I’m just going to put it out there: I don’t think Zach Snyder can tell a story to save his life, which is all the more interesting since he’s been making a living as a feature-film director (who’s entire job is telling stories) for quite awhile now, after leaving the world of commercials and music videos.
And I also think he has an interesting visual esthetic – which is a good thing when you’re narratively weak, as he is.
His Sucker Punch (2011) was a body blow to everything a good movie should be, which is to say it was morose, confusing and barely watchable (I couldn’t complete it myself though I like to think someone was able to).
300 (2006)? Typically the first movie someone mentions when it comes to Zach Snyder and his filmography? It’s almost entirely an exercise in visual storytelling – and apparently deliberate homoeroticism – though it’s worth mentioning that it’s based upon a Frank Miller graphic novel, which in turn was based upon an incident that actually happened – not something written by Snyder himself.
Dawn Of The Dead (2004)? Would likely be the second and it’s good though to be fair George Romero – the writer and director of the original movie – did the heavy lifting. And Snyder introduced the idea of running zombies, which pisses me off to no end.
And keep in mind I’m willing to buy into the idea of corpses shambling about. I’m perfectly okay with that though the minute they start sprinting like an athlete, I’m done.
The entire DCEU was for a time (before Warner Bros came to their senses) shepherded by Snyder and it showed. While he didn’t write any of it that I’m aware of, it was shaped in his image so instead of working with what he had changed what he disagreed with, despite that being the case for literally decades.
Now, sometimes things should be changed. When an idea has run its course or is creatively bankrupt, then someone should change it.
Though was was the case with, for instance, Superman? That’s debatable though would making him dour, moody and violent be the change anyone was calling for?
I doubt it.
Now Batman, you can get away with that to an extent though the contrast between the two characters is the sweet spot, where the interest – and any potential conflict – emanate. If you make them too much alike it not only defeats the purpose of characters like Superman, it muddies the waters in a general sort of way.
And Aquaman? That character has always been treated as a bit of a joke, so instead of Snyder working with that and making people respect that character as he was, he changed him entirely.
And that’s not to lob any hate Jason Momoa’s way. He seems like a very personable dude but he’s also a massive human being, in fact almost the polar opposed of how the character is typically depicted.
And that’s a pretty chickenshit way to do things because while I never particularly liked Aquaman – I was always a Sub-Mariner (I didn’t know that was hyphenated) fan – you could have brought me around.
You know how I know? Because I love Chris Evans’ portrayal of Captain America – a character that I at best tolerated when I actively collected comics. He was boorish, blindly patriotic and way too – pardon the pun – black and white.
So, you know what Marvel Studios did? They doubled down. They made Captain America pretty accurate to the way he appeared in the comics, and gave the character room to grow, while not disregarding anything that made him appear so square in the first place.
And it really worked.
They made me give a damn by showing me that despite the lack of nuance, Captain America was a interesting, charismatic character (and it’s worth mentioning, I didn’t particularly care for Captain America: The First Avenger).
The upcoming Army Of The Dead? The story was written by Snyder while the screenplay was co-written by him and Shay Hatten and Joby Harold.
Let’s just say I’m not optimistic. Not at all. In fact, if it doesn’t irritate the Hell out of me and I’m able to get through it, I’ll call it a win.