Justice League: The Just Us League

Warner Bros.

Written by James Augspurger

In anticipation of the highly-discussed "Snyder Cut" of Justice League (due on March 18), we're excited to introduce the final essay in James' three-part series examining Zack Snyder's work, especially as it pertains to his entries in the DC Extended Universe. You can read the first part HERE and the second HERE.

Before we start, I’d like you to do something. To get in the mood, I’d like you to picture me picking myself up off of my laptop after I passed out because I sighed for 10 straight minutes because I’m writing about Zack Snyder AGAIN. Ugh, here we go.

In my last two pieces about Zack Snyder (which you can read here and here), I brought up what Snyder characters do: how they learn, what they learn, and if they learn anything at all. This one is going to be about us; what we can learn from his movies, what we can take away, how we can relate, and what we can do. After all, how would a bland filmmaker become a bland money maker, if not for his bland audience? So, this will be less about fantastical characters from Justice League and more about the people who watched Justice League, whose regular lives are just as boring as those characters. Or, as we like to call ourselves, The Just Us League. (Whoa! Comedy truck! Outta control! Honk honk!)

The Snyder fanbase, like many fanbases, can be fairly toxic. They watch Snyder movies and absolutely love them. And that’s great! I’m happy for them! His movies are visually fantastic. The action is loud and rough. He’s able to capture something painful without using too much gore. It’s stylized, specific, and recognizable. I personally and genuinely enjoyed 300, Watchmen, and Man of Steel. Even Sucker Punch, if you just forward through the dialogue and only watch the action scenes. There is WWI-style trench warfare and hand-to-hand combat between the hottest people the world has to offer and cyborg nazi zombies! It’s incredible and makes no sense. So, if you’re here for the sculpted abs and strong punches, I see you, and I respect you.


Many of Snyder’s characters have a lot of emotions. Superman is a lone wolf and doesn’t feel at home in the world that he grew up in. He struggles to figure out his identity and purpose. Batman is full of rage and feels the world around him is a terrible one. King Leonidas feels that talking about his emotions makes him weak. And there’s no room for weakness! Instead, he broods at the moon from his balcony, completely naked like a weirdo. At least we get to see some Gerard Butler butt (in its prime). So people easily latch onto these characters because those are very real emotions that are felt by very real people. Of course, it’s okay to feel those ways. It’s exciting for a person to see these human gods struggle the way they do.

The problematic part is that in no way are these emotions dealt with constructively. Nobody uses their words. Batman never got to tell Superman why he invited him to a violent throwing party. They fight, then they talk about their mothers for some reason, and then Superman dies a few minutes later. Spoilers.

Superman is the most vocal about his little foibles. But he expresses his emotions in a selfish way, only talking about himself when he’s feeling down because people don’t like him. Sure, the movie is about him, but in a scene where Lois Lane expresses concern over a problem that has to do with Clark being Superman, Clark responds with, “I don’t care. I don’t care what they’re saying.” But, here’s the thing, he absolutely does care. His caring what people think of him spans over 2 whole movies actually. He’s a sensitive boy.

Let’s talk about how to make an incel. When Clark and Lois first meet in Man of Steel, Clark saves her from a silly robot thing. Lois is injured and scared on the floor. Clark approaches her and she struggles and tries to get away because a lot just happened and she doesn’t know this dude. He holds her down and gives her this “calm down, I’m friendly” smile. Then proceeds to unzip and open her jacket without saying a damn thing! Yes, it was to inspect a wound she suffered, but use your words, Clark Kent! Even in real life, when helping a person who is conscious, trained first responders have to ask if it’s ok to help them. Consent is important! Their meet-cute is him rummaging through her shirt, then cauterizing her wound with his hot eyes. It’s an astonishing scene. Later, she falls in love with him for no reason. They share a kiss right before he saves the world. In the end, Superman is confident and tells a general that Superman works alone. He sticks it to the man and flies away. There’s a lady soldier left smiling, and when asked why, she says it’s because he’s kinda hot.

Then, it gets worse. In a scene in Batman V Superman, Clark Kent is inexplicably talking to his dad's ghost, Clark asks if the trauma of a certain event ever went away. Ghost Dad says yes, when he met his wife Martha (Martha!?). So Clark learned that to solve all your problems, you just gotta meet the right lady and settle down. Don’t actually work on yourself, just use a woman to help you bury your issues. Even in death, Jonathan Kent is a bad father. Later, Superman decides to kill himself (spoilers) even though he didn’t have to. While the woman who fell in love with him begs him not to, he goes and does the thing that gets him killed. Because he gets to save the day, he gets to be the tragic hero, and isn’t sadness romantic? Through all this, Clark Kent gets the girl and saves the day. Snyder’s Superman is the epitome of the dream for lonely men. Superman is the version of themselves they crave to be. The successful version of themselves. The superman that they want to be. And that is how you make an incel.

At the end of Batman V Superman, Bruce Wayne monologues at Diana Prince—a.k.a. Wonder Woman in her civilian clothes--about being better. Diana just stands there probably zoned out thinking, “Bitch, I fought in WWI! And in the 80s, I very underwhelmingly convinced the entire world to not be selfish dicks! I am already better!” Zack Snyder doesn’t seem to show that Bruce Wayne was talking about himself. When the line, “We need to do better” is heard, it’s over a shot of regular people at a vigil for Superman. Because Superman dies in the end. Spoilers. Bruce is the guy that brands his victims with the bat symbol. He also killed a ton of people. Like a lot! With guns. It was very cool. 1 of only 2 good sequences in the entire 3-hour movie. The movie was not good. But Bruce Wayne is the guy that needs to do better! He needs to work on his anger management. And that’s just the thing we learn from him. Even if we’re shitty, just talk about how things should be generically better, and you could feel like a good guy again.

"I'm Batman and I approve this message."

The other reason I didn’t want to reference the Justice League movie is because it sucked so hard. All of it was boring. The action, the plot, the dialogue, the attempt at humor. It was about nothing, it said nothing. The main reason is because of tragedy. On March 12th, 2017, Autumn Snyder committed suicide. Autumn is Zack Snyder’s daughter. It happened during the post-production of Justice League. As one would, Snyder left the project to grieve and spend time with his family. Then, the reason Ray Fisher was ousted from his role in the DCEU took over, did some reshoots, and made some apparently big changes to Snyder’s original intended movie. And then nobody liked the movie.

Soon after the initial release, the Snyder fans that this piece is about blamed Joss Whedon. Whedon was panned for ruining Snyder’s movie, not for the other stuff. Now, Snyder has been grooming his most loyal minions through the use of his own characters and teaching them it's okay to be selfish, think-for-yourself-ers, they turned into exactly what his characters are. They began demanding the release of the “Snyder Cut”, the superior version of Justice League fans insisted existed somewhere in the Warner Bros. vault, while Snyder was taking time from his work to grieve over the loss of his daughter. Just like the attitudes of Snyder characters, the fans didn’t respect the person they love (Zack Snyder), and they took it upon themselves to get the thing they all want. They are their own Superman.

So, now we have Zack Snyder’s Justice League. A version of the movie that his fans insisted existed in real life, even though it definitely didn’t, and they were persistent enough to make their beliefs a reality. Essentially, Zack Snyder was bullied into millions of dollars of reshoots by his fans. In any other circumstance, I feel this would be flattering. I can’t speak to Snyder’s feelings, but it feels very disrespectful to be pressured to work on a project that has a memory of such a huge loss in the family. In a way, I feel like I’m a bigger fan of Zack Snyder than they are, just for doing the research for this stupid writing project I decided I would do because I’m an absolute idiot. But, at least—and in all fairness—fans of Zack Snyder did raise over $250k for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. And that’s good. With no sarcastic rebuttal, that’s great! Still, all of this brings us to the fact that Zack Snyder’s Justice League will still plague us for 4 hours. And I’m going to watch the movie and it’s not going to be good. But, At least, that’s the last we’ll ever hear from Zack Snyder again. Until his follow-up to Dawn of the Dead is released in 2 months. Army of the Dead will be released on Netflix in May!

White Rice: A Zack Snyder ad company, apparently