Reactionary Causes

This Supposed 'Man of Steel' Controversy is Ridiculous

What else would you expect? It's a superhero movie.

Michael Shannon in Man of Steel
Michael Shannon in Man of Steel
Photo: Warner Bros.

NOTE: This story contains Man of Steel spoilers. There, you've been warned.

If there's one thing defenders of all superhero movies will tell you it's that they don't live up under scrutiny. Yes, even your precious The Dark Knight has some major issues, which is when someone will stand up and say, "It's just a movie!" Touché.

However, a loud group on the Internet has grown upset over the climactic finale in Man of Steel over a moment where Superman (Henry Cavill) decides the only way he can prevent Zod (Michael Shannon) from killing a family of Metropolis citizens with his heat vision (first world problems, amirite!) is by snapping his neck. Therein lies the horror and, yes, we'll get to the question of why four people matter more than an entire city.

Now, if you're like me, you found the moment in the film rather interesting as an alien being, trying to come to grips with his existence on an alien world, was forced to make a decision he didn't feel comfortable with, but believed it was the only decision to be made. That's it. You stopped there and didn't look any closer. You stopped for good reason, because the closer you look, the worse it gets.

Mark Waid, writer of the Superman comic "Superman: Birthright", chose to look closer and he comes away with the following rant posted on his blog:

Superman wins by killing Zod. By snapping his neck. And as this moment was building, as Zod was out of control and Superman was (for the first time since the fishing boat 90 minutes ago) struggling to actually save innocent victims instead of casually catching them in mid-plummet, some crazy guy in front of us was muttering "Don't do it...don't do it...DON'T DO IT..." and then Superman snapped Zod's neck and that guy stood up and said in a very loud voice, "THAT'S IT, YOU LOST ME, I'M OUT," and his girlfriend had to literally pull him back into his seat and keep him from walking out and that crazy guy was me... As the credits rolled, I told myself I was upset because Superman doesn't kill. Full-stop, Superman doesn't kill.

Beyond Waid's impossible M. Night Shyamalan twist wherein he is simultaneously himself and the "crazy guy" in front of him, his issues with the film speak to the issues with Superman in general and virtually every plot hole the movie faces. It's also important to note many are only quoting what I've included above and not the rest of his statement.

Waid acknowledges the attempt to put Superman in a position where he had no choice, but adds, "As Superman's having his final one-on-one battle with Zod, show me that he's going out of his way to save people from getting caught in the middle. SHOW ME that trying to simultaneously protect humans and beat Zod is achingly, achingly costing Superman the fight." Waid clearly realizes Superman and Zod's epic battle has destroyed about a five block radius in Metropolis. Buildings have collapsed and you better believe humans died and up until the final moment it would seem Superman doesn't care a lick about the death and destruction their little battle has caused until it's right in front of his face.

I can't speak for how Waid felt while he was watching Zod and Superman destroy the city -- killing what Watson Technical Consulting estimate to be 129,000 people, with over 250,000 likely missing and nearly one million injured -- but it is clear it wasn't until he snapped Zod's neck that he gave up on the film. Why? Why is Superman's decision to kill a villain attempting to eradicate the entire human race a problem, but not the hundreds of thousands of people injured during the battle?

Henry Cavill in Man of Steel
Henry Cavill in Man of Steel
Photo: Warner Bros.

Had Superman managed to "zap" Zod to the Phantom Zone, as director Zack Snyder has told Empire is how it went down in the original script, would that have solved everything? Would the thousands that died in his effort to not kill Zod matter then? Would the fact it would appear to be just an attempt to open the door for a sequel have made it any worse? Is it possible all of this supposed "controversy" actually adds a deeper layer to the film itself?

Waid recognizes the fact Superman doesn't appear to be concerned with protecting humans while he battles Zod, but he only comes co this conclusion after he says he "processed" everything. Superman didn't have time to process anything. He had to try to stop a loudmouth with a God complex who just rose from the ashes of his "World Builder". It's only once he's looking squarely in the eyes of the four humans about to be killed by Zod that he realizes what's going on around him and decides the only decision left is to kill him to prevent any further damage.

If anything, the scenes after this moment are the larger misstep. Kiling Zod clearly had an effect on Superman. He regret the decision but feels it was right, yet we don't see him continuing to struggle with it. In an email sent to me by a reader we can take this even further where he writes:

Superman is supposed to be this Christ-like figure. Now, I'm not religious, but why would people view him that way after the events of this movie? He has done nothing to show that he is this all-good, incorruptible being. All people would know at the end of this movie is that there is an very powerful human-looking alien who fought other aliens and most of a major city was destroyed. I expected the story to dig a little deeper, mainly because of Nolan and Goyer's involvement. With Batman, they did a great job with the whole "Batman is more than a man; he's a symbol" aspect of the character. Man of Steel talked about it (most of Jor-El's lines were about this idea of a omnibenevolent and omnipotent Superman) but that's all they did. It was tell, don't show. It could have been so much more.

I agree with this, writing in my review: "[I]n the end it proves difficult to accept him as the man the final moments of the film want us to believe he's become." It would have been far more interesting had we not seen glimpses of Clark Kent, super-reporter, and instead saw the world trying to comprehend what just happened, dealing with the idea of an all-powerful alien among them. After all, wasn't Superman's face all over the television? How in the hell are we supposed to believe a news organization isn't going to recognize him let alone the rest of the population?

In the end, I just don't understand how people can have a problem with Superman killing Zod. If anything, Zod's death, and the multitudes killed during their battle, creates a far more interesting and complex character out of Superman. The problem is the film's failure to recognize this beyond the brief moment after it happens. Superman regrets what he's had to do, we just don't get much time spent dealing with his grief. Instead we get a scene where Clark gets a job at a newspaper, which may actually be the most unbelievable thing about the entire film.

Man of Steel is a fun little piece of entertainment, but if you start looking too closely you're not gonna like what you see and I'm just barely scratching the surface.

NOTE: Here's the EMPIRE interview with Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer I referenced above.

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  • Aidan Khan

    This controversy is a joke.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/JoshP./ Josh P.

    You talk about a pretty significant problem I had with this movie at a fundamental level throughout. The idea that Superman would wrestle with the decision to kill Zod and have to deal with those consequences is an interesting notion. That is, if the movie made any mention that this character viewed killing as an immoral option. I'm not even talking about the city destruction. We never once get a sense that he is actively opposed to killing, whether that be from his own moral compass or a sense imposed by the Kents. So when that moment happened, and we see how upset he is, I felt like I was missing something. In theory, I appreciated what the filmmakers were going for, but it they never provided any evidence to back up their claim. So even the interesting shade of complexity to this character they were trying to add felt empty and unfulfilled.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    I'd imagine some people are more invested in the mythology of Superman and his history and have their views on what the character's traits are and are not. Moreso than general audience members who, bluntly, care less.

    As a Star Trek fan, I've seen more than my fair share of people who are fans having issues with developments in the franchise over the years (some of the stuff J.J. Abrams did left some livid and that's putting it kindly) because they all build a certain perception around what 'it' (or in this case, what Superman) represents or stands for.

    To them, a break or a change from that is a betrayal of what the character to them means. Like, in the case of the guy you quote from. Now, normally I don't agree with the levels some fans take things, but that doesn't mean being unable to see the reasons why they feel that way. A more casual viewer probably would find it difficult to understand such a reaction but fans are pretty hardcore on this stuff sometimes.

    I haven't seen it, but clearly Man of Steel is fairly divisive. I'm sure that there will be hundreds of articles and opinions expressed about it, but ultimately Superman fans are not obligated to like what Nolan and Snyder have done with the character. Nor keep quiet if they don't.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I can understand that to some extent, but then I found this article, which talks about the times in the comics where Superman has killed.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

        Yes, that's part of the discussion I've been seeing between fans who are taking different stances on this part of the film.

        What I'm saying though, is these articles won't matter to someone whose view of Superman is based around him not being a killer. When there's as many stories, adaptions and versions within the history of the character as Superman has, then they'll weed out the parts they like and put the rest aside.

        You won't convince them otherwise because that's what they need to believe about the character or the franchise they are that level of fan of. There will be people who will be fine with it and contextualise it in their heads, and people who see it as completely destroying the core ideals they place in the character.

        I've seen it more times than I've had hot dinners.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

          I have so much I want to say to this, but to keep it short all I will say is people must realize they can't place values or opinions on people/characters they haven't met. In the case of Man of Steel that someone is Superman/Kal-El/Clark and the rest of the cast for that matter. Yes, they may know these characters in a different context, but not within the context of this film.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

            That's just a question (in the first paragraph) that goes to the heart of why people become such dedicated fans if superhero characters and the universes they inhabit.

            Their beliefs are not created in isolation, nor their feelings on the characters but built out of the material from the original creation, through all that follows. If the original creators of Superman created him with an ideal in mind, why would it be strange that people then admire that and follow it?

            As much as I allow I'm a Star Trek fan I don't base my life and opinions on what James T. Kirk would do or Jean-Luc Picard would do. But if there wasn't something within the ideas of that world that appealed then a person wouldn't call themselves a fan of it. Ditto, superhero's and their ilk.

            I surely agree some people get too invested, but you won't change that in any way. Fandom wouldn't exist at it's most involved levels if you could.

            Which is why some people will, rightly or wrongly, dismiss Nolan and Snyder.

            • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

              I love how you have constructed your point. Quite fascinating.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/racquetman/ racquetman

    It's fine if you enjoy these silly comic book movies, but to take them so seriously that you'd actually get into arguments about what a character does or doesn't do in them is beyond idiotic. It's pure fantasy, people. Newsflash - there is no Superman! Dissect something that is actually worth dissecting.

    • marcos ortega

      So you've never gotten into a pointless argument? Comment sections are essentially pointless in most cases. Arguments that you have here and at home are pointless because they have no significant value but to make you feel as if you have been heard. If people wish to comment on a silly comic book movie on a website why even throw your comment in. Is it to feel superior to everyone else who may have a passion for a character with 75 years of history behind him. People wish to dissect the movie because regardless of it being summer blockbuster material the character of superman encompasses what we as society particularly an American society hold up as values that we hope to strive towards as a people. People get into religious argument all the time despite that fact that its mythology meant to represent ideals rather than reality and the same goes for political arguments that tend to be meaningless due to the corrupt nature of the system and most peoples poor understanding of said system. I say let the people dissect away at superman as it is telling of how we as a people react in a modern society to a hero whose moral code is now in question if you even feel it is in question at all.

  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    Nice article, Brad.

    My main argument to those who say "Superman doesn't kill", is who says he doesn't? Yes, he may not in the comic books (which I have not read), but this is an adaptation and Synder / Goyer are free to create whichever character they want. If Superman always had the exact same ideals and ways of battling evil, the story would get boring and predicable (as you alluded to with him being a more interesting character).

  • Jeremy Jordan

    I have to admit I had a problem with that. I enjoyed the movie overall, but felt weird having Superman killi Zod when there were other things he could have done in the situation. But what causes the biggest moral debate for me is, didn't he kill all those unborn Krypton babies in the ship Zod was driving? Mass abortion seems WAY worse to me, and I find that much harder to forgive. I'm really not clear on how the whole alien baby thing works, or if this is really what happens (I'll have to watch it again on DVD), but I really got thrown off.
    I also recognize that this is their interpretation of Superman, but the whole not killing thing is pretty important. Not vital or anything. But all that destruction at the end of the movie felt like it was much more of an over use of special effects and an effort to wow the audience. Personally, I think it went on too long (which is more of a flaw with the way the film was made VS. how the movie portrays Superman) and was way too destructive to be part of a first movie in a series kind of thing. If that makes sense. (More destruction may make sense with Doomsday?)
    Aside from these two aspects (the baby thing and Zod) my biggest issue was with Lois Lane (or anyone from metropolis really, which will probably be fine in the sequel, it's just a little bit harder caring for the under developed characters (ALSO, JENNY OLSEN? WHAT IS THAT)). Her character in the movie was so fundamentally different from her core character that she may as well have been a different character. I think it's important to keep the character's ideals and personalities pretty similar to the source content, even if it's a new story.
    All in all, though, it was an origin story and I think it set up a sequel really well. I'll stick with it. I appreciated a lot of the film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    I can understand why people would be upset. Superman is a character that people have read and known for years, maybe their entire lives. When you see a movie about a character you love so much, and you don't think the movie portrayed him in the correct manner, you can't help but feel upset. Like Winchester said, the casual viewer won't care, but the die-hards will because they think the movie missed the entire point of Superman. They can go too far, as Mark Waid has proved, but it's hard for me to get too mad at them.

    The topic of Superman being responsible for many peoples' deaths due to destruction is an interesting one. One of the reasons why I love "The Incredibles" is that they bring it up and use it in the story. If Nolan and Snyder wanted to bring Superman into the real world, I don't see why they would ignore that.

    "Instead we get a scene where Clark gets a job at a newspaper, which may actually be the most unbelievable thing about the entire film." - My friend and I actually discussed this and he claimed that the paper hired Clark in order to keep his identity safe. Probably as a "thank you" after everything that happened. He also said that the entire company and the government were in on it. I don't think that's correct because I know Amy Adams knew the truth, but I'm pretty sure she was the only one.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

      It's clear within the film that a few in Smallville knew who he was and there's a possibility that some in the military know who he is.

      We won't know until the sequel but his identity is out there and there are people, besides Lois, that do know.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

    My main problem with Waid's argument is his whole deal about "show me where Superman tries to save others, blah, blah, blah." Did we not see at least five or six incidents within the film, be it flashback or the present, where we actually did see Superman/Clark Kent save people? I swore I saw that.

    Also, let's really get down to brass tacks about the climax of the picture. The majority of the collateral damage done to Metropolis was done by Zod's Black Zero craft, not the damn fight between Zod and Superman. It's painfully clear that that device did the absolute most damage to Metropolis, not the actual fight.

    Yes, you can make the argument that the film didn't contextualize the aftermath but we do get a sense, several times within the film, of what people think of Superman. It's spread throughout the damn film.

    The cherry picking of this film is getting to ridiculously proportions.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      "Did we not see at least five or six incidents within the film, be it flashback or the present, where we actually did see Superman/Clark Kent save people? I swore I saw that."

      I think he is largely referring to the moments during Superman's fight against Zod, because if he had been saving people from all the destruction it would have made fighting Zod all the more difficult and lowered his chances of defeating him.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

        If that's what he's referring to, I would've thought it was completely obvious that he couldn't save anyone, considering how unrelenting ZOD was in his attack. Why would Superman put anyone in Zod's line of fire while trying to fight ZOD?

        This nitpicking on this film is ridiculously.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/ArthurCarlson/ Arthur Carlson

    I could be wrong, but didn't Superman kill Zod in Superman II? Or is that no longer considered canon for Superman?

    It's a strong scene, and yes, I agree that it was a chance for Superman to see the destruction that Zod has created, and alas, he accepted what Zod said earlier, "Either I die or you do." I have a feeling this will come back in the sequel, maybe the villain will bring it up to taunt Superman, make him doubt himself or something. Either way, I didn't have a problem with killing Zod, established that he's more Earthling than Kryptonian.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/CoryS./ Cory S.

      Yes, he killed a defenseless Zod in Superman II...with a smirk.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    I agree, this "controversy" is ridiculous. I was genuinely surprised when Supes snapped Zod's neck, it was quick and unconventional. I'm glad they didn't take the generic route with Superman just overpowering him and him getting zapped to the phantom zone or prison or whatever. I, too, wish they showed Superman's internal struggle with what he just did, hopefully they'll be able to expand on that in the sequel.
    Plus, I think that article with the Shaymalan twist, and the discussion on the Podcast.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

      Mistyped the last little antecdote:

      I thought the article and the discussion of it on the Podcast was hilarious. It should be Shaymalan's next short film.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ducard/ Ducard

    Kal-El killing Zod was one of the most wrenching moments in a movie surprisingly full of them . I thought it was very clear in Henry Cavill's face that he struggled mightily about killing the only other surviving Kryptonian & thus leaving him "alone" on his foster planet. He chose free-willed Earthlings over a genetically programmed monster.
    Hopefully when Superman gets into a fight of this scale again he'll try to steer it over an ocean or desert. (Does anybody remember the classic terrorist film "Black Sunday"?)

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

      I agree..even before that scene I believe the film did indicate that while Superman was not truting of Zod and his allies, he did feel this sense of place from them before they showed their true colors. All that made the Zod killing quite powerful in my opnion, though I wish we could have seen his pain slightly longer.

  • http://www.cinemaconfessions.com/ Gautam Anand

    Brad, I would like to correct you since you forgot a real conversation starter this year - Upstream Color. Yes, it didn't make much noise on box office, but it did prompt many to write articles and blog posts demystifying the film. Infact, I think, in recent past apart from Inception and to an extent Prometheus, no film managed to inspire people to write dedicated articles and record podcasts making sense of the film. I myself would have read atleast 2 dozen of such exquisitely written material on the film. Infact, had Shane Carruth not spilled the beans explaining the plot of the film, we could have had much longer conversations.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      You're right, and I keep forgetting it because I only discussed it and didn't officially review it. I thought of that when I did my "Best of 2013 So Far..." Keep reminding me!

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

        That discussion/dissection needs to happen...the hardest thing will be to get Laremy to watch though...that lazy film critic laremy! ;)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    I did audibly say "Jesus" when this happened about an hour ago, but I thought it worked, and I didn't question it

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Thornsy/ Thornsy

    Shoot, this almost makes me want to see the movie.

  • Josh McLaughlin

    I understand your opinion, Brevet, but in general, Superman knows the value of life, and that's why he (usually) never kills anyone. While it may be true that we didn't see any kind of moral development in this film to illustrate that, (in my opinion) it still feels wrong to me. Yes, there has been some exceptions to this "rule" as you pointed out, but those stories are usually considered to be outside of what has been the established "canon" for the character

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Do you consider this film to be within the established "canon" then and with this change wouldn't that place it outside? Is there absolutely no room for movement or change in a character or for him to reach his overall moral code via different avenues?

      • Josh McLaughlin

        Yeah, I understand it when they change stuff, but I just would have liked it if they did this part of the movie differently.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    If you want to see this theme handled extremely well, watch the Japanese series Trigun. Hearing about this "controversy" makes me want to rewatch Trigun instead of going to see Man of Steel.

    The biggest kicker keeping me from going to see MoS though is this "Superman can fly....but how does he SHAVE?" *gags*

  • cineJAB

    So I loved this movie and was able to look past this big battle scene's casualties (maybe some of the buildings had evacuated?) but my biggest problem with it was Clark getting the job at the daily planet in the end without being recognized by anyone other than Lois. I laughed out loud before my (more well-versed in comic lore) friend reminded me that this is literally how it's always been with Superman, but to me that "disguise" is completely ridiculous especially in the world and circumstances established in this world.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

    I read an interview with Zack Snyder recently where he addressed this issue with David Goyer. Nolan was apparently opposed to the idea at first, but then Snyder and Goyer convinced him. Their reasoning was that, since this is an origin story and the character is being newly introduced, killing Zod provides for an opportunity to understand why Superman is so opposed to killing. I agree that it's inconsistent afterward where he seems to have gotten over this rather quickly, but I understand their motivations. Certain fans just seem to have this strange obsession that borders on ownership of the character and they think they know Superman better than anyone else. Personally, I found the moment to be rather surprising and added a more interesting and dramatic element to the character that I hope the filmmakers choose to explore in future installments. But you'll never be able to satisfy comic book purists.

    Honestly, I think that the filmmakers have the right to do whatever they please with the character since it's their interpretation using a different medium from comic books. The goal of this new Superman seems to be to expose more of his flaws and difficulties which the previous versions didn't really explore. So, that's my take on all this and I agree the 'controversy' and anger expressed over this has been blown way out of proportion for something as insignificant as what happened in a summer popcorn movie about a couple of aliens fighting each other.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Yeah, that's the interview I linked to in the article if anyone else is interested.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

        Brad, could you provide a link/source to that general podcast page? I'd be interested in hearing more of their upcoming ones.

        Thanks.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kylejames182/ kyle coley

    He did what he had to do to stop Zod. kill one to save billions

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      I thought it was kill millions to save four?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    Whether its reality or in the movies i think its ridiculous to expect a really good person to not eliminate a really bad person under these circumstances, this doesnt mean the good person is now bad or he isnt gonna feel bad about it afterwards. To take it one step further, didn't God who is generally considered to be a decent chap eliminate 99.9% of the population when he flooded the world?

  • Revan Shan

    I do not care that Superman killed Zodd, even if it goes against everything that is Superman, I am more shocked that he was EVEN ABLE TO KILL ZODD! Did he not have to lock him in the phantom zone because they could not kill each other?

    So much for Superman being invulnerable, he seems to have a clear weakness, a flimsy neck, why have not all the super villains just snapped his neck?

    Pro Tip: Darkseid, drop all the stupid plans, just snap Superman's neck and be done with it.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    I don't think this is as much a 'controversy' as it is something that just didn't sit right with people, because quite honestly, it's totally uncharacteristic action for the Superman character to be taking.

    But looking at this article, and the reaction it's getting, is only further proof that Snyder and Goyer added this moment for shock value only. They know it's not in the norm for Superman to be snapping peoples necks and they wanted a moment. They wanted people to be talking about this and in essence, promoting the film on their behalf.

    I've been thinking about this a bit more and I started to question whether it was Superman killing that I had a problem with, or the manner in which and circumstances surrounding his actions - and I think you touch on this a bit when you mention the moments that follow. Execution is key here, and like a lot of things in this film, it just lacked.

    Had their been more build to that moment - perhaps Superman seeing Zod kill other people first hand? More stakes before that moment to make us truly go, okay - that's the only course of action he had at that point. But there was none of that. We didn't see any of that and at no point did you feel Superman was out of options - and I think that's the main issue. It came out of the blue. It was the easy way out. It's disappointing and it's not true to the character. Frankly, at the end of the day, people are probably pissed because something better could have been done there.

    As for the moments following, indeed, what a missed opportunity (though that seems to be the running thread for the entire film). I get the sense that maybe they didn't want to show the city reacting to the destruction because it may have been even more in line with the Avengers at that point... But it would have been great to see Superman break down as he did after killing Zod, and then immediately fly away - instead of clinging on to Lois. He's ashamed of his actions - he doesn't know how to deal - he needs to be alone. Instead it was brushed off rather quickly.

    Anyway, congrats WB, you have people talking about your film. I'm 100% positive that was your goal.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Adu/ Adu

    Pretty silly controversy, I thought that death scene was awesome and really well done...and I wish they had shown Superman's pain last a bit longer as you said. But the reporter thing, I agree it's quite unbelieveable...but it's such a classic Superman nod, that I quite naturally forgave it (call me crazy!)...the movie for me, as a whole, was far too entertaining for that last bit to weigh it down much.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jessE/ jess e

      In complete agreement with you Adu. Just thought I would note it.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DapperDanMan/ DapperDanMan

    I had no problem with it, even though I know as a rule Superman does not kill... unless it's absolutely necessary. I can understand rabid fans getting upset with it, but lets face it... rabid fans will find anything to get upset about if it goes against their personal vision of a character... The funny thing too me is that this same sort of discussion didn't seem too happen when The Avengers came out and a whole bunch of destruction fell on NYC in the finale of that where there probably mass casualties as well... true Loki was taken alive, but had there been a moment when Thor had choose between killing Loki and stopping him from offing a few innocent bystanders I would like to think that Thor would have done the same thing... No one was up in arms in 1989 when Batman killed the Joker at the end, though it could be argued that his death was "accidental" since Batman was trying to stop from escaping, but still.... In Batman Begins Bruce Wayne refuses to kill the prisoner while being trained, and then ends up destroying a monastery, but his refusal too kill the prisoner was because he presented no threat to him or any one at that time... I could on and on about this... people get upset because Superman snaps Zods neck... but no one questions Indian Jones for killing people to save himself or others and historical artifacts... No one seemed to taken aback by the tank scene in Fast and Furious 6 where it's running over cars and clearly crushing lots of innocent people...

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jessE/ jess e

    I suppose the same elitist nincompoops who question many of the film quirks never found time to question the same quirks of other superhero films. I personally can dissect any film you put before me as most 12 year old can dissect any superhero movie placed before them. I mean the 87% critic consensus "Star Trek Into Darkness" has Capt. Kirk dying only to be revived later to full life and better than before body. Now if this isn't ridiculous I don't know what is and there are a whole lot more plot holes besides. Or how about the 78% critic consensus of "Iron Man 3" that has parts of steel floating in thin air, space if you will, across various continents all coming together to make a perfect fitted suit on the Iron Man body. Ridiculous. You bet. But with "Man Of Steel" everyone wants to get in on the act. Cutting to the chase..It seems to me people in the industry and especially internet blogger should all be celebrating huge successes like "Man of SteeL" instead of doing what ever harm they can so they can be seen as somehow more superior. And to remind those blogger that keep saying the film is rotten because of its 57% consensus on RT well, that is like crapping on the majority of 125 plus critics who did film the film positive and on the majority of user viewers who thought the film to be entertaining and enjoyable. In other words ..you elitist need to get a life.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Starmiter/ Starmiter

    This is more than "just a super-hero movie" - this is a movie featuring THE super-hero, the one that started it all, the one that is the reason we *have* super-hero movies. And this one is more than just a fictional character - he's an icon, a symbol of hope and justice that, granted, has been tailored to fit the needs of the public over the last 7.5 decades that the character has been published. There have been high points and low, and numerous interpretations have come and gone, and 'Man of Steel' is just the latest, and there's bound to be dissent from some percentage of the audience because you can't please everyone, right?

    And yet...

    The difference here, plain and simple, is this - the sheer brutality and graphic nature of the death scene. There is absolutely no doubt of what has transpired, no chance for misunderstanding; the greatest superhero of all time, an icon that is part of our collective psyche, snapped the neck of a raging thug with his bare hands.

    I have a 10-year-old godson. This year, I took him to 'Iron Man 3.' Last year, I took him to 'The Avengers,' and he has seen the films leading up to 'The Avengers' on DVD. All of this was done with the blessing of his parents, who reviewed the material first. There were plenty of violent acts portrayed in those films, including numerous deaths. I will not be taking him to see 'Man of Steel,' however, because this character as a killer, even one faced with a supposed-dire choice of kill-or-let-helpless-people-die, Does. Not. Work. This strikes at the core of the character, and since a movie reaches far more people than a monthly comic book does, this will have a far greater impact as a result.

    And as much as I wanted the film to succeed so that we could eventually get a Justice League movie, I never expected this development for this character. Because now you can't unring that bell. And since the inevitable sequel will follow, and sequels have to try to top themselves, where does it go from here? How do you top this?

    As to the apparent lack of concern over the deaths of thousands (if not more) of innocents, this is a smokescreen of an argument - a Superman who had never really tested the full limits of his abilities against a dozen or so equally or more powerful opponents with extensive combat training and experience does not allow the character the luxury of trying to save everyone *and* take down the people causing the trouble - they can counter everything he does, so it has to be the triage approach of dealing with the most dire situation first, and stopping the other Kryptonians took precendence.

    Also, the argument that putting Zod back in the Zone would've just set-up using him again in a sequel - well, all the other people went back into the Zone, along with a couple of humans, so they could theoretically be used in a sequel, too - why should Zod be any different?

    Superman is not, and never should be, a killer. He is supposed to inspire people to be better than they are, and this simply isn't better.

  • Jeff Phillips

    Angry Brad (love that podcast. said "shit" twice). Man of Steel needed some PODUS influence. The guy from Knots Landing that was Prez in Dark Knight Rises is too bigtime for Superman movie? Gimme a break.

    Also, does Laremy work for CTU with that home phone ringtone??

  • Tehnation

    This is a modern superman, forget all your old superstitions and beliefs. What you see is truth. The realism is superb, lets be serious. If gods came down and starting fighting ONE person, how do you expect that one man to save everyone while getting his face kicked in by elite military soldiers with the same powers? So he's going to stop the machine save everyone, and Zod is going to stand there and watch? Pull your head out your ass and realize the situation he was in. In this storyline this is his first real struggle, obviously he's not perfect. And if Zod were successful the entire planet would have been dead. You guys are crazy to think that love and peace would allow the man of steel to overcome this situation. I love this realistic portrayal.