Zack Snyder vs the DC Universe

If you know anything about Zack Snyder’s body of work, you are probably quite familiar with the term “schlock.” So when it was announced that he was going to bring Alan Moore’s classic “Watchmen” to the big screen there was certainly a mixed reaction.

Initially I was hopeful about the project and, after seeing costume photos, thought it was going to be excellent. Then the reviews started coming in and my hopes sank. I watched it so I could judge it for myself, and I was largely left flat. It looked like the comic, no doubt there, but the movie itself was missing something.

The executives at Warner, however, decided that Snyder should be in charge of their Superman reboot, Man of Steel. And we got a grim, humorless superman who wrecks half a city battling another Kryptonian. Audiences were outraged by this devastation and the death of General Zod at Superman’s hands. But Snyder was then placed in charge of the long-anticipated team-up movie Batman vs Superman. And Snyder was also going to be given creative control over the entire DC Universe.

Personally I learn more towards Marvel than DC, both in terms of the comics and the films. The idea that Snyder would be given total control over the DC Cinematic Universe struck me as a rather bad idea given the reaction he was getting for previous work. Well, it’s that time of year again and Comic-Con has once again taken over San Diego. And, as has become custom, it was in Hall H that we first got to see the new, extended trailer for Batman vs Superman.

In spite of myself, I was impressed. It looked like he really had a goal when he made Man of Steel, and this movie is his explanation for those of us who didn’t get it. Zack Snyder has claimed that he wanted people to see the gritty consequences of a superhero fight, even those who don’t have superpowers, which is why Watchmen was so brutal. This is something that David Wong has harped on continuously, and yet, when Snyder delivers a movie where superhero fights have consequences, people are upset. So, to silence his critics he gives us a second act where Bruce Wayne watches two gods destroying a city, stands helplessly as these titans kill thousands.

While most people would be too awestruck to react, Bruce Wayne makes plans to take this threat down.

Here’s the story that I saw unfold in that 3 minute trailer:  Bruce Wayne watches helplessly as two godlike figures battle it out in a city and kill thousands of his employees. Wayne rushes headlong into the maelstrom to save his people.

Cradling a crying child he feels so small and pathetic and helpless. And he feels compelled to put on the suit again, a costume he abandoned some time ago. The reason why is in the form of a smaller costume, Robin, his sidekick. It’s been defaced, likely by the Joker. The implication is clear:  the joker murdered Robin and Batman hung it up. Shit was just too difficult after that.

Meanwhile Superman is being worshipped as a god by some, treated as a threat by others. People plan to use him, one way or another, to further their own agenda. Who will he trust?

And finally we see them face each other down, man to god.

It is logical and visually impressive. Yes, the Jessie Eisenberg version of Lex Luthor sounds dumb as shit, but I am interested in seeing where Zack Snyder is going to take this. Already, though, I think having Wonder Woman in the movie (as well as any other heroes except as part of a stinger) is a huge mistake, but only time reveals.