We've finally found a Hollywood director that the masses hate even more than Michael Bay.
His name is Zack Snyder, and wow......is he on a lot of people's hit lists.
I personally had never heard of him until 2004 when he directed the remake of Dawn of the Dead. At the time, his name lived in infamy for me because as someone that isn't a huge fan of zombies, the movie freaked me out something fierce. In fact, it was enough to scare me off of zombie movies for about five years. I wouldn't even watch Shaun of the Dead. It wasn't until 2009's Zombieland that I found my testicular fortitude and started watching zombie stuff again.
In the meantime, I thought Snyder had done a hell of a job with Dawn of the Dead, and then when 300 came out in 2007, we all saw it and we all loved it. It was a man's comic book movie filled with testosterone, crazy visuals and manliness. Everyone loved it except my aunt, who wouldn't stop complaining up and down about all of the historical inaccuracies about the time period and the Battle of Thermopylae. I don't know how many times I told her, "IT'S A COMIC BOOK MOVIE."
Then I heard Snyder was going to adapt Watchmen, otherwise known as one of the greatest graphic novels of all-time. I had read the book several times at that point myself and I was in agreement with every other fan that said it really couldn't be done the "right way" because it would have to be at least four hours. Well, to my surprise the 2 hour and 43 minute theatrical cut was impressive, left a lot in the movie that I thought would surely be cutout and actually managed to "fix" the ending of the book, or to be fair, gave the ending a more plausible and less ridiculous cause. It was awesome, but didn't do well because it was a largely unknown work to the masses. Still, Snyder was batting 1.000 for me at the cinema.
Then came the beginning of the end for him with the public: Sucker Punch. Oh, it wasn't the end for me because I'm one of five people on the planet Earth that still likes that movie to this day, but it was almost universally panned by critics and moviegoers alike. Believe it or not, it's still his lowest rated Rotten Tomatoes movie at 24% critics, 47% audience. Before that, he hadn't fallen lower than 60% with 300.
Man of Steel came along in 2013 as the unofficial/official beginning of the DC Extended Universe as we now call it, and flat out split audience and critics down the middle. I thought it was awesome and still consider it the best Superman movie made to date, but others that are loyal to the Max Fleischer/Christopher Reeve model of the character didn't like the tone, color or setting of the movie and lashed out against it.
Now, almost two months after the release of Snyder's latest DC movie, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he's literally become Public Enemy #1 on message boards, blogs and web publications across the world. Take a look:
Those are just headlines. The actual "articles" attached to them are lot less nicer than that.
Look, critics are pretentious bags of Massengill in the first place, we know this, but it is clear that over the course of his last three directed movies that they have developed a nice critical hatred of Snyder, and that hatred has been amplified and pushed forward by a lot of the public on the Internet, all of whom have the best idea for how our beloved comic book characters should be handled on screen are convinced that Snyder is the wrong "hack" to handle it.
Honestly, even though people are still whining about Michael Bay's Transformers movies, this is on another level:
Again, those are the nicer comments about Snyder from the fans.
I've enjoyed all of Zack Snyder's movies to this point, up to and including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so I'm understandably lost on how he managed to summon this level of vitriol from the Internet masses, in a relatively short span of time too. Three years? I mean, Sucker Punch got trashed but no one was calling for his head until he got involved with DC and then the gloves came off.
What's really interesting and confusing is that for all of the hatred Snyder has endured from the public, Sucker Punch is still the only movie of his that has a rotten RT score from the audience. Dawn of the Dead is 77%, 300 is 89% audience fresh, Watchmen is 70% fresh, Man of Steel is 75% fresh and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is 67% audience fresh.
Metacritic offers even less answers. The critics haven't given him higher than a 59 on any of his movies and that was for Dawn of the Dead. Sucker Punch was of course the lowest critic score at 33......but the user scores on the other hand range from 6.2 out of 10 for Sucker Punch to as high as 8.6 out of 10 for Dawn of the Dead. Batman v Superman by the way, rated 44 by the critics has a 7.2 out of 10 user score.
But I thought he was a hack and no one likes his movies? Well......somebody does.
At the end of the day, it's clear with all of this that Zack Snyder has his share of haters among critics and the general public, and also his share of defenders and fans among the general public as well. The problem of course is that his polarizing nature as a director is surely wearing thin with Warner Bros., which is likely a big reason why Geoff Johns and Jon Berg were recently put in charge of DC Films. If DC wants to see better returns at the box office, they have to have better reviews from the critics, who in turn influence the audience to go to the theater. It's much harder to do that when the guy in charge of the movie is someone that the critics and so many others seemingly despise for whatever reason.
For the record, while I don't think Snyder is a perfect director by any means, I certainly don't despise him and I look forward to Justice League and whatever else he comes out with in the future. Here's hoping he won't need bodyguards in the future just to do his job.