Following the record breaking opening weekend of the too big to fail superhero showdown Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, its controversial director Zack Snyder has been releasing some “fun facts” about the movie’s making. And with each one it becomes more and more clear the guy doesn’t understand the definition of fun.
SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice LIE AHEAD.
The first of these fucked up nuggets concerns Superman’s storied bestie, photographer Jimmy Olsen and his macabre cameo. “What Jimmy Olsen cameo?” You might well wonder. You know the nameless CIA agent whose camera contains a tracking device so he gets shot in the face by terrorists in front of Lois Lane in a PG-13 movie? That was Jimmy Olsen.
Snyder explained to EW, “We don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?”
But it could have been so much more fun if Snyder had his way. Originally, Olsen would have identified himself to Lois Lane, so that the audience would be really gutted by the immediate introduction and then loss of the beloved character. Snyder even considered casting a star in the part to make the shock all the more severe, like in Pyscho. He said:
“I thought, if it were Jesse Eisenberg and he got out and he goes, ‘I’m Jimmy Olsen,’ you’d be like, oh my God, we’re gonna have Jimmy Olsen in the whole movie, right?’ And then if he got shot, you’d just be like, ‘What!? You can’t do that.’”
And this isn’t the only time Snyder described killing off an adored DC sidekick as “fun.” Speaking to the Robin suit revealed in the trailer, Snyder told IGN:
In my mind, it was that Robin had died 10 years earlier, during some run in with a young Joker (Jared Leto). To me, it was a fun backstory there to play with. The whole idea was that there had been loss and sacrifice. In a weird way, he scarified everything to be Batman, right? He doesn’t really have a life outside of the cave. I thought by including Robin — a dead Robin — it would help us understand he’s been on quite a little journey.
A fun backstory: that time the Joker murdered Robin and then spray painted a taunt on his corpse for Batman to find. SO MUCH FUN!
Well, between the critical pile-on, the fan petitions to get Snyder shit-canned from Justice League 1 & 2, and the various fan outrages Batman V Superman has spurred, WB is reportedly trying to course correct. Already Justice League producers are promising the ensemble superhero follow-up will be “a bit lighter.” And reshoots have been ordered for Suicide Squad to make it less Snyder-style “fun.”
Reshoots get a bad rap. Often they are seen as an omen that a movie will hit theaters as a Frankenstein’s monster of mixed intentions. But done right, they can really save a sinking ship. Consider World War Z, which had so much drama behind the scenes that entertainment reporters were predicting it to be one of the most embarrassing big releases in recent history. But extensive reshoots refocused the final act, and World War Z defied the odds, becoming a fresh and a modest hit for Paramount.
Perhaps Suicide Squad will be improved by WB listening to its audience (which yes, includes critics), and bringing some verve and actual fun back into their DC brand. It could definitely use it.