‘Man of Steel’ Controversy: Zack Snyder and David Goyer Explain the Destructive Ending
For those of you who haven’t seen ‘Man of Steel,’ stop reading now — unless, of course, spoilers are your thing. In any case, you’ve probably heard about the controversies surrounding the climactic, destruction-heavy ending that through many a Superman fan into a tizzy. Now, director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer have broken their silence on the matter.
The two specific moments in question are the final battle in Metropolis and the death of General Zod (Michael Shannon); the former, according to one analyst, caused the entire city to suffer a level of destruction worse than 9/11, while the latter strayed drastically from Superman’s personal moral code. The comic books established the Man of Steel as a hero with a strict anti-killing policy, extending to even his worst enemies in nearly all cases. Though ‘Man of Steel’ is a self-proclaimed darker reboot of the Superman origin story, many viewers still had major problems with the ending.
“When you’re dealing with a threat like this, there will be collateral damage,” Goyer told Bleeding Cool, specifically in regards to the mass destruction. “This is something that hadn’t been depicted in comic book films … what it would be like if these powerful figures did clash, if The Hulk and Thor fought, people would probably die. Particularly in this case where Zod and the Kryptonians really don’t care if people die. I think people died and I’m sure that upsets some people.”
Regardless if you agree or not — one of our own does not — this seems to jive with the ‘Man of Steel’ team’s efforts to visualize a more “realistic” portrayal of the Superman story, which, for example, led to Amy Adam’s Lois Lane being more strong-willed and less of a “damsel in distress” than previous versions.
Now for the main event — with regards to Superman’s killing of Zod, Snyder and Goyer went back and forth on whether the character should go through with it. During an Empire podcast, the pair revealed that an earlier treatment of that scene saw Henry Cavill’s Superman eye blasting Zod into the Phantom Zone. Ultimately, said Snyder, “I really [felt] like we should kill Zod, and that Superman should kill him.”
The “why?” of it for me was that if [it] was truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained … I wanted to create a scenario where Superman, either he’s going to see [Metropolis' citizens] chopped in half, or he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.
According to Goyer, Christopher Nolan (the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy), who produced and co-wrote ‘Man of Steel,’ was originally against killing off Zod. What eventually convinced him, though, was Goyer’s “idea of heat vision and these people about to die.” Give the full podcast a listen for more details.
For those of you who have seen ‘Man of Steel,’ what was your reaction to these scenes? Do you agree with how the team decided to render them? Sound off in the comments.