Netflix is the Worst Thing That Could’ve Happened to Zack Snyder

Rebel Moon’s failure proves you can’t manufacture your own Snyder Cut.

Zack Snyder behind the scenes of Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire

Rebel Moon: The Scargiver is a movie for the fans, not the critics. That’s not exactly a compliment at this point — but if you worship at the church of Zack Snyder, it’s become the film’s one saving grace.

Snyder’s latest epic sees him reteaming with Netflix to achieve a lifelong goal: craft a sci-fi saga that pays tribute to formative fantasies like Star Wars. And while the bones are certainly there — especially in the production design and lore of his expansive world — the execution isn’t. Rebel Moon is hindered by a number of questionable choices, the most glaring coming from Netflix HQ itself.

The streamer has only worked with Snyder for the past four years, beginning with 2021’s Army of the Dead. But Netflix isn’t wasting any time milking Snyder’s reputation for all it’s worth. Following the director’s tumultuous partnership with Warner Bros. and DC, which gave birth to a vocal fandom and the infamous “Snyder Cut,” Netflix is attempting to manufacture its own brand of buzz. In the process, though, it might have created a monster instead.

Rebel Moon is the culmination of years of work... and of controversy for Snyder.


With Rebel Moon, the streamer commissioned a maddening new franchise. Snyder’s initial story is split into two separate films, not unlike Avengers: Infinity War and its follow-up, Endgame. But that’s not all: Snyder also has two R-rated director’s cuts waiting in the wings, each set to add about an hour of additional footage to the sci-fi epic.

Netflix’s release strategy felt like a misstep from the moment it was unveiled, but it didn’t feel right to write Snyder off before he could deliver his full vision. That said, waiting for it to manifest has been torture in itself, especially after the disappointment of The Scargiver.

For better or worse, Snyder has made the kind of film he’s always wanted to, without any overt studio meddling or the pressure to perform at the box office. And by Netflix’s metrics, The Scargiver is an unprecedented success, enjoying the #1 spot on its Top 10 list. That certainly seems to be enough for the streamer — and it’s more than enough for Snyder’s fandom, who have been singing the film’s praises on social media.

Some have gone so far as to compare it to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, another two-part sci-fi saga that’s been heralded by critics and fans alike. To the Snyder-heads, Rebel Moon is far and away the better of the two, revealing a massive divide between the fandom and critics. With the release of The Scargiver, that divide feels wider than ever... and Netflix’s strategy is only making it worse.

With Rebel Moon, Snyder finally has absolute freedom — but is that what the director needs?


Snyder has always been a polarizing director, but he hasn’t always deserved the backlash he’s earned. The critical reception to his films might have inspired such a fervent rise in his fandom, as many saw the merits in his most-panned projects. Snyder’s supporters were certainly vindicated with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, aka The Snyder Cut — which retroactively delivered a very good superhero film on the heels of internal turmoil.

But the campaign that convinced Warner Bros. to release the director’s cut at all was fueled by vitriol and a bit of deception; Rolling Stone reported that Snyder was actively encouraging fan engagement behind the scenes. Whether that’s entirely true or not, Snyder has done little to discourage it since. If anything, he’s more involved with the fandom than ever before, prioritizing engagement on Netflix over all.

There’s a toxicity within Snyder’s fandom that’s festered in the years since, and Snyder’s partnership with Netflix has only bolstered it. The streamer might be the best thing that’s happened to the director and his fans, but it’s effectively destroying any sense of healthy, unbiased criticism. It’s nice that Snyder has finally achieved the freedom he’s been searching for throughout his career, but it’s frustrating that it comes at the expense of balance.

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