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Zack Snyder Films Ranked

Zack Snyder films

With his latest movie Army of the Dead out now, as well as his Justice League released earlier this year, it’s time to rank director Zack Snyder’s filmography.

Zack Snyder is one of the most divisive and polarising directors working at the moment, some people love his films, and other people absolutely despise him. For me, he’s actually one of my favourite directors, and I’m a fan of his movies. He has such a distinct style across all of his movies that some like and some don’t. Looking at his filmography as a whole, he has done so much over the past 20 years, from adaptations of comic book characters and iconic graphic novels, to zombie movies and even animated movies about owls. I’m always interested to see what he does next.

Also for the record, the Justice League movie that was released in 2017 isn’t on this list, even if Snyder’s name is on it.

9. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

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Legends of the Guardians is an often overlooked animated movie. I remember seeing when it came out in cinemas, having read the books that its based on. While the story was a little different from the books (from what I can remember), it was quite a decent movie, and should’ve gotten more attention than it received.

One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that Legend of the Guardians is a very well directed and technically strong movie, even with it being an animated kids movie, you can definitely tell that it’s a Zack Snyder movie. This is a stunning movie and there are some beautiful looking sequences. I had read the books years prior to the movie and while the story in the movie really wasn’t that great, it does stand out from some other animated movies. It is also quite dark in terms of its visuals and story, which is always refreshing for a kids movie and made it stand out. I would actually like to see Snyder take on another animated movie, he’s definitely showed himself as being very capable at making one with this movie.

My review of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

8. 300

Zack Snyder had already directed his first feature film with Dawn of the Dead, but his next film 300 is what really put him on the map as a director to really pay attention to. With the larger than life visuals, and the grand and epic scale, 300 really made an impression on audiences and critics alike and was incredible influential on other movies following it.

300 is quite an enthralling film to watch. The actors played their parts well, the story is straightforward and good enough for what it is (and does have a little more to it than just exposed men stabbing each other), but most of all, it’s Snyder’s visual storytelling that’s the highlight. The action is stylised, gratifying and entertaining, and a lot of the shots and sequences are a feast for the eyes and look straight out of a graphic novel and comic book (appropriate given the source material). Some aspects of the direction can get a little too over the top, especially with the slow-motion and some of the digital effects not holding up 1.5 decades later (especially with the green screen and blue screen). Otherwise, 300 still holds up today as a bloody, epic and entertaining watch.

My review of 300

7. Dawn of the Dead

Remakes of classic films are generally a worry, especially when it comes to horror movies, specifically in this case George A. Romero’s horror classic Dawn of the Dead. However, Zack Snyder actually did a great job with his first feature movie, a fast and intense zombie film which is still pretty good today.

James Gunn’s writing paired with Snyder’s direction was a great combination and overall, it’s quite a fun movie to watch. The plot is moving constantly and never allows you a chance to be bored. The film is short but manages to add a lot of emotion, humour and more in that time. The characters are pretty standard and aren’t special, but generally have more characterisation than most zombie movie characters, and are played well by the cast. It does lack the social commentary from George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, but in a way, there was no way of imitating what Romero did with the original, so in some way it was better keeping the straightforward zombie movie approach. It is a good-looking movie, definitely more grimy looking compared to Snyder’s later movies, which fits in with the tone. The action is fast paced and brutal, the zombies are fast, nightmarish and dangerous, and the makeup and practical effects are great. All of these come together to provide some very memorable and creative moments. Full of exhilarating energy, Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead is one of my favourite zombie movies.

My review of Dawn of the Dead

6. Sucker Punch: Extended Cut

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If there’s a movie that really started the hate for Zack Snyder as a director, it’s Sucker Punch, which got quite the negative response upon its release. It’s quite possibly his most polarising movie, which is saying a lot. There are some people who love the movie, and others who absolutely hate it. I’m actually one of the people who really liked it for what it was.

This is one of the only two films from Zack Snyder that’s not based on an existing source material. I wouldn’t say its one of Snyder’s best work by any means, but it is certainly ambitious. The narrative is far from straightforward and doesn’t spoon feed you what’s happening, which I have to respect. The narrative isn’t always coherent but I wouldn’t trade for one that was perfectly clear cut. Sucker Punch is also in some ways a female empowerment film, as well as commentary and examination of trauma, misogyny and abuse. Even if it doesn’t fully succeed, I admire the attempt at really trying to say something. The characterisation isn’t great and most of the characters are underdeveloped and underwritten, but the strong cast consisting of Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Oscar Isaac and more make up for that. As typical of Snyder, this is distinctly one of his movies from his direction alone. From the beginning of the movie with the incredible opening sequence to the very end, the visuals are stunning. As I’ve said in other reviews in the past, style is substance, and Sucker Punch has a lot of style. The action scenes are entertaining, and while knowing the context of the larger-than-life sequences being in the lead character’s head does take away from them to a degree, I still enjoy them quite a lot. Not all of the movie works and there’s some messiness to it, but a lot of Sucker Punch does work for me.

My review of Sucker Punch

5. Army of the Dead

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With his latest movie, Zack Snyder goes back to his zombie roots, while showing that he’s progressed quite a lot since that movie. While it’s not completely original with it being a zombie movie and the plot is relatively familiar, it does still make itself distinct as a zombie movie. It’s really no surprise that Netflix sees so much potential in this being a major franchise for them.

Army of the Dead is entertaining throughout, quite comedic (definitely Snyder’s most comedic film), while being quite dark, and despite the premise of a zombie heist movie in Las Vegas, it’s not necessarily a ‘dumb zombie flick’. There’s a lot of great worldbuilding as it sets up the characters and setting. The characters are great and portrayed very well by the ensemble cast. And of course, the direction from Zack Snyder is enthralling to watch. It is visually stunning (shot by Snyder as DOP this time), with some strong CGI and practical effects. Then there’s the action sequences, which very well shot and choreographed. So far, Army of the Dead is one of my favourite movies of 2021, and I can’t wait to see the spin offs, sequels and prequels that are to come from this.

My review of Army of the Dead

4. Man of Steel

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When I first saw Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel back in 2013, I thought it was pretty good, but I wasn’t quite loving it at that point. I saw it as a solid, visually stunning and entertaining superhero movie with Superman in it. After many rewatches of this, I can say with confidence that it is the best (solo) Superman movie. It did something that no other live action versions of Superman couldn’t do, get me to take Superman seriously as a character and actually get me to care about him.

Zack Snyder took Superman to places that previous live action versions hadn’t yet. The Christopher Reeve Superman is still great but more modern interpretations of the character trying to harken back to that era didn’t quite work (2017’s Justice League being an example). Snyder however makes Superman work today, both in displaying his power and abilities, as well as him as a character. Having the narrative of the first half of the story jumping between the past and present as it shows Clark’s origin story, before then having Zod and the Kryptonians showing up in the second half worked quite well for a superhero origin story. I thought that overall, the story was quite well paced, and outside of some odd dialogue, I really liked the writing. The talented cast also did great jobs, Henry Cavill is still my favourite live action Superman to date, and a cast that includes Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe and more did exceedingly well. Zack Snyder directs Man of Steel spectacularly as expected. It’s a great looking movie, from the cinematography, to the visual effects, and to the production design and costumes. Additionally, Superman’s power is portrayed very well here for a more modern era. It’s also paired with a score which is among one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. Any issues I have with Man of Steel lessen the more times I watch it. In my mind it’s the best live action Superman film (solo at least) and one of my favourite superhero movies. It gets better the more I think about it and I’m glad to see that in the past 8 years, more and more people have slowly begun to start appreciating it more for what it is.

My original review of Man of Steel

My retrospective review of Man of Steel

3. Zack Snyder’s Justice League

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The other 2021 Zack Snyder film made it into the top 5 of the list too. Without getting too into that movie, the Justice League movie that released in 2017 was a crushing disappointment. Fans of Snyder and his DCEU movies didn’t like it and were beyond disappointed, and even audiences and critics didn’t like it all that much. Since the movie’s release, there was a campaign to see Snyder’s full vision. Despite all the campaigning for the movie, it seemed that it would never come. In 2020 however, it was announced that it would be happening after all, and it did not disappoint.

With the 4 hour runtime, Snyder gets to flesh things out, with the story, the characters, and the film’s universe. The characters are great, the returning characters of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are represented much better here, and the same goes for the new additions to the League with Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash. However out of all of them, it’s Ray Fisher’s Cyborg who gets the spotlight here, who really is the heart of the movie and whose story arc receives a much needed redemption in this cut. Even the side cast and characters get to shine more here. This includes the widely panned (at least in the 2017 version) villain Steppenwolf, who in this version gets to do much more here, with a massively improved design, general threat and presence, as well as being an actual character with some depth. Snyder’s Justice League is also flat out DC’s Lord of the Rings. It truly feels like an epic from the runtime, to the chapters, as well as the atmosphere and high stakes. Despite the length it didn’t feel too bloated, when you see the complexity of the story, it makes sense. It doesn’t rush into the teaming up of the League as expected, instead taking its time to build up the story with its characters and the backstories. Despite a lot of people’s perceptions of Snyder, his Justice League movie really is heartfelt and hopeful, and offers quieter and powerful moments between characters (especially in some scenes involving Cyborg). It also does offer moments of levity and humour, but in ways that fit the movie and doesn’t feel out of place. On a technical level it delivers unsurprisingly. The action scenes are fantastic and thrilling, and Junkie XL’s score accompanying them excellently. It’s shot wonderfully, and even the choice aspect ratio for actually ends up working for the film. While it seems that Snyder’s vision unfortunately won’t be continued in the rest of the DCEU, I am glad that we at least got to see this one movie. As someone who was anticipating this movie since 2017, I’m more than satisfied with what we got. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is not only a triumphant comic book epic and a better version of the movie from 2017, but also a vindication for Snyder and everyone else who worked on the movie.

My review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League

2. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Ultimate Edition

When I watched Batman v Superman in the cinemas, it actually ended up blowing me away. I was anticipating it greatly, but it ended up being better than I expected. The Ultimate Edition was even better, fixing most of the issues that the theatrical cut had (it should’ve been the version that was released). Whichever version is being judged, BvS proved to be somehow even more divisive than Man of Steel, and I’m glad that I’m in the group of people who love it.

BvS was denser than what I expected, there was a lot of plotlines going on considering it was a comic book movie, and was more than just a straight up Batman vs Superman movie (the title certainly didn’t fit the film). I can always watch this movie and be fully invested in the story from start to finish. I love the world that Snyder and writer Chris Terrio had set these characters in it, as well as the atmosphere. This film takes some risks with what they do with the characters, and I thought they paid off. Ben Affleck’s Batman is darker than the character’s past live action appearances, he’s damaged, traumatised, unstable, and yes, a killer. I loved his arc in the movie, as well as his action scenes, with this more physical and brutal take on him. The arc of Henry Cavill’s Superman is great too, with the Ultimate Edition restoring some key scenes for him that were needed. Man of Steel was his first day on the job, BvS goes into how we would react to Superman, and this movie only further cements Cavill as my favourite version of the character. The rest of the cast are great including a surprising Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, with a younger and more complex version than some other interpretations of the character. Snyder’s direction is great again, from the visual effects, to the cinematography, the action scenes and the score. There are some complaints I have, for example as a result of being of it being a direct Man of Steel sequel and with nothing in between, we don’t really get to see a contrast between the public loving and then hating Superman. There’s also some little plot points which aren’t handled perfectly, and you can tell WB definitely got Snyder to combine some elements together to create and set up a cinematic universe. It does have issues, but I still love it. It is one of the boldest comic book movies I’ve seen, with a unique story that is fresh for these characters. Batman v Superman will probably go along the lines of Watchmen, a divisive comic book movie which has a strong following behind it making it a cult classic, both directed by Zack Snyder. Speaking of Watchmen…

My review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

My review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

My retrospective review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

1. Watchmen

A direct adaptation of Watchmen was considered to be unfilmable, yet Snyder managed to deliver on that in 2009, and in many ways it was ahead of its time given that it was released before the comic book movie boom in the 2010s. Over a decade later it works much better nowadays and is still is a great movie.

Watchmen is not a conventional comic book movie, and like the graphic novel, displays the flaws in the superhero. Overall, I thought it adapted the graphic novel quite well. Having read it, a lot of the changes I felt were appropriate and helped it work better as a live action film. I found the story to be incredibly riveting (especially the director’s cut), containing interesting characters that were intriguing to watch, helped by the great cast especially in Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup. Zack Snyder’s direction proved to be quite a good fit for the material. The visuals are great with the colours and shadows being beautifully utilised, and it’s like the scenes were ripped straight out of the graphic novel. The CGI is great, particularly with the effects involving the character of Dr Manhattan, and there are some fantastic sequences throughout. I’m not sure if this is a very unpopular opinion (it probably is), but Watchmen is my favourite comic book movie yet.

My review of Watchmen

What is your ranking of Zack Snyder’s movies?

Top 15 Best Movies of 2016

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2016 was an interesting year for film. This year was full of movies that were incredibly divisive, blockbuster or not. I find it weird that at one point, people were actually saying that 2016 was the year that films died. While there were a few films that were terrible, and a couple which disappointed, I do consider 2016 a good year for film, not that much different from previous years. It’s just that 2016 had more divisive movies than most years. The following films are my favourites of the year. And of course there will be a worst of the year list, which will be fun.

Now I do think I should state that I will be releasing updated versions of these lists later on. This is because many movies such as Lion, Silence and Jackie will be released here in Janurary and Feburary. So I’ll do an updated list, same will go for the worst of the year list. This will also allow me to catch up on the best/worst films of 2016 that I missed.

EDIT: An updated list never ended up happening. Keep in mind that in retrospect my list has changed a lot (especially after seeing more 2016 movies) so take this list as my opinion at the time. In the future I may do another updated list.

Honourable Mention

Zootopia

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Zootopia really caught me off guard. I expected an animated kids film, which would just be forgettable or annoying. To my utter surprise, not only was the film entertaining, it was actually a great film. The characters are so likable and memorable (and are voiced well), the animation was great and the story was surprisingly well written and developed. Zootopia was really one of the most surprising films of the year.

Although I will admit I like a certain other animated kids film more (which I will get to later in the list), I will credit Zootopia for having the best written animated movie story in 2016, due to how well it integrates its themes with the story. I didn’t expect this film to tackle issues like race, prejudice, etc, and for it to all work in its story. Even if the movie doesn’t look that appealing to you (believe me, it initially didn’t look good to me), I implore you to at least watch it. This movie is a lot better than you might think it is.

My review of Zootopia

15. 10 Cloverfield Lane

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead, left, and John Goodman in a scene from "10 Cloverfield Lane." (Michele K. Short/Paramount Pictures via AP)

10 Cloverfield Lane had a lot of hype from a lot of people (mostly because it had Cloverfield in the title), I admit I wasn’t as hyped as everyone else. I went in not sure about what to really expect, I hadn’t watched Cloverfield, but I still had such a great time with it. This film is very effective as a thriller, it really surprised me how tense I felt throughout the movie.

This movie was very suspenseful, you don’t know what’s going on in the film until the very end. It was slower paced but it felt very appropriate. The acting was great, especially from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. Aside from a couple of aspects near the third act of the movie, this film was great. Honestly, just go into this movie without looking into it. And don’t have any false expectations, this isn’t Cloverfield 2. This is a contained, suspenseful thriller which will keep you guessing and guessing to the very end.

My review of 10 Cloverfield Lane

14. Don’t Breathe

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Don’t Breathe is a breath of fresh air into the horror and home invasion genres. Despite it’s simple premise, the film executes that premise brilliantly, and never lets up in building suspense, and creating effective scares. It’s unfortunate that this movie hasn’t gotten quite the attention it deserves, it really needs a lot more praise.

Don’t Breathe is a very contained horror/thriller which is actually scary. There’s not false jumpscares to ruin the tension, and when jumpscares are there, they are used effectively. The tension never lets up and is consistent throughout the whole film, you can never tell which direction this film is going in. The acting was great, particularly from Stephen Lang who makes for a very effective and scary antagonist. There were a couple of aspects in the final act that I thought could’ve been better but aside from that, there aren’t really many problems with this movie. If you are a big horror fan, go see Don’t Breathe as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

My review of Don’t Breathe

13. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was a movie that was so entertaining from start to finish, with never a dull moment. This movie is very unique, it isn’t a movie that you can compare to any others. It was so easy to watch this movie and to be entertained by it.

The script of the movie is very entertaining and hilarious but at the same time had a lot of heart. The characters were so easy to love, the leading actors, Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, had excellent chemistry and were fantastic. The direction by Taika Watiti, also excellent. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was just such a surprising movie. I wasn’t expecting this movie to be so great. If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out.

My review of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

12. The Accountant

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The Accountant was a movie that sadly didn’t get a huge amount of attention for some reason. It’s a shame because it was such a great movie from its story, to its direction to the acting, most of the elements of the film are done really well.

There were a few problems I had with the story, and it didn’t always interest me in the first act but aside from that, I loved everything about the movie, from the story, to the cast (particularly Ben Affleck) and to the overall direction. By the end of the movie, I wanted a sequel, and I actually do hope that we get a sequel. Definitely check out The Accountant when you can if you haven’t already.

My review of The Accountant

11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Eddie Redmayne in a scene from, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. via AP)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was so enjoyable to watch as a Harry Potter fan. I will admit before watching the movie, I wasn’t as anticipated for the movie as much as I thought I would be. Maybe it’s because I had no idea what to really expect. However, it fits perfectly in the Harry Potter universe and it is in itself a very entertaining movie to watch.

The story was entertaining and was more complex than I expected it to be. The cast was great, with Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell being personal standouts to me. And as to be expects the special effects and action sequences were great to watch. The biggest thing for me is that this movie worked at setting up sequels while being a good movie in itself. As a Harry Potter fan I loved it. Even though I have some concerns over future instalments in the franchise (especially with one certain casting decision), I’m excited to see them.

My review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

10. Doctor Strange

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I wasn’t expecting to love Doctor Strange as much as I did. I liked all the MCU movies, so I already knew that I would probably end up liking it. But I didn’t know that it would end up being one of my favourite MCU movies. Doctor Strange was incredibly fun to watch, investing, entertaining, felt different from all the previous Marvel movies and was overall such a surprise.

The world created was so fascinating and interesting, probably more so than in other MCU worlds. The cast was on point, with Benedict Cumberbatch leading the film as now one of my favourite main characters of the MCU, and actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong adding to the film greatly. Even the villain managed to be good (though having Mads Mikkelsen play him definitely helped elevate the villain’s quality). And the action and special effects… mind blowing, and so different from what I’ve seen before. While there may be a few flaws that I had with the movie, they weren’t very significant and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie. Doctor Strange brought back my anticipation for the future MCU movies, I’m now really looking forward to seeing what is to come in future instalments.

My review of Doctor Strange

9. The Conjuring 2

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I was hesitant about a Conjuring sequel, I really liked the original Conjuring and as most of us know, horror sequels can be really bad. The only potential I found that it could be even half decent was that Conjuring director James Wan was returning for this sequel. After seeing The Conjuring 2, I can say that James Wan really is the best director working today. I didn’t expect this movie to be as great as it was.

Unlike most horror movies today, you actually care about what’s going on. It has a story, with characters that feel real. And the scares used wasn’t just scares for the sake of it being scary. It was used when it was most suited, and the scares are actually effective. The acting was great from everyone. The direction was absolutely excellent. I loved The Conjuring 2, if you love horror movies and you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out when you can. It’s now one of my all time favourite horror movies.

My review of The Conjuring 2

8. Kubo and the Two Strings

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The film already had my interest with the talented voice cast with actors like Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey involved. This movie ended up surprising me however. Out of all the animated movies I’ve seen so far this year, this is my favourite.

It was just so easy to get wrapped up in the story. Not only that but the story itself was a little more mature and darker and more challenging as a children’s movie, it took risks which I love. Everything from the characters, to the perfectly cast voice actors and the beautiful animation just hit all the right notes for me. The animation in particular played a huge part in the movie working well, with a perfect blend of Claymation, stop motion and CGI. It is such a beautiful movie, and the animation is worth the price of admission alone. I can’t wait to see more from Laika, and I hope that Kubo gets enough attention from mainstream audiences so that we can get more of these kinds of animated movies.

My review of Kubo and the Two Strings

7. Nocturnal Animals

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Nocturnal Animals was such a great movie. It was such a different and special movie which had me interested and gripped from start to finish. No matter what you think of the movie, there’s no denying that the movie is definitely unique, and it deserves a lot more praise.

The story was pretty intriguing with deeper hidden meanings, with the storylines well implemented (however I will admit that one storyline was much more interesting than the other), the direction of the film was excellent, with perfect cinematography. However the stand out to me was the fantastic cast, with actors like Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson delivering some of their finest performances. Overall, I can’t wait to see more movies from Tom Ford. This is a movie that I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

My review of Nocturnal Animals

6. The Neon Demon

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The Neon Demon is another fantastic film from Nicolas Winding Refn. Before seeing this movie, I had only seen Drive but because I loved it so much, I was excited to see Refn’s upcoming film. As to be expected, it was polarizing for the general audience, because Nicolas Winding Refn makes divisive movies. However there is a group of people who loved it, and I’m happy that I’m part of this group.

The Neon Demon is a very different film from most. It relies more on visual storytelling, and it has many layers and meanings that Refn expertly injects into the movie. His direction was excellent, the soundtrack was amazing and the cinematography was so beautiful, it’s one of the best looking films of the whole year. Also the acting from everyone was great, particularly from a supporting performance by Jena Malone, who really deserves more praise. The Neon Demon overall is a movie that’s not for everyone. Some love the movie, some hate it, others don’t really know what to think of it. I’m glad that I’m in the group of people that love it. I can’t wait to see more films by Refn, both his older films and his future films.

My review of The Neon Demon

5. The Nice Guys

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I had a feeling this film would be great, with great actors Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling involved, as well as talented writer and director Shane Black leading the film. The film had a lot of potential. But I didn’t expect to love this movie this much. This and Hunt for the Wilderpeople are probably the funniest most quotable films of the year. The Nice Guys is non stop entertaining from start to finish, and has a well written and put together story.

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe were great, hilarious and perfectly cast in their roles, the writing is well written and all the jokes hit hard. Shane Black’s direction was also excellent, perfectly stylished and fitted well in its time period in the 70s. I can’t think really of any problems with this film. More people really should’ve seen The Nice Guys. I loved this movie when I first saw it and I loved it even more the second time. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, stop what you’re doing and go out and watch it right now. It is truly brilliant.

My review of The Nice Guys

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Rogue One had a lot to live up to. It was a Star Wars film taking place between Episodes 3 and 4, a prequel (which we all know don’t have that great of a reputation) and this film is released one year after the release of The Force Awakens, so it had a lot to live up to. I had such high hopes for this movie. Still, this movie managed to surpass those expectations, which really is such a surprise.

It was a darker and grittier story than most of the Star Wars movies. The movie had me completely invested from start to finish. The third act is simply perfection, especially with the last moments of the movie (no spoilers here). The acting was great, I loved the characters (highlights were Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO and Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Krennic). The direction of the film overall was fantastic. Aside from a couple aspects of the movie, I loved everything about this movie. I will say that I personally love this movie slightly more than The Force Awakens, which is such a huge achievement, because I loved The Force Awakens. Rogue One is definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2016.

My review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Now these next three picks could honestly be arranged in any order.

3. La La Land

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La La Land truly blew me away, I wasn’t expecting how excellent this movie would be. However, I shouldn’t really be surprised that I loved this movie because Damian Chazelle’s (director of Whiplash) was involved. Every element in the film worked well and delivered a fantastic, entertaining, and overall great film.

The main leads, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were fantastic and worked perfectly together, their chemistry is excellent. The direction of the movie is quite simply perfect. Everything fitted together whether that was the cinematography, the use of colour, the music, the choreography, everything fitted so well together. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go out and see it as soon as you can. It is truly a fantastic movie.

My review of La La Land.

2. Arrival

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival was one of my most anticipated films of the year, mostly due to the cast (with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker) and director Denis Villeneuve. I knew that it would be great, as Villeneuve has made some truly great films with Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario. However, Arrival surpassed my expectations on every single level, I absolutely loved it.

I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t seen it yet so I’ll try to keep my description of the movie vague. The performances were excellent, especially from Amy Adams, who gives one of her all time best performances. The direction (as to be expected from Villeneuve) was incredible, everything technical in this movie fits perfectly into place and the cinematography is beautiful. Most of all, the story was great, the mystery is drawn out incredibly well and everything ties up well at the end. I know that a lot of people are divided by the ending, but I for one loved it, and thought that it was perfect for the movie. There’s not one flaw I can find in this movie. It is a movie you need to know what you’re getting into before seeing it, it’s slower paced, it’s not action packed, but all that benefited the movie overall. If you haven’t seen Arrival yet, I implore you to see it as soon as you can. It is truly an excellent movie.

My review of Arrival

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

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I know what you’re probably thinking, why is Batman v Superman at number 1 and especially over all these other great movies? While Batman v Superman might not be the best film of 2016, it is my favourite movie of 2016. Honestly, I’m surprised that this movie is so high up on my list. This movie had a lot to accomplish: it had to establish Batman, Wonder Woman, many of the Justice League members and the possible future. I was scared for how the movie would turn out but it managed to pull it off greatly. The film however didn’t feel overstuffed, it was balanced out well. Certain aspects like other members of the Justice League and future enemies are hinted at but don’t distract from the main story. Also, instead of going with the predictably action route, this movie for at least the first two acts is a political thriller, with some action in it (and then the last act is full on action). This movie goes to some places that I’ve not seen most comic book movies go. It challenges these iconic superheroes and gives them compelling character arcs (well, Superman’s is shown in the Ultimate Edition). Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition achieves all of that, and it’s a miracle that it has done that.

Ben Affleck’s Batman was just perfect to me and had a great character arc, Henry Cavill’s Superman was sympathetic and likable and even Jesse Eisenberg impressed me with his interpretation of Lex Luther. Not to mention Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stole the show. However, I must stress that the Ultimate Edition is the version I’m ranking this movie. If it was the Theatrical Cut, this movie would be down some places. The Ultimate Edition fills any holes that I had with the film and makes the film feel more complete overall. I will not lie, this is in my top 2 favourite Comic Book Movies of all time now. Bold statement, I know.

My review of the Theatrical Cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

My review of the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Well, up next is my worst of the year list. That should be fun. It will take a little while as I haven’t seen too many bad 2016 movies, when I get 10 of them I’ll make a list (and then possibly make an updated list later).

What are your favourite films of the year? Comment below and let me know.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition (2016) Review

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Time: 182 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Jesse Eisenberg as Alexander “Lex” Luthor
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Holly Hunter as Senator June Finch
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman
Director: Zack Snyder

It’s been nearly two years since Superman’s (Henry Cavill) colossal battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) devastated the city of Metropolis. The loss of life and collateral damage left many feeling angry and helpless, including crime-fighting billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). Convinced that Superman is now a threat to humanity, Batman embarks on a personal vendetta to end his reign on Earth, while the conniving Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) launches his own crusade against the Man of Steel.

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Link to review of theatrical cut: https://thecinemacritic.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice-2016-review/

Batman v Superman was an extremely divisive movie upon its release, particularly with the direction that they took the movie and its iconic characters. However from what I can tell, the 3-hour cut is generally more well received. Whether this version will make you like it more depends on your problems with the original version, if your issues were the pacing and editing you might like this more. If your issues were with Jesse Eisenberg’s performance or the fact that Batman kills, then no, chances are you’ll still have problems with this version. I loved the theatrical cut and that was already my favourite movie of the year. My only problem I had with the movie was that it felt like there was a lot of footage missing. With that issue fixed, there’s not many problems I have with the movie, maybe there might be the occasional plot decision that could’ve been done better but that’s really it.

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In this version we get more expansion of the stories for Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor. One of the criticisms of Batman v Superman was that for many, Clark’s motives weren’t clear. I personally understood what Snyder was going for but the extended version does make it a lot clearer, especially as it shows more scenes of him like when he goes to Gotham. In fact it shows more of his emotions, there is a certain scene during the senate scene with Superman during the halfway point that’s in the extended version, and I have no idea why it was cut. Lois gets to do some investigation of her own. Lex didn’t get a whole lot of new scenes but it does show how much of a part he played in making Batman and Superman battle each other. Also other characters like the African woman at the Senate at the beginning of the film and Wallace Keefe are more defined, with their motivations made even clearer. This film also flat out explains things that were left ambiguous in the original cut, for example in the middle of the movie, an ‘incident’ occurs involving Superman and there is an explanation of why things went how they did. If you watched the theatrical cut before seeing this version, you’ll notice that there are random things that weren’t included, for example there’s a bit of 2 seconds of Batman punching Superman, which was cut from the previous version. It was like Warner Bros was trying to cut down this film as much as possible.

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One legitimate criticism of the theatrical cut was the editing. While it didn’t bother me, I definitely noticed that the scenes jumped locations quickly, and with not a great transition, especially in the first act. The Ultimate Edition gives time for the scenes to breathe, the Lois desert scene was an example, it gave a lot more time for us to get into the scene. Not only that, this version rearranges scenes and connects many of them. For example, this connects Lex’s two introductory scenes, the first when he’s speaking to the senators and the second when he gains access to the Kryptonian Ship and Zod’s body. In the theatrical cut for no reason at all, they put a scene in between. The movie overall seemed to flow a lot smoother, for me at least.

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This film was always going to be divisive, no matter what version was released. I have no idea how differently you’ll see this movie to the first version, some people like this version more, others think the theatrical version is better. But either case I do think it’s at least worth checking out, whether you love or hate this movie. I will openly say that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition might actually be my favourite comic book movie of all time. And I don’t say these kinds of statements easily.