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“This is SPARTA!”, or 5 BEST films by Zack Snyder

Let’s not forget that despite Snyder currently facing issues with his artistry and ego, he does have several truly successful spectacles to his name.

Jakub Piwoński

3 May 2024

zack snyder

Zack Snyder hasn’t been receiving good press lately. His “Rebel Moon” turned out to be an artistic failure, although it was certainly a popular title in Netflix’s library. However, let’s not forget that despite Snyder currently facing issues with his artistry and ego, he does have several truly successful spectacles to his name that continue to captivate audiences.

“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”

zack snyder

This animated film, crafted by Zack Snyder, is now quite dusty, although at the time of its creation, there was talk of it sparking an entire series of films about warrior owls. Unfortunately, the film suffered a financial setback, leading to its fade into obscurity. Not even the star-studded voice cast could salvage it. Visually, it was a masterpiece and represented a new quality at the time. I suspect the audience recoiled from the concept of realistically depicted owls as Avengers-like heroes, which sounds rather absurd even today. Although surprisingly successful, its gravitas overshadowed it—not its execution, in my opinion.

“Man of Steel”

man of steel zack snyder

A new Superman film is already in the works, this time under James Gunn’s direction. However, it was Zack Snyder who recently retold the story of this famous hero, largely gaining favor with audiences. I say “largely” because, of course, there were voices of outrage about the costume not being right, the film being too dark, the shots being too long, etc. Nevertheless, I was enchanted from the beginning, despite never being a Superman fan. Henry Cavill and the grandeur of the spectacle won me over. The action scenes also had the right energy, and this messianic undertone never resonated with me so strongly before. Overall, it’s a very good spectacle that fell victim to poor management of the universe it became part of. But viewed in isolation from that context, “Man of Steel” still engages audiences to this day.


watchmen zack snyder

This film is outstanding, although probably no one understood it or even needed to at the time of its release. Today, in the era of “The Boys” and “Peacemaker”—series that effectively demythologize superheroes—playing with the conventions of superhero cinema has become commonplace. Surely, if Snyder were to make “Watchmen” today, it would be a bigger event (the HBO series partly served this purpose). Snyder simply demythologized superheroes before it became trendy. What was trendy then? In 2008, a year before “Watchmen” hit theaters, Marvel’s “Iron Man” launched a long cinematic journey into the Marvel universe. Apparently, judging by the box office results of these two films, audiences at the time were more inclined towards the latter type of spectacle; Snyder’s satirical take (loaded with political undertones) didn’t quite hit the mark. Fortunately, most critics agreed that this adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic was absolutely groundbreaking.

“Dawn of the Dead”

How many times can you spin zombie films? Zack Snyder proved in 2004 that it can still be done well, setting the stage for a successful Hollywood career. His remake of George A. Romero’s 1978 film injected a breath of fresh air into the genre’s stiff formulas. The action is dynamic, the zombies don’t look or behave like animated vegetables, and the characters thrown into this horror are likable. It’s a gripping watch, and it’s hard not to acknowledge that at the time, it was a genre breakthrough, although certain elements were borrowed from earlier films like “28 Days Later.”


300 zack snyder

I believe this is Zack Snyder’s most important film, his best as well, and perhaps the last one that was truly a major event and universally applauded. Afterward, opinions on Snyder varied, but when “300” hit theaters in 2006, testosterone practically poured off the screen. Snyder redefined historical cinema, particularly its sandal-clad variety. He showed that epic stories can be told as action films. There’s deliberate exaggeration aplenty, but that’s precisely why “300” succeeded—it was meant to be loud and intense spectacle, perfect for viewers who enjoy the fetishization of violence and the glorification of male strength, and it delivered from start to finish. If you didn’t buy into it, then you can fall into the abyss.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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