Zack Snyder Day comes a few times a year. It’s always unexpected, but when it happens, it’s a real treat. On this, the third (?) Zack Snyder Day of 2019, the filmmaker—who is really very good at understanding things—has blessed us with his fascinating thoughts on two subjects: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, and the 2011 male gaze-a-palooza known as Sucker Punch. Though these two things, which come from completely different mediums, may not seem related on the surface, they actually have a few things in common. The first is, of course, Zack Snyder, who directed Sucker Punch and has long been planning an adaptation of The Fountainhead. The second, as evidenced by Snyder’s comments in an interview with ComicBookDebate, is that they are both about sex in one form or another. Snyder also believes they’re both wildly misunderstood pieces of art. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Sorry, but we shall!
Regarding Ayn Rand’s controversial and very long novel—which has become something of a significant text for conservatives, libertarians, and the alt-right—Snyder concedes that “it’s a really touchy subject right now” because “People will think it’s hardcore right-wing propaganda.” But Snyder is here to tell you that those people are wrong. Ayn Rand’s book is “super fun and crazy and melodramatic about architecture and sex,” he says. And if anyone knows about super fun and crazy and melodramatic sexy stuff, it’s Zack Snyder, the director of Sucker Punch, and the man who believes Batman is a stone-cold murderous motherfucker. It’s like, no one gets architecture, you know? Utilitarian planning is super fun and crazy! Buildings are sexy as hell! Finally, someone is giving architecture the treatment it deserves. Or he will, when Donald Trump isn’t our president anymore. (Trump also loves The Fountainhead, by the way.) “It’s about time we get a different president so we don’t take shit so seriously,” Snyder says. I’m sure if Hillary Clinton were president there wouldn’t be a petition to change the eighth season of Game Of Thrones. Utopia, is what that sounds like.
Moving on to Sucker Punch, Snyder claims that his 2011 film was “badly misunderstood.” That’s understandable. It’s nigh-impossible to parse the heady themes of a film in which young women trapped in a mental asylum enter a fantasy world where they’re actually exotic dancers with names like “Babydoll” who fight evil while dressed in costumes from Yandy.com in order to escape the horrors of the real world—like lobotomies and rape. Who among us could possibly understand? “I always said that it was a commentary on sexism and geek culture,” Snyder says. “Someone would ask me, ‘Why did you film the girls this way?’ And I’d say, ‘Well you did!’” Ah, yes, the good ol’ “I learned it from watching you!” defense. As it turns out, the movie steeped in the male gaze is actually a commentary on the male gaze. To wit: If you’re looking up those young ladies’ skirts and getting all bonered up about it because the camera is positioned to look up their skirts, it’s your fault. To put it another way: If Zack Snyder leads a horse to water and forces its head under, it’s not his fault that the horse took a big swig.
If you need a less complicated explanation, Snyder adds, “Sucker Punch is a fuck you to a lot of people who will watch it.” Boy, he’s not kidding.