While some may argue that the Snyderverse is best left forgotten, in many ways, it has been the DCEU’s only consistent success so far.
Fans of Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the DC Extended Universe as he envisioned it have recently received quite a boon from the powers that be at WarnerMedia. Priya Dogra, the president of WarnerMedia, has come out and referred to the movie as a global phenomenon, and this isn’t far from the truth. The calls to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut were heard worldwide, and this news definitely puts wind back into the sails of Snyder fans.
While some may argue that the Snyderverse is best left forgotten, it has also been one of the only consistent successes in the DCEU so far. Given how earth-shattering the Justice League campaign was in terms of fandom and response, not to mention how well the movie has done on home video, Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia would be foolish to ignore these signs.
The Success of the Snyderverse
The movies that have had the most input from Zack Snyder or influence from his vision have also been the most successful entries in the DCEU. Though inarguably controversial, both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were box office success stories, as was Wonder Woman, which Snyder produced and had some story input in. The 2017 theatrical version of Justice League, however, was an unmitigated flop that was hated by fans and critics alike and also notably tried to “course correct” from the tone and style of Snyder’s films. Likewise, Wonder Woman 1984 was seen by many as vastly inferior to its predecessor, and it also tried to go in a more campy, Richard Donner Superman tone instead of anything that Snyder would have done.
Shazam! was also night and day compared to Snyder’s works, a concept which it wore on its sleeve from the first trailers. Despite being the total opposite of the “dark and gritty” tone that many bemoaned in other recent DC movies and also being fairly well-received, the movie didn’t hit at the box office nearly as much as it should have. Even The Suicide Squad, despite being an R-rated film, is much more comedic and Marvel-esque compared to Snyder’s work, and it was also a substantial flop regardless of its critical acclaim. This could also be partially attributed to the quality of its predecessor, which may have looked like a Snyder film but was more like a poor man’s Marvel movie.
On the other hand, social media and movie streaming sites in regions where HBO Max was unavailable were still abuzz with talk of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which was seen as an immense improvement over the theatrical version and a genuinely good film itself. Fans clamored for more of this tone and world than any other DCEU movie, which had comparatively failed to make audiences beg the question of what happens next. The one real exception to this seems to be 2018’s Aquaman, which was more fun and adventurous and also a box office smash hit. It’s still an exception to the rule, however, which WarnerMedia should make note of.
Calls to #RestoreTheSnyderVerse still ring out on social media several months after the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is a level of adoration and just plain interest unseen in almost any superhero movie post-Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. It’s definitely generated more interest than any other DCEU movie, including the aforementioned critical darling The Suicide Squad and the largely forgotten Birds of Prey.
Restoring the Snyderverse in some way could also provide something of a trajectory to follow, which is completely lacking in other DCEU projects. Compared to anything involving the Snyderverse or even the upcoming movies Black Adam, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Shazam: Fury of the Gods, there’s been little-to-no hype for the upcoming HBO Max DCEU films such as the Blue Beetle and Batgirl projects. These films have put Warner Bros. and DC back in the days of projects being randomly announced without rhyme or reason.
One possible solution is to keep these HBO Max movies, which will likely be much lighter in tone, strictly on the streaming service while the Snyderverse movies get theatrical releases, making them into the true events that the fan campaigns make them out to be. That way, those who might not wish to see the Snyderverse version of DC characters could still see live-action DC projects in the same universe potentially more to their liking. This could allow all projects to coexist while still giving precedence to the projects that actually make money and generate interest.
Perhaps the bigger test of the Snyderverse’s future, however, will be the success of the upcoming Black Adam and whether or not it will jumpstart a JSA-focused section of the DCEU that’s more separate from what Snyder’s been involved with so far. It could provide a more marketable and family-friendly set of blockbusters, or it could become another failed attempt to ape what Marvel has done. Either way, the demands to #RestoretheSnyderverse are at an all-time high, and they may finally be answered by Warner Bros. executives.
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