Like many DCEU fans, I've been having a lot of thoughts about Justice League. I still like the current cut of the movie despite issues that I feel it has and many others likely agree with, but I don't share the same anger and vitriol that so many that feel "betrayed" feel about it. I just think that WB haphazardly tried to change Zack Snyder's original plan into something more audience and critic-friendly and it backfired. Badly. Very badly. Again, that's coming from someone who still really likes the movie.
My prevailing thought is that what WB ultimately did to Justice League wasn't necessary for a number of reasons. In retrospect, there was a way to keep all of the Joss Whedon reshoot stuff that was in the theatrical cut of the movie and still keep Snyder fans, myself included reasonably happy by keeping more of his principal photography in the movie.
To be clear, the Whedon stuff we are talking about is this:
- Thirstiest joke
- Anal probe woman joke (I don't like it but people laughed at it)
- Barry/Diana clumsiness
- Russian family subplot
- Batman "jokes"
- Cavill CGI at Heroes Park and Farm
Those Whedon elements comprise the lighter, more humorous tone that WB seems to have wanted with the reshoots. Not everyone would have liked them, but they could have remained IF the following was added back in from principal photography:
- The Lois-Clark ring scene
- The Barry-Iris Glass scene
- The Cyborg first flight scene
- The Black Suit/Suiting Up scene
- Alfred meeting the team scene
- Alfred meeting Superman scene
These elements would serve to support Superman's arc and further develop the others.
Now, what does this mean for the rest of the movie and how would these scenes fit? Well, Barry and Cyborg's scenes could have been placed into their backstories. Cyborg's flight could have happened after Victor's first appearance and argument with Silas.
The Barry-Iris glass scene could have been Barry's first appearance where we first see him use his powers and then him visiting Henry could have happened afterward.
Alfred meeting the team could have happened really at any point when the team first entered the Batcave. Adding the Lois-Clark ring scene into the farm sequence is the easiest in that you just make that whole exchange longer, and it's more time with non-CGI Cavill on screen.
The Black Suit scene would happen after the team leaves for Russia on the Flying Fox. The scene where he meets Alfred would be before they actually enter the fray since Alfred is monitoring the whole situation instead of working on the car.
Two other things could have also been done:
1 - Make a conscious effort to make the principal photography shots of Cavill fit in favor of the CGI ones so that it's minimal CGI Cavill we see in the movie and the non-CGI stuff outweighs it. Then the CGI is more forgivable. This would mean that you lose the opening sequence of the film with CGI Cavill at his worst OR you change the picture quality so that there's a reason it looks bad if you MUST keep it. Honestly, you could probably open the movie with the Batman-Parademon sequence and be fine.
2 - Lengthen the end sequence with Lois' voice-over so that it doesn't feel rushed. Use more slow-mo, especially with Cavill's "S reveal" at the very end of it. We know this was a principal photography shot so there's likely a few takes of it.
Now obviously there's more finagling and editing to do for the sake of continuity and flow and there would be other micro changes that would have to be made but on the macro side, that's the gist of it. You'd still have Elfman's score and a tonal change, but more palatable.
The reason it would be more palatable IMO is because the added scenes and time would represent a more organic shift from the Mos-BvS to the JL tone and it wouldn't feel like Snyder's vision was being completely replaced, just slightly altered. Some would still be mad, but less.
It's not a perfect solution and I'm sure there's things that I am overlooking or flat out don't know about some of the other behind the scenes and concept elements made for the movie, but I think this would have worked better all around for everyone IMO.
The general audience gets the classic Superman they know and love while the Snyder fans get far more of a connection to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with Superman's arc and Snyder's style, while WB reaps the benefits of a better balance. This is just my opinion. I have no idea what it would have done critically or if it would have even changed the box office results, but I do think that while it wouldn't have eliminated all of the angst from fans, it would have curbed a good amount of it. That's just my belief.
This is all hindsight and it's very easy for me as a fan to say after seeing everything that has happened from the theatrical release, but again it's just a subjective opinion about what WB COULD have done to please more of "both sides" with regard to Justice League and in the end, everything I am talking about that could have been added to what we got would have added another 15 to 20 minutes tops, which would still have the movie shorter than Wonder Woman and nowhere near as long as BvS: Ultimate Edition was. This is why the runtime edict was so damned idiotic.
For the record once again, I DO still enjoy the Justice League movie that we got and will absolutely take a Snyder Cut if it ever materializes for us. This idea is just something that I have been thinking about for awhile now and decided to share. Thank you.