The fabled Snyder cut is real and it’s coming to a streaming service near you.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s been a fixture in pop culture, nerd culture and Hollywood circles for going on three years now. Its origins trace back to when Warner Bros. Studios released Justice League in 2017 to much… disappointment.
The film was meant to compete with the likes of Marvel’s Avengers but ended up becoming the source of audible groans of frustration from fans the world over. But what was to blame?
Well, for a vocal contingent of fans, the obvious answer was that Justice League switched directors in the final hour as Zac Snyder (300, Watchmen and Man of Steel) had to depart the project late into production following a family tragedy in March 2017. To help bring the film home, Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) stepped in two months later to make some final adjustments (read: reshoots) to the version that was ultimately released and scored a middling 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Then, before the dust even settled, anonymous Redditors and self-proclaimed insiders started leaking theories that Snyder’s film would’ve looked totally different and somehow not have been victim to the same issues. You know, despite the fact that he was involved in most of the film’s production.
In fact, these same “sources” claimed the Snyder cut was so far along that there was practically a full film waiting to be released with some minor refinements. (In reality, it was most likely just an incredibly long cut of the film with no special effects or editing in place.)
The existence of this mysterious Snyder cut was disputed and supported constantly, and most of us assumed we’d never know for sure. That is until Warner Bros. announced that the Snyder cut would be available on HBO Max, its forthcoming streaming service, at some point in 2021 after it goes through post-production.
Despite the celebrations you may come across from the supporters of this ill-advised movement, practically everyone loses in this. Sure, there’s the slim chance of some small victories. But at what cost?
At what cost?!
Allow us to explain to you how or what everyone loses because of the now official release of the Snyder cut.
Justice League is likely the biggest film Zac Snyder has ever been involved in. Which is saying a lot given his filmography.
Its failure to launch is a stain on his record, whether that be fair or not. But what leaves an even larger mark on his record is his unearned status as the eventual savior of a lackluster movie that was full of problems from the start.
The hype behind the Snyder cut got to be so out-of-hand that it would have to be on the level of Captain America: Winter Soldier to be worth all of the energy, time and, yes, millions of dollars it cost for its release. In all likelihood, a significant portion of what people didn’t like about Justice League justifiably lands at Zac Snyder’s feet.
Just look at his past work up to this point. 300 is a visually stunning film with a paper-thin plot stretched out over two hours. Watchmen (2009), which I personally love, is considered by most to be average, at best. And Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is just… Martha?
So if that’s what Snyder’s films look like with absolutely no intervention, what makes fans belive his version of Justice League would have been any different?
Fortunately, Snyder now has the benefit of listening to three years of fan complaints and can do his best to avoid hitting those same blunders in his version of the film. Even if his original intention three years ago was to make those very same decisions. Which seems a bit unfair, to be honest.
I could see this playing out a lot like the return of Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks last season. As a fan, I was thrilled to see the return of “Beast Mode” and the reunion even had some joyous moments in the playoffs. But he was clearly a shell of his former self and probably would’ve been better off staying home and sparing himself those extra hits in the long term.
So what if the Snyder cut comes out and is just kind of mediocre? Snyder’s reputation will take an even bigger hit and there will be no one else to blame.
Speaking of which…
Joss Whedon is probably quarantined in his mansion, sitting atop his throne of Angel, Buffy and Firefly DVD box sets, throwing two giant middle fingers to the entire world right now.
The demand for the Snyder cut was already inconsiderate of him in the first place, but that comes with the territory of being a director. But the acknowledgment of and official release of it is the ultimate sign of disrespect. He’s, officially, been thrown under the bus by Warner Bros., Snyder and fans at this point.
If everyone thinks this new version of the film that Whedon finished off is going to be so much better than the original, with the original director in place, clearly they think he was the problem.
By no means do I think he stepped in to finish Justice League purely out of the kindness of his own heart. He likely got a check that amounts to more than all of the money I’ve ever made in my life, times ten.
But it seems that no one stopped to consider the fact that Whedon may have actually saved the film from being even worse than it was.
Imagine being an A-student brought into a group project that’s gone off the rails two days before its due and told you have to fix it. When you ultimately get a C+, you’re not even that mad. You’re honestly relieved. But no one else in the class knows that C+ is actually a D- overachieving like a motherf&#*er, so they think you failed.
That’s what Whedon probably feels like right now.
The most perplexing thing about this entire situation is why did Warner Bros. feel the need to do this at all?
I mean, sure, HBO Max is their streaming service which grants them the flexibility to do whatever the hell they want. But that doesn’t have to include this.
It’s not even as if the streaming service is anywhere close to being low on content! HBO Max has intellectual properties from HBO, DC Entertainment, BBC Studios, Cartoon Network, Crunchyroll, Studio Ghibli and so many more. Not to mention the fact that it’ll have Friends AND The Big Bang Theory. (Hear more about the streaming wars on BNP’s weekly podcast, This Week in Nerd News!)
This just comes off like a waste of money spent trying to undo an embarrassing failure because enough people on the internet said they wanted it.
Or its a continuation of what many people believe was the DCEU’s biggest issue — Warner Bros. doesn’t have a plan in place and they’re flying by the seat of their pants.
Unless the Snyder Cut is a gift from Zeus himself, Warner Bros. is looking like it’ll be losing money on this movie for the second time. (That is unless we all decide to hate-watch it like Cats.)
But this puts Warner Bros., and every other film studio, in an even more precarious position. After three years of campaigning, the precedent has now been set that if fans are loud enough for long enough, studios will eventually bend to their will and give them what they think they want. For better or for worse.
And by “y’all” I mean the Snyder cut contingent.
Did you actually expect this to ever see the light of day? Or was it just something that you could pin all of your hopes and dreams on to speculate on what could’ve been and enjoy being loud about?
Well, it’s too late now. We’re here. We’re in the endgame.
Because if the Snyder cut isn’t the best sh*t since Al Pacino said, “Fredo, you broke my heart!,” so many people are going to look ridiculous for stomping their feet and demanding to get a better version of a movie they could only speculate existed.
To borrow from a running joke I can’t take credit for, this is the Mueller Report all over again. People put all of their eggs into this one basket so that at this point, they have to stand tall and take whatever L may be coming their way.
Not only will fans lose out on their scapegoat for a bad movie, but they’ll also lose the privilege of consuming the content as if they don’t share any of the blame.