Zack Snyder Talks Batman, Superman, and Real World Violence
Zack Snyder recently gave a really long, in depth interview to Forbes. He couldn’t really speak directly about his Batman Vs. Superman film, but he talked a lot about his ideas of the characters and what he thinks they mean in today’s world. I am very much not a Snyder fangirl, and my perspective on the characters is very different from his, but it was really interesting to get a peek at what he brings to these iconic characters. I kinda got the sense that he likes Batman better than Superman, or at least finds him more interesting.
I think Batman — now after Chris [Nolan]‘s movies and the way we track Batman through his cinematic history — he does have this license to enter our world and be a real character and not a complete cartoon, and he’s able to tell us about the way we live and our society. He moves with us, his morality — I think Superman probably less so, but I think Batman definitely sort of reflects us in a more personal way.
He gave some insight into the development of the sequel and the decision to put Batman up against the Last Son of Krypton. If you read the full interview, you might get the impression that getting to put Batman in his movie was his number one concern when he signed on to make Man of Steel, but that probably isn't true. It was probably number two or three.
In the first meeting, it was like, “Maybe Batman?” Maybe at the end of the second movie, some Kryptonite gets delivered to Bruce Wayne’s house or something. Like in a cryptic way, that’s the first time we see him. But then, once you say it out loud, right? You’re in a story meeting talking about, like, who should [Superman] fight if he fought this giant alien threat Zod who was basically his equal physically, from his planet, fighting on our turf… You know, who to fight next? The problem is, once you say it out loud, then it’s kind of hard to go back, right? Once you say, “What about Batman?” then you realize, “Okay, that’s a cool idea. What else?” I mean, what do you say after that? …But I’m not gonna say at all that when I took the job to do Man of Steel that I did it in a subversive way to get to Batman. I really believe that only after contemplating who could face [Superman] did Batman come into the picture.
Also, love him or hate him, Snyder is still a big geek himself.
The thing also that’s really fascinating for me is that, even just in the tests we’ve been doing, the costumes, right? You basically have Batman and Superman — and this is without Ben [Affleck] and Henry [Cavill] in the costumes, but just like the stand-ins, just testing to see what the costumes look like. And you have them standing there and they’re standing in the same shot — and then we have Wonder Woman, you know, all three of them in the same shot. Even just for a test, you really have to go, “Wow, that’s crazy!” Not only is it the first time that I’m seeing them, it’s the first time they’ve ever existed together on screen in a movie. And that’s kind of a huge deal. Even just Batman and Superman standing next to each other… [I]t’s kind of epic.
Snyder has pictures of the costumes, but he has no control over when the studio decides to release them. It’s a marketing decision, and unlike David Fincher, he doesn’t insist on being in charge of that.
And now here’s where he talks about how stupid you are for not liking Man of Steel:
…I think with Superman we have this opportunity to place this icon within the sort of real world we live in. And I think that, honestly, the thing I was surprised about in response to Superman was how everyone clings to the Christopher Reeve version of Superman, you know? How tightly they cling to those ideas, not really the comic book version but more the movie version… If you really analyze the comic book version of Superman, he’s killed, he’s done all the things– I guess the rules that people associate with Superman in the movie world are not the rules that really apply to him in the comic book world, because those rules are different. He’s done all the things and more that we’ve shown him doing, right? It’s just funny to see people really taking it personally… because I made him real, you know, I made him feel, or made consequences [in] the world. I felt like, it was the same thing in Watchmen. We really wanted to show it wasn’t just like they thought, like the PG-13 version where everyone just gets up and they’re fine. I really wanted to show the violence is real, people get killed or get hurt, and it’s not fun or funny. And I guess for me, it was like I wanted a hero in Superman that was a real hero and sort of reflected the world we live in now…
I get where you're coming from Snyder, but maybe you could make a Superman movie that is relevant to our world and time and also is not a total fucking drag. Also, you made a PG-13 movie that didn't actually show people getting killed or hurt. So... hmmm. (Update: I am specifically referring to civilian casualties. The Zod neck-snap is a specific violent act, not the unintended consequence of the the general violence of the film, which seemed to me to be what Snyder was talking about here.)