To be a DCEU fan is to live a life of perpetual warfare, harried and chivied from pillar to post by overly vocal fans of orange slice craving heroes quipping through the carnage of a world in which nothing truly dies. To be constantly triggered by unfair and misleading headlines, enduring “everybody knows”/”everybody hates” gibes from pop culture leaders while suffering the further indignity of multiple Razzies (the only thing that manages to dull the fleeting shine of loving the only OSCAR WINNING SHARED UNIVERSE).
Okay, okay, all hyperbole aside sometimes it is difficult to be an out and proud lover of the DCEU for the reasons I’ve mentioned and also because of some head-scratching/foolish decisions made by WB executives (Doomsday reveal in a trailer, rushing SS, cutting Snyder’s vision for Bvs). All of that to say this: we know that this life is difficult, let’s not make it harder on ourselves okay? I love my fam in the DCEU fandom but I’ve simply got to say this: some of the angst we go through is entirely self-inflicted. I’m not just pointing fingers here – as someone who might’ve slightly lost it after a series of “complete tonal shift” articles published in the BvS aftermath – I am complicit in this as well.
Sometimes we DCEU fans, tired of being trolled by others, troll ourselves for a treat.
I didn’t really notice this problem at first, it required two catalyzing events for me to become fully woke.
First, the Matt Reeves situation when it seemed like all of the DCEU fandom lost it’s umm marbles. After the poor critical reception of Live By Night and many weeks of rumors, Ben Affleck stepped away from the Director’s chair and WB conducted a search for a new director. Matt Reeves of Apes fame, became the number one option and when negotiations broke down DCEU Twitter nearly imploded.
I’ll save everyone the time and potential embarrassment of collating the most egregious “the sky is falling” tweets from DCEU positive people I follow on Twitter but I was definitely taken aback. Voices of reason (in which I am proud to include myself) mentioned that this “pulling out” was a likely negotiation tactic instead of an irrevocable split only to be shouted down in a weird chorus of DCEU skeptics and fanatics alike.
Of course the “shills” turned out to be exactly right.
The story now goes that Reeves was holding out for the same sort of creative freedom James Wan got with his Aquaman movie. It turns out that the Reeves team cleverly weaponized deep-seated DCEU anxiety to bring WB to heel.
The second event is more recent. Recent reports from IMDB and other sources proclaimed the Justice League movie’s run time to be 2:50. http://screenrant.com/justice-league-movie-runtime/
Bloggers and fans immediately took to the web to deliver hot takes of both the good and bad variety. That particular story now seems to have been debunked with Zack Snyder himself commenting The odd portion of this story is the dark, conspiratorial sentiment that this (unconfirmed) 2:50 version of JL is the “real” version and once again WB is stifling Zack Snyder’s vision. It goes without saying that this read on events is peculiar. We have entire negative narratives centered around what is basically a debunked rumor.
Basically ignorance plus negative experiences lead to credulity, leading to disappointment centered around a flimsy rumor. Insanity right? That brings me to the top 3 things that I think DCEU fans can do to save their sanity (because they’ll need it).
- Don’t believe everything you read
This might sound condescending but I don’t intend it to be. Bloggers and websites desperate for clicks are not immune to the benefits of fabrication for profit. Add to that the profusion of bloggers who are mistaken simply by virtue of their ignorance and you have a recipe for fake news. FULLY investigate every big story you see on the internet and go deeper than fan sites (awesome as they are), see if you can find the original story yourself. Just because bloggers and sites present themselves as fan-friendly doesn’t mean they actually are and just because people present themselves as just one of the nerds doesn’t mean that they are above attempting to manipulate you.
- Don’t be so reactive
Avoid the temptation to be overly invested in every twist and turn of the Hollywood world. Hollywood has always been like this, a constant whirl of change and new directions. Directors quit or are fired, actors leave and scripts are often rewritten. What has changed is both audience interest and access to what was, in times past, inside baseball. Hollywood (like most creative institutions) functions with a fairly high level of dysfunction of all times, we are just privy to the info now. We are now in a position to watch how the sausage is made and we’ve become bogged down in the minutiae, apparently forgetting that Hollywood has operated with efficiency for 100 years, from the time of mobsters and censors to remakes and cinematic universes.
- Don’t shoehorn everything into a narrative
This piece of advice is tricky to implement but incredibly useful. Humans are hard-wired to seek patterns in all of life and that is often useful but it can also be an impediment to analysis. These mental heuristics can often make it easy for us to overlook evidence that contradicts our hypothesis because the conclusion is in line with our a priori prejudice. Thinking logically without all of the facts can lead to erroneous conclusions. Let’s take the JL Runtime/WB destroys Zack’s vision story as an example.
We know that Zack Snyder likes to run long (Watchmen 3:35, Sucker Punch 2:27, BvS UE 3:02) and we know that WB cut Snyder’s vision for BvS and Watchmen. Isn’t it rational to believe the same occurred here? It would be if that was all the evidence we had. But it isn’t. First, we have no JL specific reason to cite 2:50 minutes as the runtime and second, all the evidence specific to this case runs against the notion. The story looks plausible on the surface – “for the 3rd time WB screws Zack Snyder over”- but upon closer inspection it falls apart.
Let’s be kind to ourselves DC fans, we’re probably headed for a long summer of defending Gal Gadot’s armpits and WB refusing to spoil Superman in a trailer, let’s not make our lives harder for no reason right? Right.