So yesterday I posted about the news, released several days ago, that Warner Brothers decided to allow director Zack Snyder the opportunity to complete his version of Justice League for release next year on HBOMax, the new streaming service which I can all but guarantee you will see a big bump in clientele thanks to this news.
In the end, folks, its about money, and releasing the so-called Snyder Cut of Justice League will most certainly bring in people.
However, the release of this news has provoked a few to take a look at what they call the “toxic” nature of fandom.
Over at Vanityfair.com, Joanna Robinson explores this topic in particular in this fascinating article:
As someone who is a fan of Batman v. Superman and am quite curious to see Snyder’s version of Justice League, I nonetheless am intrigued with the notion of “toxic” fandom.
Though I’m interested in seeing Justice League, I’m far from a Snyder “Uber” fan. I’ve seen a grand total of two of his films to date: Dawn of the Dead and Batman v. Superman. I’m very aware of his other films yet the most I’ve seen of his other works is maybe 20 or so of the last minutes of Man of Steel that I caught while it was airing on TV and perhaps 10 or so minutes (Probably something in the middle of the film) of 300 when it was also on TV.
Having said that, I’m well aware of some of the more toxic fandom out there but, having said that, it is on both sides.
The Vanityfair.com article points out that there are some Snyder fans who were very nasty online and the author is right: There are some really toxic elements out there who were proponents of the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League.
But let us be fair: There were also a vast swath of very toxic anti-Snyder elements out there who already poisoned the well against Snyder and his works from before BvS was released. There were many who felt Snyder “didn’t get” Superman at all, and that his Man of Steel was terrible and his portrayal of Superman as willing to kill -he does so in the movie’s climax- was very much off character. These same anti-Snyder elements were already geared up and lambasting BvS well before it was actually released.
Once the movie was released, I distinctly recall the uproar -some of which follows to today!- lambasting the film and all things Snyder… as if he were some asshole that ran over their beloved pet.
It was because of this that Snyder and Warners tried to make peace with these people -and critics- when Justice League was being made and they were invited to see the movie in process and see clips from it.
And the darkest elements of this toxic fandom openly were happy when Snyder left Justice League… even though he did so because his adopted daughter committed suicide.
Not everyone was like that.
I recall one person online (don’t know his/her real name) who was about anti-Snyder and his works as you could get, but when the news came out that he was dropping out of the Justice League movie because of his daughter’s suicide, he had nothing but sympathy to offer the director. His opinion of Snyder’s films didn’t change, but he wished him the best in what was surely a very difficult time.
I’ve been around for an awful long time now and have seen so many incarnations and adaptations of these characters that, frankly, it doesn’t bother me to see a Zack Snyder “take” on Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman. Hell, I’ve seen enough bad versions of the characters over time that I feel its something of a waste of time getting to up in arms about them.
Much as I love the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeve Superman movie (Indeed, it remains my all time favorite superhero film of all time!), what followed simply wasn’t as good… and some of the later stuff was downright terrible.
I like Superman II, both the theatrical cut and the “Donner Cut”, but as time goes by I realize the film is much more flawed than first impressions made me feel. I sometimes wonder whether Donner, had he not been fired, would have made Superman II as good as the first. I feel, unfortunately, that Superman was lightning-in-a-bottle good. I feel that even if Donner had completed Superman II, it would never have been quite as good as the first… at least IMHO.
Then came Superman III and IV, both of which I consider total failures. In fact, I consider Superman IV, which was co-written by Christopher Reeve himself, the series’s nadir, a film so godawful its tough to watch period.
But, much as I dislike Superman IV, I can’t “hate” on the talents involved in the production. It didn’t work, for me, at all, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Those that love Snyder’s works love his works. Those that hate them hate them.
But to get so involved in some of the darker online nastiness seems a spectacular waste of time.
I’m glad, personally, that enough fans -those with kinder intentions- did get Warners to agree to finish up Snyder’s version of Justice League but let’s be clear here: They did this because they realized there was money to be made and, because of the HBOMax service, it was a perfect way to present the movie and build interest/sell that product.
It’s a win-win situation for Warners: They get to look like the good guy to those who want to see this version of the film (like me) and they also get to bring in clients for their HBOMax.
Over at Disney, they have faced similar fan/audience reactions with their Star Wars films, especially the new trilogy. There were plenty of people who had a nasty reaction to The Last Jedi and some of the misogyny was startling. So too was the case with the all-female remake of Ghostbusters.
This is entertainment, folks. If it doesn’t work for you, instead of wasting energy hurling invectives, maybe look for something else out there you’ll like instead.
There are plenty of good books, films, and TV shows to wile away your time with.
And if you’re going to ask for a “director’s” cut of any film, do so like the better elements of the Snyder’s Cut folks did: Press but don’t be thoroughly obnoxious about it (though some of them were over the line) and use your online presence for other goods, as well. The Snyder Cut petition served as a way to collect funds for anti-suicide groups, and even those who hate Snyder’s works the most have to acknowledge at least in that respect something good came out of it.