Zack Snyder is a complicated character. On the one hand, he’s a technically proficient stylist with a portfolio of awesome (in the actual sense of the word) images. 300, for whatever problems it has, was unlike anything we’d seen at the time. His monochromatic color palette may have engendered some bad habits in modern blockbuster filmmakers/cinematographers, but a stamp is a stamp. He changed things.
On the other hand, there’s a lunkheaded nature to nearly every non-visual component of his storytelling. One of the biggest conversations this Summer revolved around the final act of Man of Steel, in which a fledgling Superman lays waste to major portions of Metropolis in his battle royale with General Zod. Fans of the comic felt betrayed by the portrayal of a Superman who fought with little regard for human life, stomping through a city teeming with humanity like it was nothing.
Screenwriter David S. Goyer has tried to justify this decision in the past, but now we have an honest-to-God estimated death toll, courtesy of Zack Snyder.
“Probably 5,000 people or something like that,” said Snyder. “I mean I imagine. That’s a horrible thing to say. You don’t want to put numbers on it. But you had to imagine that there were people in these buildings and we did. And I’ve got to say that for me that was part of it. We were like, ‘No, there’s real consequences.’”
Yeah, there were a ton of consequences. Superman–actually, the “S” stands for “hope,” so let’s call him, “Hopeuperman”–a mass murderer roams free and gets a cushy journalism gig despite his total lack of experience in that field. I’d love to be in the room for that job interview. “Your resume says you worked on a fishing boat before suddenly disappearing for several years. When can you start?”
What the fuck is Snyder talking about with these consequences? Sequels don’t count, by the way. I’m sick to death of the mentality that everything will make more sense when you see the next movie. You don’t get to not tell the whole story because they do it that way in the comics. Comics are serialized, but they come out monthly, not every two to three years.
And make no mistake, Hopeuperman’s tearful moment at the end of the film (around which I’m going to tread lightly) has everything to do with one decision that affects one other person. It’s an act of self isolation that has nothing to do with the “probably 5,000” people who are now dead in the city that he’ll soon call home.
Even worse? Snyder tries to drag down the far superior The Avengers to justify his poor storytelling decisions.
Synder added, “We’re use (sic) to seeing all these superhero movies and all this [destruction]. And not to compare but if you look at Avengers, they like trashed New York City, and no one even mentions the fact that there’s thousands of people dying in there. And I feel for me that’s why it’s heavy at the end of it.There’s like sadness to the end of the movie. It’s not just fun to crash around in a city. There’s a human price. And I think that’s the thing that weighs on Superman.”
Wrong, Zack! The Avengers ends with news footage of memorials for the victims of the invasion! It’s so clearly evocative of 9/11 it’s not even funny!
The movie formally-known-as Superman Vs. Batman is one of the many risk-averse, sure thing titles coming to theaters in 2015. It’s a little scary that the man making it doesn’t understand what consequences are.
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