Zack Snyder caught a lot of grief from some Superman fans who complained that his version of Man of Steel wasn’t true to the character. Specifically the wanton destruction of Metropolis and, oh yeah, snapping General Zod’s neck. Classically Superman would have take a life; it was one of his most defining characteristics. If you disagree, it might be because you don’t really know Superman at all. At least that’s what Snyder himself says.

The Batman vs. Superman director was a guest on the Hall of Justice podcast and he defended the controversial choice to make Superman a killer.

“People are always like ‘You changed Superman.’ If you’re a comic book fan, you know that I didn’t change Superman. If you know the true canon, you know that I didn’t change Superman,” Snyder explained, before quickly adding, “Yeah, I changed him a bit.”

If that leaves you a little confused, Snyder elaborated on his thinking. “My point is that we don’t take liberties. What we’ve done is create a place where they can really be the mythological characters as designed in the comic books.”

We won’t get deep into the “should Superman kill” debate here, because it’s a debate that can’t really be won on either side, but it should be noted that Superman has killed in the comic books before. He usually does it when there is absolutely no other option left, and the alternative is the massive loss of human life. That doesn’t seem to be the case though with Man of Steel. Why didn’t Superman just block Zod’s heat vision with his hands, redirecting the heat back into Zod and exploding his head? Probably because that’s too gruesome for a Man of Steel movie, but there was at least another option other than snapping his neck.

What Snyder seems to be getting at is a difference between the more recent comic version of Superman, who has killed before, including Zod and Doomsday, and the classic version of the character from the earlier comics and the Christopher Reeve films. You can listen to Snyder in full below and make your own decisions about whether or not having Superman kill Zod was a smart choice.