Suicide is hard.
Oh my goodness, is that literally the worst way you can loose someone. I lost my mom to it in 2014. Since then, I’ve been working on trying to understand it, working to find out the meaning as not only did life seemingly stop for a moment, it also simultaneously kept moving forward.
Mom was gone, we grieve, and then we move forward.
But that’s not how it works, at least, it shouldn’t be. When you lose someone, your whole life changes, like heads going to tails, a six on a die rolling to one. An empty spot at the dinner table, nobody to cheer you on from the sidelines.
I cannot imagine the unexpected pain that Zack Snyder must feel every day. I may feel like I know a little about it, but it is truly tragic what happened to his daughter. Forget the super-heroics, the spandex and the gritty voices, let’s talk about this movie, the movement it brought, and the precedent this has going forward.
I sat down and I watched four hours of buildup and payoff. There’s a ton of differences from this cut of the film to the one we saw in theaters in 2017, the largest of which being the two extra hours of footage. These two hours – practically a whole separate movie – adds so much to literally every character. Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), and Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) are stand outs here. The three that don’t have movies (besides Aquaman) essentially get their own arcs in this film, and it’s amazing to see how awesome each one actually is. Rather than Barry being a Tom Holland’s Spider-Man clone like in the Justice League 2017 cut, where he’s cracking jokes and trying to be likeable, the Flash here cracks jokes, yes, but he struggles with finding a place amongst the rest of the team as a valuable asset. All he has is his speed. His dad is in jail, his mom is dead, and he’s struggling to find a place in this world, bouncing from job-to-job. Victor, or Cyborg, had everything going for him. He was a college student, a star athlete. His mom was around, but he lacked a relationship and bond with his dad, until a car accident leaves his father making him into a robot. We see Cyborg hurt, grieving and having signs of survivors guilt.
A common thing I hear in the Marvel vs. DC Debate (You can like both, there’s no need for this fight…) is that Marvel “is human, it’s grounded and deals with actual people.” while DC deals with “Gods and man, people that are higher in power than everyone else.” But Zack Snyder’s Justice League, along with films like Birds of Prey and Joker show that even gods amongst men are still flawed and human. They experience loss and they grieve.
I’ve heard mixed reports that there was new footage filmed for the movie, or that this was all an editing hodgepodge, but I believe that Zack Snyder’s version, compared to the Joss Whedon product, is a story about loss and overcoming that loss by surrounding yourself with a support group, unlike the Joss Whedon version, which is a popcorn flick without this type of theming.
Everyone in this movie has lost something. Batman’s lost his parents, Wonder Woman lost Steve Trevor, her only love, Cyborg’s lost a stable family, the Flash and his dad being in jail and his mother dead, Aquaman’s lost his ability to feel a connection to the land his mother was queen of, even the villain, Steppenwolf, lost his ability to return the place he had called home. He’s an outcast, and the whole idea of taking over Earth is created out of this need to return. But Superman… Well…
Superman is dead.
He’s lost his life.
It’s in these connections that these characters have that they bond, and they form a team, a united league to fight Steppenwolf and defeat him once and for all. But the message is clear: when we are lost, when we’ve experienced the losses in our life, there are always others we can surround ourselves with to feel found again. Justice League hits differently than the first two Avengers films, simply because this message is felt with every other scene. I genuinely loved it. I didn’t have popcorn during this, I was glued to the tv the whole ride.
This movie was requested for years, since 2017. That was when the first #Releasethesnydercut occurred, and with that hashtag led to many posts, tweets, videos, and even hints from Snyder himself. It spawned from an anger that the original vision was stripped with the 2017 movie in exchange for a quick popcorn flick. There was something in the Snyder Cut that people wanted. They had ideas that this film would change superhero cinema forever.
The truth? It hasn’t changed superhero cinema that much. Hopefully we’ll see more emotional takes on beloved characters, rather than surface level films. What it really changed was our response to how we take in media. If we don’t like how a character is portrayed (Say, Sonic the Hedgehog), we take to social media to talk about it, and now studios take notice. It’s led to a sort of united we stand idea of entertainment change, and usually it’s for the better. The fact that studios are hearing what fans want to see says a lot of how in a social media world, change can be heard, and made.
And it goes even further. Now the hashtag “Restore the Snyderverse” has cropped up, and honestly? I’d like to see it. I don’t think this version of Justice League changes much, if at all, of the canon of the DCEU. We know that Joker and Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” are in separate universes entirely, along with the CW, Titans, and Doom Patrol. I think Aquaman would actually be improved if this version was used, along with Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad, and many other films in this world.
There’s an issue with this level of interconnectivity, however. James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad” had a trailer release earlier this week, and people took to the comments of Gunn, the twitter, and other retweets to comment “Restore the Snyderverse,” which was distracting from this new film. Review Bombing a Warner Brothers film is not going to do anything but make this movement turn sour. It’s distracting from the idea.
Most of all, we cannot forget this:
Zack Snyder had experienced a major change in his life. A major shift in his entire world, and a few years later, he returned to reedit and make the film he wanted to make. Let’s not forget what it says at the end of the movie: this is For Autumn.
I saw this picture on Twitter, and I remembered catching it in the film. Not only does it fit with the bond between Bruce and Barry, but it’s a helpful thing that needs attention drawn to. Autumn lost her life to something people struggle to understand. We put on smiles, we don’t express the struggles we experience online. I mean, I lost my mom to it, and not in a million years would I imagine her doing that. But it happened, and now it’s time to spark conversation, to discuss and draw awareness.
I’m not going to include the usual follow button today. Rather, I’m going to be including a couple of links to Suicide Awareness websites, including a link to donate to the Autumn Snyder Fund. Please consider donating.
Thank you, Zack Snyder, for the amazing film, and the important story it holds.