Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★★★

An insane evolution of the zombie film. Zack is an absolute mad man and pushes this genre to it's absolute limits while also bending and stretching every single trope of it imaginable and mixing it with the heist film as well. He pulls off these notions of zombies as actual fighters and not just an overwhelming force, zombies as actual characters that we grow to care for as much as actual survivors, and then of course there's a goddamn zombie tiger because Zack is simply a legend like that, and gives 0 fucks. The whole film is Zack saying why the hell not? and just doing every wild thing imaginable. The whole thing serves as this genre mash up/ deconstruction but can still simply be a badass zombie heist movie with a surprising amount of emotional weight. Zack has been the best visual director in Hollywood for quite awhile now, so him serving as this film's cinematographer felt like such a natural step that I'm surprised didn't happen sooner beyond his short film. Zack's whole career is built on this notion of audience subversion, and overall taking genres to places where by all pre conceived ideas, they shouldn't go and shouldn't exist. From Sucker Punch being marketed towards raging horny nerds to then actively saying fuck you to them, and then all the way to Zack Snyder's Justice League where he made a 4 hour, black-and-white (if you're viewing the intended version), and 4:3 aspect ratio superhero movie, and now to Army of the Dead where man turns zombies into a superior species that can replace humanity and they have emotional depth, to the technical side of this trippy out of focus style. I love the return of this montage title sequence that gives the entire back story of this universe, it's like a mini movie same as the one for Watchmen was. While it's not as visually beautiful as Batman v Superman or Watchmen, it's definitely one of the most unique and overall striking films I've seen. The whole thing is shot like that knightmare sequence in ZSJL which was so cool. I'm sorta obsessed with it visually, like just seeing this focus effect never got old. I need an affordable version of this lens like please I need it. The film never got close to boring because even during the smallest dialogue scene I was just entranced by this visual language that Zack has created here. The Larry Fong reference was so wholesome. Even though this was mostly completed before the pandemic even started, the connections to covid were fascinating, and I started to notice them as soon as that thermometer scene happened. The cast for this thing is kinda legendary with everyone being both badass action stars and deep characters. This submits Dave Bautista as by far the best of the actors from WWE, he reaches emotional levels The Rock or John Cena have never even come close to. Also, I sorta have a major crush on Ella Purnell now whom was definitely my favorite. She so cute. The last shot she's in is one of my favorite of Zack's entire filmography. Our safe cracker was also a favorite of mine, he was very charismatic, so I'm very excited for his spinoff film. Tig was also very badass and the technical work to add her to the film is seamless, but the times it is noticeable actually looks really cool to me for some reason, I think it really compliments this trippy style. I also really loved Lily, she was badass. The score is so dang cool with the absolute man Junkie XL popping off always. Using the same piece of music that was in Excalibur was so cool and so Zack Snyder, I freaking loved it. There's a surprising amount of really effective horror when I was expecting it to just be action focused, but I got legitimately creeped out and intimidated by these zombies. That hibernating zombies scene for instance was literally terrifying. The action is literally so cool, that one extended action sequence with Chambers is one of my favorite gun action scenes ever automatically. The violence and gore is absolutely the most extreme of Zack's entire career which just shows how far he can go without restrictions. It's a visual feast. It's a masterful zombie and heist movie. The emotional connection to the characters destroys any other zombie film. This is easily my new favorite zombie film and it's not even close. Being a zombie film, it ends up being pretty brutal for those involved, but the emotional message wins out. The ending was insane and I can't wait to see the future of this franchise because there's so much potential here.
Under all of this, the film is truly about a father's redemption and catharsis in his relationship with his daughter which is a deeply profound and emotional notion for a Zack Snyder film. A father daughter film underneath a zombie and heist movie is pretty legendary. He continues being the modern master of deeply personal action blockbusters, and just making them an art form in general. This truly is the year of Snyder. Man dropped two insane blockbusters within 2 months of each other. I don't know them bitches HBO max anymore, me and Netflix homies now. Another great example of why Zack Snyder is the boldest and my favorite director working in Hollywood today. I just love the man so much. His style will never not be perfect for me. Zombies, violence, slowmo, Joseph Campbell, Excalibur, jacked dudes, badass women, great soundtrack, unmatched visuals, and an overall badass action movie with beautiful emotional undertones. Name a more Zack Snyder movie than all of that. Second best film of the year only behind his previous one. 2021 ranked 

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