written by James Augspurger
In anticipation of the highly-discussed "Snyder Cut" of Justice League (due in March), we're excited to introduce Part I of James' new three-part series examining Zack Snyder's work, especially as it pertains to his entries in the DC Extended Universe. Enjoy, and stay tuned for the next installments!
Many filmmakers have their signature, recognizable cinematic styles. Wes Anderson has his colorful shoebox shots and absurdist, monotone dialogue. The Coen Brothers are nihilists and make movies about how nothing actually matters because the world is chaos. Alfonso Cuarón has his long takes and beautifully complicated shots. Micheal Bay makes movies that aren’t good. Zack Snyder makes movies that are made for men about men with kick-ass abs, good punches, and rampant masculinity. Bunch of movies about strong boys doing violent stuff for noble purposes if you don’t think about what noble things actually are.
Snyder has been at the helm of a mostly terrible DCEU. A franchise that I’ve watched every movie from and I can’t figure out why. And I’m going to continue! I’m going to continue watching his personal version of toxic masculinity on display. I’m going to listen to his characters brood about how much being strong sucks. I’m going to let him tell me that diplomacy doesn’t work, only explosions do, the way he always has in nearly all of his film catalog. He’s used recurring themes and dressed them in different characters. Lessons his characters try to learn, but ultimately don’t. His version of Superman got that treatment in Man of Steel: Good Girl Gone Bad.
In the 1978 Superman movie creatively titled Superman: The Movie (dir. Richard Donner), our titular hero saves a cat. It’s an old trope to establish how kind-hearted a character is. It’s one of the first things Superman does during his costume debut in Metropolis. In the middle of saving the day, he goes to rescue a cat named Frisky and return him to a little girl. Said little girl tries to scold Frisky, but Superman interrupts and teaches her a little about empathy. Then goes back to saving more day! He’s good. He’s friendly and personable. He cares about the planet he grew up on. He’s loved by the general public, and he loves his job as protector of Earth. He saved an entire town, and when he noticed one person died, he literally invented a new way to turn back time just to save her! (Kind of implying he let everyone else die, but it was Lois Lane! The love of his life! Who he loves!) Later—sometime before 2013—Zack Snyder watched Superman: The Movie and thought, “Nah. None of that.” Then he made Man of Steel: Jesus Christ: Superstar.
|Scowl of Steel!|
|"Jesus! but more Steel-y!" - Zack Snyder, probably|
|"Work sucks! I know!" - Blink 182|
|Pictured: Extinction of Metropolisians (Metropolisers?)|
|And sometimes you gotsta snap a neck|