I am a Fan of Zack Snyder (and Batman v Superman). Here’s Why.

Zack Snyder is a polarizing figure. Passionate supporters have fought back harsh against criticism, much of it popular opinion, for years. He has been praised for his technical skill and eye for stunning visuals while being criticized for poor choices in terms of story and character. His first film was the remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ in 2004, which was critically and financially successful. He would become known for his adaptations of comic-book and superhero properties, eventually being put in charge of launching Warner Bros’ DC Extended film universe. With that, he had to reinvent both Superman and Batman, without question, the two biggest characters in superhero history (or at the very least, superhero FILM history). He is preparing to release his JUSTICE LEAGUE film and the pressure is on. Zack Snyder is no stranger to feeling the pressure. He’s also no stranger to taking on insurmountable tasks, even when the odds are stacked against him.

His adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, ‘300’ was released in 2006 and was praised for its aesthetic and style. As a shot-for-shot adaptation of the comic-book (much like Frank Miller’s previous film adaptation, Sin City) the film was as faithful to its source material as it could be. The period setting and other-worldly nature of ‘300’, combined with more jacked-up, sword and sandal, testosterone laced man murder than ‘Gladiator’, ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Troy’ combined, proved to be a big hit. The film’s one liners have remained ingrained in popular culture ever since the trailers were released. “THIS IS SPARTA” *kick* became fodder for parody and memes that are now the stuff of online legend.

“READY YOUR BREAKFAST AND EAT HEARTY — FOR TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!”
“WE WILL FIGHT IN THE SHADE.” (in response to the Persians saying their arrows would “blot out the sun.)
“COME AND GET THEM!” (in response to the Persians demanding they lay down their weapons)

Swap out “hell” for “hades” and all of those quotes were actually spoken, as far as history tells it. I’m not a fan of writing in all caps, so at first, I didn’t — but there’s just no other way to write those quotes. That entire movie was in ALL CAPS. Mindless machismo though it is, the entertainment value is solid. I was a fan.

Zack Snyder was on a roll at this point but with his next project, he faced some disadvantages he had not previously encountered. After the success of 300, Warner Bros tapped Snyder to adapt another adult-oriented graphic novel, WATCHMEN. This was sticky at the onset because unlike Frank Miller, Alan Moore, author of the graphic novel, had already sworn off involvement with any film adaptation of his work. Not only refusing to be a part of the film’s production, but demanding that his name not even appear credited, Even if the film were to win over critics and comic-book purists, it was never going to get Moore’s blessing, something which must have been disheartening for Snyder, obviously a huge fan of the material. Additionally, ‘Watchmen’ had been in development hell since 1987, going through a series of directors and incarnations that never materialized. Many considered ‘Watchmen’ unfilmable. Snyder’s film was released in 2009 was again praised for its style. Although using much more live-action sets than 300, the film still heavily resembled the comic-book. A significant plot point and several other smaller ones were changed in the adaptation, something which was criticized by many.

The film is a visual masterwork which shouldn’t be denied. Its opening credits set to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “The Times Are Changing” is another testament as to why the Oscars need an award for best title sequence. The plot changes were polarizing; with some viewing them as necessary or excusable while others asserted that they were betraying the book. This debate will never end as long as comic-book movies are made. ‘Watchmen’ delivered. I have read the comic-book. I saw the movie first. Does that skew my opinion? I have no doubt many will say yes. It should be noted that additional cuts of the movie were released on home media, including scenes and elements from the book that weren’t in the theatrical release. The theatrical cut was great. The Ultimate Cut is better. Snyder would later face a huge roadblock because of a disagreement with the studio on final cut and running time.

Watchmen made bank and so Warner Brothers was happy with Zack Snyder and eager to work with him again. The start of the 2010s put WB in a sticky situation. They had just seen tremendous success with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, still the gold standard for the superhero movie, if there is one. Heath Ledger’s death delayed plans for third installment and although Nolan eventually agreed to make The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros had bigger things in mind. Marvel Studios was rolling fast with their cinematic universe, miles ahead of DC. Marvel was 2 years in, with an Avengers movie on the horizon and while Batman was doing great things for WB, none of their other heroes were. Superman was dead after Superman Returns, an admirable attempt to create a movie that never should have been green-lit. The forthcoming Green Lantern film showed no indication that it was sowing seeds, planting a shared universe. It was also a massive flop. Going back to the well, DC wanted to do Superman again.

This time, taking Christopher Nolan on to rework his Batman magic on the big blue boy-scout. With David Goyer, they conceived a movie that would eventually become the ‘Batman Begins’ version of Superman, ‘Man of Steel’. This is the movie they should have made in 2006. Nolan was not going to direct the film and so the search began for a director. Snyder, of course, got the gig. This film had to do for DC what Iron Man did in 2008 for Marvel Studios by cementing a foundation for a shared universe that could bring the Justice League together the way Marvel did with ‘The Avengers’. ‘Man of Steel’ was polarizing to an extent that perplexes me. The dark palette and tone were criticized for their use with Superman, traditionally considered a bright and colourful hero who is a foil to Batman’s darkness in many ways. I can understand that criticism although I enjoyed the movie enough to see it three times in the theatre. I also thought that Superman was incredibly boring in earlier movies and ‘Man of Steel’ made him interesting. The mass destruction was called ‘disaster porn.’ I find this silly. Superman destroying a city during a massive battle is not something that is unheard of. ‘The Avengers’ movie easily had just as much collateral damage, even if it was filmed differently. It just seems like the standards are arbitrary.

DC naturally has to play to a different tone than Marvel which is owned by Disney. Superman kills Zod. He snaps his neck with his own two hands. This was a huge atrocity to many. Many of the same people who champion Christopher Reeve’s ‘Superman’ and insult Henry Cavill’s for being too different. Superman doesn’t kill! Christopher Reeve’s ‘Superman’ wouldn’t kill! Here’s the thing: In Superman II, Christopher Reeve’s Superman throws general Zod (who has been stripped of all superhuman powers) to his death by launching him into a dark abyss in the arctic ice. He did this with a smile on his face. Christopher Reeve’s Superman killed Zod (for no apparent reason) and showed zero remorse.

Henry Cavill’s Superman had exhausted all other efforts and was traumatized by having to take a life. Again, the standards are arbitrary and the goal posts get shifted. ‘Man of Steel’ is the best Superman movie that has ever been made, BY FAR. Yes. I said it. It uses beautiful religious imagery to tell the story of a child of two worlds, a saviour for mankind. The film is full of wonderful moments between Kal-El & Jor-El and Clark & Jonathan Kent. Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner are both terrific as his Kryptonian and Earth fathers, respectively. It was difficult to see the red tights go, but it’s a beautiful film. Henry Cavill also looks perfect for the role and is a fine actor, given much more nuance to deal with than anyone who had previously donned the cape. Divisive though it was, Man of Steel was a financial success.

Snyder quickly started developing ideas for a sequel and that eventually led to the big decision that turned the tide; bringing in Batman. Zack Snyder was given the task of giving the world a new Batman that couldn’t be Christian Bale (whom everyone wanted). He had to choose a Batman that was heavily disliked at the onset because it wasn’t going to be Nolan’s Batman and Nolan’s Batman was THE DEFINITIVE BATMAN!!! Snyder and WB talked about how their’s would be a different take on the character, eventually revealing the plan for an older, seasoned Batman. Snyder’s admiration for Frank Miller’s graphic novel THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS being well known and Snyder having already adapted Miller’s 300, we knew pretty soon which Batman he meant, at least as a template. Snyder was going to give us the live action version of Frank Miller’s Batman, widely considered to be the best in history. Then began the search for the new Batman. Would it be a big name? Who would be dumb enough to take over for Christian Bale? As it turns out, Ben Affleck was dumb enough. The choice was BATFLECK.

Regardless of who loved it, so many hated it. As if there wasn’t enough shit getting thrown at Zack Snyder, he took on a secondary storm of it when he chose Ben Affleck as his Batman. The main reasons for the hate were (as best I can guess) something along the lines of the following:

It wasn’t Christian Bale
Daredevil sucked
Ben Affleck was still 2003 Ben Affleck
It wasn’t Christian Bale
Affleck sucks
It wasn’t Christian Bale
Affleck is completely wrong for the character
Affleck can’t act
It wasn’t Christian Bale
Daredevil sucked

‘Batman v Superman’ also had Jessie Eisenberg as Lux Luthor, something else everyone knew was WRONG. Some loved it, Most hated it. BvS suffered from what is in my estimation, the only mistake WB has made with their DCEU; they made Zack Snyder cut 30 minutes out of the film to shorten its running time. The theatrical cut of BvS is a decent film, although it is very flawed. The extended “Ultimate Cut” (Snyder’s original version) eliminated many of these flaws and is a far superior film. It’s also a pretty damned good one. The Affleck haters were all put in their place as Ben Affleck (fresh off his Oscar win for Argo) was sublime as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. S

nyder managed to take elements from ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ and The Death of Superman comics and adapt them to film. It is a real shame that audiences weren’t given the chance to see Snyder’s vision from the start. What was Warner Brothers thinking? Snyder couldn’t have a 3 hour movie? Why? Because he’s not James Cameron? Because he’s not Peter Jackson? He had BATMAN AND SUPERMAN! If that isn’t enough justification for a 3 hour run time, I don’t know what is. By the way, they also had WONDER WOMAN (played flawlessly by Gal Gadot). Snyder is putting the finishing touches on JUSTICE LEAGUE and from what we’ve seen, it won’t share the same earnest tone of BvS. This is a good thing. ‘Suicide Squad’ (another movie that got tons of flack it didn’t deserve) has kept the ball rolling for the DCEU and Wonder Woman will be released very soon. A lot is riding on these movies but they naysayers are loud and proud, having decided at the onset that DC will never be able to do what Marvel has done. Why so much vitriol? Why so much hate?

I understand that these characters mean a lot to people but I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. Snyder hasn’t done anything unforgivable with these characters. He deserves recognition for taking on huge challenges and (In my opinion) succeeding. I am hoping that critics will come around with future films but so far we have 3 DCEU films and I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. Comic book fans live in a time when we are literally getting everything we’ve ever wanted. Superhero movies around every corner. Every character is now considered. It’s an abundance of riches. Fanboys need to stop complaining. Ben Affleck himself summed this all up years in advance with his character in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The haters are just sad, pathetic bastards, living in their parents’ basement claiming to have scoops and inside information about movies and actors they claim to despise but can’t stop discussing. Maybe I’m on a bit of a rant here but I am getting sick and tired of all the negativity. Time to sit back and enjoy the ride as my 12 year old self gets the cinematic treatment for everything he never knew he always wanted.

Snyder is a visionary. You could isolate a single frame from one of his movies, mount it and put it on your wall. Give the man some credit. Christopher Nolan had faith in him. Why can’t we?

P.S. To anyone who wants to call me on my “blasphemy” for saying MAN OF STEEL is better than Richard Donner’s Superman, let’s remember one thing here:

In Donner’s film, Superman flies around the earth, reversing its rotation which in turn, makes time run backwards in order to fix everything that went wrong. Not only is this weak storytelling, it’s also a sequence that is (scientifically, logically and emotionally) so mind-numbingly stupid that it’s miraculous to me anyone was ever willing to suspend disbelief long enough to eat it up. But please, go ahead and tell me how that whole “Martha” thing was dumb.

17 comments

    • Yeah, I think both movies are a huge pile of shit that smells even worse than what Biff Tannen got those three times in the back to the future trilogy. I hate the idea of putting meaning through rhetorics where there is not meaning, this shit movies have good ideas but are delivered very, very poorly.

  • This article is spot on. Snyder doesnt deserve this level of hate. Man of Steel was the best superman movie and Dawn of Justice was great. As a D.C. fan, I must say that most D.C. fanboys are obsesive assholes. Before Snyder, superman had not thrown a single punch in a movie for well over a decade. I don’t want to see superman save kittens out of trees, I want to see him FIGHT! I want to see supes tested – pushed to his limmits, physically and emotionally, and Snyder gave me what I wanted to see. I am worried that with so many critics and fans shiting on Snyder, wb will go into retreat and turn supes back into what he has been in the films thus far, a superpowered traffic cop.

  • I agree with this article 1000%. I hope they let zak do man of steel 2 , but with no pressure from studio executives telling him to tone it down fron the fitst movie.. Man of steel was a classic, i also seen it 3 times at movies. Cavill is perfect and liked how zak made sure he showed suoermans real strength and power, not a fuccn woosie.

  • I will say, only two words, “Turkish Airlines”, because having a real thing of the real world in these mythical cities like Gotham and Metropolis, well, you know the drill, right… here it is, by the man himself, who is nuking the DC Films right now, Zack “Motherfucking-Punk ass-Though guy” Deconstructor Snyder,

    The hidden meaning of Batman v Superman, here is your visionary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVIB9sGYeUw

    He even says Batman vs Superman, what the fuck.

    There’s your hypertextuality, your complexity, your symbolism and hidden and misunderstood meaning of an apparently wonderful deconstruction of the superhero mythology, that not even the easy to follow story of Watchmen can top this magnificent Cult Classic Masterpiece that is Batman VS Superman, oh, no, no no, sorry, Batman V Superman, because the V has to mean something else, something greater.

    I agree the intentions are there but how they were shown are poorly done. And why would I like or enjoy something just because it exists?, Sadly I want to see a movie that I think has quality, and not even the 3 hour Ultimate Cut of this Stupid Crap could save the nonesense storyline, I was confuse, but you must excuse me because this movie was maybe too much and too complex for me to understand.

    • This was cut off from a marketing campaign by Turkish airlines who collaborated in the film. Anyone seeing the film wouldn’t really notice turkish airlines anywhere because it was hardly in 2-3 scenes. Here you and the Youtuber are presenting this as if snyder had the sole focus on turkish airlines and didn’t work on the script. And the movie was basically dawn of justice, which was a setup for justice league.. DC and Warner bros made a fatal mistake of marketing it as Batman vs Superman which was only a small part of the film and consequently many people were disappointed. But stupid people like you are the reason why we wont have a superhero movie which tries to attempt something other than than stupid, story less, kid pleasing shit show Marvel delivers..

      • Batman v Superman is a story for kids, is a bloated undeveloped, confusing plot, pretending to be a deep and complex story, using time after time and tirelessly the symbolism of Gods and Demons, all that bullshit that didn’t could get beyond a surface attempt.

        I want grounded and well develop stories, not pieces of trash like this movie with no effort put into the conception of the story, I don’t care about Marvel films, they are good in a generic level, and Batman v Superman is not even good at entertainment.

        The problem about Trukish Airlines here is that Snyder and company attempted to put this as a connection with reality, when these kind of movies need to be their own reality, they don’t need Real Products in order to make a movie feel more real.

        Star Wars doesn’t have any product placement in any of their films, yet they feel they navigate within their own reality.

        I want a superhero movie that not only tries to attempt something more but actually delivers it.

        Is not my problem that people like you dig shit like this just because of trying, it’s ok, go, run within it pal, good for you if you liked it.

          • Nah, bro, for me this is just dissapointment over a convoluted and nonesensical thing of a movie about the most iconic superheroes ever.

          • OK, I agree that there were problems in the story and the presentation also wasn’t top-notch. But the amount of hate it got just because it was a little darker than Marvel was just too much. Also many movies contain some sort of product placement, and Star wars is just an exception (which is one of the things that makes it great). So complaining about 2 second long product placement in a 3 hour film isn’t justified.

          • From people I know the dissapointment more than any kind of hate comes from the story, and how, they managed to make a middly entartaining and confused movie with the Superheroes that are the most well known all over the world. This characters deserved better, this movie needed to be like Empires Strikes Back in that sense and as successful as that 2009 cartoon Avatar.

  • I love Snyders vision, every film he has dropped has been amazing. If it isnt coloful like Marvel, thats because it isnt Marvel. I think its funny how people criticize when they havent even picked up a DC comic., Its tone is dark and gritty. This article explains exactly why Snyder deserves respect, James Cameron even said he loves how Snyder makes his films. Remember these films were made for fans not bs critics, so before you judge, read a comic book.