Ok so I just had to get this off my chest with the fallout in reaction to Batman V Superman among other things, Mr Snyder’s getting a bit of a bad reputation now as a director and I think it’s a tad unfair, maybe somewhat justified but I think people do rag on him a bit too much for one reason or another. Maybe this is due to comic book fanboys fiery devotion and passion for the characters and stories they love or it’s just the internet being extreme or overreacting to everything but…. what if I told you, Zack Snyder isn’t really that bad of a director?
If you look at examples of genuinely bad directors, Uwe Boll…. M Night Shayamalan (let’s not talk about a revival, his latest film wasn’t all that), you can’t really say Snyder is anywhere near that bad, if there’s one thing he is, it’s… devoted, he’s very driven and passionate for comic book films as we’ve come to see, making 3 now pretty prominent, soon to be 4 with BVS comic book films that have been received to varying degrees. And he’s somewhat singularly driven in the eyes of a lot of people, to translate comic book panels to the big screen and he does that well in my opinion, though that may be his big shortcoming to critics – that he’s a bad storyteller, shallow and too focused on the aesthetics of his films, wanting them to look cool while they lack depth.
But in this regard, I think he’s just a different type of director, seeming to have a penchant for visuals, sure, while other directors may have a penchant for characters, certain types of stories or their own unique motifs, specialising somewhat in how a film looks isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
And while some Snyder criticism may be true, what I like about Snyder is his ambition and drive to try new things to varying degrees of success – but the fact that he tries anyway, yes he may be a visually focused director but he brings style, pizazz and something more to the look of his films for one and he tends to add an edge or extra touch to things. His Superman come Man of Steel is different, contemplative and doubtful of himself, his Batman is… a bit murdery but again, different, Snyder brings alternative storytelling to his films when it comes to his comic book adaptations and I think it’s a thing to welcome. Straight adaptations can be good but y’know, a bit boring as well, a mark of creativity is to take adapt something based on the source material faithfully and add a touch of something else while keeping the core story intact, comprehensible and solid.
Jut like Christopher Nolan – you may be thinking you can’t even compare the two but I think you can, Nolans made success and a name for himself in his unwavering distinct style, with realism, a focus on character and character motivation with thought provoking stories and importantly, you just know when you’re watching a Nolan film because of his motifs. He took Batman and made the adaptations his own, portraying him in the traditional ways with his origin story, Alfred, gadgets etc but not focusing so much on Batman being a detective with a tonne of gadgets (apart from some moments in The Dark Knight), he de-constructed Batman and Bruce Wayne and gave us a depiction of a realistic looking breathing Gotham as well.
And somewhat similarly, I think Snyder adds his unique spin to his comic book film adaptations, giving something new each time, if Man of Steel was another Superman Returns esque film with no real controversy or edge to Superman, would people still talk about it? Would anyone even care? Bar a comic book film being a complete bomb, having people talk and debate about it can actually be a healthy thing.
In summary, Snyder’s a driven guy and while he does have some shortcomings as a director (as most do), I think the amount he gets is just a bit disproportionate in relation to the quality of films he makes – which really aren’t that terrible, there a lot worse directors out there and I think Snyder just aint that bad in comparison.