Do you want the absolute gospel truth, not only do I think Zack Snyder is one of, if not the most, underrated director of all time, I also think he’s one of the best directors currently working today. If you ask me, it seems his reputation as the most polarising filmmaker of the 21st century has nothing to do with, you know, his actual filmmaking, but is rather down to the fact that the Internet just loves its easy targets; there’s nothing a troll loves more than baiting fanboys so when a Rotten Tomatoes score tells them such behaviour is sort of ok, because his narrative structures follow the rules as much as a Terrence Malick film and the popularity contest that is modern film criticism is nothing if not stubborn, the opportunity simply can’t be missed.
If I’m wrong then why does his daughter committing suicide only lead to more jokes, something that has nothing to do with filmmaking? That’s because it’s not about the films, it’s about who can say the nastiest thing about whoever’s in the spotlight at the moment that would attract the most attention, I mean are you really saying Batman V Superman deserved those Razzies more than 9 Lives (which wasn’t even nominated) because it truly was the worse film or because it just had the higher profile? Not to mention Marvel has been allowed to get away with what Snyder gets accused of for years but I digress. I think he’s great, severely underrated and I’m positively crapping myself with excitement over Justice League, and so to commemorate the occasion I thought I’d put together a little retrospective for him, although it could just be an excuse on my part to call bollocks on the complaints; yeah it’s probably that.
DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)
This movie was better than it had any right to be, a remake by a first time director about zombies, should be rubbish but it’s actually a fun, well made, stylish and exciting time that admittedly has moments of first-time-director-ism but hey, what needed to work works and Snyder really knew what he was doing here.
I remember seeing this mercilessly violent exercise in stylish mayhem for the first time and being completely blown away by how much fun it was, a quotable, beautiful and, dare I say, revolutionary action movie that pretty much invented a spectacle type, and as for the accusations of homophobia, racism and pro fascism, well, I could probably write a book on why all of that is garbage. I bumped into a guy with Persian ancestry once, I asked him about what he thought of this film; his response was: “awesome”.
If you ask my opinion, the movie adaptation of Watchmen is every bit as good as the book, in fact I’d even say there are moments in the film that are handled better than in the book, I think it’s a masterpiece that only suffered critically because… actually I don’t know why, we’ve been screaming for a faithful book-to-film adaptation since the beginning and when one finally comes along it’s apparently too close to the book, except when little changes come along which also apparently suck because… again, I just don’t know. How come when Sin City uses comic panels as storyboards it gets praised but when Watchmen does it then it’s suddenly a stupid idea?
LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE (2010)
Seeing this film makes me wonder why Zack didn’t dip his toes into animation sooner, being such a stickler for detailed CGI and any excuse to show grandiose visuals capable of inducing eye-gasms you’d think it would be his first choice. I like this one very much, it does go through familiar story motions quite hastily but it more than makes up for it with it’s voice acting and the typical Snyder scope I just can’t get enough of, that and the fact that the action is just awesome to behold; 300 with owls – oh yes please.
SUCKER PUNCH (2011)
Guess what? I like this movie… a lot actually. It says a lot about the world we live in, perfect proof you can make a film with immaculate cinematography, astonishing visual effects, terrific editing, an original and unique story, production value of sky high proportions and still get labelled “worst film ever” and “sexist” because your female characters have somewhat revealing costumes… wow, slow-f**king-clap! I’ve read the reviews, I’ve watched the videos, I’ve reapplied them to the film when I re watch it and you know what? I still don’t bloody get the complaints.
MAN OF STEEL (2013)
Here it is, the most polarising movie of the 2010’s and one of my favourite films, a film that feels like it was made with my personal tastes in mind, every shot feels perfect to me, the cinematic aestheticism and wonder of the cinematography and direction just warms my heart. Superman was in need of some kind of refreshment, I mean before this film, everybody I spoke to said Superman was a silly goodie-two-shoes, Snyder made a superman film the way one needs to be made, from the flying to the city wide destruction and themes on the dark side of heroism; what saving the world truly means in the real world, I love the world engine and the final fight with Zod, and that opening on Krypton, oh my God!
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016)
Now, I get it, the theatrical cut was very problematic, but Snyder’s intended version, the Ultimate Edition, is close to perfect, this film had so much riding on it, from the interpretation of the characters to who “should” win the title fight, the setting up of the DC universe to addressing the controversy of Man Of Steel, hardly surprising it didn’t please everyone, a butchered theatrical along with all that maddening hype didn’t help, but the director’s cut definitely pleased me. I can only hope that, in 20 years, it’s reputation may be reassessed like Blade Runner and The Shinning, especially since it’s already slowly gaining a cult following, this is not dark Avengers, it’s Watchmen with Justice League characters; a brave and personal epic with more to say than we realise, one that deserves better.
And I believe that’s it, I’m a big fan of Snyder’s work and I really wish he got the credit he deserves, maybe one day when people get a grip, I mean come on, he’s “homophobic and pro fascist” because of 300 but actual homophobes probably hate how Dr Manhattan is naked all the time, and Legend Of The Guardians could easily be construed as anti-fascist propaganda. Justice League is right around the corner and I have a strong feeling I’m probably going to like it, I am still nervous though, I’m rather tired of feeling like the only one doing the raving, but oh well, what will be will be, fingers crossed, commence prayers and sacrifices to whatever form of God is paying attention.
Motion Picture Maniac