Tuesday brought a slew of studio-approved dispatches from the set of the upcoming Justice League, Zack Snyder’s universe-building follow-up to the universe-creating Batman v. Superman. And the news was … decidedly mixed. Justice League, we have some notes:
Zack, you’re not going to believe this, but you said some things. Here’s your quote — we’ll read it back to you: “For me, it is a really personal movie. When Batman v Superman came out, it was like, ‘Wow, oof.’ It did catch me off guard. … Because of what fans have said and how the movie was received by some, we have really put the screws to what we thought the tone would be and I feel pressed it a little bit further.”
This is a lot to unpack, but let’s try.
First of all, calling Justice League “a really personal movie” is incredible and I support it 100 percent. Words can mean anything you want them to mean! This is such a smart look for you and you should lean into it hard. Call it “a really personal movie,” call it “a Rihanna biopic starring Rihanna,” call it “the most life-affirming Pixar film yet,” call it “O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing,” call it “Game 8 of the NBA Finals,” call it “The Dark Knight Riseser,” call it “Marvel’s Justice League,” call it “Star Wars: Episode Beyoncé’s Lemonade Taylor Swift Dance-off Game of Thrones” — call it whatever you want. But whatever you do, just … keep … trolling. Think of it this way, Zack: Not many people can ever say they had a chance to change the world. You have one, right now. You have a chance to troll so hard that you destroy language. I mean, really think about that. What has language done for anybody? I can’t name a single thing. Troll until it turns to dust.
Second of all, who cares what fans think! So they thought Dawn of Justice was terrible. You’re Zack Snyder — people think every movie you make is terrible. And every time they think so … you fail upward. People thought 300 was silly, and you got Sucker Punch. People thought Sucker Punch was offensive, and you got Watchmen. People thought Watchmen was a brick, and you got Man of Steel. You had Superman BREAK A NECK AND REDO 9/11 and you got Dawn of Justice. Seriously — I understand wanting to be liked and wanting to make fans happy. But for your own sake, listen to me: Make them miserable. Fail upper and upper. The sky’s the limit.
Superman, we’ll make this short, but it’s important: You’re alive. There, that’s it. You were alive before Dawn of Justice, you were alive after Dawn of Justice, you’re going to be alive at the beginning of Justice League, you’re going to be alive at the end of Justice League, and you’re going to be alive when some alien clone of me 10,000 years from now uploads this article to its face and tells its alien friends, “Look what I wrote.” No one finds it coy or interesting or suspenseful or provocative. You’re alive. Not dead — the opposite of dead. Alive. Reject the mystery.
From Uproxx: “There was a room full of concept art and I became particularly fixated on one that depicts Jason Momoa as Aquaman wearing only a pair of casual-looking jeans. No shirt, no socks, just a pair of jeans.”
This is a big moment for you, jeans. You’re about to get an “off-duty superhero clothes” look — and, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that “off-duty superhero clothes” is the new “clothes.” Seriously: Look at what Ben Affleck has done for the vest this year. Look at what Sebastian Stan has done for the henley, or Anthony Mackie for the unbranded baseball hat, or Gwyneth Paltrow for not wearing any shoes and yeah these are thousand-dollar jean shorts and are you going to start filming or what — I’m flying back to London in a hard 45. These are moments that can change the landscape of fashion forever.
And now Aquaman is going to throw on some relaxed-fit denim. Big look for you, jeans. Make it count.
Sorry, what? Steppenwolf? Steppenwolf? Umm, fam: Are you sure? Not even rhetorically; how is this even possible? This movie is a bet worth billions of dollars. Steppenwolf’s claim to fame is … being Darkseid’s uncle. His uncle. You’re making a movie where the scariest thing about your villain is that they’re THE UNCLE OF SOMEONE SCARY.
Also, why are villains so bad now? Ultron: bad. Lex Luthor: canonical but very bad. Apocalypse: bad enough to get Oscar Isaac bad reviews. Deadpool: don’t remember. Guardians of the Galaxy: don’t remember. Iron Man 3: Shane Black, drunk on a date, explaining what “the ’90s” means. Civil War: literally a mean European person. Ant-Man: OK, I like Corey Stoll. But otherwise what’s the problem here?
It’s 2016: The whole world is one big villain now. Why can’t we produce a single good villain in the genre of movies where the barrier to entry is walking up to the camera, tapping on the screen, and saying, “I’m the villain”? Let’s fix this, please. I don’t think we need an entire league of justice to take down … Steppenwolf.
You’re doing great.