Justice League is out, and the reviews are—not great. Despite letting Batman crack a few jokes, the film’s overwhelming tone is one of “Hey, at least there’s some fun parts, right?”
To be fair, it’s been a troubled production, with director Zack Snyder stepping down due to family tragedy before it was complete and asking Joss Whedon to step in and finish up the reshoots and editing. That resulted in some new scenes, a shorter running time, and the replacement of composer Tom Holkenborg (a.k.a. Junkie XL) with Danny Elfman. That last move may have been a mistake, but the rest of it seems be done with the full blessing of Snyder, who felt his film wasn’t yet ready for release when he passed on directing responsibilities to Whedon. But Snyder clearly doesn’t know as much as people who have never seen his early print of the movie—or at least, that’s what some of his fans have decided.
If there’s someone who knows what’s best for a Zack Snyder film, it’s a bunch of people who aren’t Zack Snyder, as a new Change.org petition is calling for Warner Bros. to release a version of the original cut of Justice League. To reiterate, that would be the one that Snyder himself thought wasn’t yet ready for release. Luckily, his fans don’t care what he thinks, any more than they care about good-looking cinematography or character development. That’s why they can demand that Warner Bros. “release Zack Snyder’s director’s cut, together with Tom Holkenborg’s (Junkie XL) score on home release.” (Perhaps the leak of several deleted scenes online also inspired this missive?) In a rambling manifesto that appears to be the work of at least three different people, the petition sets out to say that Whedon and Elfman ruined what was a doubtless perfect movie, using the kinds of hard-hitting examples that definitively prove they, too, are reasonably familiar with these superheroes.
First, they’re mad about the runtime. “How will a film that has 6 main characters, their supporting players, a story that revolves around an alien invasion, the terraforming of earth and the return of a familiar face, would fit in a 2hr runtime?” the rant hypothetically poses, the implication being that nothing short of a week or so would be enough time to do justice to a big guy falling out of the sky and trying to destroy the planet. To emphasize this point, the petition compares Justice League to Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, before helpfully admitting that these two films have essentially nothing in common, because nothing convinces a reader of an argument like an extraneous analogy. But misguided as it may be, wanting more screen time for beloved characters is understandable.
Less clear is the abrupt pivot to all-caps the petition then takes, seeming to indicate a new person has taken over typing and wants to vent about the score. Which, again, fair enough—Elfman’s score is not very good. However, claiming that his previous work from Batman V. Superman demonstrates how important it is to get back Holkenborg’s score might not be the way to go, given that the Wonder Woman theme is really the only great thing that film had to offer musically. Hans Zimmer turned in tolerable work, but nothing on the level of his Inception score. Mostly, it was all-bombast-all-the-time, a more-is-more strategy presumably encouraged by Snyder. If the petition replaced “better” with “different” as the reason to hear Holkenborg’s score, it would be a much more compelling argument, what with the whole “you literally have no idea of the quality of the work, having not heard more than a brief snippet from one earlier Justice League trailer” thing.
The petition than goes back to lowercase for the big finale, in which it essentially says the same thing three or four times in different ways, talks about the motivation of the characters, and even manages to start attacking you, the reader, directly, for things you probably haven’t said:
When you say that Zimmer’s and Holkenborg’s score didn’t help the “mess that were both films”, it clearly shows you didn’t understand a thing from both films, and your opinion would be valid, if you said something substantial, but your argument is the editing and plot, which the films answer themselves.
See? The films answer your criticism themselves, which is weird, given that you apparently responded to the question of, “What’s wrong with these Zack Snyder DC films?” with, “The editing and plot.” But just to drive home how wrong you are, person who is being asked to sign this petition, it concludes by saying that if you are the kind of bottom-feeding dimwit who doesn’t like films with “thought provoking themes, amazing visuals, allegories, symbolism and metaphors”—all things only found in Zack Snyder films (“aside from Darren Aronofsky” it concedes, which, wow, two of them?!)—then that is your fault, not Zack Snyder’s.
This free-associative ramble would be better suited to an easygoing drunken monologue, and presumably treated with the same degree of seriousness (“Hey, I agree the longer version of Batman V. Superman is better, but let’s not go crazy making wild accusations, like that it was a good movie”), were it not for the fact that Zack Snyder himself has apparently “liked” the petition, at least according to the guy who posted it, Roberto Mata:
Perhaps that will be enough to convince people of the seriousness of this prolix, labyrinthine demand. As of this moment, 76, 130 people feel strongly enough to ignore literally everything about this petition except for its title, which frankly makes the case far better than the body of the statement, where sentences like, “Batman V. Superman showcased that perfectly” get tossed around.
UPDATE: The entire petition has been rewritten, perhaps after the authors’ respective hangovers wore off, and now makes a much more straightforward case. It’s still not wholly convincing—and given the recent report that no such cut exists, the pivot to requesting an “approximation of Snyder’s vision” seems dicey at best, example of the Richard Donner cut of Superman II notwithstanding—but at least anyone who clicks on it will get a clear sense of what’s being requested.