Fans, the real diehards who fought for it especially, can’t wait to see Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League.
Even so, he’s faced criticism for his characterization of Superman beginning with Man of Steel in 2013. As much as they like Henry Cavill, the MOS he played under Snyder’s guiding hand is frequently rebuked as morally ambivalent, and also evil.
Grace Randolph talked to the director where he addressed the creative choices he made with the Last Son of Krypton across three movies, be they his or meddling by studio execs.
Snyder confessed he isn’t sure he was driven by the allure of seeing a darker Superman as much as wanting to take the first superhero on a journey.
“Do I love the evil Superman? I’m not 100% sure if that’s [true],” he said. “Other than that I will say I love the idea of Superman going on a journey with his character.”
Snyder continued stating his interest was grounding Supes and having him “reconcile” with things of this world.
He explained, “I love the idea of Superman having to reconcile his morality, reconcile his place on Earth, reconcile his love affair with Lois, and how that affects the way he relates to humanity and all those things as we all do with the normal relationships we all have in our daily lives. So I think when you see Superman grapple with those things, he becomes a lot more relatable.”
When Randolph responded that’s dark for Superman, Snyder explained further: “When I see Superman having to figure out what to do, I can go like, ‘Now if I was Superman…’
There is a pinnacle, he continued, “Because Superman is such an abstract character in his powers and what he is able to do, at any time when you can kind of bring him back down to Earth, he becomes a lot more relatable.”
“And I think that was more interesting, but I do have a huge respect for his moral code, and I think his ultimate place as sort of the top of the pyramid of the DC superhero world. In the end, he has to achieve that pinnacle,” Snyder added.
Asked if he thinks Superman was headed to that pinnacle with his storytelling, Snyder replied, “I always felt like that [was] what I was doing.”
Allegedly, Snyder had planned originally to take the time and flesh out Superman’s growth across five movies including Man of Steel 2 and Justice League sequels.
Superman would have evolved into the boy scout comic readers and devotees of the Christopher Reeve version are accustomed to and dealt with the fallout of the death of Jimmy Olsen among other casualties of his heroics.
A big moment of truth for Superman in Snyder’s story was coming back from the dead as the Man of Steel did in the 90s. He was promptly brought back in the theatrical release of Justice League but not the way Snyder intended.
Cavill would have worn the black costume as seen in some photos and had a deeper subplot of self-discovery and that important reconciliation factor. Snyder wanted to explore what returning from the grave does – aside from making them a zombie out of Dawn of the Dead hungry for flesh and brains.
Teasing answers contained in the Snyder Cut, the filmmaker posed these questions:
“In fact it was really fun because now with the resurrection theme and concept, you know, who is he now? What is he? When you touch the eternal in the sense that coming back from the grave, how are we changed by that?”
Zack Snyder’s Justice League comes to HBO Max in 2021.