Originally Posted by MichaelM
Yeah, I think WATCHMEN shows an incredible love and devotion to the source material, but Snyder's reach exceeds his grasp (or whatever that saying is). I disagree about 300 - I think it works and is a pretty great cinematic representation of a fireside tale meant to stoke the troops for the coming battle. I don't think it has any real depth, though. Like WATCHMAN, he's aiming for something deeper than he can actually attain. I won't even talk about SUCKER PUNCH.
I have hopes for Snyder's take on SUPERMAN, and not just for Nolan's hand in the mix. Superman is a simpler character, and one more easily explored and portrayed than someone like Ozymandias or the Comedian. I also have to think Snyder's been spanked pretty hard by the returns and reactions to SUCKER PUNCH, and that WB exerted some pressure to shore up his weaknesses.
300 isn't about complex themes or anything, but I thought Snyder failed to do justice to the material simply on a basic dramatic level. I quite like the comic--fascism, gay panic, and all--just as a big dumb 80s-style action romp. It's like something John Milius or Walter Hill would have delivered at the top of their game. Part of that is an easy self-confidence and a level of restraint--and "restraint" is not a word in Snyder's vocabulary. The Spartans in the comic are the epitome of "speak softly and carry a big stick." Their action-movie quips (almost all of which are from Herodotus) are amazing because they're tossed out casually, a la James Bond. With Snyder everything is SCREAMED AT TOP VOLUME. Tonally, it's a complete botch job, and this has been Snyder's biggest problem throughout his career. He could get everything else right--and I'll even buy that he has before--but the tone he strives for in his movies is just excruciating, and almost always wrong for the material.
And this is what has me still worried for Superman. He actually IS a tricky character to get right. The trailers suggest a level of reverence, so that's good as far as it goes but he's also supposed to be fun and imaginative. He works best in a crazy SF world, not in some hackneyed attempt at a "realistic" world (and this is the same thing I've been saying about Nolan's Batman, so in that sense his involvement is a bit worrisome). As a character, he's supposed to make being the good guy seem appealing and even sort of cool in a weird, square way--it's almost punk rock, the way nerdiness is sometimes cool. Superman's goodness is kind of badass because it's so complete and untempered. While I think the story around him can absolutely delve into questions of "can one man wield so much power?" and "doesn't he possibly represent something unhealthy?" the character himself needs to be completely untainted by cynicism and deconstructionism to work. Even Garth Ennis understood this.
A lot of today's movies tend to cross over into a kind of casual immortality and cynicism that the filmmakers might not even intend--the way so few directors seem to mind having superheroes straight up murder people, for instance, or at least not try very hard to save them. Or Hollywood's really garbled stance on torture (they often have their heroes torture someone to get information, and it's usually portrayed as a bad thing, but the consequences tend to be negligible, and it often falls prey to the fallacy that torture is a reliable way to get information in the first place.) Or the way so many heroes are whiny, angst-ridden, self-absorbed assholes, to whom the entire world is expected to cater. Hell, look at Brian Singer's botched Superman--a guy who abandons Earth and the woman he loves for five years for thinly sketched reasons, and then returns as a super-stalker. And Singer's a far smarter flimmaker than Snyder, as far as I'm concerned. I think there are distressingly few mainstream directors in Hollywood who have a firm grasp on empathy and morality, let alone "heroism", which is why I think a Superman movie is such a tricky proposition.
But there's enough wiggle room in my opinion of Snyder that I can hope.