Ana Clark. Queen Gordo. Sally Jupiter. Babydoll. Sweet Pea. Rocket. Amber. Blondie. Lois Lane. Martha Kent. Wonder Woman. These are the women of Zack Snyder’s films. While he’s known for his adaptations of 300, Watchmen, of Superman and Batman, the women of his filmography are the unsung heroes of his craft. Without these women, these films would not exist. They wouldn’t have the impact that they do, for their presence is more than what they’re usually given credit for.
To understand their impact, one has to look at their roles. Snyder’s directorial debut, Dawn of the Dead, was a remake of George Romero’s 1978 zombie film to which he made a few changes, the most prominent being the switch of leading characters. Instead of another Flyboy Andrews, Snyder’s remake centered on Ana, a classic final girl of the horror genre. The story of Dawn of the Dead is a simple one; survivors of a zombie outbreak find refuge in an abandoned mall that’s surrounded by zombies. The film is told through her point of view; from her life as a nurse before the outbreak to how she transforms from meek pushover to hardened survivor by circumstances of the situation.
The dynamic of power is a recurring theme in Snyder’s films, one that instantly presented itself in his directorial debut. The opening of Dawn of the Dead features Ana (Sarah Polley) and a male doctor; he’s busy making plans for golf on the phone while she stands next to him holding all of his paperwork. When she tries to speak up to tell him that her shift is over, he cuts her off to finish his conversation. After he finally hangs up, he asks her about a patient who came in at the beginning of her shift (she makes sure to tell him the exact time, 6 AM) and tells her to check on him despite the fact that her shift ended an hour ago. This type of arrogance is something that any woman can relate to in and outside of the workplace and, regarding the film, it plays a larger role in the power dynamics that we see later on among the remaining survivors.
There’s an added layer of symbolism in the challenges that Ana faces, symbolism that wouldn’t exist if the film mimicked the steps of the original in simply casting a new version of Flyboy. Ana is always confronted with the imbalance of power and she challenges it by using her strengths to prove that she’s more than capable, and that she’s more than just her gender. When Ana finds safety in the seemingly abandoned Crossroads Mall with fellow survivors—Police Sergeant Kenneth, everyman Michael, and Andre and his pregnant wife, Luda—they run into security guards who make them give up their weapons in exchange for refuge.
Ana’s interactions with the guards—particularly C.J., the leader—marks the beginning of her challenging that same male entitlement that was seen in the beginning of the film. While treating Sergeant Kenneth’s wounds, Ana tells C.J. that she needs stitches so she can finish the job, and C.J. comments, “You a fucking doctor?” Ana replies, “No, I’m a fucking nurse.”
The most pivotal moment in the film is the notorious zombie baby birth scene. Luda gets bitten by a zombie but instead of telling the group, Andre keeps it a secret and eventually chains her to a bed when she begins to turn into a zombie. To protect the group, Ana kills the infant off screen. As a nurse, she’s used to caring for newborn children. There’s a sick irony in the fact that she has to abandon that maternal role to survive, but she’s seen the damage that can be done by both zombie adults and children, and she refuses to risk that for a zombie baby.
That scene also serves as an example of what happens when male dominance takes over a woman’s choice—a recurring theme we see in the movie. We never find out how Luda feels about not telling the group their secret because Andre keeps her locked away. Ana tries to visit her, but Andre dismisses the suggestion and that unsettles her. Although Luda wanted to have her baby in the beginning, would she still want to if she knew she was going to turn into a zombie? Would she have kept the bite a secret if she knew it could turn her child? Either way, Luda would’ve died because she got bitten, but Andre didn’t give her the choice and in the end, Ana was put in a situation where she had to kill the baby because of his secrecy.
The questions presented work because of the underlying commentary hidden in the gory spectacle of a zombie survival movie. Snyder’s power lies in his ability to create a meaningful dialogue while still captivating the audience.
Snyder is most known for directing live action adaptations of comic books. After Dawn of the Dead, he moved on to 300, the Frank Miller graphic novel about King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and his army of 300 Spartans that he leads into battle against the Persian king, Xerxes. The film was faithful to the source material, a panel to panel adaptation of Miller’s work, with the only change being the additional subplot of Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), Leonidas’ wife. Gorgo is only shown once in Miller’s graphic novel, having no significance to the plot, but in Snyder’s adaptation, she serves the crucial purpose of rallying support for her husband in Sparta.
The hard-R-rated movie starring mostly men initially seems like a diversion from Snyder’s female-led directorial debut, but the decision to expand Queen Gorgo’s role in 300 showed the importance of different perspectives, even in a male-dominated film. Before the film’s release, Warner Bros. tried and eventually gave up attempting to appeal to a female audience. Then, according to Snyder, things changed when they screened new test footage. The women responded positively to the addition of Queen Gorgo’s new subplot.
Frank Miller himself was against the idea, saying, “My main comment was ‘This is a boys’ movie. Let it be that.” But Snyder wouldn’t budge. After the positive test screening numbers, Snyder pushed Warner Bros. to target their advertising of the film towards women. According to Entertainment Weekly, after the screenings, Warner Bros. decided to shift their advertising away from 30-second spots during the Super Bowl and instead “sprinkled previews into more female-friendly TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Heroes, Lost, and American Idol.”
Working within the confines of an established work, Snyder was able to create a film that was not only faithful to the source material, but also expanded on parts where the source material failed. Media is for anyone. It can be enjoyed by any gender, and the concept of a “boys’ movie” is a flawed one, when women can find just as much enjoyment in brutal, bloody war fests as men do.
Although Ana and Queen Gorgo both share the similarities of working against the odds of men in power, Gorgo is introduced as the equal of her husband. There’s a scene early in the film where a Persian emissary visits Sparta to convince the Spartans to acknowledge Xerxes’s supremacy. When Gorgo speaks, the emissary asks Leonidas why he allows his wife to speak back to men to which she responds with, “Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.”
Leonidas is faced with a choice: to submit to Xerxes’s command or refuse and start a war. He backs the emissary into a corner, or rather, against the edge of a deep well and draws his sword. “This is madness!” the emissary says, realizing that his life is on the line. Leonidas then looks back at Gorgo, seeking her permission to commit the act that will start the war. She nods and he turns to him, yelling the most memorable line in the film, “This is Sparta!” before kicking him into the well to his death.
Despite being a king, Leonidas looks to his wife for approval because he views her as his equal. He wouldn’t have started the war if he didn’t have her backing; the simple gesture of a nod signifies the power that Gorgo has. Whereas Frank Miller reduced Gorgo to an image in passing in his graphic novel, Snyder was able to convey the layers of power and respect within Sparta by giving Queen Gorgo a bigger role.
Like Ana having to kill the zombie baby to protect the camp, Gorgo has her defining moment that pushes her to the limit. While her husband is off to war, she has to stay in Sparta to gather support. She loves her nation just as much as she loves her husband, and she finds herself at odds with a politician named Theron who refuses to budge. Although she doesn’t want to, she trades sex for his promise of support, which he eventually betrays; he just wanted to take advantage of her. In a rage, she kills him with a sword, whispering the same words he said to her: “This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your Queen.”
While Snyder is known for his slow-motion action scenes that look like stills from a painting, a theme that’s rarely discussed is his fascination with the trope of victims seeking revenge on their abusers. When given the chance to expand on Queen Gorgo’s story, he added the subplot of her assault and eventual revenge.
After 300, he directed Watchmen, another live action graphic novel adaptation that faithfully followed the source material. A deconstruction of the superhero genre, Watchmen was also a hard-R-rated film that centered on violence and polarized audiences even more than 300 did. The female lead in the film, Sally Jupiter (Malin Åkerman), is the most prominent woman throughout the film, her storyline considered the emotional center due to her relationships with two of the male leads. Because her role was substantial and fleshed out in the graphic novel, Snyder didn’t have to expand on her story like he did with Queen Gorgo in 300. But, after these two adaptations, Snyder took a drastic turn, focusing on a story of his own that he’d been working on for a while.
Sucker Punch was his next live action project (he ventured into animation in 2010 with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, based on the book series by Kathryn Lasky), a film that marked the beginning of studio interference in his creativity, and as a result, it was a complex narrative that was widely misinterpreted by the very people the film was critiquing. The trailer for Sucker Punch boasted Snyder’s signature action scenes, outrageous violence and chicks with guns.
In the film, Babydoll (Emily Browning) gets sent to a mental asylum after attempting to kill her abusive stepfather in self-defense. She’s set to get a lobotomy in a week and as a response to her mental trauma, she retreats to an alternate reality where she teams up with four other female inmates—Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), Amber (Jamie Chung)—and they go on a series of fantastical missions to plot their escape from the asylum. The first layer of reality is the asylum while the alternate reality is a brothel where Babydoll and her fellow inmates are now dancers.
What sounds like a plot of a video game was exactly what Snyder was aiming for on a surface level, the catch being that the film was actually a critique of geek culture that put a mirror to the faces of men who thought they had a claim on women. Unfortunately, reviews from major film critics (mostly male) showed that they, in fact, missed the point, but in missing the point they went on to claim that the movie was sexist. Peter Debruge of Variety argued that the film was “fantasy fodder for 13-year-old guys.”
Although the film features the leading women wearing “revealing” outfits, it makes a point to question why it has to be done in the first place. The women are never objectified, there are no upskirt shots, no zoom ins on boobs and butts, there’s nothing to indicate that the film is meant to be a male fantasy. In fact, one movie reviewer criticized the film because there was no male gaze.
Mack Rawden of CinemaBlend wrote: “Every time she [Babydoll] dances, the PG-13 strip club melts away for an elaborate video game world where her and four friends battle hideous people, creatures and robots,” and, “Might as well give viewers more allusions to slutty stripping without ever showing it,” also, “There’s no actual dancing in Sucker Punch, just as there’s no point, purpose or direction.” The fact that we never see Babydoll dance is the exact point that the movie is trying to make.
Horny old men want to ogle her while she has to find a way to mentally escape in order to cope with the fact that she’s being forced to dance for them. She escapes through her missions; all of her anger towards her situation is brought out through hyper-violence. That’s exactly why the girls’ dance instructor Madame Gorski (Carla Gugino) tells the audience that Babydoll’s performances are “raw.” She’s fighting for her freedom. The dances are metaphors for what’s happening in reality.
That trope of victims fighting back shows itself here; Gorgo found her revenge in killing Theron after he assaulted her and in Sucker Punch, Babydoll and the girls act out their anger in their fantastical missions. This extends beyond Sucker Punch and 300 and can be applied to Ana making the decision to kill the zombie baby. All of these women have been through various forms of trauma, but they’re not defined by those experiences. Their power lies in their refusal to give up, even in the face of death.
For Snyder’s first film that’s not based on an adaptation to be an original story about women and for women says a lot. As stated before, anyone can enjoy media but there’s a message in Sucker Punch that centers on the power that women hold; they can own their sexuality and look however they want while still kicking ass. They can defy the male gaze with their confidence.
The beginning of the film even features a voiceover from Sweet Pea with a message to Babydoll, but really speaking to women: “We can deny our angels don’t exist, convince ourselves they can’t be real. But they show up anyway. At strange places, and at strange times. They can speak through any character we can imagine, they’ll shout through demons if they have to: daring us, challenging us to fight.”
Each woman in the film realizes that and it brings them closer. Outside of the action, there’s a story of friendship and connection that any girl can relate to. The ladies of Sucker Punch love each other; they work together, congratulate each other, they’re not afraid to be close. When they’re not kicking ass, they’re hanging out with each other.
Sucker Punch came out in 2011 and years after its release, there’s been a resurgence of revisiting the themes of the film. Scott Mendelson of Forbes pointed out that the film was ahead of its time regarding current GamerGate culture and it’s true: “Years before GamerGate brought institutional sexism in video game and geek culture into the spotlight, [Director Zack] Snyder and [producer Deborah] Snyder released a major studio film that argued, “Yes, geek culture is sexist as heck, but it is merely a symptom of an overall culture that values women as sexual objects for male titillation above all else.””
Snyder’s next project after Sucker Punch was Man of Steel, the first film in the current DC Extended Universe. The movie was a modern take on the DC Comics superhero and what people were probably expecting Snyder to follow up with after Watchmen instead of an introspective commentary on sexism starring all women.
While Man of Steel focuses on Clark Kent’s (Henry Cavill) origin story to becoming Superman, there’s a hero in the film who doesn’t have superhuman strength. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is a reporter and eventual love interest of Superman, but she isn’t reduced to being his girlfriend. Her opening scene in Man of Steel where she’s instantly in action as a journalist is reminiscent of Queen Gorgo’s, following Snyder’s pattern of showing women at their best because of their confidence.
She arrives at a military base after being swayed away multiple times by the officers there, and the first thing she tells them—which is also the first line we hear from her—is, “Look, let’s get one thing straight, guys, okay? The only reason I’m here is because we’re on Canadian soil and the appellate court overruled your injunction to keep me away. So, if we’re done measuring dicks, can you have your people show me what you found?”
This is someone who is here to get the job done through any means necessary. She doesn’t care if you’re her enemy or her friend, if you’re in her line of investigation, she will get what she needs so it’s best to just give it to her. She knows she’s good and that’s what makes her a threat. This kind of confidence can teeter on the edge of being arrogant, but we never get this impression from Lois because she works twice as hard as her colleagues. Any woman in a field as competitive and sexist as journalism can relate, but the best thing about Snyder’s interpretation of her is that her gender isn’t the reason why she faces the eventual challenges that she does.
The fact that she’s a woman does come up in conversation but years of experience have taught her how to respond in order to move forward. Lois’ introduction in Man of Steel’s sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is just as powerful as her opening lines in the former: Lois arrives in Nairomi with photographer Jimmy Olsen to interview a warlord, Amajagh, and the first thing he says to her is that he didn’t know a lady would be interviewing him. She responds with the simple yet effective line, “I’m not a lady, I’m a journalist.”
Her gender isn’t the reason why she’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Her intelligence is. Her determination, her refusal to abandon stories even when her editor, Perry White, tells her that she should, for the sake of the Daily Planet’s reputation. They both know that she won’t. She chases the best stories and doesn’t let the risk of her job’s name get in the way of finding the truth. What would Superman be without Lois Lane? Snyder’s interpretation of her shows her as a determined journalist who fights for the truth, but when she discovers the identity of Superman, she vows to keep it a secret because of the danger that it would put Clark in.
Her importance is continued in Batman v Superman, and she actually ends up saving both Batman and Superman’s lives. Whereas her mission in Man of Steel was figuring out the identity of Superman, in Batman v Superman, she’s focused on unfolding villain Lex Luthor’s plot.
Batman, Superman, and Lois have their own investigations throughout the movie, but Lois is the most level headed of them all. Batman/Bruce Wayne is driven by his hate of Superman, while Superman is driven by his need to stop Batman. Lois isn’t driven by any extreme emotion; her natural skills in being an investigative reporter shine in this film because she’s the only one who uncovers the entire truth of Luthor’s plan to get Batman to kill Superman. Batman may be the World’s Greatest Detective but Lois is just as good as him, if not better, in the film.
Clark knows that Lois can handle herself but that doesn’t mean he’s exempt from worrying about the woman he loves. Knowing his secret and eventually finding out that Luthor is behind everything puts her in a dangerous situation, but she doesn’t let her lack of physical superpowers prevent her from trying to help Clark so Luthor can be stopped.
Just as Clark saves Lois, Lois saves Clark. Batman and Superman’s battle ends with Batman pointing a Kryptonite spear at Clark’s face, ready to kill him. In a weakened state, Clark whispers, “Save Martha,” his adoptive mother. Unbeknownst to him, Martha is also the name of Batman’s mother who was murdered in front of him, alongside his father, when he was a child. Bruce is shown fighting his inner demons throughout the film; he still suffers from PTSD from the traumatic event of seeing his parents die. Hearing his dead mother’s name triggers something in him, and he becomes even more hysterical.
Lois, finding out where the fight is, heads there and throws herself in between a crazed Batman and an unresponsive Superman to tell Batman that Martha is the name of Clark’s mother. She puts her life on the line to protect not only Clark, but also his adoptive family’s name. If Lois wasn’t there, Batman would’ve killed Clark without remorse or knowledge of who he is or what he means to the few people who are left in his life that he trusts.
Both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman are superhero films, but the emotional core of each is family, particularly mothers. Martha and Jonathan Kent accept Clark with open arms knowing that he’s not from this world. They both share his secret, Jonathan enforcing it more because he doesn’t think the world is ready to know it. After his death, Martha is a single mother and Clark doesn’t shy away from going to her for advice. Clark is very much a momma’s boy and Snyder isn’t afraid to show that. There’s an early scene in Man of Steel where Clark is still a boy and he’s attending public school for the first time. His superhuman powers are starting to come to form and he doesn’t know how to handle it, so he barricades himself in a closet to the amusement and shock of his teacher and classmates.
Martha ends up coming to his school and speaks to him through the door, soothing him and telling him that everything is going to be alright. “The world is too big, mom.” Clark tells her. She responds, “Then make it small.” Even when he becomes an adult, Clark still goes to his mom for advice. She—and eventually Lois—are the only ones who know about his true identity and this secret makes their bond stronger. Clark never knew his real mother, but Martha treats him like a real son despite the circumstances. The Martha scene in Batman v Superman shows the power of mothers and just how much his mother means to Clark.
Although Clark is a superhuman, what ties him to humanity is his connection to his adoptive parents and Lois. These are the people who keep his secret safe; they care about him and their purpose extends beyond being the parents or love interest of the superhero lead.
Without Lois, Clark would’ve died. Her courage and determination lead to saving his life multiple times, and he conversely does the same. Although she’s super in her own right, she’s still human, so it’s only expected that Clark has to swoop in to physically save her but it’s never repetitive and it only happens in life or death situations. Lois’ power goes beyond superhuman strength.
Without Martha, Clark wouldn’t be the hero we know. Snyder’s interpretation of Superman is a complex one. Although he has this extraordinary ability, he struggles with it. He knows he wants to help people, but he’s worried about revealing his powers because of society’s response to the unknown. He doesn’t want to put his mother’s life in danger. There’s a scene in Man of Steel where Clark is talking with Martha about his powers and he says, “You were worried the truth would come out.” Martha responds: “No. The truth about you is beautiful. We saw that the moment we laid eyes on you. We knew that one day, the whole world would see that. I’m just… I’m worried they’ll take you away from me.”
She starts to cry and Clark embraces her, promising her that he’s not going anywhere. Moments like this wouldn’t happen if Clark didn’t have a support system of people who happen to be strong women. They may not have superhuman strength, but their true strength lies in their bravery and Clark sees that.
Batman v Superman also marked the beginning of a groundbreaking moment in the superhero genre. The movie is filled with strong performances from Amy Adams’ Lois Lane and Diane Lane’s Martha Kent, but what was arguably the high point of the film was the introduction of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. She appears in glimpses throughout the movie, on her own secret mission that Bruce Wayne tries to figure out. When Batman and Superman finally come to similar terms and realize that Lex Luthor is behind everything, they have to team up to stop Doomsday, Luthor’s half human/half Kryptonian creation.
Wonder Woman is given her proper introduction as the iconic superheroine when she literally jumps in front of a defenseless Batman to prevent Doomsday’s laser blast from striking him. She doesn’t hesitate as she runs directly into the fight with her lasso of truth and Godkiller sword. Just from her brief action scenes, one can instantly tell that she’s a seasoned fighter who’s up for any challenge. Batman and Superman can only watch from a distance before Superman asks him, “Is she with you?” Batman responds, “I thought she was with you.”
It was Snyder’s idea to introduce Wonder Woman to the DC Extended Universe. It only made sense. Along with Batman and Superman, Wonder Woman is a part of the trinity of most iconic DC Comics characters. Lynda Carter is most known for portraying her in the 70s TV show but she didn’t have a film yet, unlike her counterparts Batman and Superman, who have had many iterations and interpretations throughout the years. But just as Warner Bros. hesitated expanding Queen Gorgo’s role in 300, they gave Snyder similar concerns about Wonder Woman.
Unsurprisingly, Snyder’s push for the character paid off. Despite the negative critical reception of Batman v Superman, Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman was widely praised by critics and fans alike. Her solo film, which was the first female-led superhero movie from any franchise, was released the next year to enormous critical and commercial success. Patty Jenkins, who hadn’t directed a film since 2003 with Monster, chose the project because of the story that was co-written by Snyder. Both Snyder and Deborah, his wife/producing partner produced Wonder Woman and received a variety of awards for it, including the American Film Institute Award for Top Ten Best Films of 2017.
Since Wonder Woman’s introduction, the DC Extended Universe has been centered on women. Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to the 2017 film, will be released in June 2020 with Jenkins continuing as director and the Snyders as producers. A trilogy is inevitable. In addition to Wonder Woman, another female DC Comics character is getting her own movie too.
Harley Quinn, the Joker’s girlfriend and foe of Batman, was introduced the same year as Wonder Woman, and both women were the standouts of the films they were featured in. Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley in Suicide Squad was just as popular with audiences as was Gadot’s, and because of the success of Suicide Squad, Harley has an all-female spin off movie, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), releasing in February 2020. Is it coincidence that both of these characters were introduced the same year and will have their own films released in the same year again? Who knows, but the success of Wonder Woman is telling.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is another powerhouse franchise that’s been around longer than the DC Extended Universe, yet since its inception in 2008, it took them over a decade and more than twenty films to finally release a female-led movie. Wonder Woman was the fourth film in the DC Extended Universe, and its success has spawned an endless amount of female-driven content within the universe. Without Snyder, it’s unlikely that a Wonder Woman film would’ve been released so soon.
Wonder Woman came at a time when the superhero genre needed a female-led film. Snyder, whether or not he could tell that the genre needed it, knew that she had to be introduced. Gadot’s portrayal has already left a legacy, one that would not have started without Snyder. Going back to 300, Queen Gorgo would not have been the standout of the film if it wasn’t for Snyder’s push to expand her storyline. And even with Sucker Punch, a movie that was widely misinterpreted, it says a lot that when given the opportunity to direct a film based on an original idea and not existing material, he chose to create a female-led action blockbuster.
“Sucker Punch was a genuine original from a successful studio filmmaker who cashed in his comic book adaptation chips and told a wholly original story,” Scott Mendelson of Forbes argued. “Mr. Snyder could have chosen to jump aboard another franchise or helm a more commercially surefire male-centric action movie. But instead the helmer of 300 and the Dawn of the Dead remake used his capital not just on a female-centric action movie, not just an original female-centric fantasy, but on such a film that implicitly dealt with issues at the heart of gender representation in pop culture.”
With the current #MeToo movement still in effect, the themes of Sucker Punch are even more relevant. Even with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Snyder chose to focus on the fact that Clark Kent is essentially an immigrant: he comes from a different planet and although he looks human, he’s not. When society is introduced to Superman, their opinions of him are extreme. Some view him as a god, others view him as a threat.
Batman v Superman featured groups of people protesting his existence on Earth, with various signs saying, “Superman = illegal immigrant,” “Share the planet,” and “God hates aliens.” It’s not hard to see the commentary that Snyder is presenting in the film and with the ongoing political debate regarding immigration, the parallels to reality are clear.
Even if Snyder wasn’t trying, the pattern of centering on the strength of women and using his position as a filmmaker to create art that has a strong commentary shows that this is something that’s natural for him. There’s a debate to be had about all of his films and that’s something that’s likely to continue in the future.
Snyder had to step down from filming Justice League because of a family tragedy, but during his break, he directed Snow Steam Iron, a short film shot on an iPhone in the Warner Bros. lot. The four-minute film centers on a young woman who seeks revenge in the seedy underbelly of New York City. The story once again shows his natural inclination to focus on the female perspective when creating an original work.
He and Deborah are still producing Wonder Woman 1984, but he’s moved on from directing comic book films. The Snyders rebranded their old production company and his first movie under their new image is Army of the Dead, another zombie film that’s not a sequel to Dawn of the Dead but does mark a return to his roots compared to the genre he’s been working in for years.
Army of the Dead is also the first film he’s directing with Netflix. After years of butting heads with Warner Bros. over creative decisions, Snyder has found a distributor that will let him do whatever he wants. And maybe that’s exactly what he needs, an outlet that doesn’t restrict him, where he’s able to create art without interference, and it’ll be easier to see the messages hidden in plain sight of his fantastical films.