Ugh. ZACK SNYDER. What a piece of trash. Snyder is that guy you know who just doesn’t get it, but couldn’t be more enthusiastic. He’s just smart enough to figure out what smart people are into, but not smart enough to have a legitimate interest himself. If you asked him what he thought about The Mona Lisa, he’d probably say it was “tight.” If asked why, he might assert that her expression was “hella funny.” He might then invite you to Carl’s Jr.
Zack Snider is the guy who shows up to every party on time, but no one is happy about it. Zack Snyder produces mindless, bottom of the barrel, opiate of the masses level popcorn entertainment for people who would rather die than suffer subtitles, and what makes him especially bad is that he seems to prefer doing this to intellectual properties that could actually be really great in the right hands. Zack Snyder is a machine that ruins other people’s good ideas. He assassinates potential. He’s really, really good at that.
Dawn of the Dead- Now, on the surface, this movie wasn’t horrible. At the time, I actually liked it… It had a good script (James Gunn). The thing is, however, that this movie is the reason zombies suck so hard now, and now that we know more about Mr. Snyder this movie seems pretty pernicious in retrospect. This was Snyder saying “You know, I like Dawn of the Dead… But obviously I can make it better.” This was the gateway drug the X-Box/Monster Truck Rally crowd needed to get them into zombies. Horror, dread, psychology, existential terror, all this wasn’t going to work for today’s youth. They needed zombies that could run fast and make monster noises. Some might try to pin the blame on Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, but that argument won’t stand. That movie may have sped zombies up, but this one dumbed them down, and this is the movie that defined what path these movies were going to take from that point forward.
Watchmen- In an interesting way, Watchmen is actually an incredible accomplishment, because it is at the same time an incredibly faithful adaptation of the comic book and also the exact opposite of the authors intention. How can this be? The devil is in the details, it’s not what Snyder says, but how he says it that causes this phenomena. He’s like a parrot; he repeats faithfully, but always in a strange, uncomfortable monotone and with no actual grasp of what his words mean. This is a great illustration, because that’s Snyder to a T, he’s a huge fan of a lot of great things, but like a child he appreciates and is aware of only the most superficial layer of any composition. Any subtext or statement is over his head by miles, and he couldn’t care less because he’s too busy imaging it in slow motion with techno music and explosions. Just like Dawn of the Dead and The Man of Steel, Watchmen has Snyder taking an idea with some complexity to it and reducing it to it’s most simplified, shallow form, and then dumping sugary gloss all over it to jazz it up. The comic book version of Watchmen was ground breaking, and is beloved for taking old ideas and subjecting them to unheard of levels of stark realism and complexity. Mangling that into a generic, cookie cutter, super hero film complete with every age old stereotype and no intentional irony is a pretty Herculean example of missing the boat. Where great artists look for new ways to say more, Snyder is a master of finding old ways to say less, or nothing at all.
“Saving” Watchmen from the Terry Gilliams of the world- Though past his prime as an artist, Terry Gilliam remains an incredibly respected and admired director by film buffs the world over. This is a respect he has earned, and which Zack Snyder has not. There was a time when the studios courted Gilliam to produce a Watchmen film, but these negotiations obviously never went anywhere. In a recent interview, Zack Snyder, creator of jaw-droppingly shallow media, stated that part of why he made Watchmen was to, and I f’ing quote, “save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.” The impact a statement that over-whelmingly out of line is impossible to measure. Snyder’s lapse in judgment regarding his own self worth is at this moment the most staggeringly incomprehensible thing in the universe. I struggle to even find an appropriate analogy. Saying that this is like Einstein’s scientific contributions being criticized by a used diaper with a sixth grade science text book is giving Snyder too much credit.
Sucker Punch- Sucker Punch perfectly captures the experience of watching your little brother play Playstation 2 for two hours. Solitaire, the card game, has more character development. It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and I devote most of my spare time to actively seeking out the worst movies known to man with frenzied desperation. After Sucker Punch, though, you’re just chasing the dragon. Nothing will ever be this bad again.You’d have a better time watching your own snuff film. Sucker Punch is a piece of garbage strung together by a man who lacks the attention span to achieve anything. Does Zack Snyder have children?! What happens when they ask him to make them a bowl of cereal? He get’s half way to the pantry, is distracted by a moth and runs out into the street pretending to be an airplane? How did the creation of this blisteringly vapid piece of dog shit lead to this man being in charge of the DC cinematic universe?! Only the most deranged and depraved collection of soulless money vampires could have seen this and not demanded a public suicide of Snyder in an attempt to reclaim honor. I view the creation of this movie the same way that The Terminatorfranchise views the creation of artificial intelligence. Time travel must be researched so that this wrong can be completely erased from Earth’ history. What if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and they find Sucker Punch? Did you ever think of that? That’s like your mom finding your porn collection, but on a scale where the consequences are human extinction. They’d show up with the death ships, we’d make our case, they’d say “We saw Sucker Punch.” And mankind would grow silent, knowing it had no leg to stand on. “Make it fast,” we would request, though we knew we didn’t deserve it.
Sucker Punch Again - If I was entered into the Witness Protection Program, and the false identity the FBI created for me had a Netflix account associated with it that had given Sucker Punch a passing grade, the shame would be so burdensome that I would just contact the Mafia and inform them of my location immediately.
The Man Of Steel - Clark Kent is the reason Superman is a great character. That’s the depth that people respond to, and good writers have always known that for Superman, the best stories are not the ones reliant upon Superman facing physical challenges. Those struggles are best left for other characters, for Superman, his whole shtick is that he readily and easily dominates the physical world on an almost God-like level. The path to writing a great Superman story is by exploring what it means to someone to have that level of ability and responsibility, and to be a complete outsider, when in reality all you want is to be a good person with a normal life. The speech David Caradine’s character Bill gives in Kill Bill Vol. 2 is right on the money, Superman is great because the false alter ego he adopts is not his super hero persona, but rather the shroud of normalcy he tries to cloak himself in when he steps into the role of the clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent. The Clark Kent/Superman dynamic is 100% the key ingredient in crafting a great Superman story. What’s that, Zack Snyder? You’re not even going to do the Clark Kent thing? You’re going to do it super half-assed, and have Lois Lane know from day one, because you don’t fully appreciate or understand why Superman works? Well, what are you doing instead? Explosions and buildings falling over, huh? People getting killed? Great. I thought that’s what you would say. And on that note….
Batman VS Superman- I’m just glad I’m a Marvel comics guy. I have to take a break and write about this another time. This idea is so bad that I need a full eight hours of sleep and two weeks preparation to adequately hate on it. I’ll come back and do this later.Okay, I’m back.
DC and Warner Brothers want Marvel movie success, but they don’t have Marvel patience or foresight. It’s like someone noticing their neighbor having a really nice Thanksgiving Dinner and wanting to experience that for themselves, but then refusing to take the time to cook any of the food, or even remove it from it’s packaging. When the time comes they pile a huge mound of rotting garbage in front of their guests, only to become upset when nobody enjoys the evening. That’s DC and Warner Brothers right now. If you want a massive film universe, establish it. If you want a massive crossover film, establish properties that you can then crossover. Yes, it means you can’t enjoy the box office of a major cross over film as soon as next summer, but you can milk each specific character for their own film franchises, making more money in the long term anyhow, and it’s really important to take the time to do something like this the right way, or else it’s just going to fall flat on it’s face. Instead, this new movie is going to be absolutely crammed full of poorly imagined, underdeveloped new characters like a damn clown car, which is just such a bad plan. Part of the issue is that they have no confidence in their product, because most of these guys have very little potential for solid, stand alone films in the first place. We all saw how The Green Lantern went down and most of these guys all have much worse problems, DC is just campier. For instance;
The Flash…. He runs light speed, and his main villains are Captain Cold, Professor Zoom, and a talking, psychic super gorilla from another dimension or something… Sounds like The Flash is going to be a challenge.
How about Wonder Woman? She’s made out of clay and lightning, and her only villain is a Cheetah girl… Called Cheetah. The DC Universe also has a character who is a Cyborg, with the super creative name of: Cyborg. Good job, DC.
Aqua Man? (crickets chirping….) How are you going to film the underwater scenes?! Just make his voice sound really bubbly?
We could write for days about why the strategy that DC and Warner Bros is using is stupid and destined for failure, but that’s a conversation for another time. What we’re talking about right now is Zack Snyder. The hurdles facing DC wouldn’t be the looming, insurmountable road blocks that they are if we had someone at the helm we could trust to do a good job and find new ways to enjoy these characters without mangling them too badly. But we don’t.
And I don’t want to hear any “You can’t judge a movie that isn’t out yet” crap, because of course we can. If a man comes at you with a knife and clearly states his intention to stab you, do you refuse to react on the grounds that you cannot properly judge a wound until you’ve experienced it? This is that stab wound. Dodge it, run, anything. Or don’t, this movie is getting made no matter what we do. The era of good DC movies died with the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film, so make peace with that and brace yourself for all the nerd drama that’s going to be meme-ing up your newsfeed left, right and damn center for the foreseeable future.
This has been my presentation. I hope now you all understand that Zack Snyder sucks in a way that is vibrant, striking, and utterly devastating to the human spirit. He’s like some kind of coiling, farting viper lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike and kill something beautiful, all the while clouding the air with shameful gasses. Also, I imagine this snake to have blunt, bucked teeth, one of those propeller hats stupid people wear in cartoons, because Snyder is apparently also stupid. Everyone have a nice day.