Since Zack Snyder stepped down from directing duties on Justice League to be with his family and Joss Whedon took over the project in his stead, fans of the DC Extended Universe started to express their concerns. While many fans were wishing the Snyder family all the best in a difficult time, there was also a growing worry that a former Marvel Studios director who had previously helmed both of the released Avengers movies was now in charge of reshoots and a final edit of what will be the largest and most anticipated DCEU film to date.
As could be expected, speculation was rampant about just how much of a role Whedon would play in the production and even now at the time of this posting it is still not completely clear. What we do know is that he was brought in by Snyder to write some additional scenes that Snyder wanted shot after making a rough cut of the film, and now Whedon is filming those extra scenes and will presumably control the final edit of the movie based on Snyder's original rough cut.
This information didn't stop bloggers and Snyder detractors from perking their ears up at the notion of Whedon somehow "fixing" Snyder's work, since despite the financial success of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he clearly can't be trusted to make a film that people actually like since the Rotten Tomatoes scores were so putrid. That silly idea of Whedon being Justice League's savior paved the way for a growing air of paranoia among the DCEU fans who are not only protective of Zack Snyder and his work, but also of the DCEU's uniquely different tone, style and approach to a shared cinematic comic book universe. The idea that the guy who made the movie with the Shwarma end credit scene in it was now in charge has been positively bone-chilling for many from the moment it was announced, despite WB proclaiming that the movie was and is still Snyder's film and vision.
The problem is that DCEU fans haven't totally trusted WB since it was learned that the critical panning of BvS triggered them to make changes to Suicide Squad to inject more humor into the movie, which didn't help its own critical gauging, and since the Ultimate Edition of BvS that revealed a significantly more complete and in-depth version of the movie was discovered to have been edited down by 30 minutes to make a shorter, less complete theatrical cut in the name of more screen times at the theater. There are many DCEU fans that while they enjoy the franchise as a whole, consider WB to be a problem in the form of constant meddling in the affairs of the movies.
That mistrust didn't really go away despite the success of Wonder Woman either. In fact, it only intensified as now the DCEU has a movie that is overwhelmingly critically acclaimed and is seen as literally the saving grace of the franchise by many critics and faux-journalist bloggers, despite the fact that the only real thing different between that movie and the previous three DCEU films in terms of tone, style and approach is that it is more straightforward and linear. It still has the same real-world parallels, perspective from the regular humans involved in the story and mythological subtext of the rest of the franchise, but that hasn't stopped critics and bloggers from declaring it a clear course-change for the DCEU, even though it isn't at all.
To make matters even more dicey for DCEU fans, one of its heads Geoff Johns recently said this at a Wonder Woman screening:
Of course again, this isn't a "new" approach for the DCEU at all as Johns has been speaking of hope and optimism since last year, which was also the mantra of the DC Universe Rebirth line of comics that launched in May of 2016, and it was also indicated by BvS and Justice League screenwriter Chris Terrio that Justice League wouldn't be the same tonally as BvS was:
That quote comes from an interview posted on March 11, 2016......two weeks BEFORE the release of BvS in theaters, yet almost everyone has completely forgotten it was even said because it completely eliminates this false notion that the DCEU is changing course.
Then came the straw that seemingly broke the back of the DCEU fanbase: News that Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL, who had previously worked with composer Hans Zimmer on Man of Steel and BvS and had been signed on to score Justice League was now leaving the movie to be replaced by veteran composer Danny Elfman, who despite a vast wealth of film credits including both Tim Burton Batman movies, two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies and many others, is only being touted as a co-composer for Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which of course was Joss Whedon's last comic book film directed.
DCEU fans feel that they can see the writing on the wall and that either Joss Whedon is systematically phasing out Zack Snyder's version of Justice League for his own, or that WB is entrusting him to do it, which again flies in the face of what they have said to this point which is that Justice League is still Zack Snyder's film. More worrisome for some DCEU fans is the idea that the addition of Whedon and now one of his former Marvel composers, along with the perceived shift in tone from Wonder Woman is signaling that WB is changing the DCEU to be more like the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall, completely abandoning the level of depth, tone, style and substance that had been present in the franchise to this point, and of course the bloggers and detractors are all on board with that idea, which only angers many DCEU fans even more.
As ludicrous and unsubstantiated as those claims from angry DCEU fans may be, let's try and make sense of what is actually happening here by making the following statement once and for all that will be a rude awakening for the bloggers and DCEU detractors:
The DCEU is NEVER going to be like the MCU. At all. Ever. In Everdom.
To begin with, WB and DC have absolutely no reason to rework their franchise to the MCU mold. They have already made billions with the movies they have released, Wonder Woman is a resounding success in theaters and Justice League will no doubt make the franchise a perfect 5 for 5 in movies with an opening weekend of at least $100 million(Don't worry, it will make MUCH more than that). This means that a fanbase for the current incarnation of the DCEU viably exists and supports the movies wholeheartedly. There's no reason to change the original focus whatsoever.
In addition, the DCEU's storytelling is inherently very different and shows absolutely no signs of changing toward the Marvel Studios template. MCU movies focus on the heroes alone without giving you a wider look at the collateral damage experienced by normal human beings, they do not embrace the mythological connections to their characters and they are hard-pressed to contain any true real-world parallels. All four DCEU films contain those elements and since Zack Snyder has already shot the bulk of Justice League and produced a rough cut for it, they are likely to be in that film as well, especially if they are to connect to any of the previous four films because the success of a shared universe is predicated on the franchise as a whole, not in a movie or two. Justice League may be the biggest and most important DCEU movie to date, but part of its success hinges on the properly formed connections between it and the four movies that preceded it. That's why the idea of a franchise reboot at this point is and always has been completely stupid.
Furthermore, WB has shown absolutely no evidence that they are willing or even entertaining the notion of essentially backstabbing Zack Snyder and allowing Joss Whedon to take Justice League away from him. The initial report of his stepping down by Hollywood Reporter indicated that the studio offered to push the movie back to March of 2018 if he wanted as a result of the time he needs with his family, but Snyder said no and wanted to keep to the original release date of November 17 of this year. HE brought in Whedon beforehand to help write the extra scenes and the only reason Whedon is in the position to finish the whole job is because of Snyder stepping down, not because WB wanted Whedon to replace Snyder. As many have pointed out, he is helping a friend through a tough time and as Mark Hughes of Forbes has pointed out, bringing in Elfman, a composer that Whedon is familiar with, helps him complete the task within the time needed to release on schedule.
One more thing: It is literally bad for the comic book movie business if any franchise starts blatantly copying the formula of another one. There has been talk for the past year or so about the over-saturation of comic book movies and you already have people that are speaking their mind about how tired they are of seeing them now. Disney-Marvel is in position to release six comic book movies in just two years counting Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 last month. If DC were to change course and make movies that were exactly like Marvel's template, the over-saturation would be more apparent because there would be no variety, despite what bloggers and critics lazily believe should be the standard for all comic book movies. Right now the general audience has choices and they know that a DCEU movie, even a critically acclaimed one like Wonder Woman, is going to be different than an MCU movie and that is better for the business model maintaining an interested audience than it is being a carbon copy of what your competitors are doing. If you wanted to see an MCU movie then you would just see an MCU movie, right? Well, WB knows that and they want you to come see DCEU movies as well, so they need a different hook to sell them. It's literally bad business for them to start mimicking the MCU, so they won't be doing that.
In a world filled with too much information that is hardly all true, we have a tendency to make really bad assumptions about things we don't have all the information about. This is one of those times and it's not helping anyone in the long run. Justice League now more than ever deserves a fair chance to be evaluated on its own merit when it releases instead of being judged with pre-conceived notions based on the changes that have occurred in the past month. The bloggers and detractors do that all the time. Don't make the same mistake yourself.