3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
After circulating as a music video and advertisement director (including the Budweiser chariot superbowl ad), Snyder got his first big movie break on the horror remake Dawn of the Dead (2004). It was an over-the-top zombie fest (before Zombies came back into fashion) and was successful both critically and financially for its fresh and visually appealing take on the story.
Though it acted as the catalyst of what was to come of Snyder’s career in a lot of ways, Dawn of the Dead didn’t have the stylistic signature of Snyder’s other work courtesy of its smaller budget and the director’s relative lack of experience, but it definitely made for an interesting and entertaining modern horror/monster movie.
Taking the bronze medal is Dawn of the Dead.
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2. Watchmen (2009)
Watchmen (2009) was another divisive DC Comics adaptation by Zack Snyder that you either loved or hated. Yet still, there’s no denying that Snyder went to incredible lengths to ensure that as much of the detail included in the graphic novel was available in his film, and one thing the movie really did have going for it was its sensational opening montage; probably the best to ever feature in a superhero movie.
This 2009 release is an undeniably visually stunning movie that looks as if it is ripped right out of the pages of a comic book and features strong thematic messages in-keeping with its presentation, not least its use of “alternative” pop and/or rock covers that act as reminders as to the movie’s base in an alternative universe.
Perhaps the biggest controversy regarding Watchmen was the movie’s variation from the ending that was presented in the source material, with the two being vastly different to one another and serving almost polar opposite goals, yet this Marmite of a movie seemingly made sense of what it offered nonetheless and did so while presenting the very best of what Snyder brings to the table as a director: the presentation of the darker sides of humanity, modern beliefs in no moral good and phenomenal visual orchestrations.
1. 300 (2006)
Zack Snyder directed something in 2006 that we had never seen before and thus created an overnight success with his relatively small budget stylistic piece telling the mythical tale of three hundred Spartans overcoming the Persian empire as told through the source material of the “300” limited series of comic books created by legendary comic book writer Frank Miller.
It made Snyder an instant household name and spring-boarded the director into the mainstream, undoubtedly landing him many of the central Warner Bros roles that have since followed.
300 was over-the-top, flashy and incredibly violent, while remaining tightly knit and a breath of fresh air to a genre that was, at the time, dead-set on releasing the likes of Daredevil, Catwoman, Elektra and Fantastic Four. It was undoubtedly the most Snyder movie of the director’s career and almost certainly the best.
The number one movie in this Zack Snyder edition of Ranked… 300.
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