Fool me once, Zack Snyder…
After the teaser trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out a while back, a lot of people were starting to get really hyped thanks to the trailer’s very effective use of dramatic foreshadowing, slick cinematography, and chilling dialogue courtesy of a heavily armored Batman (that hype has since multiplied with the release of a longer trailer at Comic-Con).
I was feeling hyped too, especially because I’m a little tired of all the Marvel superhero movies. It looked like DC was going to go the dark and gritty route, and that was fine by me just for the sake of variety. Then I remembered something and a part of me died.
Zack Snyder is not someone you would call a great director. It’s a stretch to even say he’s a good director. While other individuals like Wes Anderson and Terrence Malick have honed very unique styles of direction, the difference between those studs and Zack Snyder is that Snyder doesn’t have much else to offer.
His skills are best used for four-minute stretches, like music videos and – oh yeah – trailers. There’s something undeniably hypnotic about the way he utilizes slow motion and his eye and ear for making some superficially deep scenes is unrivaled.
And yet, if you’ve seen any of his movies, from 300 to Man of Steel, what you’ll find is that his movies might be aesthetically pleasing, but they’re little more than summer popcorn flicks. For superhero movies, maybe that’s all we need. But Marvel showed that, despite their now annoyingly formulaic process, it’s possible to make action movies that are not only fun, but legitimately good creations.
Snyder has not shown that ability up to this point, but I think bringing that up is probably going to fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes, I guess). I always enjoy seeing the contrast between CinemaScore ratings and IMDb or Metacritic ratings for movies. Entourage, for example, has an A- CinemaScore rating but pretty much every other metric considers it an awful movie.
Similarly, Snyder’s movies seem to be unappealing to people who take movies a little more seriously than the average moviegoer, whereas the general public seems to find the sensation of being entertained more weighty than whatever other metric of quality used to judge movies with.
As for me, I’ve generally enjoyed Zack Snyder’s projects. I’m a huge sucker for appealing cinematography and visual effects, which is why I’m one of the few people who legitimately enjoys Terrence Malick and Nicolas Winding Refn – creators of generally slow, yet beautiful films.
My criticisms of his movies tend to be superficial, like 300‘s rampant historical inaccuracy (even though it was directly inspired by a graphic novel) and Man of Steel‘s stupid religious symbolism and blatant disregard for collateral damage (even though Superman’s actions undoubtedly saved millions of lives, even with the loss of thousands).
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that people should calm the heck down before Zack Snyder breaks their hearts. While he’s never broken mine, I know he’s never completely had it in the first place.