In less than one month from now, Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be streaming on HBO Max — all 4 hours of it — and when it does, I will be in front of my television clicking my remote, staring at those three pulsing dots until the WarnerBros. logo comes up. I’m not the only one who has been waiting with great anticipation for Snyder’s Cut to be released. I say, “Thank God for the #ReleaseSnyderCut fans, and their devotion for something good, rather than mediocre.” Even though, quietly in my mind, I think, “It’s kind of their fault Joss Whedon’s Justice League sucked.” But I won’t get into the whole ‘Toxic Fans’ thing, I just want to get into what the release of the Snyder Cut means for Comic Book Cinema.
This isn’t the first time a film has had multiple versions where the first Theatrical Version was complete crap. One example is Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America: before its release in 1984, it was re-edited from 3 hours and 49 minutes to just over 2 hours without Sergio Leone’s involvement. The result was disastrous; it flopped, critics hated it, and the critics who had already seen the over 3-hour version condemned all the changes the studio made to the film. Years later, the 3-hour version was released on home video to critical acclaim and love from audiences. In 2011, the 4 hours and 29-minute version were released on blu-ray, and after I purchased it earlier this year, I sat for every second, with one bathroom break, which is exactly what I intend to do when I watch Snyder’s Justice League.
Does this mean Snyder’s Justice League will be met with both critical acclaim and all-out love from the audience? We will have to see when it is released. Look what happened with Wonder Woman 84. I actually liked that film but knew it wasn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I know I’m most likely going to love Snyder’s Cut because I had already loved what he did with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman — I thought the ‘Martha Scene’ was the best part of the film because I had no idea their mothers had the same name. I’m not saying Snyder is of the same caliber as Leone, but honestly, I think with a good script, he could be, and Batman V Superman was close, but the reaction of critics and audiences destroyed any potential of future projects to redeem any faults of past ones.
I do hope the release of the Snyder Cut leads to something positive in cinema because, in my opinion, the biggest problem most of these Comic Book Films have is that the studio system — as well as the comic book fans — won’t allow the filmmakers to be filmmakers, because films inspired or based on stories written in other mediums are adaptations, not translations.
And it ain’t easy to make a good one. Just ask Martin Scorsese: “The superhero films, as I’ve said, are another art form. They are not easy to make.“