Revisit some Zack Snyder movies before Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice swoops into theaters!
Throughout his career, Zack Snyder has demonstrated his love for the comic book movie genre. Of the seven movies that he’s directed to date, four of them have been adaptations of comics. That includes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the long-awaited sequel to Snyder’s Man of Steel and the true beginning of DC’s Extended Universe. Snyder is also set to direct his eighth and ninth films, which will be the two-part Justice League live-action adaptation.
Snyder’s films have inspired some divisive responses from fans, particularly with Man of Steel and Watchmen. But Warner Bros. has clearly placed their faith in Snyder’s vision of the DC universe. Whether Batman v Superman rises or falls is largely on Snyder’s shoulders. Despite the iconic characters, it could still prove to be a costly gamble if Batman v Superman doesn’t meet its otherworldly box office expectations.
Before Batman and Superman meet in battle on March 25, ComingSoon.net is looking back at Snyder’s first seven movies and at his two Justice League movies that are scheduled to begin production soon.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Fittingly, Snyder’s first feature film was a remake of George Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead, a zombie movie that focused on survivors trapped in a mall. Snyder’s version of the script reimagined the concept with more characters and more action. However, Snyder kept the grim tone of Romero’s conclusion and went a step further by suggesting that there was truly no place that the survivors could run in this world.
Dawn of the Dead had respectable reviews and it was a modest hit, which allowed Snyder’s career as a director to take off.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: 300 (2007)
For his second film, Snyder tackled the adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300 comic book, which was based on the legendary Battle of Thermopylae. As the story goes, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) led 300 Spartans into battle against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), the so-called God King of Persia and his army of 300,000 soldiers. The Spartans were doomed from the start, but their valiant stand inspired the nation and grew into legend.
Snyder’s visuals for 300 preserved the look and imagery of Miller’s comic, making it one of the few movies to successfully replicate that effect onscreen. 300 was a surprise blockbuster, and it has informed Snyder’s cinematic style ever since. The success of 300 also allowed Snyder to pursue his dream project: Watchmen.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Watchmen (2009)
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is one of the best-selling graphic novel collections of all time. Originally published as a 12-issue miniseries, Watchmen redefined superheroes and brought a darker edge to the genre. Snyder’s adaptation of Watchmen was slavishly faithful to the look and tone of the comic… almost to its detriment. For the most part, Snyder kept all of the major beats of the story except the ending, which left out the infamous giant squid.
Despite massive hype and great expectations, Watchmen was not the blockbuster that Warner Bros. hoped it would be. Even though Watchmen pulled in over $100 million domestically, it was still viewed as a failure because it didn’t earn back its budget.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)
Snyder briefly moved into animation with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, which was based upon Kathryn Lasky’s Guardians of Ga’Hoole novels. Basically, it’s high fantasy with owls, and the movie adapted the first three books in the series.
It was an unusual detour for Snyder, but the film does contain some of his hallmarks including a surprising amount of violence and death. To date, it is Snyder’s only animated film and there are currently no solid plans for a sequel.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Sucker Punch (2011)
Sucker Punch may be the most unusual movie of Snyder’s career. It’s also the only original creation that Snyder has ever worked on. Sucker Punch followed Babydoll (Emily Browning), a young woman who was committed to mental institution and scheduled for a lobotomy. As a coping mechanism, Babydoll retreated into several different layers of fantasy while plotting her escape.
Despite Snyder’s signature visual flare, Sucker Punch was savaged by critics and it brought in just over $36 million domestically, making it the biggest box office bomb of Snyder’s filmography.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Man of Steel (2013)
In part because of his experience in bringing 300 and Watchmen to the screen, Snyder was given the directorial reigns of Man of Steel, the first Superman movie since Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns came out in 2006.
Man of Steel successfully reintroduced Superman to a new generation of movie fans and became a hit. However, Snyder managed to alienate hardcore Superman fans when the title character killed one of his enemies and barely made an effort to keep Metropolis from being destroyed during his battle against the Kryptonians. Snyder has defended his take on Superman, but the Man of Steel rarely killed in his comic book incarnation. Regardless, Warner Bros. rewarded Snyder with the keys to the newly-christened DC Extended Universe.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
While Snyder didn’t return to the director’s chair for the sequel to 300, he did write and produce 300: Rise of an Empire, which continued the story of Greece’s war with Persia while taking place before, during, and after the events of the first movie. This time, the spotlight fell on the Athenian general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and the maniacal Artemisia, as played by Eva Green.
While 300: Rise of an Empire wasn’t quite as successful as the first film, it was still a global blockbuster.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman v Superman will likely be the biggest test of Snyder’s career. No one expects this movie to flop, but the expectations and the budget are so high that anything short of $1 billion worldwide is going to be branded a failure.
This film not only has to set up the Justice League and the rest of the DC Extended Universe, it also marks the first time that Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman (Ben Affleck) have ever appeared together in a live-action movie. After the events of Man of Steel, Batman has a serious grudge against Superman, and one of the biggest superhero battles in cinema history is about to begin.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Justice League Part One (2017)
Despite recent rumors that suggested Warner Bros. was having second thoughts about the Justice League movie, production for the film is officially underway. While story details are still under wraps, Justice League will bring together Cavil’s Superman and Affleck’s Batman against a common enemy. And they will be joined by Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and Ezra Miller as The Flash, with rumors suggesting that Amber Heard’s Mera may end up joining the League as well.
Justice League is set to begin filming in April 2016 and it is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2017.
Zack Snyder Movies Spotlight: Justice League Part Two (2019)
Only two years will separate the two Justice League films, but Snyder will remain as the director for both installments. It’s not clear if the two movies will tell one story between them or even which characters will be used in the second installment. But judging from the trailers of Batman v Superman, Darkseid and the forces of Apokolips seem like a safe bet. Presumably more DC heroes could join the Justice League in the sequel.