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Wake the F*ck Up, Zack Snyder, the DCEU is Better off Without You

There are only three things that will survive the apocalypse: Keith Richards, cockroaches, and Zack Snyder revealing more details about his original plans for Justice League and the wider DCEU, each revelation more candid and sweary than the last. The latest of these revelations came during a live Q&A back in March after a screening of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which Snyder revealed several intriguing plot points that fix some of the more befuddling moments in that film. In a nutshell, Snyder’s original incarnation of Justice League resolved the Knightmare sequences in Batman v Superman. As grim as Snyder’s vision for those films were, anything that makes sense of Batman v Superman‘s oppressively joyless atmosphere deserves to be heard. With these plot points in mind then, they don’t make me yearn for Snyder’s return, but instead clamour with relief that he’s out of the picture.

Another recent appearance of Snyder in the headlines was due to his less than enlightening choice of words in retaliating against those who claim that Batman would never kill. ‘Once you’ve lost your virginity to this f*cking movie and then you come and say to me something about like “My superhero wouldn’t do that.” I’m like “Are you serious?” I’m like down the f*cking road on that.’ You can’t fault the man’s passion, but is there anything else remotely positive one can wrench from these comments? Ben Affleck once said he’d happily take his young son to see the film, but it’s doubtful whether he’ll let his son watch the home release of the film with director’s commentary.

No doubt there will be further revelations about Snyder’s intentions for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash, but now more than ever, I’m convinced that the DCEU is stronger and healthier for being freed from Snyder’s hyper-masculine, blood-soaked hands. In doing so, it’s made my past perceptions of the DCEU’s operations outdated. In a previous article I wrote concerning the DCEU, I lambasted the franchise for what I saw as a maddening sense of clarity. Not strictly directionless, but certainly reckless. A cinematic universe without an MCU-esque overarching story and instead consisting of separate films baffled me. In the context of Snyder’s recent flurry comments, it all makes sense.

After all, the numbers don’t lie. Fans reacted with immense positive vibes to the optimistic style of Wonder Woman and whirlpool craziness of Aquaman. How suitable it feels then that we may wash away Snyder’s sniping words with Shazam!, a film all about a young boy’s wish fulfilment. ‘Upbeat’ is a word that unites these films, each possessing qualities that make them distinctive. It would seem that fans react better to films that live in a f*cking dream world than films in which the superheroes revolve their convoluted differences by their mother’s shared name. Who’d have guessed?

The DCEU continues to flourish in numerous directions at once, not distracted by the whims of one bankable film-maker with an overly grim vision. Under the guidance of Walter Hamada, it would appear that he commands a considerably less hands-on role than Snyder, who was ingrained in the DCEU’s earlier films. Upcoming entries in the DCEU over the next three years include Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman 1984, The Batman, The Suicide Squad and The Flash, all of which bear singular teams with little crisscross of creative alumni from movie to movie like Snyder’s presence between Man of Steel and Justice League. A greater cast of creative voices involved in each film allows for more distinctive, individualistic films. It quells the image of the factory line production methods in which these films are made.

Snyder’s DNA on the DCEU is as unmistakable as it is immovable. His vital contributions to bringing the likes of Ben Afleck‘s Batman and Gal Godat‘s Wonder Woman to life shouldn’t be looked down upon. Equally, the DCEU is now rapidly ascending the peaks of creativity, as it scrambles to leave Snyder’s poison-laced perspective behind. Another of my points in my previous article was how the DCEU feels as though it’s not really a DCEU at all, but rather a Batman-centred cinematic universe, due to the DCEU’s continuing focus on characters from the Batman world. Then again, if these films blossom into cohesive, enjoyable entities, who am I to complain? With movies based on the likes of Lobo, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and the Trench in the works, even gargantuan franchises need to take baby steps towards larger worlds and larger characters.

Exploring these worlds and characters shows that the DCEU is larger than any one figure, and capable of heroic feats that put Snyder’s comments about corporations, virginity and killing to shame. The DCEU is already proving it can be so much more mature, optimistic and cheerful than Snyder’s morose ideology would have you believe. Snyder can swear all he likes, but only the cockroaches will be listening.

Do you think the DCEU is better off without Zack Snyder at the helm? Let us know in the comments section or send us a Tweet!

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Fred McNamara

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