Justice League set visits signal Zack Snyder apology for Batman v Superman

first_imgThis week, set reports for Zack Snyder’s Justice League made their way to the internet. A select group of online journalists, most of whom were critical of this year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, were flown to the film’s London set to see a scene shot last Friday. That’s an unusually quick turnaround for a set visit, and is happening while a little less than one third of the production has been completed. More surprising than getting a look at Justice League before seeing Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman is the overall tone of the set visit pieces: the Justice League production team seems apologetic about Batman v Superman.Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was technically a sequel to Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel that transformed into a prequel for a series of Justice League films somewhere during production. The theatrical cut of the movie was torn apart by critics who disliked how the film portrayed Batman and Superman, thought the plot with Lex Luthor was non-sensical, and laughed at how the titular fight ended. It was rumored that Warner Bros needed Dawn of Justice to cross $1 billion international gross to meet expectations. The final box office fell short of $900 million. Things weren’t looking good.Ben Affleck and Zack Snyder on the set of Dawn of Justice.Warner Bros immediately started changing things around with their DC Movies. Suicide Squad had some extensive reshoots to either lighten the tone or add more action (depending on who you believe), Ben Affleck was elevated to the role of Executive Producer on Justice League, and some of the old Snyder guard of co-producers were stripped off the film. In the biggest move, DC Comics’ Geoff Johns was given full control over the future DC Movie slate, taking over for what had been a confusing producer chain of command. Quietly, Justice League began production. The Flash movie lost its director and rumors swirled that James Wan was frustrated by the pre-production process on Aquaman. Everything started to change once it became apparent Batman v Superman wasn’t going to meet projections.Cut to last Friday when Diane Snyder (producer and Zack’s wife) told bloggers “We learned that people don’t like seeing their heroes deconstructed. They like seeing them in all their glory…I think what’s really great is where we’re going is kind of what the audience is wanting. We just had to take the characters from somewhere to bring them up to where they are and that was our journey.”The new logo for Justice League, scheduled to be released November 17 of next year.This is interesting on a number of levels. The thought that Dawn of Justice’s failures with the characters was based more on how grim they were, not how they were deconstructed as heroes (which is actually what Snyder’s The Watchmen tried to do, not Dawn of Justice). Audiences wanting to see the heroes in “all their glory” means just as much on the surface as when we were told audiences wanted to see Batman fight Superman: of course we do, but how will it be delivered?The re-framing of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as the conclusion of a trilogy of Zack Snyder movies is interesting. This was not at all planned. If Dawn of Justice was Snyder’s dark chapter and Justice League is his trilogy capper, it would be a modern oddity of franchise filmmaking: an ongoing series that is forced to pivot by the market surrounding it for each installment.Dawn of Justice became a Batman movie when it was originally supposed to be a Man of Steel sequel and had to deal directly with the outcry about Superman’s destruction of Metropolis. Dawn of Justice killed Superman and didn’t end with any Justice dawning. Instead, most of the league was introduced by Wonder Woman security footage on a computer. Now, Justice League is going to pivot hard out of the gloomy entries and try to push the rest of the DC movies off into infinity. All three movies Zack Snyder has directed for the DC Comics Cinematic Universe have been touted as the new beginning of something. This is really weird.This isn’t to say it sounds bad. On the contrary, most of the set reports sound excited through the thin veil of weird vibes. “When Batman v Superman came out, I was like, ‘Wow, okay, oof,’” admitted Snyder to the bloggers, “It did catch me off guard…I have had to, in my mind, make an adjustment. I do think that the tone of Justice League has changed because of what the fans have said.”The Justice League version of the Batmobile, via Collider.Justice League will feature Batman/Bruce Wayne uniting the entities he and Diana learned about in Dawn of Justice to fight Steppenwolf and some Parademons. The initial Justice League assembly sounds like it will just be The Flash, Cyborg, Batman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman.Apparently, when the journalists were shown some costumes, Superman’s was suspiciously absent. Steppenwolf is after Mother Boxes, the thing we saw transform Cyborg in BvS, and there are three on Earth. There are three Boxes, one for the Atlanteans, one for the Amazons, and one for the humans. Steppenwolf, who works with Darkseid in the comics so is probably leading up to him for the next Justice League movie, wants all three boxes and the Justice League has to stop them. Simple, really, knowing that the plot of Dawn of Justice could be summed up as “Lex Luthor tricks Batman and Superman into fighting.”Previously revealed concept art for Justice League.The set visit consisted of some pre-production artwork and a look at some costumes, but they also saw JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon on his first day, shooting a scene with the Bat Signal, Cyborg, Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman. It turns out the scene where Bruce Wayne finds Barry Allen and recruits him already exists in a rough edit, and they got to see that.A moment that made every report was when Ben Affleck dropped by for a chat while still in the Batman costume (without the cowl). He confirmed that he was directing a Batman movie while talking up Justice League in very uncontroversial terms.It’s both weird and welcomed to know this much about a movie this far in advance, considering we still get Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman in-universe before Justice League. However, it sounds like the set visit had the intended effect and spread the message that Zack Snyder and company have acknowledged critical feedback and are ready to pivot once more.last_img

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