3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Already Shown He Knows His Source Material

Sunday, 02 August 2015 - 9:14AM
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Batman v Superman
Sunday, 02 August 2015 - 9:14AM
3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Already Shown He Knows His Source Material
Zack Snyder - you either love him or you hate him. He's proven to be majorly divisive among comic fans; it's part of the reason there's already so much hype and also so much hate for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that's still over half a year away from release. Supporters can't wait to see what could possibly be the biggest superhero showdown of all time, while haters are already ready for the film to be a massive let down.

Haters cite Man of Steel, which was a flop with most critics, as an example of why DC's Cinematic Universe will ultimately fail, while supporters argue that the movie is mostly misunderstood and under appreciated. Regardless of which side you fall on, however, the one thing that remains unarguable is his respect for the source material. Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Zack Snyder knows his comics. He knows his characters. Most importantly, he knows how to bring them both to life. Here are three ways Zack Snyder has already demonstrated his respect for his source material:

His Presentation of Superman




Superman is really a much more complex and interesting character than many who criticize him for being "a big blue boy scout" tend to realize. He has a huge heart (possibly bigger than any other superhero ever created) and a strong sense of right and wrong from his early upbringing. However, he's also constantly aware of the fact that he's different from everyone else - he's an alien. His parents taught him that he would do great things and that he should use his powers to help others, but they also knew that the world could just as easily fear him as revere him.

Regardless of how one feels about the quality of the movie itself, it can't be denied that Zack Snyder's presentation of this character on screen in Man of Steel is a faithful interpretation of all of these core components that make Superman, Superman. Many see Superman snapping Zod's neck near the end of the movie as the definitive "proof" that the creators of Man of Steel (including Snyder) have no clue who Kal-El really is. After all, Superman would never, ever kill...would he?

Actually, Zack may have proved that he knows Superman better than many of his detractors. In many comics, Superman is presented as someone who's definitely opposed to killing, but will cross the line if the situation requires it. For instance, in Batman and Superman: World's Finest #7, Superman visits a grieving Batman not long after his sidekick, Jason Todd, has died. During this visit, Superman tells Batman of one of his latest conflicts: "I was in space because...there had been three villains...on a different world...they committed genocide on a planetary scale. I didn't see any other choice...I killed them." It can't be said, then, that Superman has the same "no-kill" moral code as, say Batman.

Superman's stance on killing was also elucidated in the Adventures of Superman #14, when Supes threatens to kill the Joker. When the Clown Prince of Crime expresses disbelief, Superman responds, "Batman doesn't kill people because he has a code. I don't have a code. I just don't generally kill people." So Superman sometimes kills people, but he only does it when he has to, and when he does, it usually weighs pretty heavily on his mind. All of this was presented faithfully by Zack Snyder in Man of Steel. Superman pleaded with Zod to stop the destruction, but when the villain put the lives of innocents at risk, Superman was left with no choice. And if the early trailers for Batman v Superman are any indication, Superman will definitely feel the consequences of his actions in future films.
 

His Presentation of Batman




We don't currently have the benefit of viewing an entire movie's worth of footage consisting of Snyder's Batman, as we do with Superman. However, the two trailers that have been released thus far are enough to determine that Snyder has already gotten a lot right in his presentation of Batman.

First, Batman is a very obsessive character. When he decides that something must be done, he becomes relentless and will pursue his goal to the very ends of the Earth. In the Comic-Con trailer, this aspect of Batman shines through crystal clear. From that trailer, Ben Affleck's Batman is a man who is totally focused on a singular goal: bringing down Superman. The fact that Snyder was able to convey this character trait in a 3-minute trailer shows that he knows exactly how to portray these iconic characters on screen.

Furthermore, Snyder's version of Batman, like the Batman of DC Comics, is tortured with guilt. In the comics, the Joker murdered Jason Todd in cold blood, and Batman was never the same afterwards. In Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" universe, Jason's death even provoked the hero to retire for a time. In the Batman v Superman trailer, Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne is seen looking at a defaced Robin suit, directly referencing the infamous scene in which the Joker kills Jason Todd, and it is revealed that Batman has been on a 20-year hiatus. Although we don't know for sure, it certainly seems that the cinematic Batman, like the DC Comics Batman, was driven into retirement by Robin's untimely death.

His Faithfulness to DC Artwork


While Snyder's adaptation of Watchmen was fairly divisive, even the biggest detractors didn't deny that he directly translated panels from the comic into the film. And in Batman v Superman, he once again seems to be dead-set on bringing some of the most beloved DC artwork to life. For example, take a look at Batman's stance right before he dodges Superman's heat vision:

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

Now take a look at the cover for Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns:

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

By taking Miller's iconic Batman artwork and having it recreated for the big screen, Snyder is basically shouting "I've done my homework" to comics fans. Snyder clearly wants to make a movie that's not only loved by the masses, but by the people who made Batman and Superman popular enough to make make these movies possible: the comic book nerds of America.

In case you thought that the previous image was a coincidence, take a look at the following image of Superman as he hovers in air above an individual with outstretched hands:

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

Now look at the following artwork by Alex Ross that was included in the famous Mark Waid Justice League story, Kingdom Come, and see if you can't notice the similarity:

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

The pose is nearly identical, and yet this isn't the only other image from the B v S trailers to have a corresponding piece of comic artwork that serves as inspiration. Take a look at the cover from the New 52's Action Comics, issue #3:

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

And now look at these stills from the Batman v Superman trailer:

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

3 Ways Zack Snyder Has Shown He Knows His Source Material

While this may not be quite as obvious a visual parallel as the other two images, it would be absurd to argue that this isn't where Snyder got the idea. From his work on Man of Steel and from the few glimpses of Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice that we've been able to see from the trailers, it's clear that Snyder knows his characters and his source material. Could he still end up departing from the comics in some pretty substantial ways? Possibly, but clearly it won't be caused by his ignorance, or a lack of genuine love for the characters. We'll just have to wait and see when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premieres on March 25, 2016.
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