Kal-El and Zod: why people had to die

If you haven’t seen Man of Steel then you probably don’t know that there has been a bit of an outcry with the way it was done. Movie critics were not very happy with Superman’s portrayal in the film. This was the case with a lot of fans as well. Others loved it and were happy with the new direction the movie had taken. I was one of those.

There are a few things that are quoted as being wrong about the movie. The fact that it doesn’t have the heart of the old Donner films; the treatment Louis Lane’s character received; the mass destruction caused by Superman fighting General Zod and his lieutenants and the final act of killing Zod by snapping his neck.

I think sometimes people forget that this is a form of art. It is not a documentary. As an artist this is the story I want to tell, whether it’s through music, a painting, a sculpture, a novel or a movie.

Think Picasso (and I am by no means saying Snyder is a Picasso here, and I’m not saying he’s not either 🙂 ), his earlier works were a lot more ‘real’ than his later works. He is still drawing a man but his interpretation of that man has changed drastically. I think Snyder and co did something similar here, except the other way around. They took something which was greatly unrealistic and they made it ‘real’.

The Donner films as great as they were (not sure about the third one though) were not very realistic (just because I have glasses on the woman I love doesn’t recognize me?) and that was Donner’s interpretation. Snyder’s film is a lot more realistic (but still not all the way there, fine the woman can now recognize me but the other guys at The Daily Planet don’t?). So when you’ve set out to tell a much more realistic story of Superman how do you prevent collateral damage and people dying without compromising yourself as an artist?

I applaud the studio for allowing Snyder’s artistic integrity to stay intact. It could’ve been so easy to follow The Avengers route and have aliens attack without a single person dying, to have the chitauri land into building and not kill a single person. It would have made the masses happy and no doubt MoS would have made one and half times what it did. But they didn’t. And I’m glad they didn’t.

However, this answers the comparison to the Donner film and the mass destruction to some degree. What about Louis Lane and the killing of Zod? The Louis Lane is a bit easier so let’s start there. I agree that they could’ve done a better job with her. But I somehow feel that a big part of this was done intentionally (see my other post). I think Amy Adams was great in the role.

What about the killing of Zod? We all know that Superman does not kill. Ever. He is a symbol of all that is good in our society. Strength with responsibility and a vast sea of compassion. You’ll be shocked to learn that he has killed Zod before in one of Richard Donner’s films, but let’s leave that for now. Let’s rather ask the question why does he never kill? Where does this no kill policy come from? Good people kill all the time to save their loved ones. If a bad guy was about to kill me and the only way Superman had of stopping him was to kill him I sure hope he does!  Is it unfathomable that the very act of having to kill Zod is the reason for his deep rooted hatred of killing? Is it too much of a jump to think that the destruction and therefore death of thousands of people during his fight with Zod was enough to make him not want to take another human life? Should he have tried to negotiate with General Zod or move the fight to another less populated locale? And of course Zod would have understood perfectly and welcomed the suggestion to fight somewhere else. Ridiculous to say the least. For the sake of the movie and artistic intent it’s a good thing it happened. It has given us incredible insight into what man Superman is and becomes.


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