What was Warner Bros thinking when they decided to take Zack Snyder’s Justice League and pass it around the conference table, taking turns to wipe their butts on it, before sending what was left into the cinemas in 2017?
Unsurprisingly, fans and critics alike then thought it was a pile of crap.
I was lucky enough to watch the Snyder Cut of Justice League before its official release on Thursday night.
At a hefty four hours in length, I imagine there’s still quite a few people out there who have an hour or two left to watch.
So my apologies to you, because I’m going to indulge in a spoiler-filled discussion! My biggest impression was how good this movie was. Sure, four hours is way too long for a cinematic release. But they could have sent it out there at three and a half hours (including post-credits scenes) and nobody would have complained because it is that good.
And yet Warner Bros hated it back then. The studio was giving Snyder such a hard time already that, when his daughter tragically took her own life, he walked away from the project.
Even though he had spent years working on it and it was almost complete.
They then brought in celebrated Avengers director Joss Whedon and told him to make it more like the Avengers.
That was a disaster. It wasn’t so much a case of putting lipstick on a pet pig as it was butchering that pig, then sewing it back together – with their eyes shut – and giving the resultant monster to the kids to play with on Christmas morning.
I watched the Snyder Cut movie, with the way it carefully sets up a Justice League 2 and 3, and shook my head.
Had Warner Bros held its nerve, given Snyder the support he needed and let him release his version in 2017, we would have had a rival for Marvel’s Avengers.
Justice League 2 seems set to end on Superman turning evil and joining the hideous Darkseid after the death of Lois Lane.
Bad Superman would then overthrow the Earth and JL 3 would see Batman forced to enlist The Joker as his ally to change history and save the day — a quest that would have (most likely) ended with Bruce Wayne sacrificing himself to restore the world and finally find peace for himself.
Superhero fans would have had a saga to rival, if not beat, the stunning Avengers Infinity War and Endgame with its “Thanos Snap” and the death of Ironman. Instead we’ve had the enjoyable but largely forgettable Shazam and Aquaman and the slightly disappointing Wonder Woman 1984.
The good news is that Warner Bros, like Batman, has a chance to undo the mistakes of the past and rewrite history.
Fans are going to demand that this trilogy is finished.
First, those Warner Bros executives who bungled things in 2016-17 need to form a tight circle and give themselves a collective kick up the arse. That needn’t be excessive. A few hours of it should be enough of a lesson.
Then they need to give Snyder whatever he wants to make JL 2 and 3 happen.
To do otherwise is to let the baddies win and, as every superhero fan knows, that can’t happen.