Surya’s review published on Letterboxd:
Army of the dead is a film that has lots of hiccups, it has those constant ups and downs moments, it starts off slow, goes as predictable as a film can and when you think there isn't any novelty or uniqueness to it, it gives in a cross genre twist that slaps you to wake up, and there on, the film's an absolute blast. You think it’s a zombie film, and then the film tells you, no, that’s not only the case here. So on a whole the film do entertain! 2021 has been a good year for Snyder...One great film and another enjoyable popcorn flick.
The film lacks a lot in terms of screenplay, pacing and character development as it's just plain! There's no resistance from anyone as they easily accepts the offer to enter the land of the dead, it would have been better if at least one who decided not be a part finally ends up being a team member for his own personal reasons or vice-versa which would have added a lot of weight and human touch to the plot! And yeah, there's one who just leaves in the end and the ruthless businessman let's him walk away just like that! Are you kidding? There's a pair of father and daughter trying to rekindle their lost relationship in this journey that never for once makes us emotional, the emotion's that bad! The film is violent and gore, which is expected of a zombie film, so weak hearts, refrain from watching it!
So I would say there certainly are many issues with the script like the uneven pacing, illogical scenes, like how the hell someone or some place can survive the nuclear blast and all and many more but it still do entertain as a whole at the end! So I would give it that cinematic liberty at few places and after all, it's a zombie flick and if you seriously are looking for logics over here, you shouldn't be watching it in the first place.
But the film rapidly picks up the pace once it enters Vegas, now the zombie infected land and as it's great how it starts establishing ground rules, explains the role of the zombie Tiger guarding the Kingdom and the differences between an alphas and shamblers! This gives us a insight of what we are in for. The film is truly innovative in this part and that's what makes this more entertaining! The last 40 minutes were just a firework of smash smash smash or crack crack crack. There's some unique sequences that I haven't seen in any other zombie films. There's a touch of Human psychology in the form of greed which in turn if the first thing which brings in the unneeded trouble come in! What was a simple in and out(if things went as planned) turned into a complete havoc because even after having a pool to money to die in, the man wanted more!
But the best part of the film is the terrific genre shifting, while what initially unraveled just like any other typical zombie flick suddenly shifted the gears to time loop and extraterrestrial involvement film with the way the narrative twists were thrown at us! Though their isn't a direct explanation, there's a higher chances of probability to it, given that at various places in the film one or the other character refers to a infinite time loop comments or the Area 51 as a doorway to another realm! And the zombie race itself was trying to make earth it's home or at least trying to have a natural offspring who could lead them in a later part! So, I do think the film has a whole lot of difference dimension to it which is still untapped which might have been overlooked by many but the concept of crew members struck in a time loop looks promising. I can definitely say that the corpses are of the same livings that have come for the heist! I would love to see that angle of blending a concept of time loop with a zombie horror! Sounds so Fascinating! There is even a open ending at the end which do open up the possibility of making it into a franchise! And I think these all are what makes this film ambitious, Snyder has always been visionary!
The film is extremely clever with the costumes! They just give the exact detail of what one used to be in Vegas before the outbreak! The makeup department deserves an applause for the gruesome portrayal of the the characters! Of course the VFX do help a lot! By VFX, I would like to add how flawlessly Snyder was able to replace a complete person that you never even feel that the sequences were shot at two different times. And Valentine, the zombie tiger was spot on and terrifying. The sound mixing was just right! The film is without a doubt one of the best looking zombie flicks with right use of colors and lighting that's vibrant and glory at same time with impressive practical effects. The music too was a perfect fit. The set designs are magnificent and grand! One need not mention how perfect the camera work have always been in Snyder's film which always will be! Here too, they are just perfect! They hide and reveal rights things at right moments! The long shots, close up shots and bird's eye view, everything is done so well!
Lilly (The Coyote about zombies) : You all keep talking about the city like it's their prison. It's not. It's their kingdom.
Maria Cruz : It's a free country. People can look at whoever they want.
Martin : Actually, it's not a free country. We're not in America anymore. Haven't you heard?
Scott Ward : Which technically makes it an even freer country, right?