Zack Snyder: Visionary Or Hack?

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When you think of polarizing figures in Hollywood, you’d be hard pressed to think of someone more divisive than Zack Snyder. As a writer, director and producer, Snyder’s name has become synonymous with comic book movies. However, there are many who wish to put him on a rocket ship and send him to another planet far, far away.

Like every creative, he has his noticeable strengths and weaknesses, but Snyder gets a whole other level of flack because of his major role in the DCEU’s bumpy ride so far. Is the criticism merited though, or is the comic book fandom just being its regular Comic Book Guy self?


Even the most ardent detractors can agree that Snyder makes visually splendid films. From the battlefields of 300 to the titanic clash between Batman and Superman, the Snyderverse delivers eye candy like no other. His heavily stylized action sequences are a dream for comic book lovers, and he’s not averse to providing fan service with iconic shots, either.

Nonetheless, it’s Snyder’s almost masturbatory love for visuals that sometimes hamper his films. Too often he’ll try to recreate panel-for-panel adaptations of the source material, i.e. Watchmen, which severely affect the pacing of films. Also, he’s fast moving into the danger zone with his action zoom technique as it’s becoming a lot like bullet time: overused and tired. His style’s terrific, but he could also tone it down a bit in favor of the story.


There’s often a good story within a Snyder film; it’s just sometimes difficult to find. As a director who adores extended metaphors and hidden themes, his movies can get lost in translation because there’s too much happening all at once. When you actually break down all of the motifs and (numerous) subplots of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, for example, you realize it’s a much deeper movie than you initially thought. The problem is, it’s not all that obvious the first time round.

For the average cinema goer, this approach might be too much of a deviation from the simple three-act structure. A majority of the people in the theater have probably never read Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns or even know there was another Robin besides Dick Grayson. While it’s easy to dismiss it as the audience’s lack of education, it’s a filmmaker’s responsibility to tell a story that anyone can watch and understand.