Friday, March 19, 2021

I Was Wrong and I Apologize

I was wrong and I apologize.

Those are not easy words for me (or any man) to say; they are, perhaps, the HARDEST ones. But say them I must and as publicly as possible.

Now, I have been wrong before.  I was wrong when I thought that Americans would never voted bad actor Ronald Reagan into office as president.  I was wrong during Freshman Week when I thought that mug was made of heavy glass, rather than light plastic, and got a face full of milk as a result.   I was wrong 

But this time, I was wrong about a comic book something: specifically, "Zack Snyder's Justice League".

I was wrong for criticizing fans for misplaced enthusiasm, for holding on to an obvious fantasy that there was A Perfect Justice League Movie that they never got to see.  I was wrong for telling them, in my head, to shut their yaps, get over themselves, be glad they got anything, and move one.

I was wrong for thinking, "eh, that wasn't great, but it was okay," and that was all I should expect from a Justice League movie.

I was wrong to dismiss Ray Fisher's whining about his story and part being cut out of the movie.  I was wrong to think that no version of the film could possibly give each character their full due.

I was wrong to assume that Steppenwolf was inevitably underwhelming, wrong to be grateful that none of the rest of Kirby's Fourth World was involved.  

I was wrong to blame Ezra Miller for the overly-goofy interpretation of Barry Allen. I was wrong to blame Jason Momoa for an underdeveloped and inconsistent Aquaman.  I was wrong to think that Superman's resurrection was unavoidably incomprehensible.  

I was wrong not to understand that part of Wonder Woman's contribution was that, yeah, she will TOTALLY kill someone if need be.  

I was wrong to think there was no coherent underlying myth or message to the film. I was wrong to think a four-hour version of the firm would be tedious, undisciplined, and overindulgent.  I was wrong when I literally said to a friend last week, "If I hear one more word about the Snyder Cut, I am going to shoot someone in the face."

I was GLORIOUSLY wrong. And I learned this last night watching "Zack Snyder's Justice League", which I strongly encourage you to do as well. This WAS the film we and, more importantly, the Justice League deserved.  

[However, I was RIGHT to think that Joss Whedon sucks and his immature, too-clever-by-half highschooler writing is painfully embarrassing to watch.]

Sure, there were a few things I could have done without in ZSJL, such as some of the sappy musical choices and the pointless and awkward inclusion of Jared Leto's pathetic performance as the Joker in Snyder's ham-handed dream sequences designed to tee up films that will never be made.  But there was so much delight from the good additional material that that was easy to overlook. 

Such as:

  • the inclusion of the myth of Darkseid's original invasion of Earth, the gathering of forces that repelled him, the Anti-Life Equation, and how this history becomes a metaphor for the need to form the Justice League;
  • the much beefier and useful parts for the "sidekicks" (Alfred, Lois Lane, and Silas Stone; PARTICULARLY Silas Stone);
  • a host of on-camera explanations for things that simply had no context or logic in the Whedon version (such as Batman's energy-absorbing gauntlets);
  • much better consistency of tone, both for the characters and the story as a whole;
  • the joint character arc of the Leaguers as they must learn to trust and rely on one another;
  • how that arc is echoed in each of their individual arcs (Flash learning to trust himself, Aquaman learning that no man is an island, Batman the rational loner needing to build a team and to have faith, Cyborg coming to believe through interaction with others that he is not broken);
  • reminders that, unlike the others, Wonder Woman is a warrior and ("stop a war with love" notwithstanding) will totally and unhesitatingly KILL your ass if the situation calls for it;
  • a sensible explanation of WHY the Mother Boxes are where they are;
  • the Martian Manhunter, Ryan Choi, and Yalan Gur (of all people) being in and actually BELONGING in the movie (or, at least, in the world of the movie);
  • how the film balances making the League seem both achingly human and mind-bogglingly god-like (this is particularly true for Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg);
  • Mera being bad-ass;
  • Clark's butterfly and Barry's puppies;
  • MARTHA!;
  • Barry rescuing Iris (because of course it's Iris), which was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes;
  • the fact that the climax of the film allowed EVERY SINGLE ONE of the Leaguers to 'save the day' (because I was keeping score);
  • that one freeze frame, which was JUST enough not to raise the hairs on this comic book reader's arms without making me roll my eyes;
  • a non-cringeworthy version of Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor (who still manages, charmingly, to evoke Gene Hackman's version ... and fashion sense!).

There is more to tell, of course, but it would take too much time to context or be to spoilery, and I want you to experience it all for yourself, as soon as possible.

I was wrong and I apologize.

But I'm glad.