FilmExodus Battle Royale: Ratner v Bird v Snyder

First Rounds are over. Redemption has taken place. Now, the only thing left is the final Battle. “Let Them Fight!”, the series where we pit two directors with similar backgrounds against one another, has transitioned into the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Where all the previous winners duke it out, and only one director can be left standing when the dust settles. This is FilmExodus Battle Royale.

For an overview of past fights and what’s coming up, click here .

What to Consider

Obviously, which director do you think is better than the other? But what film of theirs proves your point. Remember, it isn’t so much about which film made the most money or was a critical darling, but in your mind which Director is better than the other in terms of style, risk, scope, etc.

How I Tally the Votes

I look at the comments posted (only first comments, no replies) to see who they picked. I don’t count comments that don’t give a clear answer on who they chose. If you want your comment to count make sure it is not a reply to someone else’s comment and has a clear definite winner.

Now on to today’s fighters. The three directors stepping into the ring are Brett Ratner, Brad Bird, and Zack Snyder.

Brett Ratner

Date of Birth: March 28, 1969 (age 48)

Highest Rated Film: Red Dragon (2002) – 69% RT

Lowest Rated Film: Money Talks (1997) – 16% RT

Brad Bird

Date of Birth: September 24, 1957 (age 59)

Highest Rated Film: The Incredibles (2004) – 97% RT

Lowest Rated Film: Tomorrowland (2015) – 50% RT

Zack Snyder

Date of Birth: March 1, 1966 (age 51)

Highest Rated Film: Dawn of the Dead (2004) – 75% RT

Lowest Rated Film: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – 27% RT

Only one can move on to the semi-finals, so FIGHT!

Previous match-ups: Spielberg v Kubrick v Scorsese, Hitchcock v Gibson v Nolan, Tarantino v Anderson v Fincher, Mendes v Lin v Chan Wook, Carpenter v Jackson v Vaughn.

  • sailor monsoon

    Those were extreme examples

  • William Dhalgren

    My scale is probably less flexible than yours, but I agree in pricinple, if not on the specific example cited.

  • sailor monsoon

    I disregard anyone who automatically dismisses genre work as being inferior.
    A story, no matter the genre setting, should be judged on its own merits.
    We live in a world where both Schindler’s List and Guardians of the Galaxy both exist and one shouldn’t automatically be deemed lesser because it has a talking raccoon in it

  • William Dhalgren

    I haven’t read the novel for that one, and I personally have not seen it held up as one of the best novels of all time before. Accepting that, I’ll give my best guess: I think John LeCarre is a kind of novelty in the literary world. He writes genre, but he writes elevated genre that happens also to be literary fiction. Personally, I really dislike these rigid categorical distinctions. Almost came to blows over it with a professor as a matter of fact. Lit criticism, like film critics, has every right to draw distinctions between elevated examples of the medium, but the unqualified exclusion of certain stories based on subject matter, setting, or a given set of tropes is closed-minded and illogical. Film criticism is very different from lit criticism in this way. Also, I reckon there’s a sociopolitical component at play there as well, though that’s about all I care to say about that.

  • sailor monsoon

    1. I read the novel in jail. It was ok but i don’t see how it’s constantly referred to as one of the greatest novels of all time.
    2. Phillip Seymour Hoffman made it watchable.
    3. Of course. Everyone has their own personal taste and each are valid. Except for Duke who’s a mad man

  • William Dhalgren

    I need to see The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. I’ve read the novel and really enjoyed it. I agree on A Most Wanted Man, and, to some degree, on Tinker, Tailor. I think the difficulty in parsing and then remembering much about these kinds of films is one of the drawbacks of complex plot and subtle, sometimes unsatisfying, conclusions. I wouldn’t recommend A Most Wanted Man to many people, but it’s a film I would rewatch tonight in a heartbeat. What’s his face’s performance in that movie is fantastic.

    Btw, I don’t think you’re wrong for not liking these movies – want to make that clear, though I think you probably know me better than that at this point. I actually didn’t like Tinker when it first came out. Put me to sleep.

  • sailor monsoon

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
    I like the idea of the George smiley character from Tinley, tailor, soldier, spy and think it’s one of oldmans best performances but i don’t feel satisfied by anything he does in the film.
    Except for the last 10 minutes.
    I don’t remember anything from the spy who came in from the cold or a most wanted man

  • William Dhalgren

    Included with the minutiae of these grander events that he depicts are the minutiae of people’s lives, the truth of which are every bit as nuanced and trouble-filled and complicated as the larger events themselves. The two mirror each other. That’s arguably not as satisfying as a story where good and evil are clearly depicted, but it’s more compelling to me.

  • sailor monsoon

    There’s this board game called campaign for North Africa that takes 50 days to complete and is a monument of excessive minutia.
    It revels in the banal aspects of war, which becomes a metaphor for the uselessness of war itself.
    That’s how i feel about LeCarre. He loves the details but i don’t think he cares about the story.
    I understand being interested in the minute details of a story but there has to be a hook outside of “well, that’s the spy game. It’s boring and nothing is ever solved.”

  • William Dhalgren

    It’s the shit that keeps the world turning, though, the stuff he writes about. It’s all really interesting to me because he gets to the truth of the tedium of geo politics and the banal kind of reasons for shit that happens around the world. That kind of stuff is really compelling to me, because the truth in the world, if there is any at all, is that nothing is simple. The real horror of iniquity is in the complexity and banality of it.

    As an aside, I skim-read an article yesterday about Ken Burns’ new Vietnam War documentary and the thesis behind the article was thus: It presented too many perspectives. A few would have sufficed and probably would have better driven home an ideological point (I can only guess at what that would be) by omitting viewpoints which do not deserve an audience.

    Fuck that shit. The truth is the truth. I feel that we are living in an era where people only want their own truth. And the more we slide into that sort of anti-reason cultural mode, the more I appreciate guys like LeCarre who are trying to really get at the complicated, oftentimes dull, and nearly always fucked up small truths of world events.


  • sailor monsoon

    And I’m the exact opposite.
    That shit is cinematic Nyquil to me

  • William Dhalgren

    In the last few years, I’ve developed a fondness for Cold War era spy thrillers, but I don’t care too much for the action-oriented stuff. Anything adapted from a John Le Carre novel is usually right up my alley.

  • sailor monsoon

    I have an inexplicable love for60’s era spy flicks.
    So that film was tailored made for me

  • William Dhalgren

    Ooh, that movie pushed buttons for me, but they were the wrong ones.

  • My vote would be Lin, then! ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • sailor monsoon


  • William Dhalgren

    As I’ve said, I’m not that into computer animated films. Watchmen pushes a very specific set of buttons for me, many of which are superficial but no less appealing. I’m positive there are films that do the same for you.

  • And Garth Ennis, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison are all having pints at the pub down the street talking about existential life and aliens while Alan Moore sits at the bar wanting to go tell Ennis his Punisher run was amazing but he’s too proud.

  • *blank stare*

    I keep imagining that Michael Bay, McG and Snyder slam brewskies and pick up cheerleaders at the dorm all weekend but when no one’s looking, Snyder’s reading Gibran poetry.

    My headspace is really vivid.

  • sailor monsoon

    I usually am

  • Kemosabe

    You sound drunk.

  • Ratner vs. McG makes sense to me.

  • sailor monsoon

    It’s very good and I’ll defend it till i die but i think the incredibles is one of the best written films of the 21st century.
    If we were comparing the watchmen novel vs the incredibles, there’s no contest but I’m still not a fan of every decision snyder makes.
    Terrible set designs, awful music choices and an over reliance on slow mo are some of my issues.
    I have no issues with the incredibles.
    I also believe the iron giant is a better superman film than man of steel

  • Kemosabe

    Watchmen is really good so it doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

  • HAHAhahah

  • sailor monsoon

    That is craziness

  • Email.

  • Ratner beat McG (and let me remind y’all that someone suggested that fight. Rat won so he had to be included)

  • Thanks DBMI I would have chocked @tekkactus:disqus up a point for Ratner 😛

  • So just to be clear Duke Bird is his pick.

  • Jaw dropped.

  • Lol right?

  • I agree 100%

  • I thought this post was a joke at first (or at least including Ratner).

  • Woo! Fellow vagrant!

  • Now J-Mart, don’t make me start listing examples of bad sequels to come out 15+ years later.

  • William Dhalgren

    I do.

  • William Dhalgren

    Moral of the story: Never leave.

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Its 15 years!
    He will make a fantastic sequel!

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Welcome back Tekkactus.

  • Tekkactus, welcome back!

    In hindsight I should have switched Bird with Lin from a couple ago, but alas what can one do.

  • Bird, no real competition there, he has a much stronger body of work.
    Though I like several movies from the other ones too, and Snyder probably has a more distinct and unique cinematographic vision, for better or worse

  • sailor monsoon

    I know!

  • I leave for a couple months and come back to find Brad Bird being lumped in with these hacks? Jeeeeez!

  • sailor monsoon

    That’s interesting.
    I like snyder but i don’t think he’s made anything even remotely as good as the incredibles, iron giant or ratatouille.
    tomorrowland is a misfire but it’s still way better than BvS

  • Joe Newman

    I don’t, but he has a greater body of work. BvS was a black mark. Never saw the other one.

  • TheDeadFellow


  • sailor monsoon

    You like that more than the incredibles?

  • TheDeadFellow

    Zack Snyder. Anyone who accomplished something like Watchmen autocratically earns a gold star by default.

  • I like how you’re picking him based on a movie you haven’t seen being excellent. Never stop being you J-Mart

  • William Dhalgren

    Watchmen is a favorite of mine to rewatch, but beyond that I am not a fan of Snyder. Ratner has never made much of an impression on me, tbh. I’m not really a huge fan of CGI animated films, but Bird is clearly the most talented of the group. He has the most undeniable successes at any rate.


  • King Alvarez

    Bird. Ratner’s a hack, Snyder is visually talented, but lacks story & substance.

  • Truth.

  • Joe Newman

    Zack Snyder.

  • Zack Snyder

  • Bird is the word.

  • Cap_N_Jack

    As long as he stays away from Lindeloff, I would trust Bird to always make good films.

  • Cap_N_Jack

    Brad Bird.

  • sailor monsoon

    I honestly thought this was a going to be a clean sweep.
    It’s clearly bird.
    No question

  • Joshua Martyniouk

    Brad Bird because Incredibles 2 will be amazing!

  • Kemosabe

    Brad Bird. No question on this one.

  • Zack Snyder all day baby!

  • Brad Bird.

    The Incredibles. Ratatouille. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

    The other two have some films I enjoy watching but don’t compare to Birds work.

  • *blank stare*

    I’m going Snyder. He has a vision.
    It could be a wild flailing of too-dark CGI and heavy handed metaphor, but it will definitely be a Snyder flick.

  • Bird. Snyder has Dawn of the dead, Ratner has Red Dragon and the fun Jackie films, but Bird is more steady and talented.