So Anyway, The Snyder Cut

Terrible Takes From Snyderbros

“That’s how it starts. The fever. The rage. The sense of powerlessness that turns good men… cruel.”

Alfred Pennyworth, Batman V Superman

“You’re wrong, but you think you’re right, and that makes you dangerous.”

Peter Parker, Captain America: Civil War

Not everyone who likes Zack Snyder’s approach to DC’s superheroes is an irrational, edgelord, toxic fanboy out to bully the studio into making more and or to silence his critics. Me, for instance. I actually like Man of Steel and thought Batman V Superman has its flaws but I still enjoy many parts of it. There are Snyder fans, who are good, normal people who just liked his movies, probably would have liked to get more, but are fine to move on and see the new stuff. There are Snyder bros, who have much less chill, join in hashtag pushes, and maybe take any opportunity to take cheap shots at Wonder Woman 1984 (which yes fine was a disappointment) or Birds of Prey (which was hella fun and made its budget back in one weekend, ya nerds). And then there is the Snyder Cult, which will accept no interpretation of his work that doesn’t hail it as a series of masterpieces, brigades and harasses all who dare to suggest otherwise, will proudly actively bully the studio and all who work for them with demands for more Snyder content, denounce all non-Snyder DC projects, and just give the rest of us a bad name with their questionable commitment to our shared reality.

If you’re a Snyder fan, know that we are of the same kind, we are friends, I have no quarrel with you. If you’re a Snyder bro, I get that you’re frustrated, man, I do. As for the rest, you are not invited to my birthday party.

What follows are the worst defenses, arguments, or general discourse from the Snyder Cult, arguments I’m truly tired of seeing.

“But Batman V Superman made money, how is it a disappointment.” Yes, it’s true that Batman V Superman didn’t bomb John Carter-style, it didn’t almost bankrupt the studio, but… and I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you… nobody but the studio gets to decide what is and isn’t a sufficient level of box office to justify sequels. If they greenlit a third Wonder Woman but not a second ZSJL, it’s not some vendetta against Zack, it’s because the accounting department advised it be so.

“You’ve clearly never read a comic book.” Yeah, bro, nothing backs up your argument over a controversial take on the medium’s two most iconic superheroes like gatekeeping. The people saying this will also not see the problem with how Snyder uses Mother Boxes, and object to the idea that Scarlet Witch would pose a threat to Superman like his #2 weakness isn’t well-known to be magic.

“I haven’t heard a good argument against [thing].” Yes you fucking have, you just moved the goalposts or sea lioned it until they stopped engaging and you called yourself the winner. Someone on reddit said “I don’t know why people are so against releasing ZSJL in black and white,” and I broke and replied “People thought his last two movies were too grey and drab, and now he says he wants even less colour, do I have to draw you a diagram.”

“Batman kills in all the movies.” This is true. The only cinematic Batman without blood on his hands is George Clooney. But only Tim Burton had Batman kill so willy-nilly as BVS, and it got his ass fired and replaced with Joel Schumacher. Also, and this is important, Snyderbros (and Snyder himself, apparently) don’t understand that you can have a Batman who guns down random Russian mercs for being in his way or you can have that Batman meet up with Jared Leto’s Joker, but not both. If Batman kills, Joker is dead. The no-kill rule is the only reason Joker is alive, and keeping villains like Joker around is one of the big reasons heroes have no-kill rules. There’s a reason Batman has like a dozen iconic nemeses and the Punisher has maybe one.

“People are just butthurt that Cavill’s not doing Christopher Reeve.” Reeve might be the gold standard, but there have been over half a dozen live-action Supermen and Snyder’s version is the only one decried as too grim and dark and broody, and Tom Welling spent like four years being sad about his relationship with Lana Lang. I get that Snyder was trying to do something different but blaming the audience for not liking it helps nothing. Someone complained that people wanted Cavill’s Superman to be noble and smiling like Captain America, and my personal hero replied “Or in other words, Superman. They wanted Superman to be like Superman.” Which segues to…

“If you’d have been patient, he’d have been the classic Superman in the end.” This argument is so bad I can’t even dissect it. “If you’d slogged through five increasingly bleak movies he’d have been the character you love right before the end credits of movie five” is such a bad take it’s almost beyond parody. If it’s 8 AM on Christmas morning and nobody’s eaten breakfast, yes, it’s okay to say “We’ll open presents soon, be patient.” If it’s mid-afternoon and you’re saying “We need to get dinner in the oven first, be patient,” motherfucker we done been patient, stop stalling. Jesus even Doctor Strange, the origin-est Marvel origin movie, let us open presents by noon.

“They wanted it to be like Marvel.” I’m perhaps the most sick of this one, because what does that even mean. I’m a lifelong DC fan and I don’t remember giving Marvel proprietary rights to the concepts of “fun,” “humour,” or “colour.”

“We can’t be toxic, we donated to charity.” That the #ReleasetheSnyderCut movement raised $250,000 for suicide prevention is an inherent positive, and good for them. But it’s downright offensive that they use this as a shield against the harassment campaigns that Snyder fans absolutely engage in on the regular. Multiple YouTubers I love are wary of doing any sort of public Snyder content because they don’t want to deal with the angry fans screaming at them for not seeing BVS as a visionary masterpiece. Snyderbros tweeted at living jewel Zachary Levi demanding apologies for not supporting the Snydercut. Before WB pulled the plug on Ava Duvernay’s New Gods movie, she had so many people demanding she hold to Snyder’s vision and keep Ray Porter as Darkseid that Ray Porter himself, who seems like a good and level-headed dude, had to tell them to knock it off.

“Warner Bros. will interfere with their vision.” David Ayer’s Suicide Squad got caught in the crossfire of WB’s attempts to course correct Snyder’s demonstrably failed vision, it’s true. But other than one possible (bad) note about Ares, the studio left Patty Jenkins, James Wan, David Sandberg, Todd Phillips, Cathy Yan, Matt Reeves, and James Gunn alone, so… maybe if someone hadn’t screwed the pooch on his second movie, this wouldn’t even be a topic. Maybe good directors get left alone. Maybe directing a $250 million movie with the studio’s key IP means you get notes.

“[Repeats a common complaint as though repeating it refutes it]” Snyder fans tired of having the thing they liked slagged online would say things like “Here it comes, ‘Superman’s too dark,’ and ‘Batman shouldn’t kill or use guns.'” But… those are valid complaints. Those are reasons why general audiences weren’t embracing Snyder’s take. But I guess claiming you’re tired of hearing them is easier than admitting that addressing these concerns is the thing that would have actually made ZSJL the hit they want to believe it is.

“They say we’ll never #RestoretheSnyderVerse, but they said the Snyder Cut didn’t exist, and they were wrong then too!” Okay the question of whether the Snyder Cut “existed” is a war of moving goalposts, in which one side is thought to be saying the whole movie was done and polished and ready for release if only mean old WB would allow it, and one side is accused of claiming there wasn’t even a rough cut, just a big ol’ pile of unedited footage. Each side misinterprets each other so much, I suspect sometimes intentionally, that both claim ZSJL’s existence as proof they were right. The truth is, no, a finished and polished cut did not exist, that’s why it took $70 million to make it happen, and that is a much smaller ask than $250 million for a sequel, let alone twice that for two sequels that would be even more alienating to general audiences. Warner Bros gave a mouse a cookie, and now the mouse wants a five-course dinner, and doesn’t see the difference.

“It’s not up to Warner Bros, it’s up to AT&T.” This one I find truly baffling, and it is amazingly common, the idea that Warner is trying to sink Snyder’s vision out of spite, but it will be saved by Warner’s parent company AT&T. I cannot wrap my brain around the base concept of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company being regarded as the saviours of artistic vision. AT&T is not a film studio, they just own one; they aren’t interested in artistic statement, just earnings reports. If anything AT&T are likely to be the executives who pulled Chris Terrio aside at a meet and greet and made it clear Justice League needed to be less grim than Batman V Superman, and that their kids expected Cyborg to say “booyah.” AT&T will 100% be the people saying “Marvel movies make huge bank, do something like that.” AT&T will look at the money Snyder fans raised for charity and decide that a quarter million is the most these people can be squeezed for.

“#RestoretheSnyderverse got [X] retweets! We’re winning!” Nobody cares. It’s easy to get a spam hashtag to trend, especially since 100 people can tweet it 100 times in a day and boom, 10K tweets. Also that includes people quote-tweeting to make fun of them. This is not a metric anyone deciding which tentpole movie to greenlight cares about.

“Just keep watching ZSJL and we’ll show them the demand.” Nobody has told the Snyder Cult that a streaming service can absolutely tell the difference between ten households watching something and one household watching it ten times. Somebody should tell them that playing it over and over for a week straight still only counts as “one.”

“Don’t watch The Suicide Squad or The Batman if you want The SnyderVerse back.” This is the one that shows there are DC fans and there are Snyder fans. Even if a boycott of James Gunn and Matt Reeves’ movies worked, that wouldn’t make WB think “Guess we need to give Zack Snyder all of our IPs,” it’ll make them think “Superheroes are tapped out, let’s do more stuff with dragons.”

“They don’t have a plan now.” Every movie they’re making isn’t setting up a big epic throwdown against Darkseid, that’s not the same thing as not having a plan. Snyder fans bitch that non-Snyder movies are “too Marvel” but also need every movie to be setting up Infinity War, pick a lane.

And now that we’ve covered all that… let’s talk about the conspiracy theorists.

There is some need among Snyder fandom to see Warner Bros, who own DC Comics and will be involved in every single DC movie or TV show ever made, as some sinister force out to sabotage their own projects just to bring down Zack Snyder, the man they hired to make the movies they hoped to forge into a new franchise. There are people who think WB used Autumn Snyder’s death to push Zack out of the movie. There are people who think WB fired Ben Affleck off of the solo Batman movie, and when you point out that Affleck was incredibly frank about leaving the project because being Batman was to his alcoholism what a hammer is to a nail, they say WB’s treatment of Snyder drove him to drink. Which… no. Even if that timeline made sense, absolutely no. There are people who think the Snyderbros review-bombing Godzilla Vs Kong to demand more Snyder movies is a false-flag operation by people trying to make the Restore movement look bad, and not a logical extension of their harassment-based tactics. People think the real viewership data of ZSJL is being hidden because they hate Zack so much and want to undermine his movie that they paid him to make, twice, and then released for people to watch.

I have even seen someone on Twitter suggesting that WB and even Matt Reeves in fact actively drove Autumn to suicide in an attempt to oust Zack, but honestly I don’t think that one should even count, I’m not convinced that even was an authentic Snyder fan, feels like a troll pitching the worst takes possible for the lulz or attention or why ever they do things.

Now look at those dumb, baseless theories, and take that into account when I say we haven’t gotten to the truly stupid one yet. Oh, it gets so much dumber.

Some have noted that BVS had some strong thematic similarities to Civil War, and more than that his two Justice League sequels would involve “cosmic villain wins, killing half the team…” you know, like Avengers: Infinity War, and “survivors use time travel to undo villain’s victory, but the main one sacrifices himself to do it,” like Endgame. And in each case the more fun, less grim Avengers movie would have been out first. Rather than think “Whew, bullet dodged, the Snyder sequels would have been at best the Shark Tale to Marvel’s Finding Nemo,” they found a way to make this WB’s fault.

There was an active theory that WB, via Geoff Johns, leaked Snyder’s plans for BVS and his Justice League trilogy to Kevin Feige, so he could make Avengers movies with the same plots to undermine Zack and shut down his plans.

I was big into conspiracies in university. Loved them. Loved the idea that the world was filled with sinister cabals and shadow councils because that was more interesting than the world being randomly and casually cruel and indifferent. I did it all, from every JFK conspiracy to “one of Mars’ moons is a spaceship” to “we haven’t been back to the moon because they found aliens” to “Earth is a farm,” stuff about the Catholic church that makes The Da Vinci Code look like a documentary. And with all of that in mind… this is the absolute dumbest conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard that isn’t QAnon. Every part of it is beyond stupid. “The moon landing was faked” and “The Royal Family are reptoids from Hollow Earth” hold up to more scrutiny than this.

The idea that WB hired Snyder to make not one but three back-to-back superhero movies, from Batman V Superman to Justice League Part II (Justice League Part III was never confirmed, Zack wanted it but nobody promised it), at a time when they desperately needed a new long-term franchise, then began sabotaging him before the first one was even done filming is absurd. No part of that makes sense. Civil War came out a month after BVS, and required new contracts to be signed with Robert Downey Jr. and a rival studio. For this theory to work WB would have had to start undermining BVS before the ink was dry on Snyder’s contract. Seems it would have been easier to just hire someone else. This is one of America’s biggest studios trying to make giant four-quadrant hits, not shady businessmen backing Uwe Boll’s video game movies to exploit German tax loopholes.

That Geoff Johns, who had been a DC company man for most of his adult life, would leak DC projects to Kevin Feige to sabotage his own team, after spending months singing the praises of Green Lantern, feels incredibly dumb. It’s the sort of theory that can only arise when you’re determined to paint every executive involved in overhauling Justice League as a cartoonish supervillain out to squash artistic vision.

But even if you can twist your brain into believing all of that, you still have to believe that Kevin Feige, Hollywood’s number one hitmaker, needed Geoff Johns to slip him Snyder’s treatment for BVS to think of adapting Civil War, the biggest and most famous Marvel Comics crossover of the entire 21st century. Fans had been calling out for a Civil War movie since at least 2014, there is no chance it wasn’t on his radar. (Yeah I saw the same “Serpent Society” misdirect you did, that doesn’t mean he changed the plan, it means he kept Civil War secret as long as he could, ya dummies.)

And even worse, you also have to assume that Kevin Feige needed to have Snyder’s Justice League plot leaked to him in order to think of adapting Infinity Gauntlet, an iconic Marvel crossover from 1991. One he’d clearly started teasing with Avengers, a movie released while Man of Steel was still in post-production.

(Yes I know the Tesseract, the first Infinity Stone, was introduced in 2011, but I maintain that until they knew the Marvel Experiment was working as well as it has, it could have been the Cosmic Cube, a different magic space rock with more direct ties to Captain America and the Red Skull.)

Thinking that Warner Bros greenlit two massively expensive blockbusters in order to deliberately sink them is dumb. Wanting Geoff Johns to be Starscream for not standing by Zack Snyder’s obviously failing vision is dumb. Thinking that Kevin Feige, who famously plots out his franchise years in advance, would not have thought to adapt two of the biggest and best known Marvel crossover books ever made if someone hadn’t leaked an outline from the writer of Sucker Punch to him and said “Do this first,” is so ridiculous I cannot take anyone who believes it seriously, or believe they have an opinion worth hearing out. Again, the only conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard dumber than this is the one whose claims included Donald Trump using Face/Off technology to replace President Biden and secretly remain in power.

Oof. This page got away from me. Back to the movie.

Next Page: Why I Hate Knightmare

Author: danny_g

Danny G, your humble host and blogger, has been working in community theatre since 1996, travelling the globe on and off since 1980, and caring more about nerd stuff than he should since before he can remember. And now he shares all of that with you.

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