Why Zack Snyder Doesn’t Have Any Business Making Mainstream Superhero Movies

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:

“Someone says to me: Batman killed a guy. I’m like, ‘F***, really? Wake the f*ck up’,” he said. “Once you’ve lost your virginity to this f***ing movie and then you come and say to me something about like ‘my superhero wouldn’t do that.’ I’m like ‘Are you serious?’ I’m like down the f***ing road on that.”

“It’s a cool point of view to be like ‘my heroes are still innocent. My heroes didn’t f***ing lie to America. My heroes didn’t embezzle money from their corporations. My heroes didn’t commit any atrocities.’ That’s cool. But you’re living in a f***ing dream world.”

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.

A 2008 Entertainment Weekly interview reveals more of his attitude towards the medium he converts into film:

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:

ChiefWamSutta:
Zack doesn’t get it. There are superhero characters who kill and aren’t innocent. If he wants to use those plot lines, then write movies about the characters who do that.

Batman doesn’t kill, and justifying himself the way Zack does shows he doesn’t respect the source material of Batman. The pioneers who created him had a vision that Batman wouldn’t kill, and they are far better storytellers than Zack.

ghos1fac3:

He really doesn’t get it. I’m curious to know what his “logic” would be trying to explain why Batman has a rogue’s gallery. Who cares about the joker, one swift batarang to the jugular, and onto the next one.

And lastly, from Hippotopmaus:

Starting to think zack is the last person who should’ve been given the reins to a superhero movie universe.

Amen.

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.

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One thought on “Why Zack Snyder Doesn’t Have Any Business Making Mainstream Superhero Movies

  1. Thanks for bringing out his actual words about why he is so into grimdark versions of superheroes! I think if someone wants to create super-dark characters, they can definitely go about creating their own universe – why bring down the super-heroes we already love the way they are? Watchmen made a point, but it isn’t a universe I want to hang out in for fiction. I watched it, get the reasoning behind it, but as a Christian I disagree. Yes, we live in a fallen world. Yes, we are broken and sinful. But, not every person is completely warped like the way the supers are portrayed in Watchmen. If super-powered individuals in comics and movies are supposed to be semi-realistic portrayal of humanity with superpowers, then we have to have our decent (not perfect) supers, along with our struggling heroes, our messed up heroes, and our might-be-turning-into-a-villain supers. I think both DC and Marvel do a good job of portraying a variety of heroes who are struggling on the gray-scale from decency to darkness, who may desire to do good but actually mess up, or who think they are right when they are not. Redemption is still possible – that’s the kind of outlook I like in my fiction – superhero or otherwise.

    Like

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