When it comes to contemporary action filmmakers, few have as distinct and hard-hitting a style as Zack Snyder.
Making his feature directorial debut with the 2004 zombie movie “Dawn of the Dead”, Snyder shot to even bigger acclaim with his 2007 epic “300”, which brought his iconic, comic book-inspired visual flair to the big-screen.
Snyder would go on to helm other big movies like “Sucker Punch” and “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole”, while he would cement his legacy as a filmmaker in adapting superheroes from the pages of DC Comics to the big-screen.
That began with 2009’s “Watchmen”, and later continued with his mega-budget superhero flicks “Man of Steel”, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”. While Snyder’s movies are renown for their epic scope and ethereal visual style, he also has as great an eye for a fight scene as any action filmmaker in the business. Working with some of the best stunt pros and fight choreographers today, Snyder’s fight scenes never cease to amaze.
Snyder is set to take his skill with visual awe, and action-packed grit to his upcoming, two-part sci-fi adventure “Rebel Moon” (retooled from Snyder’s original pitch for a “Star Wars” movie).
While the world awaits the release of “Rebel Moon” on Netflix, a look back on the countless incredible fight scenes of Snyder’s career is worthy of a trip down memory lane with some of the best fights to feature in modern action films.
So…without further ado, get ready for an adrenalin rush par excellence dear readers – as here are the Top 10 Best Zack Snyder Movie Fight Scenes! (in descending order)
10. Ozymandias vs The Comedian – “Watchmen”
Zack Snyder’s first superhero movie was 2009’s “Watchmen”, adapting the seminal graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
While less action-packed than Snyder’s movies tend to be, “Watchmen” still has an abundance of outstanding fight scenes, including the comedian’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) apartment brawl with a disguised Ozymandias (Matthew Goode).
Like an invincible ninja, Ozymandias is a swift, and powerful opponent against the Comedian’s more raw brawling skills, and Snyder’s trademark speed-ramping is put to good use too.
The Comedian has a viciously sinister sense of humor, but belying the Comedian’s immortal one-liner, the first fight scene of “Watchmen” is anything but a joke…
9. Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) vs Zombies – “Army of the Dead”
Zack Snyder’s return to zombie movies in 2021’s “Army of the Dead” was a souped-up blast of undead action, most especially with the new breed of zombies lording over Las Vegas known as the Alphas.
Under the leadership of Zeus, the Alphas catch up to the movie’s safe-cracking mercenaries to avenge the death of their Queen.
Few zombie fights have ever been as intricate as Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) wielding his blade against Alphas who can dodge and weave with Capoeira-like moves, and Zeus’ one-on-one with Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) commences with two enemies who share a tacit respect for one another.
With Richard Cetrone going from Ben Affleck’s Batman double to the alpha king Zeus, it’s no wonder “Army of the Dead” has such a killer final zombie showdown!
8. The Trinity vs. Doomsday – “Batman v Superman”
“Batman v Superman” brought DC’s Trinity of Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) together over the course of its complex story, and it shot for the stars by having the Kryptonian beast, Doomsday, be their first enemy they battle together.
Wonder Woman steals the show as an Amazon warrior leaping into battle with unbridled zeal, and the shot of Superman and Doomsday unleashing their heat vision against each other is one of the movie’s countless comic-book inspired money shots (the same goes for Batman’s shot evading Doomsday pulled right out of “The Dark Knight Returns”.)
As in the comics, Superman is forced to lay down his life to stop Doomsday, with Batman and Wonder Woman inspired by his sacrifice to form the Justice League to stop the coming invasion of Darkseid.
Epic action scenes are Zack Snyder’s stock and trade, and the Trinity’s showdown with Doomsday is one of his biggest ever.
7. Batman and Superman Face Off – “Batman v Superman”
The title says it all in “Batman v Superman”, with the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel doing battle.
“Batman v Superman” is heavily inspired by Frank Miller’s graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns”, which Batman’s armor suit demonstrates, and what makes the fight even better is Batman’s crafty way of deploying Kryptonite gas. It doesn’t just weaken Superman to finish the fight, but simply levels the playing field.
Audiences, of course, deserve nothing less in a fight scene with a Superman as powerful as Cavill’s and a Batman who can fight like Affleck’s. Naturally, Batman and Superman join forces by the end of the movie, but seeing them throwdown remains a fanboy’s dream finally realized.
6. Tunnel Battle – “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”
The Justice League first comes together in the tunnel battle of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”, and like any great team battle, each of their individual skills and power sets is showcased as they work in tandem with each other.
Wonder Woman unleashes her sword and lasso skills against Steppenwolf, Batman punches and spin-kicks Parademons with his sheer martial arts might, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) breaks out his energy blasts and ability to interface with any form of technology, while The Flash (Ezra Miller) is 50 steps ahead of everyone with his super-speed.
Aquaman (Jason Momoa) might arrive a little late to the party, but his skill with his trident and relationship with the sea nonetheless are a show-stopping cap-off to the fight.
Steppenwolf and his Parademons are fearsome enemies, but the Justice League together (albeit sans Superman) give him a good run for his money.
5. Leonidas vs Persian Soldiers – “300”
Zack Snyder’s second movie “300” began his foray into the comic book movie world as an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae.
The battle scenes and visual grandeur of “300” were truly unique when the movie hit screens in 2007, with Snyder capturing the movie’s battle scenes like ethereal wars.
Leonidas breaking away from the Spartan phalanx to take on Persian soldiers single-handedly was the money shot of the first battle, with Snyder’s slow-mo, and speed-ramping making it an epic sight to behold.
The fact that future “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski was one of the fight choreographers of “300” certainly didn’t hurt either!
4. The Smallville Fight – “Man of Steel”
“Man of Steel” has plenty of action in its first half, but its second is the first time Snyder really shows the level of strength that Superman and his fellow Kryptonians are capable of in the movie’s Smallville battle.
General Zod’s sub-commander Faora (Antje Traue) became a break-out villainess in “Man of Steel”, truly giving a challenge for Henry Cavill’s Superman to overcome.
The punches and strikes in the fight would hit hard even without superpowers being used, but the idea of what a Superman fight scene could truly achieve was never met until Superman stood his ground against Kryptonian soldiers in Smallville.
At one moment, Superman flies his opponent into the air to punch him a football field away, the next, his enemy returns fire by literally throwing a train at him.
The legacy of “Man of Steel” truly is being the first Superman movie to deliver unforgettable action like that.
3. Black Superman vs Steppenwolf – “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”
When the Snyder Cut was finally released, it left the 2017 theatrical version of “Justice League” in the dust in every possible way.
One of the biggest fights was with Superman, and specifically his role in the League’s final battle with Steppenwolf.
What could be a more Superman way to shake off an axe strike than to scoff “Not impressed!” to your enemy and literally freeze his axe with a puff of your breath?
Superman’s very one-sided brawl with Steppenwolf is the definition of a triumphant return, the Man of Steel punching and blasting his Apokoliptian foe with his heat vision with joyful abandon.
It can truly be said that Superman’s arrival to stop Steppenwolf in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” made the wait for the Snyder Cut worth it all by itself!
2. The Warehouse Fight – “Batman v Superman”
Batman fight scenes had been hit and miss before 2016, which is the exact moment in time where the Dark Knight had his greatest big-screen brawl in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”.
With Superman’s adoptive mother Martha Kent (Diane Lane) kidnapped, Batman literally explodes through the warehouse floor to run to the rescue.
The Caped Crusader is known for being one of the best martial artists in the comic book world, but no Batman fight scene before or since showed his skill to such perfection.
Ben Affleck’s stunt man Richard Cetrone studied under none other than lifelong Bruce Lee student and teacher, Dan Inosanto, and with Damon Caro’s fight choreography, Batman’s rescue of Martha is a triumphant smackdown of the Dark Knight’s decades in martial arts training.
Be sure to also check out the video below breaking down all of the martial arts Batman displays his skill with in the epic warehouse fight of “Batman v Superman”!
…and in at no.1 is…
Superman / Kal-El’s Showdown with General Zod – “Man of Steel”
It’s fair to say that the world had never seen action in a Superman before like what Snyder delivered in “Man of Steel”, and Kal-El’s most thunderous one-on-one brawl remains his showdown with General Zod (Michael Shannon).
The Earth itself shakes when the two Kryptonians land punches on each other, while their heat vision is more like actual fire bursting from their eyes.
Superman is also forced to make a choice that breaks his heart in order to stop Zod.
Like Five For Fighting’s “It’s not easy to be me”, Superman’s battle with General Zod in “Man of Steel” shows that saving the world often calls upon Superman to make tough choices.
Superman had many great fight scenes in his time, but the emotional and physical power of the finale of “Man of Steel” make it both the best Superman smackdown, and the best Zack Snyder movie fight scene to date!