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Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather have made it about a third of the way through the Snyder Cut of Justice League, and they join forces to overthink what they saw. They take in the somber mood, and point out the problem with a long-running superhero franchise at the fever pitch of world-ending stakes; discuss how the Justice League are all re-introduced in light of some unique virtue; and wonder what gives Ben Affleck his super amped-up Batman voice.
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I feel torn over this. On the one hand, some fans have been terrible about agitating for the Snyder Cut, the desperation in trying to make HBO Max successful to pay off AT&T’s debt, and the DCEU versions of characters are such wet blankets that suck the life out of stories even when they’re happy, so it’s really not an ecosystem that I want to support. But on the other hand, Snyder tells (mostly) excellent stories about these mediocre versions of great characters (Man of Steel is basically great until that weird, stapled-on “death by cop” epilogue). Oh, well. I finally dumped cable, so maybe I’ll get around to putting some of that money into HBO Max.
This episode, though, gets near something that I’ve wanted for decades in any medium: A TV/comic series that’s about entirely normal people who live in a world that’s constantly on the verge destruction, fended off by weird unaccountable people in rubber suits. We sometimes get hints of what that could be, but the leads are always either in their origin stories or are friends of big heroes (both companies have also tried “company that deals with superhero fallout,” but those also have superhero characters), which undercuts the what-does-this-look-like aspect. I don’t care about a billionaire vigilante’s grief. I can care about the grief of a small family in the inner city constantly pulling debris away from their front door. That could do a lot of the emotional heavy lifting that the MCU and DCEU both gesture at, but then mostly ignore in favor of A-listers who miss their friends.
Since it was also brought up, I have to admit that I’m tired of the “superhero teams work, because each member has a single personality trait that…most people have.” Even though it’s doing the same thing and having a bumpy year or two due to (partly) the pandemic and (probably mostly) the desire to stop sending things to Netflix and get them on HBO Max, I should point out that the biggest DCEU problem is how the CW has (weirdly) done a far better job of showing off the DC Universe and giving the impression that the heroes could form a permanent team to handle major threats. And interestingly, they also needed to start with second-stringers, because of who controlled the movie rights at the time, so maybe that’s the secret to building a shared universe.