Army of the Dead

Army of the Dead ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

When Army of the Dead was announced I was excited as much as any other Snyder fan to just see him let loose and have fun with this fun “zombie heist” film premise, but what I wasn’t expecting however, was to have of the biggest emotional moments I’ve had this year after watching it— but I’ll get to that. 

What makes Snyder such a standout and exciting director to watch for me is the ways in which he perfectly blends excessive, maximalist scenarios with genuinely earnest moments of heartfelt melodrama in a way that very few directors manage to pull off. This film is no exception to this as we see massive waves of zombies getting slaughtered in wonderful cinematic violence that are immensely satisfying to watch and are contrasted with the loving story of a father-daughter relationship which is what makes the film work as well as it does for me. It’s not perfect as I couldn’t fully embrace some of his humor this time around and found a few sections to be tedious to get through, but even with that in mind, this still manages to be one of the finer releases to come out this year. 

Even though I was already enjoying the movie with how much fun it was, what really made this film click for me was the ending that pulled just the right heartstrings to make me swell up in tears. His films have always revolved around love and family in one way or another, and since his own daughter’s passing in 2017, we can see how this has only increased in the two films he has released this year, particularly in this one. In here the father passes away at the end and just before he goes he has one final conversation with his daughter about a food truck he longs to build. They talk as the sun is setting behind them until he finally says:

Let me just look at you

Something about that phrase struck something in me that made me reflect about my own mortality and the way I would want more than anything else to see my loved ones one final time before my time eventually comes and the things I would give to see those which I have already lost once again. Tears started to fall own my face as this moment of pure and genuine love kept resonating in my head over and over, as I couldn’t help but picture Snyder hoping to see his own daughter one last time the same way the father asked for in this heart wrenching scene. 

I watched this movie with my dad, and as soon as it was over and the credits started to roll the song “Suspicious Minds” started playing, which is one of his all time favorite songs, and he just got up and started dancing around the room while singing the lyrics without a care in the world. It was in that moment that all I could do was simply look at him as he was going around with tears streaming down my face. It was in that moment that I felt grateful for having him and my family in my life, for being alive with so many wonderful people in this world and for being able to experience these small moments of genuine joy with the people I love most. Autumn Snyder may no longer be with us but her legacy lives on through the characters her dad showcases onscreen as a constant reminder to appreciate the people we care for the most while we still have them around. 

Army of the Dead can be seen as a simple movie on the surface, one whose only care is for being as loud and violent as possible with the sole purpose of being entertaining, but buried underneath all the gore and flashy cinematography, lies an honest love letter from a grieving father to his daughter. It’s a very special film indeed and one that only further establishes Snyder as one of the most important voices of our times. Powerful stuff.

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