If you are a movie fan and have spent any time on Twitter since 2017 you may have seen the hashtag #ReleasetheSnyderCut trending.
Unless you are in the know you might be a little confused by this trend or quite frankly couldn't care less but if you are interested allow us to inform you.
This whole thing relates to the release of the highly-anticipated DC superhero movie Justice League which would be the first time that iconic heroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman would join forces on the big screen.
The movie was directed by Zack Snyder who had made previous films set in the same universe; Man of Steel and Batman v Superman.
These films were not universally adored, mostly because they were darker, serious and not as entertaining as the type of fare that Marvel has been producing but there was enough of an audience to warrant enough interest and enthusiasm from hardcore fans.
However, a series of problems blighted the production most notably the tragic death of Snyder’s daughter which forced him to leave the set.
In response to this, rather than postpone the film, Warner Bros and DC went ahead and replaced Snyder with Joss Whedon, the man behind the first two Avengers movies, who was tasked with lightening the tone, which inevitably changed the entire plot of the movie and cut many characters stories, such as The Flash, Cyborg and Martian Manhunter from the finished film.
Reshoots were also demanded which led to infamous moments such as Henry Cavill's CGI top-lip which was made to cover up a moustache he had grown for another role.
The film was released in November 2017 to incredibly bad reviews, leading it to tank at the box office and only just about making back its $300m budget.
Fans were aghast at the finished product, which had a rushed narrative, uninteresting villain and shoddy special effects that had reportedly been sped through the post-production process. Tenet and The Dark Knight director, Christopher Nolan warned Snyder to ‘never watch the film.’
Surely with a film that was this bad there is nowhere else for it to go. Left to dwell in the movie hall of shame for eternity.
However, not long after the film's release rumours of another version of the film, that Snyder had completed before he had to leave soon started to emerge online.
This prompted a huge movement of fans to rally and basically pester Warner Bros and DC into releasing this alternative cut of the film and thus the #ReleasetheSynderCut movement was born.
Fans gathered in front of Warner Bros. HQ today to take a photo and ask them to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut https://t.co/JQPxjVPQNu
“Obviously, we’re at a point now where we can acknowledge that the Snyder Cut does exist. And if anybody tells you… https://t.co/0teaAcr1Hk
— Release The Snyder Cut Book (@Release The Snyder Cut Book)
Eventually, Snyder himself confirmed that it did exist and even went it details about the film and the subsequent sequels. For many directors, seeing their vision realised in its entirety is often a bridge some studios aren’t willing to cross. Famously, Orson Welles complained about his final and longer cut of his 1942 classic The Magnificent Ambersons was never released by RKO Pictures who had extensively edited the film down. A legion of Welles fanatics are still trying to restore the film to its full glory almost 80 years after its release.
Snyder confirmed the news during a Zoom watch-along of Man of Steel adding:
I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realised. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality.
Cue scenes of much jubilation and a sense of success from the fans who had campaigned for so long to get this version of the film actually released.
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING!! 2021 CAN'T COME ANY FASTER AND FINALLY #HEWILLRISE THANK YOU @ZackSnyder… https://t.co/KmDnSc6zsY
Even if people weren't necessarily fans of the franchise or agreed with how the movement went about its activism there was an overwhelming sense of happiness for Snyder who will finally see his vision brought to life.
you know what? I’m happy for Zack Snyder. I almost wholly detest his vision for the DCEU - he got so much so, so wr… https://t.co/WugSNpVHxZ
The film is set to be released on HBO Max in the US and other services worldwide on 18th March and despite the film being four hours long (albeit split into chapters), the critical response has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, there was another small misstep along the way. On 8th March the film was somehow leaked on HBO Max. People who wanted to watch the new Tom and Jerry animated movie were instead greeted with the new version of Justice League. Viewers were able to watch an hour of the film before the mistake was corrected.
It seems almost inevitable that a film with such a troubled history would encounter another bump in the road along the way...
Regardless of what you think about the movie or the superhero craze as a whole there is no denying that this has been one of the few examples where unhappy fans and a vocal movement has actually resulted in something resembling success.
And now the film is here for them all to enjoy in all its epic pomp and circumstance, even if it is four hours long...