“We learned that people don't like seeing their heroes deconstructed.”
June 21, 2016 10:11 AM   Subscribe

A Hater Tours The JUSTICE LEAGUE Set by Devin Faraci [Birth. Movies. Death.] Have DC Films and Zack Snyder learned from BvS? Devin went to London to find out.
“Let's roll it back a week. Bebe Lerner, Zack Snyder's publicist, got in touch with me. I've known Bebe a long time, so this wasn't that unusual. What was unusual was the offer she had. Bebe told me that Zack and everybody at DC Films had been reading all the stuff I wrote about BvS (as I mentioned, I was not fond of that film) and that Zack wanted to invite me to the set of Justice League so that he could show off how the crew was righting the ship. They heard the criticisms, was what I understood, and they wanted me to see how they were reacting to them. What’s more, the embargo would be short - I could have this piece up almost immediately. They clearly wanted to get the conversation about Justice League changed ASAP.”
Related:

- Ben Affleck Interviewed On The Set of JUSTICE LEAGUE by Devin Faraci [Birth. Movies. Death.]
“Last week I joined a group of journalists who traveled to London to visit the set of Justice League (read my full set report here). While observing filming something monumental happened: Ben Affleck stopped by. That's a huge deal in and of itself - Affleck doesn't do set visit interviews, I've heard - but even bigger is the fact that he stopped by in his Batman costume. The cowl was off (we could see the velcro that kept it in place) and he had raccoon eyes from his make-up, but he was standing there in his honest-to-god Batman costume. Talking to us. Explaining how different Batman was in Justice League compared to Batman v Superman.”
DF: The Dark Knight Returns was a big influence on BvS, but that’s sort of an end of the Batman story, Batman quits at the end. How do you bring Batman back from the edge where he was sort of maybe more violent, more harsh than ever before and bring him back?

BA: You bring up a very good point, Batman v. Superman was very heavily influenced by The Dark Knight Returns, and this has other influences that I don’t want to name because then it will give away story elements and stuff like that, because then you’ll go, “well, in that story, this happens.” But one of the things obviously, is you can’t go past the end. This is now not a guy at the end of his rope but kind of a guy at the beginning. Starting over, reborn and believing. Finding hope. The thing that he’s hopeful for he’s holding onto desperately. And he really believes in this idea of forming this group. I can definitely say that. That starts him off and that’s his core mission here. Obviously that’s something different because that’s a guy who’s not nihilistic, he hasn’t given up. He deeply believes that this is something that needs to happen and he’s in the awkward position of being kind of out there with a cup in his hand like, you know, “believe in this, this is a good idea.”

posted by Fizz (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know it's irrational but I am just mad Grant Gustin isn't going to be Barry Allen in the Justice League movie. Yes, I am aware of how ridiculous that is.

Also, Snyder can froth it up to make his future DC endeavours light-hearted, or at least less grim, but I think the damage has been done.
posted by Kitteh at 10:15 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Why does the Batmobile have reflective strips by the wheels?

Is it some kind of legal requirement, so Bruce can head down to the Gotham DMV to register it?

If not, then why does he have them? Does he want to make sure rogues in oncoming vehicles can see him coming? If so, why both to paint it black? Blaze orange would provide much greater visibility.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:23 AM on June 21, 2016 [8 favorites]


I spent an hour talking to one of the producers (he is on set in London) this past Father's Day Sunday. I've no great spoilers for you, but I can relate that this crew is working hard. The job is currently "making a difficult movie under difficult (meaning movie business/fan/critic politics difficult) conditions". He described it as twice as much work as is usually encountered in making this type of film.

But, there is an honest attempt being made to honor the legitimate comments (both praise and critical) that came from Man of Steel and B v S.

It's good to see an article that ends with a bit of optimism about Justice League.

thanks for the post.
posted by HuronBob at 10:30 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


I didn't see Man of Steel, I didn't see Batman vs. Superman, and I won't be seeing Justice League. The DCMU will have to reboot its way out of the Snyderverse entirely to get me on board. A poison tree bears poison fruit.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:44 AM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


...Grant Gustin isn't going to be Barry Allen...
I KNOW! Who's going to do the overreacting for the JLA? No one overreacts like he does.

"Barry - Freeze is robbing jewels again."
"Got it - brief me on the way there."
"But that'll be like 2 minutes... could we puh-leez come up with a plan this time?"
"You guys - there's bad guys, and guys are in danger! We gotta go!!"
"Ok so like last time you didn't come up with a plan, you got beat up and people got hurt... and the time before that, and the time..."
"YOU DON'T GET IT, I have the power, I have to help people!"
"I believe in you Barry!"
"Gee thanks Iris, that SO helps right now. shit. Ok Barry: Yeah, no, I get it but we'd have an easier time if we had a better plan than 'I'll just run at it'..."
"OHGOD WE'RE A *TEAM* YOUR SPOSED TO BE *WITH* ME WHY SO HATE? LOOK PEOPLE. COULD. *DIE.* IM GOING TO RUN AT IT" [exits at top speed]
"Note to self: need more paperweights."
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:53 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I have no problem with my heroes being deconstructed. I would just like that to happen in a movie that isn't a complete mess from a storytelling perspective.
posted by HighLife at 10:55 AM on June 21, 2016 [13 favorites]


Grant Gustin is secretly comprised of dozens of flustered adorable puppies and I love him for that. I would rather have flustered adorable puppy Flash rather than a Flash who will be grimdark.
posted by Kitteh at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2016 [11 favorites]


I know it's irrational but I am just mad Grant Gustin isn't going to be Barry Allen in the Justice League movie.

Was there ever a plan in place to use the same DC characters in both TV and film just like Marvel? I mean, when they did the dark silhouette of Superman in the "Supergirl" pilot, I expected that we would eventually get cameos from Henry Cavill, which turns out not to be the case. I'm just curious as to whether the use of different actors was always the plan, or if the reaction to the films made them shift gears.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:10 AM on June 21, 2016


I think someone in one of the Arrow or Flash FanFare threads linked an article in which the movies and the tv universes will definitely not be linked because they want to maximize eyeballs in as many iterations as possible. I believe the actor who played Black Canary said that the Arrowverse originally had a Suicide Squad storyline planned but that got kiboshed once the movie was announced (and also explains why they killed off that Amanda Waller and Deadshot).

Edited for me to go squeeeeeee over Tyler Hoechlin being Superman in Supergirl. He gives me the vapors.
posted by Kitteh at 11:17 AM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


"We learned that people don't like seeing their heroes deconstructed.”

For fuck's sake, Snyder. YOU MADE WATCHMEN.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 11:25 AM on June 21, 2016 [23 favorites]


I haven't actually seen the Snyderverse movies, but from what I've heard the problem wasn't so much deconstructing the heroes so much as forgetting to construct them first.
posted by ckape at 11:36 AM on June 21, 2016 [14 favorites]


... "centuries of congealed blood of (Wonder Woman's) victims"?

Dear lord.
posted by rewil at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Making Wonder Woman a Punisher/Rorschach type sounds... well, it's Zach Snyder's world, and thankfully we don't have to watch it.
posted by kmz at 11:43 AM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the Justice League movie will begin with Snyder personally glaring out at the theatre audience: "You don't understand: I'm not trapped in here with you, you're trapped in here with ME."
posted by happyroach at 12:17 PM on June 21, 2016 [20 favorites]


I think Suicide Squad is going to be fantastic. But, I'm not sure that I have the same positive outlook that Devin has for the Justice League. I think the addition of The Flash, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and Aquaman will help lighten the tone of the franchise. I do believe that will be for the better. But, whether or not the story can retain my interest, that remains to be seen. The numerous McGuffin "boxes" seems too much like what is currently happening in the Marvel Universe. Not sure I want more of that.

Man of Steel and Batman v Superman were for the most part character driven. And that can only go so far. I have to care about the events of the movie, and I mostly didn't with these last two.
posted by Fizz at 12:29 PM on June 21, 2016


I liked Man of Steel and Batman v Superman more than most people, I think, but I can't say that I loved either one. I found Snyder's Watchmen pretty much a debacle, but the main difference between it and Snyder's DCU films is that Watchmen (the comic) is a singular work that is not really up for reinterpretation, whereas the DCU heroes are constantly reimagined and have been for decades. So while Zack Snyder's Superman and Batman may not be mine, or yours, or perhaps anyone's except for Zack Snyder's, they are no less valid for that. I was willing to come to these movies and be told who Superman and Batman were, without imposing my preconceived ideas upon them. None of this stuff ever sticks anyway: If you really thought the ultradark, ultraserious Batman of Christopher Nolan's films was ever going to be The One True Batman for all time, you're overlooking the vast fortune in Batman Happy Meals, children's t-shirts, action figures, cartoons, etc., that DC would be leaving on the table. Ultimately, every version of Batman and Superman will happen at once, because every version makes money, even the ones that no one likes. So anyway, I thought the Snyder movies had some good stuff going on in them.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:33 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


*brands kittens for breakfast with a batarang so they will eventually get shanked in prison the comments*
posted by entropicamericana at 12:38 PM on June 21, 2016


I still don't feel guilty for saying "I wish I could make everyone understand how deeply wrong this is" while watching Starship Troopers, but in hindsight I probably shouldn't have been holding that monkey's paw while I said it.
posted by roystgnr at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2016 [10 favorites]


>I haven't actually seen the Snyderverse movies

Oh how I envy you.
posted by Catblack at 12:49 PM on June 21, 2016


For fuck's sake, Snyder. YOU MADE WATCHMEN.

has anyone asked him to explain what Watchmen (the comic) was about, in basic terms? I'm guessing he has no clue.

Watchmen (the comic) is a singular work that is not really up for reinterpretation


because it is sophisticated it's actually up for almost an infinite number of reinterpretations... it's just you have to, you know, understand it.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:58 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wish I could make everyone understand how deeply wrong this is" while watching Starship Troopers...

oh god. someone put Zack Snyder up for a remake of Starship Troopers. he would end up blacklisted from Hollywood for being a Nazi and the best part would be that he would have no idea why...
posted by ennui.bz at 1:02 PM on June 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


has anyone asked him to explain what Watchmen (the comic) was about, in basic terms? I'm guessing he has no clue.

"It's about Rorschach and the Comedian being badass. (Except for that part where the Comedian totally pussied out and started crying.) Oh, and that part where Dr. Manhattan was zapping gangsters and the VC was pretty badass too."
posted by entropicamericana at 1:11 PM on June 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


because it is sophisticated it's actually up for almost an infinite number of reinterpretations... it's just you have to, you know, understand it.

There's so much wrong with Snyder's film -- from total point-missing at every narrative turn to corny line readings to an unintentionally hilarious sex scene to just Carla Gugino's ridiculous-ass old lady makeup -- that it's hard to know where to start talking smack about it. But I think the total failure to transmit the politics of the source material is what bothers me most, and I'm not certain what to make of it for sure. Snyder did manage to pull off a fairly faithful adaptation of Frank Miller's 300, the conservative politics of which are hardly in doubt. And he has expressed his admiration for The Fountainhead. When you put this in context with his Dawn of the Dead remake -- which depoliticized the original's extremely liberal leanings completely, replacing them with running zombies and bikini girl makeout seshes -- it starts to look like he's a conservative filmmaker who deliberately subverts his source material in the name of making it "more awesome." But could it be even simpler? Maybe he just doesn't understand what The Fountainhead is about, either, and in a year or so we'll be treated to Jason Statham erecting skyscrapers with his telekinesis, and then fucking haters to death with a forty-foot penis or something.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:21 PM on June 21, 2016 [13 favorites]


"Batman v. Superman" is Democrats vs. Republicans

Wouldn't Affleck's democrat leanings have an affect on his character that counteracts Snyder's conservative approach? Or maybe Affleck's standalone Batman movie will be the ultimate Democrat movie.
posted by gucci mane at 1:45 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe he just doesn't understand what The Fountainhead is about, either, and in a year or so we'll be treated to Jason Statham erecting skyscrapers with his telekinesis, and then fucking haters to death with a forty-foot penis or something.

My demand has always been: channel King Vidor or GTFO, but this scenario would be awesome.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:57 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


The fundamental problem with Justice League is that THIS is its competition. With that as a predecessor, any Snyderverse project is in danger of coming off like Ecce Homo.
posted by happyroach at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


The fundamental problem with Justice League is that THIS is its competition. With that as a predecessor, any Snyderverse project is in danger of coming off like Ecce Homo.

I've always thought the problem with the current set of movies is, unlike Marvel, DC already had a cannonical video adaptation, and that was the Timm / Dini-verse.
posted by pan at 3:18 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


“We learned that people don't like seeing their heroes deconstructed.”

-- did Zack Snyder say that? Does he seriously think =that= was the problem people had with BvS and Man of Steel?
posted by Hellblazer at 3:33 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've always thought the problem with the current set of movies is, unlike Marvel, DC already had a cannonical video adaptation, and that was the Timm / Dini-verse.

Or as a friend of mine put it: "Hal Jordan? Who the hell is this white poser Green Lantern, and where's my John Stewart?"
posted by happyroach at 3:34 PM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


Well, this makes me more marginally excited about Justice League than I had been, in the way that someone giving me civet-bean coffee would make me marginally more interested than if they'd merely handed me a cup of cat feces and said "drink this"
posted by Greg Nog at 3:54 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


The numerous McGuffin "boxes" seems too much like what is currently happening in the Marvel Universe. Not sure I want more of that.


The Marvel cosmic stuff, at least anything with Thanos, is super derivative of what Kirby and DC were doing in the 70's with Darkseid and the New Gods. At the time, Marvel's cosmic stuff was groovier but that tone has long be left behind.

If I were to feel bad for DC about anything, this would be it. That their marquee big bad got beat to the movies by his Marvel knock-off and now the rest of the world is going to think Darkseid is a Thanos ripoff when he finally shows up.
posted by thecjm at 4:19 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


Or maybe Affleck's standalone Batman movie will be the ultimate Democrat movie.

This is the most mystifying part of the whole DCMU — these jokers have a guy in their stable who directed a Best Picture winner as well as winning an Oscar for screenwriting and they are doubling down on Snyder. Metaphor fails me for trying to express how dunderheaded a strategy this is.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:22 PM on June 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


That their marquee big bad got beat to the movies by his Marvel knock-off and now the rest of the world is going to think Darkseid is a Thanos ripoff when he finally shows up.

I didn't knwo that thecjm, thanks for the random comic knowledge. To be fair, I'm not a huge fan of the Marvel ripoff either. It's just like you said though, it's already being done in another cinematic universe and so why is this franchise trying to do their own. I guess $$$, that's why.
posted by Fizz at 4:24 PM on June 21, 2016


I've always thought the problem with the current set of movies is, unlike Marvel, DC already had a cannonical video adaptation, and that was the Timm / Dini-verse.

Or as a friend of mine put it: "Hal Jordan? Who the hell is this white poser Green Lantern, and where's my John Stewart?"


Yet another reason to morn the last minute cancellation of George Miller's Justice League movie. The script was reportedly similar in tone to Justice League Unlimited, and his Green Lantern was going to be Common.
posted by thecjm at 4:25 PM on June 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Green Lantern was going to be Common.

(┛°Д°)┛彡┻━┻
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:54 PM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


"people trying to accomplish goals together is the root of all great comedy in my view"

Good lord. The man is an idiot.
posted by mediareport at 6:53 PM on June 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oops, sorry, just remembered there are folks here who know Snyder and claim he's a really nice, likeable guy.

I should've said, "That's an idiotic take on comedy," criticizing the comment and not the person.

But damn is that an idiotic take on comedy.
posted by mediareport at 6:58 PM on June 21, 2016 [6 favorites]


So, you're saying he's the Alan Alda blathering studio executive character from Crimes and Misdemeanors come to horrible life?
posted by Bromius at 8:22 PM on June 21, 2016


Zack in an Empire Magazine interview explaining why he doesn’t like characters in costume conversing:

"I kinda came to the conclusion also that they couldn't really talk in their suits, um, with any credibility..."

"... more than 4 or 5 lines and you start to notice, like wait, these are two guys ... one guys dressed up like a bat and the other has a big red 'S' on his chest, and they're being super serious about how mad they are at each other..."
I guess that explains the ridiculously sparse and terse dialogue in BvS.

And wow, I suspected that embarrassment about their own characters was the source of a lot of what was wrong with the Nolan/Snyder DC grimdarkverse, but I never expected any of them to admit it so explicitly.
posted by straight at 9:55 PM on June 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


The problem (my two cents) with Snyder's work on superhero films thus far (Watchmen, Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman) is that he is choosing material whose main force came from its revolutionary impact on the comics medium. Watchmen was something radically different, as was The Death of Superman (albeit in a different register). But he's choosing them in order to remake them, to reinterpret them on a new medium.

Which means that the initial force of these works is lost (because it's been decades, comics has moved on, integrated the best of them and discarded the worst), while his work lovingly Crackles the original material into an unchanged, uninterpreted form, giving them no new room to grow. Whereas if you look at 300 (a deeply self-contained work) or Sucker Punch (a hot mess but still the most creative piece of work he's attempted) they're far less...souless? Than his superhero work. There's none of that uneasy attempt to embalm a revolution, to take what was at heart a work of art meant to trigger change and just repeat it in a new medium.
posted by AdamCSnider at 9:19 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd actually consider Batman v. Superman a more faithful adaptation of the themes of Watchmen if I thought Snyder was purposely trying to show audiences what was wrong with DC's grimdark superhero-films-that-are-ashamed-they-are-about-superheroes. And if it weren't so muddled and boring.
posted by straight at 11:14 AM on June 22, 2016


The Marvel cosmic stuff, at least anything with Thanos, is super derivative of what Kirby and DC were doing in the 70's with Darkseid and the New Gods. At the time, Marvel's cosmic stuff was groovier but that tone has long be left behind.

I think this is more or less the source of my issues with the upcoming Thanos vs Avengers films and this JLA movie. Thanos in recent years, in the comics, has been made to be pretty dull. Jim Starlin's Thanos/Warlock stories, while imperfect & derivative, are groovy and fun. Everything I've seen of the upcoming Marvel stuff makes Thanos pretty Serious, almost comically so. Kirby's DC stories are nuts and fun which is pretty much the furthest thing from the Snyderverse films. I hope they at least leave Kirby's New God designs mostly intact and leave Darkseid's crazy heat seeking eye lasers alone. Those eye lasers are my favorite part about Darkseid.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:23 PM on June 22, 2016


I've been thinking about deconstructing super heros, Superman in particular, and why "superman is an asshole now" fails both as a deconstruction of him and as an examination of how he would exist in a real world.

The idea behind Superman is that he was raised to be good by his earnest and hard-working parents in a rural part of the US, and then ends up coming to a major city with all of it's diversity to enact the ethics given to him by his parents. A far more interesting deconstruction would be examining the effect of him looking like everyone else but knowing he is different for his entire childhood, raised with the ideals of the US that we all know are flawed - so he has an interesting mix of insider/outsider but in terms of the heuristics he'll pick up in rural Kansas, he's fairly privileged and he's used to knowing a lot about everyone and having a fairly black and white morality.

And then he goes to New Yo..... Gotham, which is diverse, and complicated, and many people don't look like him but they are actually more like the people he grew up with than he is (think about the conflict in that - the tension between actuality and appearance). And he starts trying to help people the way he did in Kansas, but relationships are more complicated, and so are circumstances, and he gets in completely over his head.

And then he does something which shatters the moral code his parents gave him, and has to recover from that. He has to figure out how to be "good" when what is "good" isn't as simple as the morality he was raised in. He has to face his own implicit bias, his prejudices against people who look different than him, his interior superiority because he was stronger/fast/better than everyone he knew before.

I don't know if anyone's tried it - it's similar to the arc Captain America often takes I think - but I'd love to see it in a movie.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:28 AM on June 23, 2016


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