We all know by now that Zack Snyder's got his faults as a director, but his editor on both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has finally shed some light on what Snyder's biggest problem might be. While talking with industry site ProVideo Coalition (link below), editor David Brenner revealed that Snyder shot entirely too much footage on both films and just sort of decided to figure it all out in editing.
On many movies of this scale there are so many people that are weighing on the script, so many adjustments that a director may have to do just do get the script greenlit… I tend to speak up only if there’s something I feel super strongly about, or if I think there’s an extra piece to shoot that could help the build of the story. I try not to be a pain in the ass until we actually start editing. Most of the questions that I have are usually things that I know we can address then. Reduce things, move things around. Zack knew that on “Man of Steel” we addressed a lot of script questions in the film editing. So he was confident we could do it again.
The only other director I know of who had a strict "we'll fix it in post" policy was Harold P. Warren of Manos: The Hands of Fate infamy. This goes a long way toward explaining the myriad problems with both MoS and BvS, and the primary reason I'm guessing that they're both so bloated. For the record, Brenner isn't exactly saying any of this with a negative slant toward Snyder's style, but much like the best things about Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, it's there in the subtext...
BRENNER: In the script there are more subplots than you see in the movie right now. Also in terms of building this beginning we had to move things around. In the script, Lex was introduced much later, but we found that in watching the movie – because he’s such an important player, it was best to set him up sooner. Plus, his presence has so much energy, a twisted comic energy that boosted the film. Generally, BvS was a unique challenge in that we had not one but two protagonists, each with an alter-ego. So there was Clark Kent, Superman, Bruce Wayne and Batman. And then surrounding them are Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Wallace Keefe (the guy who loses his legs when Wayne Tower falls), Perry White, Martha Kent, Holly Hunter’s character (Senator Finch), and still more characters orbiting them.
HULLFISH: That’s a LOT to juggle.
BRENNER: It was a lot to juggle. So the plot lines of a couple characters had to go. These people are currently in the movie but we don’t track them, and it’s okay. What’s kind of fun is that we went back and did an extended cut where we put a lot of this stuff back, and we refined it into the same rhythm as the theatrical release. So what was once a nearly four hour cut with absolutely everything was ridiculous – ended up being about a three hour cut, once all these added storylines were refined with the fat was cut out.
So yeah, it's not exactly a critique of his style, but definitely a good illustration of why these films are such bloated monstrosities.