Zack Snyder's dives into the world of DC have proven to be some of the most controversial comic book films ever to grace screens. Having opened his story with the solo Superman outing Man of Steel , he followed up with grand-scale team-ups Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League .
It's no secret that all the director's films were met with mass interference from Warner Bros. as the studio repeatedly attempted to interfere with his vision. While Warner Bros. seemed to want a more light-hearted DC universe to compete with the MCU, Snyder pushed for a much darker take on the iconic heroes.
Batman v Superman is potentially the most divisive of these films among fans, as opinions range from obsessed love to outright hatred, something the film's writer recently discussed .
CHRIS TERRIO EXPLAINS CONTROVERSIAL LOIS LANE QUOTE
In an interview with Vanity Fair , Batman v Superman writer Chris Terrio discussed the controversy surrounding the film, making particular reference to a divisive quote from Lois Lane (played by Amy Adams in the DC Extended Universe).
Terrio was asked if he felt people struggled to appreciate the finer things in the superhero face-off, to which he explained the need to maintain the audience's faith in the writers. Without this, they “lose the desire to look at it generously.” He went on to share his belief that “once the critics decide a movie is incoherent,” then “they attack everything.” :
“That’s exactly right. The audience has to know that they’re in good hands. The minute that you lose them from a story point of view, they lose the desire to look at it generously. Once the critics decide a movie is incoherent, it’s just a pile-on. Then they attack everything.”
The controversial writer went on to make specific reference to a line early in the film in which a terrorist says to Lois, “They didn’t tell me the interview was with a lady.” To which she responds “I’m not a lady, I’m a journalist.”
Terrio addressed the extreme criticism to this line, explaining that Amy Adams' Lois Lane in the film was inspired by real-world journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria in 2012. The writer explained that the particular quote is based on one by Colvin who once said to a Chechen warlord “There is no woman in this room, only a journalist” :
“So one reviewer held up this line as proof positive of my stupidity and my inability to write Lois or to write at all. Well, the character of Lois in the movie was inspired by the journalist Marie Colvin, who was of course killed in Syria. She was one of the most intrepid journalists who ever lived, in my opinion. And there’s a story in Vanity Fair, “Marie Colvin’s Private War,” and the line that Lois says is almost exactly the line that was in that article, where a Chechen warlord said he wouldn’t shake her hand because she was a woman. Marie Colvin replied, “There is no woman in this room, only a journalist.” So that line was my tribute to her. But then in the pile-on, a line like that is held as proof positive that I don’t understand either women or journalists or human beings, and that I’m a shitty writer.”
The interviewer went on to ask the former Snyder collaborator if he felt like people judged the film before even seeing it, to which he shared “that was the climate in which the film dropped.” Terrio also criticized the film's marketing which painted it as a “mindless fight movie,” leading people to react angrily to “any attempt to make something real or complicated” :
“That was the climate in which the film dropped. Anything and everything was attacked because the reviewers questioned the motives behind the film. And to some extent, I don’t blame them. The marketing promised this mindless fight movie, and any attempt to make something real or complicated was just met with anger and vitriol because [the audience] just didn’t assume good intentions.”
WAS THE SNYDERVERSE DOOMED FROM THE START?
Zack Snyder's take on the DC universe has always been met with significantly more criticism than the average comic book movie . While most modern movies in the genre opt for a light comedic tone, Snyder took his story in a much darker direction with fewer jokes but still maintaining the expected action set pieces.
Man of Steel is generally looked upon quite favorably , but substantial studio interference led to Batman v Superman and Justice League releasing to disastrous results. It's clear Warner Bros. wanted a much more Marvel-esque take on the DC world than Snyder. Looking at the marketing of Snyder's films, it could often be construed as heavily misleading to fans, who were surprised to see something much less standard in the finished product.
While more mature and hardcore fans may appreciate Zack Snyder's superhero vision, it has much less mass-appeal than the average action movie, which tends to yield less box office revenue. Naturally, this isn't what Warner Bros. wanted, so they decided to interfere and push a drastically different narrative going forward.
However, years later it was proven this clearly wasn't the case as the Joaquin Phoenix-led Joker became the first R-Rated film to enter the billion-dollar club at the box office. Much like Snyder's films, this was a much darker piece with much more realism, and yet it still managed to see great success, potentially helped by its Oscar-buzz at the time.
Zack Snyder's Justice League is truly the first film since Man of Steel in which the director has been allowed to follow his own narrative and vision. The response to the Snyder Cut has largely been positive so far, meaning it's possible that the Snyderverse could've been a much bigger success had the director been allowed full control.
It's hard to imagine a world in which Zack Snyder ever continues his master plan on screen, so fans will have to settle for Zack Snyder's Justice League, which is streaming now on HBO Max .