It still boggles my mind to how some Hollywood producers and even moviegoers can’t grasp how the MCU and the DCEU movies should work.
When Batman’s A Death in the Family story came out in the late 1980s, I scooped the book up at a Piggly Wiggly newsstand and was quick to discover that Superman is featured in the climax with Batman. Most comic books or graphic novels often had many characters from other comics crossing over for a subplot or even a few pages or panels.
Of course, it isn’t too simple in a movie as having these characters appearing in other movies has to deal with scheduling and salaries, but the MCU made it work despite some initial problems.
It wouldn’t take long for DC Comics and its parent company, which also owns Warner Bros., to try to make a universe too. But unlike the MCU, the DCEU wouldn’t function the same.
I didn’t like either Man of Steel or Batman vs. Superman, even though I’m told the extended version of the latter was better than what was released in the theaters.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman were able to show with the right script and right director, it could work. Birds of Prey and even Shazam! work and The Suicide Squad movie was probably one of the best I’ve seen in a while.
Now, finally watching the Zack Snyder’s Justice League movie, it’s evident that while the MCU was leading over many movies to the Infinity Stones showdown with Thanos, that JL was supposed to be a one-time crossover epic. One of my biggest problems with the MCU is that some of the film only seem to exist to set up the bigger movie. You can skip two hours of a movie just to watch the two-minute end credits scene. The scene in Ant-Man where Sam Wilson/Falcon appears stopped the movie dead.
The history behind the production is ripe with problems. It was darker than the MCU movies. And initially, there were concerns about having the Justice League split in two back when that was a thing. But Warner Bros. brought in Joss Whedon to rewrite and even reshoot scenes to make JL down to two hours.
Then Snyder’s daughter, Autumn, died by suicide during post-production and Snyder left. Whedon was asked to finish it even if it meant redoing the whole movie in a small time.
The result is a terrible muddle mess of a movie. I feel Warner Bros. wanted Superman, who had been killed in BvS to come back a lot sooner. That explains those terrible reshoots where they redid with special effects to change Henry Cavill’s mouth region because he couldn’t shave his mustache.
Labeled the “Josstice League,” it turned The Flash into a comic-relief sidekick. Aquaman was a dudebro. Cyborg became the token black guy. And the Mother Boxes and their significance was totally glossed over.
I’m no fan of Whedon. Never have been, never will, especially now it’s come out that he is a major dickhole scumbag. I feel he may have even went into JL with the intention of sabotaging it and the DCEU. Snyder is a director I have issues with as well, but I’ll take him over Whedon any day.
That being said, with Snyder finally able to release his intended cut earlier this year, it proves that maybe Warner Bros. should’ve done all this back in 2017. What Snyder is able to do is to give Victor Stone, otherwise known as Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher a more three-dimensional role as his character gets an origin story.
There’s also better emphasis on Barry Allen as The Flash as his character is given more depth rather than just a jokester. And gone, thankfully, is that scene where he lands on top of Wonder Woman. You know, because Ezra Miller, who plays the character, is gay. I don’t blame Gal Gadot, who plays Diana Prince/Wonder Woman for refusing to appear in this scene. I feel sorry that her double had to, though.
The use of the Mother Boxes is more explained as they start to act up after the death of Superman. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) are better utilized in this movie as grieving characters.
I know Ben Affleck may not be everyone’s favorite Batman, but Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader shows a man near middle-aged devoting his life to ending crime and stopping evil. I liked it that it’s referenced he’s been doing this for 20 years and has mostly been thought of as a myth.
The movie still doesn’t flow as good as it should. Even the first two Avengers movies had problems. At four hours with credits, it does seem a little long, but that extra time was needed for the characters of Cyborg and The Flash. I also think it gives the Amazons some extra screen time and doesn’t reduce Wonder Woman to the sex object Whedon made her out to be.
I know some viewers may be turned off by the flashback scene focusing on the ancient battle with the Earthlings, Atlanteans and Amazons with the Parademons over the Mother Boxes or the dystopian dream sequence Bruce has at the end, but this is a different style of Batman than the masses are familiar.
I’ve been a Batman fan for over three decades and read many stories and books. I don’t doubt Snyder knows his Batman. Some people have criticized his version of Superman but I think portrayal Kal-El as an extraterrestrial more or less cursed by his powers is a change. One scene I liked in Man of Steel is when Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) was willing to die rather than have his son’s powers be exposed.
Christopher Reeve may have set the tone for the character but Cavill’s portrayal is not as bad here as he was in previous movies. I think having less of him actually works better.
A lot of people won’t like this and after sitting through it over two days, I’m not sure I’d want to sit through it again anytime soon. But I did like what Snyder was able to do. And more important, I’m glad he was finally able to do it thanks to an outpouring of fan support.