Love him or hate him, Zack Snyder’s works as a director may be divisive. But it’s hard to ignore his efforts altogether, with some of them like “Dawn Of The Dead”, “300” and even the hugely polarised “Man Of Steel” having their own distinctive qualities. And speaking of “Dawn Of The Dead”, Snyder finally revisited the zombie genre again in Netflix’s upcoming “Army Of The Dead”.
Described as a “zombie heist film”, the movie follows a group of mercenaries (among them Dave Bautista) as they attempt to pull off a Las Vegas casino heist amidst a zombie outbreak. So, while we wait for the release of “Army Of The Dead”, it’s time to look back at Snyder’s filmography and here are his movies ranked from worst to best.
9) Sucker Punch (2011)
It’s all style and no substance in “Sucker Punch”, which should have been worth watching, given Zack Snyder’s bold attempt in creating a comic book-like action fantasy from scratch. In other words, the movie is not adapted from any existing comic book or graphic novel of any kind. The visuals are top-notch and the heavily stylised action scenes, complete with Snyder’s signature slow motion and speed ramp* looking all cool. But the half-baked story and forgettable characters ultimately suck (no pun intended) the life out of this otherwise ambitious movie.
* Speed ramp or speed ramping refers to a type of filmmaking technique used to alternate between speeding up and slowing down a shot to produce creative or dramatic effects.
8) Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (2010)
It’s easy to forget that Zack Snyder used to direct an animated feature. An odd one out, indeed. “Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole” looks visually stunning and the voice cast (Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Hugo Weaving) is impressive. But Snyder seems to forget that a good story matters too, which turns out to be drab and uninspiring.
7) Justice League (2017)
Joss Whedon of “The Avengers” fame may have (in)famously altered most of Zack Snyder’s original vision in “Justice League”, where the latter was forced to step down due to a family tragedy. Whedon tries to inject some of Marvel’s house-style lighthearted fun into Snyder’s otherwise grim storytelling approach. While it does work to a certain extent, the movie remains a mess. From the tonal issues to horrendous CGI (what’s with Henry Cavill’s digitally-removed moustache anyway?) and a dumbed-down storyline, no wonder “Justice League” received so much hate from comic book fans.
6) Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)
An epic superhero movie that could have been great. Besides, we are talking about having two titans — Batman and Superman — pit against each other for the first time in cinematic history. Despite the obvious title, Zack Snyder didn’t do much justice to live up to its huge expectation. The story, in the meantime, is a bloated mess. But it’s not all doom and gloom here as Ben Affleck’s sadistic portrayal of Frank Miller-style Batman is a spot-on casting. Then, there’s Gal Gadot, whose memorable cameo appearance as Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman ironically happens to be the best thing in this movie.
5) Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
Here’s a rare case that a certain social media hashtag — #ReleaseTheSnyderCut — managed to reap rewards, even after years of aggressive fan campaign. The campaign in question has to do with the way Warner Bros. and director Joss Whedon botched the 2017 version of “Justice League” big time. The reward? Zack Snyder’s original vision was finally restored and by comparison, this over 4-hour version did a better job than Whedon’s theatrical cut. That means more fleshed-out characters and a coherent storyline. While “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” still suffers from some long-winded scenes, it was nonetheless a mass improvement.
4) Watchmen (2009)
The acclaimed Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen comic-book series was deemed unfilmable until Zack Snyder took the
job challenge. And it mostly works, as Snyder successfully recreated the source material’s tone and setting. Visually speaking, “Watchmen” win hands down. It’s clearly not for everyone, given its overall strong R-rating (that’s 18-rated) of sex, violence and profanity.
3) 300 (2007)
This is the movie that turned Zack Snyder into a household name. And of course, made Gerard Butler a star with his unforgettable lead performance as King Leonidas. “300” is best known for its highly-stylised visuals like no others that successfully brought Frank Miller’s comic-book series to vivid life. Not to mention Snyder doesn’t shy away when comes to (CG) blood and graphic violence. Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!!
2) Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Sure, it may lack the social commentary of the late George A. Romero’s original version. But Zack Snyder’s directorial debut in this amped-up 2004 remake did a good job offering us colourful characters (Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames come to mind) and tense action moments. It was one of the best and most entertaining zombie thrillers in the 2000s, joining the ranks of “28 Days Later…” (2002) and “Shaun Of The Dead” (2004).
1) Man Of Steel (2013)
So, we have reached the numero uno spot and it goes to… “Man of Steel”. Zack Snyder’s darker take on Superman’s origin may have divided fans and audiences alike. But the way the story’s revisionist route reshuffled the otherwise familiar story of Superman is bold and frankly, an impressive achievement. Gone is the slavish approach that 2006’s “Superman Returns” tried so hard to emulate the late Christopher Reeve-era of “Superman” movies. Here, “Man Of Steel” not only benefits from Zack Snyder’s better-than-expected direction but also blessed with top-notch action scenes. Let’s not forget about Henry Cavill either, whose role as Clark Kent/Superman is undoubtedly one of the best casting choices for a superhero movie.
Army Of The Dead will be streaming on Netflix beginning May 21, 2021 onwards.