When it comes to Warner Bros. and the DCEU, 2022 isn't just a fresh start; it's also the year of the Bat. In addition to Matt Reeves' The Batman, Warner Bros. is diving into their own Multiverse with The Flash starring not only Michael Keaton's version of the Dark Knight but also Ben Affleck's from Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman and Justice League.
While it's been years since fans have seen Keaton don the cowl, Affleck's only recently played the character in 2021's Zack Snyder's Justice League. Whether The Flash will be the actor's final bow as the Caped Crusader remains to be seen; but as for Zack Snyder, the director has seemingly moved on directing films like Army of the Dead.
As fans struggle to process a DC slate without Snyder as part of the conversation, some are still coming to grips with why his films weren't as well received by critics as they were by his loyal audience.
Zack Snyder's Kind Personality Hurt Batman v Superman
Greg Silverman, a former Warner Bros. executive, recently agreed with a tweet asserting that the lack of acclaim for Snyder's DC films is actually due to critics' view of Snyder.
In Silverman's own tweet, he expressed that "because [Snyder] is a decent approachable humble human, he didn't fit the mold of an auteur:"
"I couldn’t agree more. My suspicion always was that Zack’s kindness openness and enthusiasm created an environment for critics to undervalue his work. Because he is a decent approachable humble human, he didn’t fit the mold of an auteur. Shitty. Should be the opposite."
During Silverman's tenure at Warner Bros., he oversaw not only Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but also Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight which enjoyed a largely positive reception.
While he's clearly familiar with the comic book genre, it's worth noting that Silverman left the studio before the release of 2017's Justice League where Warner Bros. dismissed Snyder's work and vision for that of Joss Whedon's.
This debacle led to the fan-led Release of the Snyder Cut movement which resulted in Zack Snyder's Justice League being released on HBO Max in 2021.
The lead-up to the cut's release also showcased what Silverman described as "Zack's kindness, openness, and enthusiasm" due to his generous interactions with fans and press - a sharp contrast to his penchant for melancholy heroes and high body counts.
A Tale of Two DC Directors: Snyder v Nolan
It's impossible to say with certainty that critics were influenced by Zack Snyder's personality; and to Silverman's credit, he did state that his opinion was his suspicion. Still, it's a possibility that's worth exploring for several reasons.
First of all, while Silverman stated that Snyder didn't "fit the mold of an auteur," he still is most definitely an auteur whose approach to the comic book genre is comparable to Christopher Nolan who, again, also directed a comic book film that included Batman.
For instance, both directors leaned into a melancholic tone and a desaturated color palette for their comic book films - a stark contrast to Marvel's colorful and witty style of today.
Also, much like Nolan, when it comes to the assemblage of comic book films, there's no mistaking Zack Snyder's brand with his affinity for slow-motion and black and white.
Secondly, while critics typically mourn lack of originality and guns for hire, one would think that Snyder's unique and distinct style would've made him a critical darling as it did Christopher Nolan.
So why isn't he? Again, Silverman may have a point here. Snyder as a person doesn't match the flavor of Snyder's library of work; and if that's why critics rejected him, then that is unfortunate. A creator can be both original and kind at the same time.
If that isn't the reason, then there's something else unique about Snyder's work that kept the critics at bay. As audiences take in yet another new Batman from Matt Reeves, followed by Affleck's Batman under the guide of The Flash's Andy Muschietti, perhaps that "something" may become more clear.
Zack Snyder's Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are available to stream on HBO Max.