Every Zack Snyder Film, Ranked





Zack Snyder is often considered one of the most polarizing directors of modern-day cinema; moviegoers either love his unique tone or absolutely loathe it. The creative mind began as a successful music video director before kicking off his Hollywood film career with 2004’s remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and has remained a constant cultural force for nearly two decades. His name is synonymous with the various comic book-related movies he has helmed, typically with mixed results. Snyder is famous for his visionary and thought-provoking style and spectacular presentation, and despite conflicting opinions, he draws in audiences from around the world.





Famous (or perhaps infamous) for his DC films such as Man of Steel and Justice League, Snyder has tackled a myriad of other film topics from Spartan warriors to zombie heists and even an animated tale about guardian owls. His most recent release, the space opera Rebel Moon, tells the story of a young woman who must seek out the help of warriors from other planets to fight tyrannical armies. The director has also recently spawned a zombie franchise out of his film Army of the Dead, with Planet of the Dead and the animated series Lost Vegas both in the works. Netflix bet big on him with the release of the massive sci-fi film Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire, the first film in what the streaming service hopes to be a major long-running franchise.

Perhaps he’s polarizing, but Snyder has established a brand and flair that is distinctly his and his alone. Love him or hate him, the director is here to stay. Let’s take a closer look at every Zack Snyder film so far ranked.

Updated December 29, 2023: If you love Zack Snyder films, you’ll be happy to know we’ve updated this article following the release of Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire on Netflix.





11 Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire (2023)

Read Our Review

Snyder’s most recent cinematic endeavor, the 2023 epic space opera Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire takes place in a far-off galaxy where a once harmonious farming colony is threatened by a nefarious tyrannical force, and it’s up to the brave and fierce warrior Kora (Sofia Boutella) to assemble an elite group of fighters to take a stand against the ruthless military known as the Imperium. The Netflix extravaganza also stars big names like Anthony Hopkins, Charlie Hunnam, and Djimon Hounsou and was based on an original concept and story conceived by Synder.

Why It Ranks At The Bottom

As is the case with many of Snyder’s big budget pictures, Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire earned a less-than stellar reaction from critics though audience reaction has so far been more generous, with moviegoers enjoying the breathtaking visuals, dazzling worldbuilding, and wildly entertaining action sequences. However, many critics were underwhelmed by the lack of character development and an overall uninspiring narrative, with the sci-fi flick being unfavorably compared to Star Wars. Perhaps the 2024 part two follow-up will fare better, as it is set to premiere in April. Stream on Netflix

10 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

DC Comics’ most iconic superheroes Batman and Superman go head-to-head on the silver screen with Snyder’s 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Ben Affleck takes on the role of the brooding and weary Bruce Wayne, while Henry Cavill returns as America’s beloved hero Superman. With an A-list ensemble cast like Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, and Diane Lane, the film should have been a slam dunk for moviegoers and critics alike.

Why It Ranks Here

Upon its release, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received unfavorable reviews despite turning a profit at the box office. Criticism was aimed at its lengthy run time and overall tone, and the film’s attempt to pave the way for Justice League was clumsy and less-than-effective. The film’s poor reaction would cause Warner Bros. to pivot drastically, altering the tone of Justice League and future DCEU films. However, while the film was largely negatively received by audiences, it cultivated its own fanbase who liked Snyder’s interpretation of the DC characters. Stream on Max

9 Sucker Punch (2011)

2011’s fantasy action film Sucker Punch follows a young girl who is committed to a mental institution and retreats to an alternate reality to cope while she possibly devises a plan of escape. This was Snyder’s first project based on an original concept and is described by the director as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” Emily Browning stars as Babydoll, and the film features a female-driven supporting cast including Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens.

Why It Ranks Here

Though the film was met with largely negative reviews by critics, Snyder did receive some praise for the fantasy sequences and visual effects. Of the action flick’s lack of success both with audiences and the box office, Snyder once commented, “I’m always shocked that it was so badly misunderstood. I always said that it was a commentary on sexism and geek culture.” Sucker Punch was a bold swing for an original idea and Snyder cashing in the blank check adaptations like 300 and Watchmen afforded him, sadly it did not pay off. Rent/Buy on Prime Video

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

Taking a detour from live-action films, Snyder took on directing duties for the 2010 animated fantasy Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. When a young owl is kidnapped by the evil owl army, the Pure Ones, he must find a way to escape with his friends by enlisting the help of the legendary guardians.

Why It Ranks Here

With a dynamic voice cast including Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, and Geoffrey Rush, the film was a mild hit at the box office and earned praise for its charismatic performers, dark tone and stunning visual effects, but was perhaps too childlike to be truly great. Audiences awarded the endearing flick an impressive A- CinemaScore and it was also nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Animated Feature, though some critics felt the intriguing storyline never was able to truly reach its full potential. Rent/Buy on Prime Video

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6 Army of the Dead (2021)

army of the dead

Army of the Dead

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble, venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. Directed by Zack Snyder.

Release Date
May 21, 2021

Rating
R

Read Our Review

Snyder’s exhilarating 2021 Netflix zombie heist film Army of the Dead touts an exciting ensemble cast consisting of talented performers like Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, and Tig Notaro. The streaming platform extravaganza centers on a group of fearless mercenaries who plan a Las Vegas casino heist during a zombie apocalypse.

Why It Ranks Here

Army of the Dead was met with praise for its humor and was watched in 74 million households within its first 28 days on Netflix. The zombie action flick kicked off a franchise with the spin-off prequel Army of Thieves released the same year and with an anime-style series Lost Vegas in the works. A direct sequel, Planet of the Dead, is also currently being developed. Army of the Dead is a fun pitch on the zombie format and was a nice return for Snyder after years away following the fallout of Justice League. Stream on Netflix

Related: The 10 Most Memorable Zombies in Horror Movies

5 300 (2007)

Gerard Butler 300 2006 Legendary
Legendary Pictures

2007’s historical action flick 300 epically depicts King Leonidas as he leads 300 fellow Spartans into battle against the Persian “God-King” Xerxes and his 300,000 soldiers. Based on the 1998 comic series by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, the film is a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in the Persian Wars. The historical fantasy utilizes the talent of Gerard Butler as Leonidas, as well as Lena Headey, Dominic West, Rodrigo Santoro and more.

Why It Ranks Here

Despite receiving flack for its representation of Persians, 300 was applauded for its strong performances, visuals, and overall stylistic innovation. Butler’s portrayal helped him gain worldwide recognition and is considered his breakthrough role. The movie earned a massive $456.1 million at the box office and was heralded by the Chicago Sun-Times as “the Citizen Kane of cinematic graphic novels.” 300 is the movie that put Snyder on the map and made him one of the most in-demand directors in Hollywood and made him Warner Bros. biggest asset for years. Rent/Buy on Prime Video

Related: 300: How Zack Snyder’s Movie Glorified Fascism and Foreshadowed the Alt-Right

4 Watchmen (2009)

watchmen

Watchmen
Release Date
March 4, 2009

Rating
R

Based on the DC Comics limited series of the same name, 2009’s superhero film Watchmen takes place in 1985, in an alternate history where former American superheroes are investigating the murder of one of their own during the Cold War, and in doing so uncover a dangerous conspiracy that threatens the lives of those who remain. The adaptation enlisted a talented cast like Carla Gugino, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Billy Crudup, and it took nearly two decades to finally make it to the big screen.

Why It Ranks Here

Upon its release, the film was met with polarized reviews from both fans and critics. Snyder’s refreshing style was praised but the movie’s lack of humor and often convoluted plot was critiqued. It won three Saturn Awards, including Best Fantasy Film, and has gone on to become more appreciated in recent years, especially due to Snyder’s director’s cut. Famed critic Roger Ebert gave the movie a glowing review, having said, “It’s a compelling visceral film—sound, images and characters combined into a decidedly odd visual experience that evokes the feel of a graphic novel.” Stream on Max

3 Man of Steel (2013)

The first installment of the DC Extended Universe, 2013’s Man of Steel, spectacularly introduces Henry Cavill as Superman and is a reboot of the classic character. The premise follows Clark Kent as he discovers his alien superpowers and dons his iconic red cape, becoming the world’s fiercest protector and taking on the formidable foe, General Zod, as he sets out to destroy all of mankind.

Why It Ranks At Number Three

Snyder’s Man of Steel was a success in theaters and, like most of the director’s previous movies, was met with mixed responses. Critics applauded the action sequences and stunning visuals but once again questioned the pacing and lack of character development. Nonetheless, Snyder’s superhero flick was given an A- audience rating from CinemaScore, and his attention to detail, occasional visual poetry, and fresh take on the iconic superhero was appreciated by many even if some fans were a little less open to some creative changes. Stream on Max

2 Justice League (2021)

While DC’s Justice League was originally released in 2017, that version was heavily edited by Joss Whedon and featured heavy reshoots that strayed away from Snyder’s vision. While the movie kept the bones of Snyder’s original plan, which featured Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman recruiting Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg to save the world from Steppenwolf and his violent army of Parademons, it was so different it feels unfair to credit him with the film. Due to DGA rules, he maintained the director credit, but in 2021, the fabled Snyder Cut of Justice League was released on Max under the title Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and it is a marked improvement over both the theatrical cut and Snyder’s previous DCEU films.

Why It Ranks Here

While the original theatrical cut of Justice League is seen as an embarrassment from everyone involved (even the actors have spoken badly about it in recent years), Zack Snyder’s Justice League feels not only like a director’s unique vision but also like a satisfying payoff to the directors two previous films. While it does not make up for the depressing tone of Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it is clear those movies are deconstruction in an attempt to build up to the heroic nature of Justice League. While the four-hour run time is a bit indulgent, and it is clear there is a releasable three-hour cut in here, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a reminder of what could have been. Stream on Max

1 Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Arguably Snyder’s most acclaimed and admired project to date is his feature film debut, 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. A surprisingly great remake of the beloved 1978 George A. Romero classic, the movie’s set in an upscale Milwaukee mall where a group of lone survivors have taken refuge during a zombie apocalypse. Snyder wanted to create a reimagining rather than a remake in order to prevent direct comparison to Romero, although such observations were always going to be made. He aimed to make his version straight horror and “as serious as a heart attack.”

Why It’s His Best Film

The director’s reimagining was both a hit with moviegoers and critics, earning $102.3 million on a $26 million budget. Snyder’s Dawn of the Deadwas lauded for its acting, production values, and overall scares and holds a 76% score on Rotten Tomatoes, his best to date as a director. It was hailed as a breakthrough in zombie films and is understandably considered Synder’s first and best picture, with major publications like Rolling Stone, Empire, and Collider including it on their rankings of the best horror and zombie flicks of the decade. Buy/Rent on Prime Video

Manuel Rivas

Fernando Rivas. Compagino mis estudios superiores en ingeniería informática con colaboraciones en distintos medios digitales. Me encanta la el periodismo de investigación y disfruto elaborando contenidos de actualidad enfocados en mantener la atención del lector. Colabora con Noticias RTV de manera regular desde hace varios meses. Profesional incansable encargado de cubrir la actualidad social y de noticias del mundo. Si quieres seguirme este es mi... Perfil en Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/manuel.rivasgonzalez.14 Email de contacto: fernando.rivas@noticiasrtv.com

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