I’ve criticized Zack Snyder’s vision of the DC universe in the past, particularly for making Superman so grimdark that he was basically just Batman with actual superpowers. In other words, I’ve criticized Snyder for what appeared to be faithless mischaracterization.
It turns out I’m not wrong.
In a video posted to Reddit taken from a recent Q&A session with the director after a screening of his 2009 film Watchmen, a ranting, near incoherent Snyder explained his take on Batman v Superman and superheroes in general:
That is frankly one of the most cynical views of superheroes I’ve ever heard; however, it is exactly what I have continually criticized Snyder for ever since Man of Steel. Not all superheroes are the Watchmen. Trying to make them all fit into that mould is incredibly disrespectful.
My mother saw I was into this comic called Heavy Metal magazine, so she got me a subscription. You could call it ”high-brow” comics, but to me, that comic book was just pretty sexy! I had a buddy who tried getting me into ”normal” comic books, but I was all like, ”No one is having sex or killing each other. This isn’t really doing it for me.” I was a little broken, that way. So when Watchmen came along, I was, ”This is more my scene.”
…My mom always encouraged me, it was never weird. She’d look at Heavy Metal and go ”Woo-hoo!”
He also had something rather disturbing to say about how he would’ve approached filming Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy:
Everyone says that about [Christopher Nolan’s] Batman Begins. ”Batman’s dark.” I’m like, okay, ”No, Batman’s cool.” He gets to go to a Tibetan monastery and be trained by ninjas. Okay? I want to do that. But he doesn’t, like, get raped in prison. That could happen in my movie. If you want to talk about dark, that’s how that would go.
Can anyone else say #NotMyBatman?
His comments on Superman explain both the utter disregard for innocent civilians during the wanton destruction of the Man of Steel‘s last act and Superman’s decision to kill his enemy in that same Snyder film:
If Superman grabbed your arm and pulled really hard, he’d pull your arm out of your socket. That’s the thing you don’t see in a Superman movie. But in Watchmen, what you get is, like, ”I’m a Superman, and I really want to help mankind — but I just tore this guy in half by accident. People call me a ‘superhero,’ but I don’t even know what that means. I just blew this guy to bits! That’s heroic?”
Snyder has a sociopathic desire to drag superheroes down to the level of humanity’s worst potential, a phenomenon known as Superhero Deconstructionism. His is a vision where absolute power corrupts absolutely and “superhero” is a job title rather than a description of character. They were right to pull him from Justice League. They shouldn’t have let him get that far.
A couple of Reddit comments on the aforementioned video kind of sum up my views here:
And lastly, from Hippotopmaus:
Starting to think zack is the last person who should’ve been given the reins to a superhero movie universe.
It really bothers me that a lot of Christian superhero fans seem to have a deep-seated need to defend Snyder’s grimdark vision for DC. It is a vision born out of a twisted childhood.
For my part, I’m glad we never got the true Snyder Cut of Justice League. The very things Snyder’s fans decry in Joss Whedon’s version (and in Marvel movies in general) are the same things that made Wonder Woman and Aquaman a success. I suspect that Shazam will likewise stay true to its superhero roots and enjoy its own well-deserved day in the sun.