19th April 2024

All 11 Zack Snyder movies, ranked

With his years of experience, Rotten Tomatoes-certified film critic and Film Critics Guild member Akhil Arora assesses and ranks every film directed by Zack Snyder, including Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver.

Zack Snyder at Netflix's Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album event on April 3, 2024 in Queens, New York
Zack Snyder at Rebel Moon – Part Two event // Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Netflix

Zack Snyder is a polarising figure—with studios and audiences. That bit isn’t controversial. After all, he has a habit of not being satisfied with the theatrical cut. More than half of his films have gone on to receive a director’s cut release. Speak to a Snyder devotee and you’ll often hear the refrain that the extended version is better. To be fair, they usually are. On the other hand, many will argue that there are a lot of things wrong with the movies Snyder makes that even the director’s cuts cannot fix. And that too is undeniable.

At the same time, that makes it challenging for ranking purposes. Which edition of the movie should one consider? In the interest of attracting all the criticisms and insults bar the one easily lobbied, I watched (or re-watched) the longest versions of every Snyder movie. (Well, save both parts of Rebel Moon as their “director’s cuts” are pending. I put the words in quotes because this is egregious behaviour from Netflix and Snyder. Who needs an extended edition when you’ve complete control in the first place?)

That includes the 215-minute “Ultimate Cut” of Watchmen, the 127-minute R-rated “Extended Cut” of Sucker Punch (that Snyder wishes to fix), the 181-minute “Ultimate Cut” of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the 242-minute “Snyder Cut” of Justice League that ended up as its own thing. (Speaking of Justice League, I’m not counting it as a Snyder movie given he walked away deep into production. Though Snyder had shot a lot, the final theatrical product was decided by Joss Whedon, who had been brought on to do rewrites and spearheaded extensive—and expensive—reshoots after he took over the film.)

No matter what side of the Snyder debate you stand on, what’s clear is that he has a particular style in filming and executing violence on screen. You could argue he’s become more of himself over the years—or rather, he’s stayed consistent while the budgets and technology have bloomed around him. It’s been central to the fanbase he’s cultivated. And while I may not love any of his movies, there are captivating moments in them.

With that, here’s my ranking of every Zack Snyder movie, from his 2004 zombie debut to the 2024 action sequel released this Friday on Netflix.

Sofia Boutella as Kora in Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire

Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire

Third rate in nearly every department—from casting to acting, and from action to plotting—Snyder’s unlicensed Star Wars looks like it was entirely shot in a parking lot. To make matters worse, Rebel Moon assumes that you’d automatically be interested in its larger universe and the franchise around it, with no care for what it’s putting in front of you now.

Djimon Hounsou in Rebel Moon Part 2

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver

Cut from the same cloth, the sequel to Rebel Moon marginally benefits from a narrower focus but Snyder’s desire for bucketloads of dreary exposition and inability to understand human connection dooms it. It has no reason to exist, for it’s a two-hour poorly-stretched epilogue that ought to have been the third act of the first part.

Emily Browning as Babydoll and Carla Gugino as Madame Vera Gorski in Sucker Punch

Sucker Punch

Problematic on multiple levels and nonsensical to an extreme, Sucker Punch was an excuse for Snyder to disguise over-the-top video game-ish action (the VFX is so apparent) involving innocent-looking, skimpily-clad young women as an empty female empowerment tale. One word sums it up: yuck.

Dave Bautista as Scott Ward in Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead

With full creative license following the Justice League debacle, Snyder delivered a failed genre homecoming that was more than happy to deploy its poorly sketched ensemble cast as zombie fodder for shock value and gratuitous violence. Drab, dull, and devoid of any fun.

Gerard Butler as Leonidas in 300


Clumsy, incoherent, and xenophobic to an extreme, Snyder’s nihilistic and ultra-macho take on a real-life tale—albeit based on a retooled history as depicted in a graphic novel—has little to offer outside of fake abs, fantastical drained-of-colour action vignettes, and close-up shots of blood flying off spears.

Soren in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Gorgeous but simplistic—the 3D computer animation is stellar, especially the photorealistic feathers—Snyder’s only animated feature is far from a hoot. Caught between being a kid’s film (ugh, that peppy song) and what Snyder loves (the scares, horrors, and the dark tone), it can never quite find the emotionally rich centre it seeks.

Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

MARTHAAA! Completely unhinged—it broke my brain the first time I saw it on the big screen—and devoid of any charm, the extended cut of Batman v Superman certainly has more room and patience. Regardless, it’s still a half-baked story that doesn’t go anywhere for ages and eventually dissolves into the same mess. All while Snyder bothers setting up his future trilogy and other DC characters.

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel

Man of Steel

The loud and incoherent second half—that climaxes with Superman fighting metallic arms and destroying half of Metropolis—spoils all the decent work done in the relatively quiet first. Zack Snyder frequently gets in his own way, drowning the quiet moments in a grimdark mess that tries its best to eschew the hope that Superman stands for.

Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II and Malin Åkerman as Silk Spectre II in Watchmen


It can ponder all it wants but Watchmen struggles to figure out what it’s trying to say amidst the omnipresent fear of nuclear annihilation personified by an all-powerful superhero who has little care for humanity and walks around with his glowing dick hanging out. Instead, it spends its baffling runtime mucking about with gonzo scene choices or where to deploy ultra slo-mo.

Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa as Aquaman in Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Save for a thoroughly enjoyable concluding sixth chapter—which takes three long hours to arrive—Snyder’s indulgent and overambitious strange beast feels like several movies rolled into one. Sure, it feels more lived in, but Snyder can’t train a critical eye on his own failings, from the plodded narrative to the never-ending exposition.

Sarah Polley as Ana Clark and Ving Rhames as Kenneth Hall in Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead

There isn’t much going on between or inside the ensemble cast—be it character development or in the way of commentary—but it offers pulsating action (from its ominous terrifying opening to a devastating end) that isn’t spoiled by Zack Snyder’s later penchant for VFX overuse.

Akhil Arora

What do you think?

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