Not long after Justice League hit theaters, a certain corner of the DC fanbase collectively channeled the “denial” stage of grief into a petition demanding the release of the “Zack Snyder cut” of the film. After Snyder was forced to leave Justice League in the middle of post-production due to a personal tragedy, Warner Bros. enlisted Joss Whedon to complete the film, resulting in extensive reshoots — which means that a Snyder cut of the film doesn’t exist, and were WB to cobble one together, it wouldn’t amount to much of anything.
In their mad rush to kickstart a cinematic universe without actually giving new characters individual movies, Warner Bros. has often struggled in the shadow of its Marvel competitors. Fans who are rooting for the success of the DCEU — those willing to see see the good and the bad of the movies, at least — know that movies like Wonder Woman are important because they create personal and well-rounded characters that we can then smash up against each other in movies like Justice League. After all, nobody would care who gets invited to an All-Star Game if there wasn’t an entire season’s worth of plays and memories to get us to that point.
When I was a kid reading Justice League comic books, the Justice League was kind of a weird group. By the mid-90s the group had splintered into different factions, with one team headquartered in America and another in Europe, and both teams were populated by B-list players like Maxima, The Ray, Black Condor, Blue Jay, and Blue Devil. Most of the classic Justice League heroes were off on their own adventures (or dead or injured). It was a huge deal when DC relaunched the book as JLA with just iconic DC characters: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, the Flash, and Martian Manhunter. This group was colloquially referred to as “The Big Seven.”
The biggest criticism from those who disliked Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was that Zack Snyder’s film just wasn’t very fun. It’s dark (figuratively and literally; hardly anything takes place in daytime), gritty and mostly very serious — save for the occasional wackiness of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and Laurence Fishburne’s delightful Perry White. But for those concerned that the rest of the DC movie universe will be similarly dour, take comfort in these words from Aquaman director James Wan.
As we speculated the other day, it’s possible that the negative reception to Batman vs. Superman could impact how Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder proceed with Justice League. The two-part Justice League movie is currently scheduled to begin filming in three weeks, but it looks like Snyder and team have already made the decision to have their superhero crossover movie be less dark and more fun.