Zack Is Gone
I’ll be blunt. The moment we heard this news was the inescapable conclusion to the story he wanted to tell. I would love to say I saw it back then but unfortunately, for me, that wasn’t the case. I was so blinded by the misleading of the media and studio, that I truly believed Justice League would still adhere to Zacks vision. Warner Bros. made me their fool and I paid for it. But the silver lining to that was I couldn’t sit back and do nothing anymore. I wanted my voice heard. I needed to express myself in a way I had never known how to do. And so I joined DC Films Hub and here I am.
Since joining, I’ve discovered some truly amazing things about Justice League. And while it helped me understand the lies and betrayal the studio did, it also helped me become more aware. I’m a firm believer that you learn from your mistakes. And when I learned that my mistake was believing Warner Bros. during the press tour, it created an optimistic cynic. I know that’s quite the paradox but truly, it’s what they made me. The DCEU that we know, is no longer alive and flourishing. It’s a shell of its former self because there’s no one running the place. But that was never the plan.
His 5-Part Story Arc
When I asked Zack about his true intentions of how his story arc would have played out, it made sense. He planned to have a Justice League film centered around Superman and the League as a supporting cast. It was never meant to have spin-off film after spin-off film. The genius that is Zack Snyder figured that if the studio was going to make him build a shared Universe, he would do it his way. It’s why Dick Grayson was the fallen Robin. It’s why no other meta-human was known until Superman.
But it was also why Batman was a well established Caped Crusader. Zack knew that for his story to work, he would only have a finite amount of films to tell his story. So casting Ben Affleck as a grizzly older Batman was perfect. Zack wouldn’t have to focus on Batman’s rogues’ gallery because the arc was a Superman arc. Batman was just there to support just like Wonder Woman. We didn’t need to know about what Batman had been doing because it was never about him. It was about Superman.
How soon we forget that when Ben Affleck was first announced as Batman, the internet exploded. Everyone was claiming that he wouldn’t be able to accomplish what Christian Bale did for Nolan. And yet, when the scathing reviews complimented Ben as the only thing good about Batman v Superman, the tide shifted. Now he was the quintessential version of the Caped Crusader. But he was also selected by Snyder. And the story he was developing for his Batman film was in line with what Snyder had envisioned. So is it really surprising that Ben Affleck is no longer playing Batman?
The amount of turmoil that has happened to everyone involved with the past few DC Films is detrimental. I’m actually happy for him that he won’t be tied to a studio that doesn’t have a backbone. Ben was never meant to be in 10 films over the course of 20 years. The amount of effort he would have to keep up for him to be in shape would be daunting. Add the fact that Snyder convinced him to play the character because of the original plan, and it all makes sense. Once Matt Reeves came in, should have been the indication that the DCEU as we knew it was dying.
I know nothing is official. But when the rumors of Ben Affleck leaving the role of Batman came out, no one wanted to believe it then. And when rumors of Henry leaving, I didn’t want to believe it then either. Now, with no Superman film in sight, I find it hard to see just how he could be keeping the role. There was a reason his arc was going the route it was. Zack Snyder had a true vision for the character that would have encapsulated the legacy of the character never before seen in a film. Sure, the Donner version was the first time on-screen, but that’s really it. He still killed Zod with a smile and gave up his powers for Lois. If that’s the kind of Superman people prefer, that’s perfectly fine.
What Zack was doing was allowing the character to grow into the Superman we all loved. If that version was easily created, Superman Returns would have been a hit. But people seem to forget that Superman is, for lack of a better word, boring. That’s why, in Batman v Superman, Lex makes a very interesting statement: “If God is all-powerful, he cannot be all good. And if he is all good, then he cannot be all-powerful. And neither can you be“. Viewing Superman in that way, it makes the character relatable to me. We all have flaws. And mine was believing that Warner Bros. knew what to do with Superman. Zack did and he’s no longer there. It’s only a matter of time I suppose that we hear about Henry.
The Next Films Don’t Make Sense
Forgive me for contemplating the future, but other than Wonder Woman 1984, there is no film in current production that connects to the DCEU. Sure, Shazam! still does but that’s because it’s literally about to be released. Birds of Prey is iffy since the current version of Batman won’t exist anymore. Or do I have my facts wrong? They might be able to go the route of Titans and never show him completely, but that can only last so long. Why haven’t they at least told us that the new Batman films will be their own thing? Maybe they’re just too scared of the fallout right now, or maybe they honestly have no idea what they’re doing.
If Birds Of Prey continues on what Suicide Squad was, how is James Gunn directing The Suicide Squad? That film will be a completely new take on the characters and comes out literally 2 months after Matt Reeves’ The Batman. And then we have a possible Wonder Woman 3 taking place in current times. Which current timeline though? Matt Reeves’ or Zack Snyders? I haven’t even brought up New Gods. None of these films know what they want to be or where they want to start. Zack laid out a road map of what he was doing, and the higher-ups disbanded those routes. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it flourished as an Empire because of roads. Coincidence? Probably not.
The Small Character Films Are Hamada
We should all know this by now. Hamada was brought in to tone down the big budget films and generate profits for the DC Films. There may be things we don’t know about, that he’s currently working on. What we do know, is that we probably won’t see a new Superman film anytime soon. If a Batman film opens in 2021, that would indicate that a Superman film operating in the same kind of structure wouldn’t open until maybe 2023. 10 years after Man Of Steel and you think it would still connect? Every single actor or actress plans out their schedules.
But that leads me to believe that Hamada doesn’t want to have a massive, fully connected Universe. He would rather have smaller budgets and individual films that don’t focus on a big team build ups. And really, where do you go after the big team-up film? At least with Nolan, the 3 films felt connected without having some big event happening and a film to follow. I think Hamada is taking the Nolan route and we should be embracing it with an open mind. But embracing and accepting are two different things.
I Hate The Current State Of Affairs
I’ve been a Batman fan since I was a kid. I was there for Keaton and Kilmer and Clooney. I will continue to be there after Bale and after Affleck because I love the character. What I despise, however, is the notion that we can’t have another actor portraying the character. I’m upset just as most are with the news Affleck is leaving but it was eventually happening one way or another. What would you rather have? Ben Affleck playing Batman in ONE Reeves film only for the character to be recast in the follow-up films because Affleck doesn’t want to play him? Or one version of Batman throughout Reeves’ film that doesn’t feel like the Batman films of the 90s?
If I had my druthers, I would rather see a complete arc with ONE version of Batman. But what I cannot accept is not seeing the true interpretation of Batman in Justice League. Truly, that’s all I’m asking for right now. To see the true version of Zacks Cut and NOT the Whedonized version of Batiron Man. And I will hold them accountable for that mess of a film until they do the right thing. I was happy when my favorite director joined my favorite comic character. Now I’m happy he’s not there because they didn’t appreciate him. But now I can enjoy both properties again without having to choose sides.
I’ll Still Be There June 25th, 2021
Listen, I have no monetary gain in any films currently at the moment. But I’ll be there, day one, if I like what I’m seeing for any DC film. I’ll also be there shouting with the rest if the film is horrible. But what I won’t do is pretend that everything is perfectly fine. And I’m also not here to say that you should support Warner Bros. blindly. I’ll take a wait and see approach from here on out. And I know it’s a sensitive subject, but accepting this and looking forward is better than anger and hatred. You can still be upset with Ben leaving and enjoy what Reeves does with Batman.
If I see anything worth enjoying, I’ll be the first to say so. If it falls out of line in what I expect for a DC Film, I’ll also say so. But what I won’t do is pretend that I’ve lost interest about a new Batman film or any other film from DC for that matter. These characters have been around a long time and people have every right to hate them now that the DCEU is dead as we know it. I was a fan before the DCEU. I will continue being a fan after. But will you? All accounts are balanced in the end.