Zack Snyder has always been a controversial director to say the least. I personally adore his work, but a very vocal aspect of the audience detests everything he’s ever made, and oftentimes, the line between what’s fair game – film related opinions and criticism that isn’t “this is stupid and terrible and people who enjoy it are dumb fanboys” – and what’s just mean spirited personal attacks. Not liking a movie is one thing. Treating a director like garbage over it is an entirely different issue.
Some of the responses to his announcement that he’s stepping down from Justice League to be with his family as they recover from his daughter’s death have been absolutely repulsive. There are people that have taken the opportunity to reiterate the fact that they hate his movies. People that have delighted in the fact that he’s not going to be finishing the last bit of the movie that remains to be done and celebrated his departure, even though he’s mourning a tragic loss. There have even been people making jokes about how his movies were the reason for his daughter’s suicide. It’s horrific. A young woman died. He lost his child. This is so much more important than a movie.
Something I’ve noticed is that a huge number of people felt the need to show sympathy for Snyder by prefacing their statement with something along the lines of, “I don’t like his movies, but…” It’s so unnecessary! It’s so uncalled for!
Comicbook fans have gotten so, so entitled. Of course not all of them – all of us – but a not insignificant part. These people refuse to let a movie be for someone else. They refuse to accept that someone else’s perception of seventy year old characters can be just as valid as their own. And so instead of accepting that, accepting that Snyder’s version isn’t for them, they claim that he’s wrong and his work is awful and attack him for “ruining” their childhood favourites, so much so that Snyder felt he had to divulge something this incredibly personal because people on the Internet would start pushing narratives if he didn’t explain.
But superhero comics have been going on for decades. Through comics and television and film, through every sort of medium imaginable, they’ve become an essential part of pop culture. I started reading comics when I was six, but even before that, even before I saw any DC movie, I knew about Batman and Robin being partners. About Superman loving Lois Lane. These characters are a part of our public consciousness. They belong to all of us, and there’s not just one way they have to be.
In addition to the attacks on Snyder and the refusal to express condolences without adding on that they don’t like his movies, there’s another subset of people out there that I find just as abhorrent at the moment, and those are the ones worrying about the movie and complaining about Joss Whedon, saying he’s going to ruin it. A man lost his daughter and stepped away to grieve. Justice League is just a movie. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, too, and I’m still excited to see it, but it’s just a movie. It’s nothing compared to a human life.
But aside from all of this, there has also been an outpouring of support for him and his family, both from fans and people decent enough to not bring up the fact that they don’t like his vision while expressing condolences. It’s a reminder that even when there are people out there that don’t care about others and treating people with respect and kindness, there are still decent people out there. It’s a reminder that men are still good. Thank you, Mr. Snyder. Best wishes.