Zack Snyder's Justice League can't help but feel tainted by the toxicity of #ReleaseTheSnyderCut
No superhero movie is worth the spite that this movement unleashed, says David Craig.
The confirmation that Zack Snyder's Justice League was headed to HBO Max stirred up some very mixed emotions in me. On a personal level, I'm in the minority of people who actually enjoyed Batman v Superman, so I'm excited to see a more direct follow-up in terms of tone and narrative. But in a broader sense, I find it hard to separate this extended edition from the years of harassment and toxicity that birthed it into existence.
If you're lucky enough to be unaware, #ReleaseTheSnyderCut is the fan campaign devoted to getting Zack Snyder's original Justice League movie out into the world. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. The DC Comics superhero flick had been a real passion project for Snyder, who was forced to leave mid-production due to a terrible family tragedy. The finished product, completed and largely reshot by Avengers director Joss Whedon, was widely disliked, so it's understandable that fans wanted a Bullseye-style look at what they could have had.
The issue is that many prominent members of this movement have spent almost three years acting callously to people online. Many of them bizarrely describe their fight for the so-called Snyder Cut in terms reminiscent of the civil rights movement, painting themselves as brave heroes acting against cruel oppressors (movie bloggers, I guess?).
Virtually every time a news article questioned the existence of The Snyder Cut or a critic dared to comment on the director's work, the militant factions of this fandom would flock to it like hungry piranhas - no matter how innocent the intention. I caught a glimpse of this first-hand in December, when I wrote a short news piece reporting comments made by Justice League composer Danny Elfman, who had suggested that Snyder's version of the film may be incomplete.
I can honestly say that no malice went into writing that story. Rather, it was simply deemed an interesting update from someone who had worked on the production and thus could offer some insight into its current status. That didn't stop more than 100 angry fans piling onto the Twitter post, slating the article and RadioTimes.com for publishing it, claiming to have a deeper understanding of the production despite having no involvement in it themselves. Of course, I got off lightly, as numerous bloggers have been subjected to far more severe personal abuse via social media for entering The Snyder Cut discourse.
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Now all of this is not to say there haven't been any cases of agitation from the other side. There's no doubt that some people like to "poke the bear" so to speak, whether for clicks or their own personal amusement. Unfortunately, that's the nature of the internet – and it certainly doesn't justify the hideous bile that's been spewed during this stagnating Twitter spat, which ultimately boils down to differing taste in spandex.
Arguably, Snyder Cut extremists make themselves a target in how easily provoked they are by something so trivial. It speaks to an immaturity – and like any stroppy child, giving them exactly what they want feels like a mistake.
Within moments of the Snyder Cut's official announcement, Twitter was already filling up with gloating fans who had some choice words for anyone who doubted the Second Coming. Ironically, what had been reported in many of the "biased" and "clickbait" news stories ended up being true. The Snyder Cut is unfinished, hence why Warner Bros is reportedly pumping $20-30 million into getting it ready for release.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to watching Zack Snyder's Justice League. It will be interesting to see what the director would have done with DC's crossover epic and it could very well be a huge improvement on what we ultimately got. But the nasty tactics used by #ReleaseTheSnyderCut to get to this point will remain a dark cloud over this movie, no matter how good it ends up being.
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