Yesterday, news broke from the DCEU camp (via THR) that director Zack Snyder along with his wife are stepping away from the hotly anticipated team-up movie, Justice League. If you just caught the headline without reading why, you may have felt a sliver of hope - considering Snyder’s films Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were highly divisive, leaving some fans terrified that Justice League would bring the same dark, moody, and grim tone along with pacing issues and just…bad editing.
But once we realized that Snyder left the project for a very serious and tragic reason, things changed. Suddenly people who chastised him for “ruining the DCEU” were lifting him up and praying for his family. You see, Snyder’s teenage daughter committed suicide back in March. Somehow, the family managed to keep this painful loss under wraps. Upon hearing this I am personally VERY curious as to why Snyder and his wife did not step down months ago? Maybe some of you are wondering the same…
According to Snyder, it was easier to grieve while he was buried in his work:
“In my mind, I thought it was a cathartic thing to go back to work, to just bury myself and see if that was way through it. The demands of this job are pretty intense. It is all consuming. And in the last two months I’ve come to the realization …I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me. They are all having a hard time. I’m having a hard time.”
Now, mental illness is an increasingly serious problem in this country, mainly because some just don’t know how to handle it through no fault of their own. Whether it’s because there isn’t enough education or resources available to the people who desperately need it, or if it’s because teenagers specifically don’t reach out and ask for help for whatever reason if there is any inkling, sign, history, or flag of suicidal thoughts in the mind of a teen – YOU STOP WHATEVER IT IS YOU ARE DOING AND TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN.
If you take a moment I’m sure you can think of friends and family who have been victims of suicide. It’s a damn pandemic that has touched all of us in some way or another. If I could climb the tallest mountain and scream “REACH OUT” from the top of my lungs I would. Don’t be scared – THERE IS HELP! No, no one knows the specifics on Snyder’s daughters suicide, nor should those circumstances be made public at this time. The Snyder family desperately needs to re-center and mourn the loss of their child – something no parent should have to endure.
People deal with tragedies in their own unique ways, in this case what worked for Zack Snyder was focusing his attention on Justice League, despite numerous suggestions from WB to push the film back. While we all have our own opinions of what’s right and what’s wrong, at least Zack Snyder stood up and bravely stepped back to take care of his own. Take all the time you need Zack – NOTHING is more important than family.
ENTER JOSS WHEDON. This is where I have a billion questions as I’m sure you do, too! Justice League is indeed finished filming and is currently in post-production – the same part of the process where most fans thought Snyder messed up big time with his previous DCEU films. Turns out Whedon, who I will just come out and say is a NERD GOD is stepping in at the exact time where Snyder has previously failed – before the necessary re-shoots, edits, cuts, and screen testing process.
Let’s take a look at Batman v Superman. The theatrical version (although I personally loved the movie) was a hot mess; the storyline didn’t make sense, the villains motives weren’t clear, and the best part was Wonder Woman on screen. Yes, I know there is a lot more than that but hear me out. Over 30 minutes of that film ended up on the cutting room floor, creating a totally disjointed final product. If you have seen Batman v. Superman: The Extended Cut, you KNOW that it’s a much better movie! Adding back in the cut footage even made Lex Luthor a BETTER villain with a clear motive. Lois Lane’s actions finally made sense, and the pacing was improved by a million percent!
So yes, that is where I think Snyder messed up the BvS theatrical version – right there in post-production. You know, exactly where Joss Whedon is now taking over Justice League – a film that fans have already lost hope for. For some, the trailers and set photos are just not “good.”
HERE IS THE BIG QUESTION – IS JOSS WHEDON GOING TO SAVE JUSTICE LEAGUE FROM POSSIBLE IMPENDING DOOM?
Yes, yes he is. If something, anything is wrong with Justice League, I have complete confidence that he can and will fix it. No matter how hard Snyder was working on the film, it’s utterly impossible to successfully work through such a horrific tragedy. Whedon now has control over what gets cut and what doesn’t, what needs to be re-shot and what doesn’t.
Will the final theatrical version be different than Zack’s vision? YES! The two directors have completely different styles; even if Whedon is stepping in late his unique aesthetic will affect what we end up seeing on the big screen.
But is this a good thing? YES! First of all Snyder NEEDS this time for his family. The unsurmountable pressure that was already weighing heavy on his shoulders are both fans and critics alike wanted him FIRED after BvS is too much to handle next to the tragic suicide of his daughter. I find it hard to believe that anyone can do their best work in that situation. Secondly, Joss Whedon knows what’s up.
If you were one of the people worried about Justice League, don’t be. The film is in good hands. And in the meantime, say a little prayer or send some good vibes to the Snyder family, as they are indeed suffering. In fact, consider doing a good deed – reach out to someone you might think needs some help or just love.