Why Zack Snyder's Comic Book Movies Are So Divisive – Screen Rant

Zack Snyder’s comic book movies are incredibly divisive, and there are many reasons why the director’s vast filmography is so controversial.
Zack Snyder's comic book movies, especially the ones he made while working with the DCEU, have always been incredibly divisive, and there are several reasons for that. In total, Zack Snyder has made five comic book movies over the course of his career, those being 300, Watchmen, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Zack Snyder's Justice League. Although 300 garnered relatively good reviews, the critical reception of and fan response to the rest of these titles tend to be polarized, making Snyder one of the most interesting and divisive directors of comic book movies ever.
From its start, Zack Snyder was the DCEU's original figurehead, directing its debut movie, Man of Steel, and continuing on to helm all of its major crossover projects. However, the poor reception to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the Justice League fiasco led to his departure from the franchise, with Warner Bros. deciding to go in a different direction with what is now known as the DCU. Throughout all the poor box office returns and low Rotten Tomatoes scores, though, Snyder has had an incredibly loyal fanbase, making him a controversial figure in the world of film.
Related: Every Snyder DCEU Movie Reveals His Biggest DCEU Flaw
Around the time of Zack Snyder's DCEU projects, most other comic book movies felt indistinguishable from each other. They seemed to follow a strict formula, causing them to feel more like products than pieces of art. Marvel's director problem is a major example of this, as a significant number of MCU releases have homogeneous cinematography, writing, and style, regardless of who is helming the project, with the likes of James Gunn and Taika Watiti being the rare counterexamples. Despite this trend, from his first foray into comic book movies in 2006, Zack Snyder has never had the same problem.
From 300 to Zack Snyder's Justice League, all of his movies have had an incredibly unique style engrained in every aspect of their creation. His use of high-contrast lighting, dark color palates, slow motion, and meticulously laid-out shots make the visual language of his movies instantly recognizable from a single frame. His grandiose dialogue and larger-than-life characters cause Zack Snyder's characters to feel more like gods than men. Even elements like his heady themes are staples of his works. These tools have always been used by Snyder, and while they don't always work, the presence of his distinct directorial style makes his comic book movies stand out from the crowd.
While Zack Snyder's signature style is what makes his comic book movies unique, it isn't always used in the right way. For example, Snyder's time in the DCEU was plagued by criticisms regarding his directorial touch. Many audience members simply wanted a Superman movie filled with hope. Instead, Man of Steel was realistic, gritty, and grounded. Many audience members also wanted a fun movie where Batman fought Superman. Instead, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was visually dark, convoluted, full of heady themes, and lacked fun. Zack Snyder's Justice League worked because it felt like a side project, but for the DCEU's main offerings, his style and tone just aren't what general audiences want.
Snyder's stylistic problems can also be seen in his non-DCEU comic book movies, such as Watchmen. While most viewers loved the style of Watchmen, the adaptation made significant changes to Alan Moore's original story, causing the movie to become incredibly divisive. Snyder's movies may not be beloved by everyone, but his niche style has carved out a dedicated fanbase. For general audiences and movie critics, his filmography is a mixed bag. For fans of the source material, Snyder's movies tend to be considered bad. For fans of Snyder's style, though, he is obviously the best there is, causing his comic book movies to be immensely divisive.
Related: Why Zack Snyder's Watchmen Was A DCU Blueprint
Whether Zack Snyder's comic book movies are bad is a hot debate, but the answer to the question requires a bit of nuance. If somebody wants a stylistically heavy movie that feels like a Greek myth, then some of Zack Snyder's comic book movies may be perfect for them. Although Snyder's versions of some stories could be considered bad adaptations, his stories are wholly his own, meaning that some of his movies could be enjoyed from a certain angle. It's impossible to say that a movie is objectively good or bad, and this is true when it comes to Zack Snyder, as it really depends on what the audience member is looking for.
Next: Why Zack Snyder Uses So Much Slow Motion In His Movies
Robert Pitman is a Movies/TV features writer for Screen Rant and loves all things nerdy. He has had experience with editing and SEO in his time working at WVUA 90.7 FM, the University of Alabama’s official student radio station. Robert is currently a sophomore at the University of Alabama and is doing a double major in Creative Media and General Business.

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