel on fire, in front of everyone.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.