Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Superman (Henry Cavill) in "Batman vs. Superman" (2016). Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Why Zack Snyder’s vision inspires me

“Batman vs Superman” was the last superhero movie I remember enjoying. Unexpected loss drained my emotions away for years until I was reminded of the love I had for heroes. In part, I have Zack Snyder (and my grandmother) to thank for that.

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I remember my first time watching “Batman v Superman” with such vivid retrospection. It was 2016 and my forever best friend, Whitney Graham, and I plotted months in advance to see the premiere.

Whitney and I have been friends for over two decades now. A relationship written in the stars, apparently, given our prefered heroes. She’s a huge fan of Batman. I’m a huge fan of Superman. We needed to see this movie.

So we did. 

I loved it. The theatrics, the flow, the cinemacism and all out creative direction was captivating. Director Zack Snyder’s take on beloved characters inspired me. Lois Lane’s investigative antics to uncover the truth were so well rounded. Wonder Woman’s appearance was befittingly natural. Lex and Bruce’s motives were grounded. Everything truly made sense.

It was the last movie I truly remember enjoying. Before post “Batman vs Superman,” I practically enjoyed every Superman related title. I related to the hero. Like Clark, I too grew up isolated on a family farm. Raised by my grandparents, I dreamed of an exciting life as a journalist in a massive metropolis full of life. I loved my family but I wanted to make a difference. After seeing the movie, however, my childlike spark of joy seemed to whither away.

2016 was a difficult year for me. Soon after watching “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice,” my father figure, my grandfather, died at the grips of cancer. It was devastating. Then, 10 months later, my mother died from an accidental overdose. Neither death was expected, and neither death has been accepted. 

Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill) face off in “Batman vs Superman.” Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

I struggled with their loss throughout the next four years. I missed my role models when I came out as gay. I missed them when I earned my AA and BA degrees. I missed them when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I missed them when I constructed dailyplanetdc.com

Depression set in. I found it difficult to enjoy anything I had loved before. Whenever revisiting a favorite movie, I’d find myself thinking about my losses. Whenever I’d sit through epic premieres, I’d wish my mom was sitting beside me. I grew stagnant. Despondent. I saw no end in sight. I prayed for relief. It felt like I was under this shroud of discontent, moving through the motions of life severed from emotional connection. 

At first I thought that I may be suffering from “superhero fatigue,” but this wasn’t the case. This lifeless feeling inside consumed everything. I faked emotions. I felt like a sham, an empty husk of who I once was and I told no-one.

Then, on Fathers Day in 2020, I lost my grandmother. She was my favorite person. Inspirationally optimistic and extremely supportive, she represented everything I could be. Her loss shook me most. It shook me out from my funk and brought me back into reality. Her death inspired me to live my life to the fullest because that’s what she wanted. That’s what she told me. But it was slow traction. A disdain for life was hard to shuck away.

Soon after, months prior to her loss, my love for heroes was reignited. After witnessing the epic trailer premiere for “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” my fandom filled heart has been reinstated. Inspired by this, I revisited “Batman vs Superman” once again. Something I’ve done multiple times in the past five years. Upon revisitation, I found my love for the League rekindled.

Ben Affleck as Batman with Director Zack Snyder on the “Batman vs Superman” set. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Zack Snyder’s take on my favorite characters is realistically relatable. It’s hardcore, emotional and full of heart. It’s a true representation of what the world would be like if supers existed. Our flaws and faults wouldn’t simply vanish. Our divided nature and litigious society wouldn’t just change. We’d all adapt and the planet would simply keep rotating. His approach to these fanciful characters is wholeheartedly unique and well thought out.

Zack also provides us with a vision of impact these characters would have on an otherwise non-super society. Superman’s heart would provide the world with hope, Batman’s strength would provide inspiration of courage and Wonder Woman’s ferocity brings about change like never before. This is how I feel given their positive impact on me, and this is just the trinity. 

These movies (Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman) reminded me of my loved ones. I remembered times where I expressed my hype for the DC multiverse to my three parentals. I remember my love and lost relatives through them as I feel the same, renewed compassion for films like these.

Rewatching the 2016 blockbuster reminded me of how it felt to believe in these heroes. I felt like I was living through these historic events. I was inspired. I found my fanfare again, all thanks to Zack Snyder’s relatable and realistic vision –– and I’m forever grateful. 

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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