The story begins when Warner Brothers hired Zack Snyder to helm a Superman film. The last time we saw Superman was in 2006 with Brandon Routh as the titular hero. The movie received a lukewarm response from audiences and failed to exceed expectations; a sequel never came to fruition. Luckily Christopher Nolan brought life back into Batman with his Dark Knight trilogy and it seemed like the right time to give the Last Son of Krypton another go at the silver screen.
Zack Snyder successfully brought Man of Steel to life in 2013 while adding some compelling dimensions to the character. Much discussion and controversy centered around the film’s third act because it depicted massive levels of violence and destruction not seen in any live-action Superman flick previously. This Superman was grounded in a gritty reality that had some fans disillusioned. But Snyder made a smart move steering away from the Marvel formula. How would the world react to superbeings? Man of Steel is not without some heartfelt moments and there are plenty.
Snyder returned with a follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. This time, the destruction in Metropolis and the fallout from the previous film attracted the attention of Bruce Wayne. He has no love for Superman. The two find themselves at odds while darker forces lurk in the shadows. We see the world start to expand with the introduction of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. The ending was one I did not see coming and makes a lasting impact.
When this Dawn of Justice released, it was a box office hit and Ben Affleck’s performance as The Dark Knight received praised even though his initial casting years prior was met with disdain. The critical reception to the film ranged from mixed to positive. Many felt it was too crowded with plots, Superman was a “Debbie Downer,” the film lacked vision, the iconic fight was a letdown and the future of the DCEU teased was rushed. I personally enjoyed the film. Thankfully an extended cut was released that fully illustrated what Snyder was trying to achieve.
By this time, Snyder started production on Justice League. I can’t imagine how much pressure he was under even with the box office success and extremely negative critical reception of Suicide Squad. I remember the press being invited to the set of Justice League to help ease the public concern that the DCEU was going to be okay.
Then the unimaginable happened. Zack Snyder departed the film after losing his daughter to suicide. It was the right decision for obvious reasons. Some things are more important. Joss Whedon was then hired to finish post-production and then reshoot on the film. It was the right decision at the time since Whedon made two successful Marvel films and with him guiding Justice League to the finish line, it seemed like a sure victory.
We later saw that would not be the case. The film was met with not-so-great reviews, lackluster box office and a halt on some promising future DC projects Snyder had envisioned for the future. It was later revealed that a lot of footage was cut from the theatrical release that would have fleshed out the characters and brought this trilogy full circle.
Fans began to rally with hashtags and support for Snyder to release the Snyder Cut. Two times Snyder was trying to fulfill his vision for a unique universe for DC and the studio interfered. The fans love Snyder and they wanted all of Snyder’s work to be seen and respected. Fan meetups, billboard signs and flyover signs soon became a reality. Then to add more sugar to the movement, supporting Snyder’s charity for Suicide Prevention was a way to spread awareness and insight, and hope while showing unwavering loyalty to Snyder and his family. Snyder took notice after some time and began posting photos from Justice League that were never before seen and seemed to add new dimensions to the film.
There were many naysayers but the fans never wavered and Snyder fueled the hype with a glimmer of hope as the years passed by. Soon the cast followed suit and showed their support. Then 2020 happened. Theaters were shut down and content being released seemed to be a growing obstacle. Snyder was gracious enough to live stream Batman V Superman with amazing commentary and teased he hoped a true sequel would be released.
The live stream ended suddenly. He then did a live stream for Man of Steel. Henry Cavill and some Snyder fans joined in on the fun and it was finally announced that Zack Snyder’s Justice League would finally be released. It was May 20th, 2020. I will forever remember that day. I remember watching the first trailer in the months ahead and I had to contain my squeals of excitement and tears of joy seeing this masterpiece.
The best way to describe this miracle is Justice Con 2020 on Youtube. 2020 was a rough year for many reasons. But when fans truly care about something, they can show support while being critical of those in charge but not malicious. They show love for a filmmaker that is a storyteller that inspires millions. They show love and support on social media. They are relentless in being charitable. They are united.
This is the healing I needed in 2020. This movement was a reminder that film can be life-changing and have an impact. Hard word deserves to be shown to be fullest potential.
It is okay to be broken but you don’t need to be alone.
This film shows heroes broken following the death of Superman and Bruce Wayne makes it his mission to right his own wrongs by uniting a group of reluctant heroes and shed what holds them back to rise up and be the best version of themselves and become one.