Zack Snyder Movies Ranked

Whether discussing 300 or Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the films of reputable filmmaker Zack Snyder have long been the subject of division amongst film theorists, critics and enthusiasts. To some, the Snyder film is one of style and little substance, whilst to others his films are a welcomed alternative to the samey output of blockbuster cinema in the modern age. His films are long, some would say detailed, his editing tricks and instantly recognisable colour palettes reductive, some would say iconic.

Zack Snyder is a filmmaker who has almost exclusively made adaptations of stories from other successful visual mediums for the big screen, his films deconstructed by critics as too heavily reliant upon the source materials and celebrated by fans for their loyalty to the original words, panels and graphics. Having initially made his name in advertising and the direction of many a popular music video, Zack Snyder took the lessons learned in these mediums to forge himself into a fundamentally rhythmic filmmaker who imbues each of his feature releases with an undercurrent of momentum that is unmistakably and uniquely his.

His filmography is one that has delved into the horror genre for Dawn of the Dead and even animation with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, though it is through his partnership with Warner Bros and DC that Snyder has made much of his reputation, being a leading force in the construction of the DC Extended Universe.

With eleven feature releases to date, including both versions of Justice League, Zack Snyder is now two decades into a noteworthy career that has spanned almost the entirety of the budgetary spectrum and a wide range of genres, his films being met with divisive reactions every step of the way. In this edition of Ranked, we here at The Film Magazine are looking at each of these eleven feature directorial efforts to judge each in terms of quality, longevity and contextual relevance, to see which Zack Snyder film can be ranked as the best and, first, which can be ranked as the worst…

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11. Justice League (2017)

Justice League Zack Snyder

Justice League Review

To describe the 2017 version of Justice League as divisive would be an understatement, but to class it as a Snyder film would at this stage be a disservice to the director whose work was chopped, changed, re-shot and then mangled back together.

The CG was shoddy, likely owing to the re-shoots that were reportedly going on until very close to the film’s release, not to mention the controversy of Moustache-Gate – Henry Cavill’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout moustache had to be removed in post-production due to contractual obligations that didn’t allow him to shave it off whilst still filming for the Paramount franchise – and the story didn’t seem to have any real stakes or drama.

Visually, it was like watching a Frankenstein’s Monster of a movie, with shot after shot seemingly worked on by entirely different film crews; something almost impossible to lobby at any of Snyder’s other feature films.

Ultimately, it would be unfair to rank this film in any position other than at the very bottom of this list; because when a director hasn’t even seen a film, can it really be his?

10. Rebel Moon (2023)

Rebel Moon Review

If there is one thing about Zack Snyder that can be universally agreed upon, it’s that the filmmaker has a propensity for visually-driven storytelling; sometimes, this divisive filmmaker is so concerned with how things look that some would argue that he forgets what his scenes are supposed to convey. It is ironic, then, that in his 2023 film Rebel Moon, this show-don’t-tell filmmaker is ladened with a tell-don’t-show script that explains every plot point, every character development, every struggle, crisis and narrative trigger through dialogue. In this Netflix Original co-written by Snyder himself, every line is exposition.

There are moments of this one-time Star Wars pitch that hit, but in a mid-2020s environment the visual effects aren’t as great as you might expect from a filmmaker with these standards and the edit sloppily disjoints any rhythm Snyder is able to find, the latter stifling arguably his greatest filmmaking attribute.

As a part one, it certainly doesn’t duck delivering a solid three-act narrative, and there are moments of legend and hints of destiny that are the seeds of emotive plot developments, but Rebel Moon is derivative of better films. Worse still, there is little about Snyder’s best work to be found here, even if the typical femme fatale lead and slow motion sequences are front and centre.

9. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

owls of ga'hoole

Zack Snyder’s foray into animation was met with dismissal by critics and disinterest by audiences, despite being adapted from a hugely successful series of fantasy books and having the backing of Warner Bros.

Sensationally animated and lovingly voiced, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole expressed so many of Snyder’s better qualities as a filmmaker, his expressive nature coming to the fore in a film filled with Snyder-esque moments and genuine inspiration.

For any director, controlling every element of a film (as one does in animation) is the true mark of their creative expression, yet Legends of the Guardians is often forgotten about when thinking of Zack Snyder’s feature output, thus landing at number 9 on this list not because it’s bad, but because it’s relatively forgettable.

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