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22 May, 2020 21:06

Justice League’s Snyder Cut is the DC Universe’s last chance to get good, not a ‘toxic precedent’

Justice League’s Snyder Cut is the DC Universe’s last chance to get good, not a ‘toxic precedent’

A massive fan movement has been vindicated, and HBO is preparing to air the elusive ‘Snyder Cut’ of 2017’s ‘Justice League’. But a choir of media and checkmarked Twitter users want to paint it as a “dangerous precedent.”

2017’s ‘Justice League’ is considered to be one of the biggest flops in cinema history, but being $60 million short of the ‘break-even’ point was only part of the story. It met with a very mixed reception from critics, and fans couldn’t get behind it. The film – about one of the biggest superhero teams in comics – simply failed to deliver on what it had set up, and that seemed to be the resounding failure. This was especially disappointing considering it was co-written by Joss Whedon, who made the first ‘Avengers’ film such a success. 

‘Justice League’ was mired in tragedy and setbacks during production that likely spelled doom for the first edition from the outset. Director Zack Snyder’s daughter tragically passed away, leading to him stepping off the film. Whedon took over, reshoots were ordered, and the film emerged a mess. After that, dedicated fans of Snyder’s work on the DC universe movies began to push for the release of his version of the film, believing the details of Snyder’s original vision would be far superior to what Whedon had slapped together. 

Though I have my own gripes with ‘Justice League’, and the DC cinematic universe in general, I can’t help but congratulate the fans on this massive victory. With the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement being so vocal, and several of the film’s actors also expressing their desire to see the cut, it’s a victory for people who demand that the stories told about such beloved characters be the best they can be. We expect the tales of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League of America to be impeccable, and if Snyder’s edit does them justice (pun intended) then it should see the light of day. Given how many fans of the DCEU (DC’s film universe) lost faith after ‘Justice League’, this could go a long way towards regaining that trust simply by making it happen.

With that said, there is a push against this release. There seems to be a mainstream narrative here – and a blatant one at that. Whether it’s Collider, ScreenRant or Twitter users, the phrase “sets a bad precedent” is used almost as if it’s a line spoken by a non-playable character (NPC) in a video game. Apparently these fans are ‘toxic’ for asking that a cut which represents the true vision of the original director comes to light. 

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Even the creators of the DC animated series ‘Harley Quinn’ mocked this fan movement, though the reveal that their bosses want the cut leaves egg on their faces. Though I’m certainly not a fan of the ‘Karen’ mindset, I think that it’s unwarranted to paint fans with such a wide brush. There are zero things wrong with asking for a product which is better than the one you were given in the first place. 

A starving artist who ignores the consumer will continue to starve. There’s a saying in my home city of Chicago to “never leave money on the table.” In the arts, it’s a foolish idea. There’s nothing wrong with listening to the people with the wallets, and listening to them sets the best precedent. You learn what they want, and what they’re willing to pay money for.

Calling the fans’ behavior ‘harassment’ here does nothing but dilute the term. Someone being adamant on Twitter is not harassment. If you consider it harassment, I’d advise investing in some thicker skin or learning how to run a business. Then again, we’re dealing with a media machine that has enjoyed giving the middle finger to fans in order to score social clout, rather than using their brains and understanding how a market works. 

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In the end, Zack Snyder’s vision for ‘Justice League’ will see the light of day in 2021 on HBO Max. This just goes to show you that fans should be taken seriously, because they adore the things you want to make as an artist. When you embrace the fans, they embrace you, and there’s no better feeling. If this truly is a ‘toxic precedent’ then I’m happy to be toxic. Though I have a feeling the folks throwing those words around don’t know their definitions. 

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.