If you’re lucky enough to get a guided tour of the Gabbing Geek offices (they only run 4 times a year), you will notice something similar in the office of each of the Gabbing Geek’s founders. On the far wall there is a dart board. And on that dart board is a picture of this man:
And in each case there are one to many darts that have been carefully thrown and embedded into the head represented on the photograph.
The man in the picture is Zack Snyder. Around these parts, saying his name is akin to talking about Lord Voldemort. The less said about him, the better. And when the dark lords name is brought up, it is usually not in a glowing light.
But how did this come to be? The man best known currently as the reason for all things wrong with the DC Extended Universe, wasn’t always so vilified. Let’s look at his directing body of work.
Dawn of the Dead – I have seen the original, like most of the George A. Romero zombie films, but I haven’t seen this one. Before anyone really knew who Zack Snyder was, this one did get good buzz. Even Watson liked it. It currently sits at 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.
300 – I’m a bit surprised that 300 sits at a lowly 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. I really loved it and thought it did an amazing job of capturing the look and feel of Frank Miller’s source material. Perhaps people thought it was too faithful, or just had an odd look with it being so dependent on green screen technology. In either case, I think people agreed that the look of the film, good or bad, was visionary and Snyder had a long career ahead of him.
Watchmen – At 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, Watchmen ranks higher than 300, but I think it is a more divisive film. It seems you either love it or hate it. And I can see the arguments for both. I enjoyed it, but I can understand how scholars of the original comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons turn their nose up at it like it is pure drivel. Yes, it deviates from the source material and never captures the true spirit behind Moore’s story, but my hat is off to Snyder for taking something that seemed like it would be unadaptable and making a good superhero movie out of it. Perhaps it would have been better served as an HBO mini-series, but that is water under the bridge now. At this point, love or hate Watchmen, I don’t think there was much concern about loving or hating Snyder himself.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – I’ll be honest, I don’t have kids and I never heard of this movie until I did some research for this article. 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I don’t think anyone cares.
Sucker Punch – Another film I haven’t seen, but I think the first to begin the backlash on Snyder. Not so much hatred, but a growing realisation that he is all about style and substance and that maybe his films will be nothing but that moving forward. 24% at Rotten Tomatoes.
Man of Steel – Not surprisingly, the true Snyder hatred has it’s seeds here. I don’t even know if I would go so far as say it begins here, which I will get into shortly. At 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, the latest Superman reboot is not that well liked. It has it’s fans like Ryan, which only enforces the problems with it. That man liked Krull. But in seriousness, the movie reeks of taking all the wrong lessons from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Triology and makes Superman way too dark and gloomy. Dark and gloomy is Batman, not Superman. A level of darkness can be fine, it does need to be day glow pop like the original Superman films or Superman Returns, but Man of Steel is essentially 2.5 hours of Batman with super powers.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – You’ve heard us talk to death about the film we refer to as Batsoup. And I don’t even think it is this film that is the start of the Snyder backlash, but the actual making of and build up to the film. Once it was announced that they were hitching their wagon to build a cinematic universe from Man of Steel, nothing that came out of the Snyder/DC/Warner Bros camp was met with anything but frost. Even Ben Affleck’s casting which turned out to be one of the bright spots of the film was not surprisingly ridiculed when first announced. The trailers did nothing to help with Batman’s “Do you bleed?” line becoming obsessively mocked. The trailers also tended to spoil the majority of the movie and any twists and turns. Which is not so much Snyder’s fault, but did nothing to put the film in people’s good graces. And then the film was released…and it’s current 27% score on Rotten Tomatoes speaks for itself. While I didn’t think it was quite that bad, it is more of the same in terms of the tone of Man of Steel. Which again, works fine for Batman, but not for Superman.
This past weekend saw the massive release of Suicide Squad, which is not a Snyder film (though word is he directed a scene), but at this point, anything linked to DC is linked to Snyder and with it sitting at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, rightly or wrongly, Snyder gets more backlash for it.
In fairness to DC, they seem like they are trying to shake up the DCEU based on the fallout of negativity from Batsoup, but there was only so much they could do with Suicide Squad already in production. Similarly next year’s Wonder Woman movie. I think the real test of the relationship between viewers and Snyder will fall to Justice League. And based on the trailer that dropped at San Diego Comic Con, a path to redemption may be in the process of being paved. We can only hope.
Wow, this turned into a monster, though all I was really trying to do was write an intro to the Honest Trailer for one of Snyder’s films. Ryan says the Honest Trailer for Watchmen is awesome, so you know it must be.