The origin of the Snyder cut movement might seem recent, but it began even before Justice League (2017) was out — at least within Zack Snyder fans. As soon as Zack Snyder stepped down during the production of the movie and it was claimed that he had picked Joss Whedon to take over the rest of the production for him, it felt unnatural. Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder’s directorial styles aren’t similar at all and when it was announced that heavy reshoots would occur to complete the film, almost every Snyder fan knew that the film that was going to be released wasn’t going to be perfect by any means.
Shortly after the release of the film, an unsettling feeling could be seen within DC fans and the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut was born. Originally, it seemed as if it was a blind reach into a void since Zack Snyder had recently left the project and Warner Bros. were in no shape, way or form ready to bring him back into the spotlight. Many blamed the marvel cinematic universe’s success for this direct alienation of Snyder’s vision within cinemagoers but the I would argue that perhaps the blame rests with time itself. Cinemagoers hadn’t experienced a fully immersive and so called “dark” film incorporating comic book characters in the way Snyder was incorporating them and in comparison, they had the marvel cinematic universe making relatively shorter films that could be watched multiple times with laughter as its primary form of entertainment.
That changed when Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame came out and all the beloved characters of these cinemagoers were entrenched in hopelessness, grief and uncertainty that ultimately ended with victory but effectively wrapped up the story of the primary characters of the MCU. It was Joker where the general audience experienced a darker side of comic book characters and a realization dawned upon them — Snyder was making films ahead of their time. He was incorporating heavy and thought-provoking subjects within his films and the cinematic experience that was derived out of them was similar to that of Joker
During all this, Zack Snyder’s fans kept rallying for the release of the Snyder cut, facing their own sets of challenges — the response of the studio and that of the media. However, they didn’t back down and as supportive as they are labeled to be, it is without a doubt a fact that the movement would have died down if Snyder were an ordinary filmmaker. Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were a breath of fresh air within cinema where entertainment was being valued more than the art of filmmaking. If Zack Snyder has illustrated something through his films, it is that he genuinely cares about each and every aspect of his films and he doesn’t believe in compromising them for the material gain of the studios or even himself.
November 2019 saw a shift in mood when Jason Momoa publicly spoke up for the Snyder Cut and on November 17th, Twitter was speaking up for it as well. The hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut was tweeted over 800K times and even the cast — Ben Affleck, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa publicly voiced their support for the release of Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League. Even though no formal announcement was received for well over six months, the general feeling of victory was evident within the fans. In May 2020, Zack Snyder finally announced the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League at the end of a Man of Steel Watch Party stream, joined by Henry Cavill and a few DC fans. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was announced to be released on HBO MAX in 2021 in four episodes.
As Zack Snyder finishes up additional photography of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, after having released a teaser, to say that his vision would be completed for the world to see, feels like victory, not just for Snyder and his fans, but for films in general. Someone as hardworking and dedicated as Zack Snyder always deserved to complete his vision for the world to see. Although it seems to be late but somehow, timing is on Snyder’s side. With the pandemic and films halting productions, it seems that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be one of the few sources of entertainment for comic book fans in 2021 and that too is well deserved.
Today, 3 years after the initial release date of Justice League, it would be true to say that Snyder and his fans have waited a long time for this project to be released. For someone that has waited as long as he has, he deserves to be in the bright light of the spotlight, and it can only be labeled as what it is — poetic justice.