A Brief History Of Zack Snyder Defending The End Of Man Of Steel

A Brief History of Zack Snyder Defending the End of Man of Steel

We're only weeks away from the premiere of Batman v Superman. And it remains to be seen if that movie will retroactively justify some of the most widely-hated choices in Man of Steel. Based on Zack Snyder's comments over the last three years, we can guess that it won't. It's been almost three years since Man of Steel opened in theatres. And for almost the exact same amount of time, Zack Snyder has been fielding questions about the controversial ending.

There are a number of things about the climax to Man of Steel that infuriated people watching the movie. There was the massive death and destruction. There was the hilarious product placement during the massive carnage. And then there was Superman snapping the neck of Zod. Maybe fans could have handled one of these awful things, but all of them, piled on top of each other, was hard for people to take. So everyone began to ask Snyder: "Why?"

The earliest in-depth response came a few days after the film was released, in an interview with the Empire Film podcast. In it Snyder, and writer David S. Goyer (who should not be let off the hook for this either), talk a lot about how that ending came to be. And it doesn't make anyone sound great.

Here's what Snyder said in 2013 about Superman killing Zod:

In the original version of the script, he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone. David [S. Goyer] and I had long talked about it, and Chris [Nolan] and I talked long about it. And I was like, "I really think he should kill Zod, and I really feel like Superman should kill him."

This account is backed up by Goyer, who, in the same podcast, said that Nolan told them there was no way they could have that ending. He flat out told them not to write it. Goyer added that they talked to people at DC who told them "No way. No way." Which Goyer and Snyder apparently didn't see as a logical reading of the character, and more of a challenge to find the one situation where Superman would kill. Snyder said, later in the Empire podcast, "I just felt like we were able to create this scenario where either Superman is going to see these people get chopped in half or he's gotta do what he's gotta do."

Snyder's original reasoning for having Superman kill is more than a little disturbing:

The why of it for me was, well, if it's truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It's just in his DNA. And I felt like we needed him to do something — just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet, or any of the other things that you're sort of seeing for the first time, that you realise will then become sort of his thing.

Yes, if you don't murder once, how can you ever come to the conclusion that murder is bad? That's how morality works, right?

That Empire podcast in June of 2013 is also where Snyder explains that the goal was to make the audience less sure about Superman as they had known him:

If there were more adventures for our Superman to go on, then you are also given this thing where you don't know 100 per cent what he's gonna do. When you really put in stone the concept that he won't kill and it's totally in stone, it really erases an option in the viewer's mind.

Now, that doesn't mean that he doesn't now have a code ... but you'll always have in the back of your mind this little of like, "Well, like how far can you push him?" Right? Like, if he sees Lois get hurt or he sees his mother get killed or something, you just made a really mad Superman that we know is capable of some really horrible stuff.

Consistent characterisation just isn't any fun, apparently. There's every chance that Superman loses it and starts killing in Batman v Superman, since we've seen Lois in peril in the trailer. Remember this when it comes out.

In 2013, Snyder also gave a justification for the massive destruction of Metropolis. Here's what he told the Japan Times that winter:

I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling. In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolise disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence. In America, we don't have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman (who first appeared in 'Action Comics' in 1938) is probably the closest we get. It's a way of recounting the myth.

Snyder's belief that comics are America's version of mythology is a fairly widespread refrain among a certain set. And yet, his interpretation that mythology needs death is a specific twist. This is all of a piece with everything Snyder was saying in 2013, including a press conference where he confidently asserted, "I felt like in the recent past, people have been apologizing for Superman a little bit, for his costume, for his origins, the way he fits into society. And we really wanted to just say, 'No, no, this is the mythology, this is how it is, and it's supposed to be this way.'"

Neither "Superman needs to murder so he won't kill again" nor "mythology means death" stuck around as explanations, as Snyder kept getting asked about that ending. But he did continue to assert that his Superman is the realest Superman. That remained one of the few constants in his ever-evolving defence.


By the end of 2013, Snyder's justification for Superman's willingness to kill had already changed. Now, this was less about making a really great and interesting choice, and more about setting up sequels. We also saw a sudden turn towards the idea that Snyder was being more true to the comics than anyone was recognising — even though Goyer had already admitted that they asked some people at DC, and those comics people weren't really on board with the whole "murder" thing.

At a Man of Steel fan event in November of 2013, Snyder said, "It's a real world problem... It is a deeply difficult decision for [Superman] to make. It's not a thing that he takes lightly, and you can see it affects him pretty profoundly." He then teased that it would come up in the next film: "And maybe we'll see the repercussions of that in the next film. How that's affected him, making that decision… Maybe."

Later, Snyder would claim everything was all a part of a plan. Retroactively.

By 2014, Snyder had refined his answer about Superman a bit, so it sounded less as though he welcomed the challenge of making a Superman who killed believable, and more like he's the one true fan who understands Superman, and everyone else is faking.

A Forbes interview, published on April 17, has Snyder putting down "movie-only" fans, and trying to appeal to "real" comics fans. Including a pretty condescending treatment of Christopher Reeve's Superman:

I think with Superman we have this opportunity to place this icon within the sort of real world we live in. And I think that, honestly, the thing I was surprised about in response to Superman was how everyone clings to the Christopher Reeve version of Superman, you know? How tightly they cling to those ideas, not really the comic book version but more the movie version… If you really analyse the comic book version of Superman, he's killed, he's done all the things — I guess the rules that people associate with Superman in the movie world are not the rules that really apply to him in the comic book world, because those rules are different. He's done all the things and more that we've shown him doing, right? It's just funny to see people really taking it personally… because I made him real, you know, I made him feel, or made consequences [in] the world.

Which may be true, but a) comics have a huge history and backlog that provide more context to occasional outliers such as Superman killing and b) he wasn't writing a comic, he was making a movie. And c) that's not how he defended it originally. Snyder's original reasoning was that they wanted to explain why Superman didn't kill any more — not that Superman has always killed, and saying he didn't was a betrayal of the comics character.

The "realism" angle was not only brand new, it was also in direct contradiction to the "mythology" reason that he'd given earlier. And which Snyder then goes back to in his very next answer in the Forbes interview, which he begins by saying, "I really believe this — and I think it's obvious — I believe superheroes, they're our modern myths."

Snyder presented himself as bewildered by the bad reaction to the ending in a July 2015 Entertainment Weekly interview, saying, "I was surprised because that's the thesis of Superman for me, that you can't just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences." He's focusing on the destruction in Metropolis here, and not the death of Zod.

Presumably Snyder wasn't actually surprised by the reaction to Zod's death, since David S. Goyer told Empire in 2013 that "We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial."

In the Entertainment Weekly interview, Snyder goes on to say:

There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one's getting hurt. That's not us. What is that message? That's it's ok that there's this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone?

It's an interesting trick he's pulling. His original defence was a more cerebral story puzzle, about how Superman's origin requires him to learn the hard way. Then Snyder's response became more about being true to the comic book character. But now, it's more that everyone upset is stupid because there are consequences to having Superman around, dammit — and Man of Steel was smart enough to know that. The longer Snyder gets criticised, the more defensive he becomes. Which might be fair, but it doesn't actually stop the questions.


We're only a few months into 2016, but since Batman v Superman is coming out in just a few weeks, Zack Snyder's been faced with these questions again. In an issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland, published in late January, Snyder once again defended Metropolis' flattening:

I stand by it, because for me, I've always said when I was working on Watchmen — and maybe it's sort of left over from a Watchmen philosophical sort of thing — that there should be consequences to superheroes' interaction with the Earth. And that was kind of the way that we approached Man of Steel. I wanted a big consequence to Superman's arrival on Earth. Certainly, Batman v Superman sort of cashes in all its chips on the 'why' of that destruction.

Not only are the consequences necessary, he says, but they set up Batman v Superman. They had to do it. Of course, that still doesn't explain the murder of Zod or his utterly terrifying notion that Superman could snap and kill again at any time, but OK.

Then we've got the February 4 "Hall of Justice" podcast episode. Which brings every justification he's ever given home in a giant basket of condescension:

I knew that we were really updating a character, a beloved character. And I don't think changing him… you know, people are always like, "You changed Superman," and I'm like, if you're a comic book fan, you know I didn't change Superman. If you know the true canon, you know that I didn't change Superman. If you're a fan of the old movies, yeah, I changed him a bit. But you know that's the difference.

You know I'm a bit of a comic book fan, and I always default to the true canon. Not the sort of cinematic canon ... where they play slightly fast and loose with the rules. And so, I feel like I tried to create a Superman that would set a tone for the world.

At this point, he's given up using plot and story and sequels and mythology to justify it all. He's even stopped dodging the issue of Zod. Snyder's literally asking to see the geek card of everyone who has ever disagreed with him. He's asking people to prove they're real fans. "Tell me how many comics you've read. Well, I've read more, so my interpretation is more valid," is an argument that has never really worked.

And, bizarrely for someone making a movie, he's also saying that movie canon is intrinsically bullshit. Of course, his canon is true, because his heart is pure. And he is tired of trying to explain this to people in a reasonable way.

With all the different rhetorical tactics he's deployed, there's every chance that Zack Snyder is going to be defending his choices in Man of Steel for the rest of his life. He could have gone conciliatory and said, "We did what we felt was true to the character, apparently other people disagreed. Maybe it was a mistake not to consider how a wider audience would react, but we still think we made the right movie." But he hasn't. If anything, he's only gotten more defensive with time.

Which is actually really worrying, because it could indicate that, instead of learning from Man of Steel, he's going to double-down in Batman v Superman. You can't learn from a mistake that you refuse to admit you made.

Image: Associated Press

Originally posted on Gizmodo.


Comments

    It could be worse, he could have had a baby with Lois Lane and forgot about it (*cough Superman Returns cough*) mind you I didn't mind that movie just that part of the story was far fetched in my book.

    I was glad he killed him, just because it put an end to that horrendously boring fight scene and movie.

    They…fought….for…..ages….

    After about the 15th time someone was tackled through a building, punched through a vehicle, slammed through the road…. It became pretty damn clear to the audience that nobody was going to get damaged by anything. Give it up! Think of a new strategy! Stop punching and kicking each other when it’s not doing anything!

    It was a long ass movie topped by the equivalent of watching two grown men trying to beat each other to death with pool noodles for what seemed like at least 20 minutes.

    The neck break was one of mercy.

      and wouldn't a military expert with years of training be able to easily defeat a still training Superman?

        Zod was only on earth a short time, his powers hadn't exceeded Supermans yet, Jor El said Kal El's abilities and power had already exceeded all expectations. Given more time, it would've been all but guaranteed Zod would've been able to flick him away with a single finger though.

        Superman clearly spent a day or two at the same school as Rey from Episode VII.

        He’s not a patch on her when it comes to being Ms-Know-It-All but it was clearly long enough to (eventually) overmatch someone with a long history of combat experience.

      I can't help but think it would've been better had Zod found some sort of Krytponian dagger or something or some shard of metal from Krypton that could harm Superman. Like you said, it was essentially a giant WWE event. Noone was really getting hurt out of the two of them, it was just endlessly going on.

        At least in WWE they fake injuries, accrue damage (fake and otherwise) and generally sell a sense of wounding.

        It’s not like Superman came out of anything limping, or with as much as a scratch, or even a hair out of place. There was no attempt to sell either man as being on the brink of defeat at any point right up until the ‘snap’.

          Indeed, it would've been nice to see bloodied lips, black eyes, even a broken arm, broken skin, blood or ANYTHING. It's a kryptonian fighting a Kryptonian, they can do that to each other!!!

    I don't have a problem with the concept of Superman killing someone, especially for character growth. However I don't think it was done well in Man of Steel.

    It's been done better before, even in the Justice League cartoon. Granted, it was an alternate dimension version, but it added to the story where the following season had them questioning their morals and actions. Even reached a point where Question attempted to kill Luthor out of the belief that if he could remove this part of the equation than Superman would never abuse his authority.

    Hell, even did a better job in Injustice. At least there Superman was tricked into killing Lois and breaking.

    Of course, that still doesn’t explain the murder of Zod or his utterly terrifying notion that Superman could snap and kill again at any time, but OK.

    Spoken like someone who didn't bother to watch the movie or chooses to take the entire scene out of context.

    Most of the issues came from people who compared the only Superman they actually knew, the Richard Donner 70s Superman, to the newer Snyder version. Those of us who grew up actually reading the comics found this version of Superman actually fell in line with actions he's committed in the past, including but not limited to *actually killing Zod* not to mention others.

    Max Landis put it best, Superman will not kill those less powerful than him, he feels a duty towards them, but those of equal power or above himself, it's open game. He won't use it as a first point of resort, but he won't hold back either, and that's been displayed many times in the comics against Zod and Doomsday for instance.

    But let's not get high and mighty about the Man of Steel movie before we go back in time to Superman 2, where Superman heinously killed Zod ORIGINALLY. Yes, he took away Zod, Non and Ursa's powers, making them effectively human. He then crushes Zod’s hand, an act of torture to a human from a demi-god, then proceeds, a demigod to mortals, to throw them into a bottomless pit where, without super strength, they are doomed to die.

    But you know, Superman snapping Zod's neck to stop him destroying Metropolis and saving potentially billions of lives worldwide is a bad thing...

    I guess it's better than dropping Sokovia in a world crushing event though :)

    Last edited 17/03/16 2:40 pm

      The problem is that in the comics Superman has killed, yes. He's killed a handful of times over the course of not far off a 100 years of comics. The deaths feel more earnt and we know they were last resorts. In Man of Steel he kills the first enemy he ever faces. This version of Superman has killed 100% of the enemies he faced. I think if it had happened in the 3rd or 4th movie people would have been more accepting of the idea.

      Comparing Man of Steel to AOU is foolish. Yes they both have huge amounts of destruction, but the Avengers are shown actively trying to defend human lives. Multiple times. To the point an Avenger dies to save a child.

      Superman makes no such effort. He is seen throwing his enemy into buildings. He is seen making out with chicks while a city collapses. We see a Superman who doesn't care about civilians, only his friends.

      It is a problem when the Hulk makes more of an effort to save people than Superman does.

        Quicksilver wasn't an Avenger, just pointing that out. Also, when you compare the Avengers to Superman you have a team as opposed to one superpowered being. That's imbalanced, it's like sending Thor up against Ultron and his entire army and expecting Thor to single handedly do it all. Sure he might be able to in the end, but he'd be a little busy in the process and Sokovia might not have been dismantled before it hit the ground...

        As for the death in the movie, it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because they were used to the 'Marvel way of doing things'. I don't think Snyder did everything right, infact MANY things on MOS rubbed me the wrong way, especially John Kents death, I hated that, but the fact he displayed a situation where the badguy will not roll over and stop (after all, where exactly are they going to keep Zod if beaten???) , where the badguy WILL seek to destroy the earth (the Zero was going to be used to teraform the earth remember) and where the badguy made it known he *would* kill every single man woman and child... led to a no win situation for Kal El where the only resolution was to put him down permanently.

        Because quite frankly, eventually, Zod when fully powered would've kicked his ass beyond recognition.

        And the kiss is an idiotic thing people have resorted to picking out honestly, it's a cinematic trope, the hero kissing the girl. If we're going to pick on that, there's approximately 100 years of cinema to go back and pick on. Least of all Return of the Jedi when Harrison Ford and Carrie kiss, while the remnants of the Death Star plummet down onto Endor possibly destroying continents...

        Last edited 17/03/16 3:05 pm

          The thing is though I'm not saying Superman needs to save everyone. He just needs to try. Honestly I think one shot of Superman attempting to stop a building fall (even if unsuccessful) could have saved the fight scene for most people.

          The various Avengers have all fought powerful enemies alone. Again they tried to protect civilians. I used AOU as an example as it was the one given in the original post. Also Quicksilver is an Avenger, the moment he suited up alongside them he became one.

          The kiss may be a trope but it doesn't mean it was good. The major problem comparing to something like Han Solo is Solo couldn't do anything about the debris. Superman still had time to save lives.

          after all, where exactly are they going to keep Zod if beaten???
          The article quotes Snyder saying that in an earlier draft they just bunged him in the Phantom Zone. That's the traditional way to solve problems like that.

            The problem then also becomes that people would complain "How would humanity suddenly know how to do that?"

            I don't deny there's many issues with the movie. I've had my nitpicks, including even the ending battle, even his fight with Zod which SHOULD have had higher stakes, but in a lot of cases, people are just trying to nitpick for nitpickings sake.

              Well, there is the magical Kryptonian space ship with a magical Kryptonian AI version of Superman's dad on board. Surely it would have been able to help out if that's where they wanted the plot to go.

                Nah they destroyed him remember...

                Either that or he's off with Tuggah, foightin round the world mate! lol

                Seriously that was just such a miscast... I kept thinking they should've reversed the role. Kevin Costner as Pa Kent, Rusty Crowe as the tractor...

                  Superman also snapped Zod's neck in the final version of the film. Who knows how much was changed since the draft with the phantom zone ending?

                  What I'm saying is that if they wanted the film to end like that, they'd find a way to accomplish it. And that way doesn't necessarily need to involve human technology.

    A colleague of mine worked on one of his movies, I think it was that owl movie. Apparently he's kind of a dick...

    There was an episode of Justice League where Superman is fighting Darksied and is getting whalloped; metropolis is being crushed under the strain of their battle.

    Then Superman flips the tables, telling Darksied that he always limits himself, pulls his punches, for fear of all that collateral damage and that now he won't because he's been pushed too far and then just wrecks Darksied.

    I liked that episode. It vindicates the audiences approval of Superman as the hero, shows his moral leanings, and demonstrates his fearsome power that the citizens of Metropolis are practically indentured to trust.

    I actually quite like that he doesn't apologise for it. Why should he? I'm glad they made the movie they wanted instead of pandering to internet whingers and making safe choices.

    Was it perfect? No, of course not. But there are 4,582 other comic book movies where no one dies, there are no consequences, hero gets the girl and everything works out perfectly. People complain when everything's the same, but don't like getting anything different.

    PS. Why don't people whinge this much about Batman letting Ra's al Ghul die in Batman Begins when he had every chance to save him, and said as much. Or pushing Harvey Deny off a building and the fall breaking his neck? If anything, Batman has a much stauncher "No kill" policy then Superman ever had.

      Exactly this Batman has a very strict rule, that he rarely breaks.
      But push supe's over the edge (or give him red Kryptonite) and all bets are off.

    I honestly don't know what the big deal was anyway. As you concede in the article, this wasn't the first time he'd killed, and this was an origin story set in a new universe. Why the fuck should the creators of MoS have been bound by such constraints? This is their take on it.

    Don't get me wrong, MoS was an average movie, but the reaction to the killing seems over the top.

    Wow. That... really makes me want to watch Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman V Superman. Which I didn't care about before.

    Superhero movies, while fantastic, have been adhering to a set of general rules for years. They always seem to stay in the lines. What made Deadpool so appealing was the straying from that line, but only in a comedic way.

    I've never been into superman in all honesty - I watched a few episodes and a movie when I was young - because he is, let's be honest, a pretty boring character. It sounds like Snyder has done something that's more reflective of a real world possibility, vs the power fantasy we've had ingrained in all this for basically ever.

    While I can see why people would be upset at Snyder for his comments, I'm just kinda like... Come on guys. He's been attacked for 3 years over his decisions in this movie franchise. Of course he's going to be defensive about it.

    I wonder if this is going to be one of those things we look back on in a few decades and say 'well shit, it wasn't as bad as we thought." In the same way wind Waker has turned around in perception in a lot of ways.

    I didnt care too much about Zod dying, cared a bit more about metropolis getting slapped to hell, but I absolutely lost it when Pa Kent died. Stupid. Stupid. Hilariously Stupid.

      Yeah, that was dumb. If they had to kill him to demonstrate powerlessness, it would've been a better thing to do with cancer or whatever. I get that they were trying to show how he made a choice and that his choice to effectively kill (through inaction) his father for the sake of secret identity might be one that he would later regret (because no-one's perfect - we all make errors of judgement), but it was also a serious knock to suspension of disbelief.

      DAMN RIGHT. That was my biggest bugbear with the movie. Pa Kents death is meant to show Clark that despite how powerful he is, no matter how strong, how fast he is, when Death finally comes for us all, in the end, not even Superman can save us when it's our time. His heart attack was his time and no matter what Clark did, he was meant to 'go'. It was akin to how offended my mate felt with Amazing Spidermans changing Uncle Bens death, removing "With Great Power" and all that. I just hated how they turned Pa Kents death into a farce... **ck that dog, seriously... a f***ing dog...

    I stopped reading half way down. This just reads of someone going well out of their way to justify their own opinion of a film that seems like they went in with a pre-judgement of the film based on what people said on the internet. Just because you think something in a film is a 'mistake' as well as a few outspoken comment boards doesn't make it so.

    Clarify one thing though, is this article about the ending of MoS or is it about attacking Zack Snyder? I don't know and I don't think the author knows either

    As it is, I liked Man of Steel. It set up a decent backstory for Superman, it explained how he had only just begun to test his powers, but it also put him against the first serious threat he'd ever come across. It makes sense that he wouldn't have the restraint a later Superman would show

    I feel people were shocked that it isn't in the same (fairly shitty let's be honest) style of the Reeves films but also, especially online, there's an element of people who don't want to like it because 'AVENGEEEEEERS'

    Yes, if you don’t murder once, how can you ever come to the conclusion that murder is bad? That’s how morality works, right?

    Completely ignores the context of power.
    WE come to the conclusion that murder is bad, but by God we have the stats to prove that we have the urge and the ability to (and frequently do) act on it.

    We don't murder more because of the consequences, both social and legal. The social contract which binds us would not necessarily bind Superman. Especially when he retains a secret identity.

    And if we had the power to shrug off or simply never face the consequences of violent, immoral acts the way we can shrug off or never face the consequences of lesser injustices like piracy, then we might actually see that simple morality is not enough for even more people.

    The disparity of power immediately 'others' the powerless in the eyes of the powerful.
    Any discussion on income equality from the perspective of the wealthy pretty clearly highlights the truth of that.

    One of the better examinations of this 'morality' I've seen takes place in 'Strong Female Protagonist' webcomic. (An excellent read.) Sequence starts here: http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-3/page-74/

    Basically-Supergirl: "I fantasize about killing people all the time."
    "Uh, what?"
    "I think about how easy it would be. What if I just started showing up to Klan rallies with an I-beam? Knock down the capitol building, force them to pass universal health care, stuff every Ayn Rand fanatic into a big mason jar and hurl it into the sun. I could do it, you know. I really could.
    And there's these people with their fucking sneers, going, "You're a monster! You're a thug! You kill people!" NO FUCKING SHIT I KILL PEOPLE!! I put holes in mountains! I break shit constantly without even trying! I saved the world on no less than seven fucking occasions, but guess what, super-accuracy is not one of my [powers]!
    Am I supposed to be impressed that they've never killed anybody? What a bold moral choice from a person who's terrified of violence and scared shitless of going to jail! It's like... have you ever had the option of murdering a bunch of people [without consequence]? Okay, then why the FUCK am I listening to your opinion on the matter?! Every day I don't kill a thousand fucking people, they should throw me a god-damned tickertape parade!"
    "Jesus christ."
    "You said it. You know, I just threatened to kill several hundred people on national television and nothing bad happened to me. They even let me come here and talk to you, unescorted. No big deal. Can you imagine if you had done that? They would've called in the national guard! Did I just save the world enough times that now I can do whatever I want?"

    Last edited 17/03/16 3:52 pm

      im intrigued. i hadnt heard of this webcomic, ima gonna check it out, looks rather interesting.

        It can get a little heavy-handed at times, but there have been some really interesting ideas in there, and some well-conveyed moments that resonated very strongly with me.

        As someone who's had a lot of lucky breaks, this page and especially the page after it struck me in particular:
        http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-4/page-22-3/

    I'm glad Zod dies. Not only did it emphasize the painful choice he had to make killing one of the few remaining of his kind to save members of a weaker race that were yet to trust him, it also meant that we avoid the common annoyance that the good guys don't do what is necessary to end a situation and often let the bad guy off to live another day to kill even more people. If anything it showed commitment to the cause of peace.

    I agree the final battle scene was overly long and really trashed the city but at least they are addressing the destruction in the next one movie whereas the avengers and in particular Tony Stark just get to shrug it off and are treated like heroes regardless of the death and destruction they cause.

      Until six or seven movies later when they can retcon in a 'public reaction' because the fans start saying "Hang on... people WOULD have died in the battle of new york!!!"

      Well, the premise of the next Captain America film is the government dealing with this issue by introducing new regulations.

      Although it does seem weird that they've got the free market capitalist promoting government regulation, while the guy who got his start with government propaganda leads the resistance ...

    People seem to forget that despite all the decades of comic-book history, this is still a fictional story entirely controlled by Goyer and Snyder. If they want Superman to kill for whatever reason, if they want to level a city and potentially kill thousands, that's their prerogative.

    Their only duty is to tell a coherent, compelling, internally-consistent story. And that's where they completely failed. Any of the common issues people bring up with their story choices could have been justified in-text, but instead we need to have the authors of this story making half-arsed excuses and fans tying themselves in knots trying to justify what are unquestionably problems with the story.

    I didn't have any trouble with Superman killing Zod. He was faced with an ethical choice and he had to make a difficult decision. While Reeves is great, the snide to the old Superman movies is legit. See for example the choice of saving Lois vs saving thousands of people in Superman 1. A very difficult ethical and emotional choice and I think we all knew that he choose right, first. However, they allowed him to undo his choice and save everybody by using literal bullshit magic. It's an iconic scene, yes, but it's bullshit magic of the kind that never allowed him to experience character growth.

    The destruction of Metropolis? It was absolutely necessary as it gave a real face to the stakes at hand. Metropolis was destroyed because Superman didn't kill Zod earlier. Any more beating around the bush, any more hesitation to save HIS honour/feelings/personal ethics was a death sentence to hundreds of people with every passing second.

    The only really stupid thing in that movie is how he let old Kent die. That has no justification of any kind and it was allowed to happen merely as a exploitative character-forming tragedy.

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