Click-Bait Headlines Misrepresent Zack Snyder's Words About “Flavor Of the Week” Ant-Man
The American media packages facts to tell a story. There is nothing wrong with that; storytelling is an essential function of reporting. However, our current media is so intent on creating The Narrative, that every fact or event is folded (and distorted) into the story the media is determined to tell.
That’s how we get endless political analysis touting the differences between “red” America and “blue” America, despite the fact that the American people are really not divisible into amorphous blobs “red” and “blue” traits.
That’s how we get sports reporters insisting that the Patriots are either Cheaters or Not Cheaters, despite the fact that there’s an entire narrative about process and power just waiting to be exposed.
And that’s why every story about comic book movies gets folded into a broader Narrative entitled “Marvel vs. DC.” (The Narrative has no patience for more than two sides.)
Today’s installment of Marvel vs. DC finds director Jack Snyder allegedly deriding Marvel’s Ant-Man as a “flavor of the month.” Oooh, juicy!!!! The headlines say Snyder is totally dissing Ant-Man! How will Marvel react???? What’s Paul Rudd gonna say???
All of these reports are mischaracterizations of what Snyder actually said. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Snyder was asked to react to Steven Spielberg‘s comments about superhero movies eventually going the way of the Western.
The underlying assumption is that Westerns were wildly popular and then died out. Of course there are still Westerns being made, because there is always room for epic storytelling, or movies that re-imagine genre films. And that was basically Snyder’s point. In agreeing with Spielberg’s take, Snyder observed:
“It goes to the mythological nature of the movies that we’re making,” he said. “I feel like he’s right. But I feel like Batman and Superman are transcendent of superhero movies in a way, because they’re Batman and Superman. They’re not just, like, the flavor of the week Ant-Man—not to be mean, but whatever it is. What is the next Blank-Man?”
You can characterize this as “taking a shot” at Marvel, like Variety did, but what Snyder said is right. Superman and Batman transcend superhero movies. You will always find Superman and Batman on the big and small screens and everywhere in between, regardless of whether Superhero movies are popular or dead, because those characters have lives that extend well beyond DC’s latest film and comic iterations.
Does Ant-Man have that cultural cache? No. Does Thor? No. Does Hawkeye? No. Does Black Widow? No. Does Guardians of the Galaxy? Um, no. Does Captain America? Close, but no. That doesn’t diminish whatever it is that these movies achieved. It’s just fact.
This is an era where everybody wants to be in the Superhero movie biz. And Marvel has been adept at extracting the next Blank-man or whatever and turning the movies into hits. But Superman and Batman have been in the public consciousness for far longer than talking trees and cool-dude raccoons. That doesn’t mean Snyder is trolling Marvel. Sometimes a fact is just a fact.