Revenger Submission: ‘Like His Take On Superman, Hopes Lives On, With or Without A SNYDER CUT’
Here at Revenge of The Fans, we pride ourselves on giving fans around the world a sounding board for their opinions. In recent weeks, we’ve posted Vlogs and Columns submitted by readers, listeners, or- as we like to call them- Revengers.
If you’re a fan of the site, and you make yourself part of the community by commenting, liking, sharing, and especially if you’re a Patreon Patron, then YOU, my friend, are a Revenger.
This week, we’re delighted to share a column by reader and listener Danny Rivera. He’s an ardent supporter of MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN, but he’s got a very unique take on why ALL fans should remain hopeful about the future- and you need not look further than Zack Snyder’s take on Superman to see why.
“Like His Take On Superman, Hopes Lives On, With or Without A Snyder Cut”
By Danny Rivera (@dgrivera)
The fervor over a “Snyder Cut” of Justice League creates the same pressure Clark had to confront in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “We have always created icons in our own image,” Vikram Gandhi, journalist and filmmaker, playing himself in BvS, says in the news montage that occurs after Clark Kent meets Bruce Wayne for the first time. “What we’ve done is we project ourselves on to him. The fact is, maybe [Superman]’s not some sort of Devil or Jesus character. Maybe he’s just a guy trying to do the right thing.”
I am a fan of Snyder’s work, and am an especially ardent supporter of his work in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman but he’s still a man who worked with other passionate people to create something they were passionate about. Something they were passionate about.
Actually, I want to take this opportunity to say that while, yes, Snyder is the director, the work we see is a collaboration between him and an army of other people who more than likely (probably at the very least just because they’re professionals) agree with him and are working towards the same goal. There isn’t a Twitter-ready vocabulary yet to support the idea that a director is but one of the people responsible for making a film (this happens all the time, most recently with laying all the responsibility, good and bad, for The Last Jedi on Rian Johnson’s shoulders). So while, for the rest of this piece, I’ll be referring often, for ease of use, to Snyder as a single person, the implication is him and his collaborators. This may be an inference readers of RTF already make, but I don’t want to assume anything.
The critical and popular reaction to Batman v Superman upon its release should be all the warning necessary to avoid deifying Snyder and his already-fabled cut: Snyder & Co. didn’t try to please everyone, but instead tried to make a movie they thought was interesting. Whatever the “purest” form of their work on Justice League could be, it’s still the subjective vision of a group of people. People like you and me, with their own thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams and opinions on what they like and what they do not like.
The difference between Superman the character in Batman v Superman and Snyder & “his cut” of Justice League is that Snyder is tangible and real and, if a cut existed, it would be, too. The hope Superman ultimately inspired was vague and amorphous—a belief that tomorrow will be better. It was, as Jor-El hoped in Man of Steel, “an ideal to strive toward.”
Imagine one actually had this “Snyder Cut” in their hands–how could it possibly live up to the hopes and dreams put on it?
The clamor for a “Snyder Cut” is the same pressure that makes Clark throw in the towel (literally and figuratively). He comes back because he realizes, with the help of memories of his father, that he really doesn’t have to do anything but continue to be the person that he is: a guy who just wants to do the right thing. The chips will fall where they may, hero cake be damned. “Be their hero, Clark,” Ma Kent tells him, driving the idea home. “Be their monument. Be whatever they want you to be. Or be none of it. You don’t owe this world a thing.” He doesn’t, especially when his attempts to do the right thing are often met with skepticism and hatred. Sound familiar? But again, he ultimately ignores those voices because he trusts that what he wants to do is the right thing.
Could we say, in this scenario, in this modern cultural climate, that Zack Snyder has the same freedom? Absolutely not, because his work isn’t objectively Good, like saving people out of a burning building, or from the explosion of a rocket, or from a flood, and so on.
Snyder works in a subjective medium. He will never be objectively right (which is something, to his credit, I believe he embraces). He and his “cut” of Justice League are being cast as Superman, with Warner Bros. and Joss Whedon cast as villains. That way madness lies. Madness and disappointment. Snyder is Clark/Superman in this scenario, but just not the way people think. He isn’t the savior we need him to be, nor is his “cut” the movie we all want it to be. He’s just a guy trying to do what he thinks is the right thing.
I’m grateful for what I have in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman–and even in a lot of Justice League–and I’m hopeful for the future. Not because some savior will deliver the exact movie that I want, but because I believe that there are people out there who have the same hope: For these characters to live on a grand scale, and to be treated with love and respect. (For a more eloquent and open take on this idea, please see—er… listen to— episode 52 of Mario’s El Fanboy Podcast from a couple weeks ago.) I believe it’s happened once already (or twice, really, in the case of MoS and BvS), which, for me, is all the reason I need to believe it’ll happen again.
3 thoughts on “Revenger Submission: ‘Like His Take On Superman, Hopes Lives On, With or Without A SNYDER CUT’”
*gets on soap-box*
Danny, thanks for your take on this. While films are a collaborative process, there is a fallacy in your thinking. Just as a FYI – I’m a SZ fan who loves 300, Watchmen, Suckerpunch and Gahoole (which if anyone doesn’t love – I WILL FIGHT YOU), so i’m not a Zach hater. But, I am sanguine.
Look at filmmaking like it’s a boat. While there are many people responsible for making the boat go, the direction the boat travels is in the hands of one person; the captain. Companies hire captains to make sure the boat moves in a specific direction, and the captain makes sure that everyone on the boat follows that direction. The classic idiom for this kind of thinking in filmmaking is the “Auteur” theory, with guys like Hitchcock, Spielberg, Scorsese, Nolan, and yes, even Snyder and Joss Whedon being perfect examples. Look, I get that all art is subjective. But, studio filmmaking is art in the SERVICE of commerce. Warner Bros was happy with SZ’s vision until it wasn’t, and the bottom line was the ROI was not what WB was hoping for.
In your parlance, ZS may have been a guy wanting to do what is right, but the fact that Joss was brought on is a very clear indication that his “right” was not WB’s “right”. Joss and Zach are very different auteurs, and WB was hoping that Joss’s vision would help re-align its’ IP to deliver a better ROI. The FACT that another person was brought in to change the film doesn’t preclude the passion of all the others involved in its creation, but it does indicate that while those people were passionate, they were also collaborators. With whomever was in charge.
I’m with you that a ZS cut would be a big disappointment at this time (BvS extended edition contrary to the evidence), because the expectations are too high. If they could only digitally change Supe’s costume for Sentry, Supreme, or Hyperion, that might make it an interesting exercise (AND an interesting movie). As it stands, ZS’s vision is too far left of what people expect of Superman, and that is the main exhibit as to why WB removed him; it wasn’t a recognizable Superman to most folks.
Either way, I appreciate RoTF for giving us this forum to talk about what we love.
*gets off soap-box*
The article fails to highlight the fact that the studio never entrusted to a singular vision of film-maker. Not to mention those ill-effects associated with the “make by committee” approach. The current problem DCEU is in has to be attributed to that sole issue. The real essence is not in the subject of Zack Snyder being the “savior or not ” to his fans. The article is a clear deviation from it. To understand that, one needs to revisit an interview he attended at Supanova Sydney 2013. ZS himself had stated how important it is to work on your own with a script already approved as a team. He clearly reveals MoS had 2000 Vfx shots over TDKR’s 600(shooting at same time) and that Nolan had only stayed with him to complete the script. I’m glad that MoS is a product that abides by this rule, and is relatively a bigger success(inflation adjusted) with respect to JL. It’s surprising me to date how detractors wrongly target him in place of Goyer.
The demand for a director’s cut simply emanates out of the fact that most fans are drawing parallels to MoS and free creative direction associated with it. There is no authority here on any account to tell what would have been right or not to the fans of both MoS and BvS. The studio is not equipped well as an autonomous unit to handle these properties(Suicide Squad, BvS and JL are simply testifying to that). The blame has to be shifted there instead of painting the fan outcry in the negative.