Out of all the comicbook films that have been released within the past few years, none have brought controversy like Justice League. The conversation and debate around the film are not just exclusive to DC and comicbook fans either. The blockbuster debuting one of the most iconic superhero teams in all of fiction received lackluster reviews and could not even surpass 100 million on its opening week. This should not have been the case when former C and B list characters like Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy carry films that break no sweat in surpassing this goal at the box office. Even the previous DC film Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice made close to 70 million more on its first week. Many see this is as honestly embarrassing on the studio’s part. With so many inside reports and leaks having been released within the past week, people everywhere have a more clear picture on what went on behind the scenes and many are not happy.
When I say “many” I mean over 100,000. That is how many signatures a petition for a Justice League Director’s Cut on Change.Org has gathered. There are currently over 114,000 signatures, but the numbers only grow by the minutes. The petition is still fresh for it was only posted two weeks ago by a fan named Roberto Mata. We know very little about him, but he has truly showcased the power that simply lies within our fingertips. He used the new information about the changes and executive decisions made on the film after director Zack Snyder’s departure to his advantage when forming the petition. The following is the conclusion statement that best summarizes the reason for someone to sign:
We, the undersigned, recommend that Warner Bros. releases a Director’s Cut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. We request that Warner Bros. restores the removed scenes and original vision that Zack had for the film before his departure. Much like Richard Donner’s Superman II and Zack Snyder Batman v Superman, it is the responsibility of WB to right their wrongs and release the uncompromised vision of their filmmakers. We feel this is a simple matter of integrity. Zack Snyder left a film he spent over half a decade building toward because of a tragedy. Fans were assured by Executives and Producers that Whedon’s addition would only be to service and complete Snyder’s vision. Instead, the Justice League film released was a disrespectful overhaul in an attempt to pander to the widest audience. As the box office and critical reception has shown, pandering to the masses is not a sound strategy. The greatest stories are the ones told with conviction. Upwards of 94,000 fans have signed and that number continues to grow rapidly. In short, we ask Warner Bros. to release a Director’s Cut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
The argument made here is that it is clear that the studio and Joss Whedon are those responsible for the film’s critical and financial lackluster performance. It is very hard to disagree with this argument because the results and insider reports do point to this direction. I would even argue that the studio is more to blame than Whedon, for they hired him in the first place and still gave him mandates to work under. Whedon was like a pressured hit man that was given a target that he had no previous knowledge of. His experience on the Avengers films do not automatically make him a good choice for this film for they are very different teams with different relationships. Even is Snyder stayed, is is very possible that WB executives would have still demanded a 2 hour cut of the film.
The petition sure has done a great job of keeping the the idea of a Director’s cut alive. Fans have absolutely been outspoken in this conversation, but now other significant people have joined as well. Just recently Zack Snyder’s own son Jett Elin spilled his thoughts on the social media app Vero. He did enjoy the movie but did not filter himself when he said it suffered from studio melding and a short run time. He makes a good point when he expressed the notion that such big films cannot breathe when constricted by a short time. You can read more of his statement here.
Another big voice new to the conversation is the film’s own cinematographer Fabian Wagner. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts he could not participate in Whedon’s re-shoots. You are definitely a busy man when you have production of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones on your plate. During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he revealed his desire for a director’s cut.
“This one was even shorter than I expected, so there are scenes that aren’t in there. I really hope we get to see a director’s cut, which will give us everything that we shot that didn’t make it in. What I love about his (Snyder’s) director’s cuts is they are long, but he takes his time to tell the story. I’ve never watched any of his directors cut and thought ‘This is long.” Whether they are three hours long, or three hours and ten minutes, they always seemed to go quick.”
He did express his thoughts on 2nd unit photographer Jean-Philippe filling in his shoes for the re-shoots. He was ultimately happy that someone that was close to the production from the start was going to continue his work.
“He and I had been talking about what we’ve been doing, and he knew some of the style we’ve been going for. It was great to have someone I know and who knew the film beforehand and could come in and give it continuity.”
The answer to a director’s cut ever seeing the public’s light of day is up in the air at this point. According to recent reports, the studio did see a somewhat complete version of Snyder cut at one point. Unfortunately, this cut did not sit well with them and pushed them to demand re-writes. As to how complete this cut of the film was is still unclear. What is clear is that this version is almost not see-able in the theatrical cut.
There are two things that are stopping us from getting a director’s cut. Firstly, Snyder himself has not worked on the film for quite some time now. He took personal time away and at this point- no one knows for sure if he would even be willing to come back and fix up his version. Secondly, it is unlikely that the studio would want to a release a version of the film that would further highlight the wrongs they did. Will the studio want to acknowledge that giving Whedon further mandates for re-shoots was probably not the smartest choice? Who knows but raising questions will not lead to results. Actions have proven time and time again to be more effective than words. The fact that the petition has grown in hundreds just in the time of me writing this article speaks volumes. The power of this petition continuously grows and eventually the pressure on the studio may publicly be too high.
UPDATE: Justice League director Zack Snyder has seemingly shown his support for the petition as he has liked a post on Vero about it. This is by no means a confirmation that Snyder’s cut will be released, but it very much seems like he’s open to the idea.
Take a look:
Want to sign this petition and add your voice to the list of thousands of fans who share your same thoughts? Click here.
Stay tuned for all updates on Justice League’s home release and the state of the DC film universe- Andrew J. Salazar (@yokis101 on Twitter)
Go out and watch Justice League in theaters now!
Justice League – Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Directed by Zack Snyder, Justice League stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, and Amy Adams.