I’m curious to what extent individual viewers’ responses to Man of Steel correlate with their opinions of director Zack Snyder’s previous work. The director has yet to make a movie that people can agree on—even Sucker Punch, his most universally derided work, is seeing a slight resurgence in positive appraisal. He makes movies with bravado, a confidence that could be easily interpreted as arrogance, and this commitment to bold projects and grand visions is exactly the type of ambitious filmmaking that turns off large portions of audiences while exciting others who can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with next.
Often directors are described on movie posters and in trailers and other promotional material as “visionaries.” There’s a certain weight attached to that description, and it often results in the sense that a filmmaker may be getting too big for his or her britches. It also has connotations that a director has impressive control over style but that they lack in substance (which, of course, is a stupid false dichotomy that must die). So for better or for worse, this is one of the most apt descriptions for Zack Snyder’s direction; from his debut on the remake of Dawn of the Dead to his defining work on 300 to the monumental Watchmen, Snyder’s style is unmistakable. While some reduce this to a lack of subtlety, I prefer to think of it as more on par with the unmistakable styles of the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Terence Malick, or Quentin Tarantino.
Zack Snyder’s films have a distinctive quality, but also span an impressive range of subject and style. Here they are ranked from least awesome to totally awesomest.
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