‘Man of Steel’ Ending Controversy & The ‘Superman II’ Hypocrisy

Published 1 year ago by , Updated April 8th, 2014 at 7:06 am,

Man of Steel Superman II Zod Death Superman Kills Man of Steel Ending Controversy & The Superman II Hypocrisy

[WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR MAN OF STEEL SPOILERS!!!]

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Look around the Internet these days and you’ll hear a buzz about the new Superman reboot movie Man of Steel, and aside from some pretty divisive opinion about whether the movie is good or not (read our review), one of the biggest topics of discussion is the climatic battle between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon), in which Superman is faced with the choice of watching Zod vaporize an innocent family or killing the ruthless general – ultimately (and controversially) choosing to do the latter.

There’s been vocal outrage on the part of some fans who feel betrayed by the notion of a  Superman who kills – but is the outrage legitimate?

In recent days we’ve heard from Man of Steel director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer, who revealed to Empire that in an original version of the script, Superman returns Zod to the Phantom Zone prison where he belongs – until Snyder convinced Goyer and producer/story writer Chris Nolan that Zod’s ending should be more permanent:

….David, Chris and I had long talks about it, and I said that I really feel like we should kill Zod, and that Superman should kill him. The ‘Why?’ of it for me was that if 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.

dark superman by eliaskhasho d338bj9 Man of Steel Ending Controversy & The Superman II Hypocrisy

Collider and other sites have been critical of such reasoning – and even Mark Waid, writer of one of the comic books that influenced Man of Steel‘s story, stated on his blog Thrillbent that he was NOT happy with that moment of the film:

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. That crazy guy was me, and I barely even remember doing that, I had to be told afterward that I’d done that, that’s how caught up in betrayal I felt. And after the neck-snapping, even though I stuck it out, I didn’t give a damn about the rest of the movie.

To be fair, Waid does go on to give a more level-headed explanation, saying he thinks the film failed to establish Superman’s concern with ordinary people to with enough emphasis to “earn” that moment of snapping Zod’s neck, though he did acknowledge the character’s anguish in the aftermath (that now infamous scream). Superman’s lack of concern for collateral damage has been something MANY people have criticized Man of Steel for – so Waid (who knows the character pret-ty well) does have a point, perhaps.

…But I ask again: Does NOBODY remember Superman II?

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The Superman II Hypocrisy

general zod Man of Steel Ending Controversy & The Superman II Hypocrisy

Richard Donner’s sequel to Superman: The Movie told a darker tale that centered on Superman wanting giving up his powers in exchange for a normal life with Lois Lane – until evil Kryptonians General Zod, his lieutenant, Ursa, and brute enforcer Non all start using their newfound super powers to wreak havoc on Earth (sound familiar?). The movie ends with the now famous scene of Superman, Lois, Lex Luthor, Zod and his minions all having a Mexican standoff in the Fortress of Solitude. Superman craftily uses his de-powering chamber in reverse, restoring his own powers and stripping the bad guys of theirs. He then proceeds to murder General Zod!

If you’ve (somehow) never seen it, watch the climax of Superman II for yourself:

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  1. “There’s been vocal outrage on the part of some fans who feel betrayed by the notion of a Superman who kills – but is the outrage legitimate?”

    Just for the record for anyone jumping in the conversation…you cannot cite an example for a version of a movie that exists in a rare format for an “alternate ending”. I have two copies of Superman II DVD, the regular mainstream release and the Donner Cut. In the theatrical release, Superman crushes Zod’s hand and then tosses him against a wall of ice, possibly breaking his back (we don’t know) but he falls into the “abyss” and disappears forever. Non tries to fly and falls, while Lois punches Ursa and she falls into the abyss.

    Assuming they fell into a prison is unlikely. Judging from the distance we see them fall and how long we hear the scream after they disappear in the fog, they would likely have major damage/broken bones. In addition gangrene would set in on Zod’s crushed hand without medical treatment.

    SUPERMAN IV – Superman kills Nuclear Man by dropping him into a Nuclear Plant which immediately energizes all the reserves.

    SUPERMAN #22. – Dispute over whether Superman kills Zod, Zaora and Quex-Ul, particularly Zod. Even assuming that Zod dies at the hands of Quex-Ul strangling him, Superman still kills Quex-Ul and Zaora. He blames himself for the death of all three.

    So Superman has killed. Live with it. He deeply regretted it but he did it.

    • Outrage? Stop being dramatic. Those who disagree with Superman killing aren’t in ashes and sackcloth. Besides, isn’t this about Superman II and the supposed hypocrisy that cannot be proven? Your examples from other films and comics don’t change the fact that Superman didn’t kill Zod in Superman II. You’re seeing strictly what you NEED to see, in order to enjoy Man of Steel . . . or something.

      As for “rare format”, that’s malarkey. All three versions are shown worldwide. I caught the tele-version of Superman II in Australia a couple of months ago, no less. Stop allowing conjecture to foist your position. Superman crushed Zod’s hand, threw him against a wall, and Zod, who screamed as he fell, had neither a broken back or neck. Your cynical view is rewarded in Man of Steel, but not Superman II.

      • Waldae,
        Well said! Only a super-small mind would assume that Superman killed anybody in Superman II. Comics, and alternate stories are always debatable. However, the story writers for “Man of Steel” didn’t even take into consideration that Superman’s powers build reserves (see his epic first battle with Doomsday!)the longer he’s exposed to yellow sun light. If this was taken into account, then given the amount of time he’d resided on Earth would’ve given him an abundance of power that the newly arrived Zod couldn’t have matched. He could’ve held him in place until he burnt out his energy, shot straight into the air with Zod, shot straight into the floor with Zod, or simply covered Zod’s eyes with his hands. It’s terrible how the movie industry seems to be turning bad guys into heroes, and heroes into villians. >:-(

        • Fly up then down huh? Then what? Its easy to say that from your standpoint but obviously you know nothing about crafting a story, let alone establishing a movie franchise.

          I’ve heard that one so many times its like an old joke now.

          Zod had to die, Kal was the only one who could do it. They set this up right from the beginning, but since you don’t know what the proverbial gun on the wall means then Im not going to waste my time explaining it to you.

          • Yes, fly up. You want to save the people, fly up and get Zod out of there. Even better, have the people run for their lives instead of just cringing there.

            You want to stop Zod? Knock him out. You say that won’t work? It’s a lot easier than snapping his neck.

            What’s telling is that Superman should have dispatched the Phantom Zone criminals easily. He’d been on Earth for years, should have been much more powerful. Hell, the USM took out the Zoners with a missile. A missile! They were all unconscious, but Superman couldn’t knock one of them out?

            Fly up. Take him to space, and fight him there until you beat him into submission. Sounds dumb? No more moronic than purposely putting Superman in a position where he has to kill.

            • Heres an old example of your failure at argumentation:

              “Yes, fly up. You want to save the people, fly up and get Zod out of there. Even better, have the people run for their lives instead of just cringing there.”

              Fly up and then what? You never answered this. In situations like this , you have to think like chess. If I do this then what? Yes telling the people to get out of there would be good but they were terrified.

              “You want to stop Zod? Knock him out. You say that won’t work? It’s a lot easier than snapping his neck.”

              This is a start, so he finds a way to knock him out. Then what? (again think chess).

              “Fly up. Take him to space, and fight him there until you beat him into submission. Sounds dumb? No more moronic than purposely putting Superman in a position where he has to kill.”

              The only thing that sounds dumb is that you’re not offering a solution to the problem. You saved that family but thats it. The only two solutions to the problem are either to find a way to send him to the Phantom Zone or kill him.

              If neither happens when he wakes up he will find a way to get free and will kill everyone.

              I agree the neck snapping was harsh. Maybe there was another way to do it but either way Supes needed this to realize what his powers can do.

              • Tony, I’m not going on a date with you.

  2. Wonderful news, seems i’ve discovered yet another “Superman” kill.

    Smallville Episode 1×05 – “Cool” Sean Kelvin developed Kryptonite Powers (Freak of the Week) “died when he was thrown into a lake by Clark which instantly froze.”

    See the Smallville wiki for source of the info.

    Again, “STOP THE INSANITY!” being this upset over Superman killing Zod in Man of Steel….really? Get over it. There was no other option. He had to, Superman has killed in the past. That’s a fact. Please don’t make me dredge up more examples. I have better things to do with my time, like finishing the screenplay i’m writing.

    Superman killing Zod in this movie in no way takes away from the character you love. He had no choice. There was no flying up, up, down, down, B, A, B, A….Zod wanted to die because Superman destroyed his reason to exist. Watch the movie again. Kryptonians were bred for specific purposes and Kal destroyed Zod’s reason to exist and exiled all the other Kryptonians to the Phantom Zone (with the help of the Army General).

    This movie was amazing, much much better than Superman Returns. I was hoping for a more epic music theme for “Superman” but all things aside this was great!

    Watch the movie again PLEASE and this time don’t watch it to point out and see everything wrong you can possibly point out in it, watch it to enjoy it and point out the things that made it enjoyable to watch.

    • How weak does your argument have to be, that you’re forced to seek and contort other instances, and still not make your point?

      Are you saying that it’s right for Superman to kill. No, you’re not. You’re pulling ill-fitting examples out of the backside, justify Cavil killing in Man of Steel . . . and none of them do.

      The film was a disappointment, and word of mouth caused it to underperform. It did so to the point that they’re throwing Batman into the pseudo-sequel.

      You should view the film again and ask yourself the question: did Cavil really have no other option? Was fight contrived just so we could have a shock value moment? Anything other than yes proves that your understanding of Superman as a character, is singular and not universal.

      Oh, Superman didn’t kill Zod in Superman II.

      • Waldae!
        I’m sorry brother but you seem to be like a typical stubborn 3 year old in all your post.You’ve disagreed with everyone along with the writer of this article claiming no one but you (it seems) knows Superman.
        Man of steel was a great movie no matter how much you’re trying to discredit it, for what? because he killed Zod, REALY?
        I will agree with Tony and the majority of readers that Superman have indeed killed before.Everything Tony stated was indeed true.Zod along with the others btw died in superman 2, at least in the theatrical release. I don’t know whats the big deal is with you but like Tony stated, watch the movie and enjoy it instead of trying to discredit everything.If you do that how will you ever enjoy a great movie?
        Thank you and please don’t attack me because I disagree with you like you did the others.I’m just being realistic and is old enough to have seen the original superman 2 when it was first released.

        • I’m a stubborn 3 year old because I disagree with the article’s false premise? MOS was a poor film because it was a poor film, not because Zod was killed.

          • That’s Your Opinion Waldae. That does not mean everyone else have to take your opinion as fact.The majority of people Thought it was a good movie.I for one concur with the Majority.

            • Majority? Really? MOS divided fans and disappointed the general public. It underperformed at the box office and was in the red critically. Your idea of a majority is very selective.

              Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II. Do not conflate Superman II with Man of Steel.

              • talk about a two year old Waldae a movie that disappointed doesnt make 650m+ at the box office also superman does kill zod in superman 2 whether or not you agree with it is irrelevant its just plain fact……further more its ok for you to not like Man of Steel cus movie reviews are subjective but i for one enjoyed it….

                cheers

              • Whats your definition of underperformed? Did not beat the Avengers or Titanic? In the red critically? It hada budget of just over $225 million and made over $600 million. Where are you getting this delusional misinformation?

    • “Kryptonians were bred for specific purposes and Kal destroyed Zod’s reason to exist and exiled all the other Kryptonians to the Phantom Zone (with the help of the Army General).”

      Amen, Tony!

    • @Tony: the general killed was an air force general, not an army one. Still agree with you, though.

  3. I was always bothered more by newly re-powered Superman going back to the diner and being a real dick to the diner patron who had humiliated him when he was a weak human. Zod and his group “needed killin’” as some might say. Diner Bully was just a small town guy, likely with a dead-end job and glory days way back in high school. Someone to be pitied and forgotten after you pass through town, not someone you make an effort to go back and punish. THAT was the scene that made me think Superman was perfectly capable of being a jerk, NOT the scene where 3 villains who had murdered countless people were executed.

  4. As for Superman killing Zod in MoS – you’re overlooking the theory that Zod WANTED Kal-El to kill him!

    In MoS, Kryptonians are born with their purpose pre-programmed. Zod’s purpose was to protect Krypton at all costs. With Krypton gone, he had no purpose, no life’s work, no goals. He was an empty shell of a man who did not “fit” in human society and had lost the only place where he **did** belong. His only option was to force Kal-El’s hand.

    That’s the way I saw it. It was a gut-wrenching, powerful scene and I saw nothing wrong with the outcome.

    • Very true, and let’s remember that for kryptonians “a good death is its own reward”.

      For me it was very evident that Zod was orchestrating his own warrior death.

  5. Zod wanted Kal-El to kill him. Since when does the hero do what the villain wants? The villain usually wants the hero to do something wrong, which is what Cavil did.

    Yeah, the diner scene in Superman II, which has no bearing on what’s being bandied about, was horrible. Superman was a real dick when he gave that bully a taste of his own medicine. What a jerk! He was much better when he snapped Zod’s neck, because that’s what Zod wanted him to do.

    • Waldae, I rarely reply to people on ScreenRant. But I’m a huge Superman fan, have a superman belt buckle and my car is decked with Superman symbols. I bought MOS on day one and watched it in theaters 3 times. This film was great and let me explain why the killing was necessary.
      1: Zack Snyder is right, this is a origin story and we have to show why Superman has a distaste for killing. Sure he was raised not to kill but by killing one of his own kind with his bare hands, he is shocked into seeing how dangerous he is, truly.
      2: This teaches him that by just brawling with his opponent the fight will always end badly. He has to learn from this experience and this will cause him to try and avoid grid locks in future battles that involve life or death situations. (He has no hand to hand skills to speak of in this film and he is now inspired to learn them)
      3: The killing of Zod made sure he would not return viva la Batman villain style. Earth is safe from a practically god-like murderer now cause of one action Superman took.
      And 4: The shock of killing Zod strengthened the bond between Clark and Lois, a relationship that needs as many ties as possible considering a cross species romance can’t be easy.
      I hope you don’t feel offended by my replying to you but I honestly think this movie deserves much more praise than it received, considering it is the first Superman movie to truly give credit to the character we all love in the comic books and it is the launching point to DC’s plans for a future shared Universe, which is what all we fans truly want is it now?

    • And because he saved lives. Well said! The bully wasnt killing noone.
      Someone is conflating Superman II with Man of Steel…or the other way around!

      The generic statement “Superman doesnt kill” is whats doomed your remark:

      - Superman has killed in the Christopher Reeve movies
      - Superman has killed in the comics
      - Superman has killed in Smallville
      - Superman has killed in Lois & Clark

      • Oh and he’s killed in the Animated show too (Justice League Episode with the Justice Lords – he fried Lex Luthor with Heat Vision).

        Let me know Waldae when I need to start playing “Cry me a river”…

  6. This movie was the bomb, haters need to stop hating, they are ruining it for themselves. Superman has killed, Superman II & research some comic books, you haters are really uptight. Superman doesn’t care about the safety of others?! The fights were crazy & there was property damage everywhere. Just remember one thing when criticizing, he has been saving people’s lives for over 25 years. Can’t make everyone happy, the only comic fans should be rightfully mad is Iron Man 3 ah la Mandarin. Now that was B.S.!

  7. Tony, Toni, Tone! Superman didn’t kill Zod in Superman II! He only committed murder in Man of Steel. Do the research.

    • @Waldae

      Um, throwing him into a bottomless pit after he was turned mortal wouldn’t kill him? Alrighty…

    • You’re on crack Waldae:

      - he killed Nuclear Man in Superman 4
      - he killed Luthors goons in Superman Returns even if not intentionally.
      - he killed Lex Luthor in Justice League (alternate universe)
      - he killed Green Arrow, Joker, Luthor, and Captain Marvel in “Injustice: Gods Among Us”
      - he killed a freak of the week in Smallville
      - he killed Zod, Quex Ul and Zaora in Superman 22. You can argue that Quex Ul killed Zod and that’s fine, he still killed Quex Ul and Zaora.

      You consistently come back to Zod in Superman 2 and ignore everything else because you know we are right. I haven’t heard even one person jump to your defence or on your side. So it would seem the majority have spoken.

    • @Waldae

      And seriously, are you some kind of bleeding heart or something? I don’t consider killing a bad guy that was trying to kill innocents as “murder.” He did what he had to so do save lives. In fact, I kind of hate when superheroes keep villains alive knowing they will get out later to kill more innocents…

  8. Man this conversation has been going on a while now…a testament to a good, or at least meaningful movie if you ask me…I feel like I just want to add something…

    Personally I loved Man Of Steel, I thought it was great…Superman killing Zod, I thought, was a great scene…very shocking…he begged zod to stop, he was clearly greatly upset about the choice he had to make…it weighed on him, and I think that’s what superman is…he sacrifices…he carries burdens of the entire world, and this first movie showed him begin that journey…He will have to wrestle with being all powerful and the decisions that forces on him…I thought the movie was great…
    It’s also one of the few movies of this genre showing the death of a villain really hold some weight with how it effects the hero…usually villain gets killed, funny quip, eat some shwarma (or whatever, not picking on marvel, just making a point)…

    Now, I won’t say I don’t understand the point…my son is 4 going on 5 and I’m not sure I want him to see this movie yet because of this scene. I’ve said to him before that superman doesn’t kill people while we watch the cartoons, so I understand being upset…this is just a much more “adult” (for lack of a better word) take on the material…so for me, I love it…for him, I don’t know if it’s appropriate yet, but it will be…the way he killed him was quite brutal, maybe that’s where some of this hate is from, but it was emotionally a good scene I thought…just because he did that doesn’t mean he doesn’t consider “all life sacred” type of thing…

    As for the outrage from adults on these boards, etc…I don’t get it…as pointed out, he’s killed before…even if you don’t count “Superman 2″…

    I’ve also seen him kill numerous “Doomsday” creatures in a Justice League Episode in Themyscira…they battle them for a while and then while the Wonder woman army is getting beat pretty bad, Superman watches as amazon warriors are getting beat to hell, he has a look of concern and then decides to end the battle. He proceed to Fry every last Doomsday…vaporizes them and says “I had no Choice”…they play it off by saying “They weren’t truly alive” yeah, whatever…he killed each one…a mass killing but he friggin had to…it made sense…and was badass…just like in man of steel…was Zod “truly alive”? He was a genetically programmed being…kinda similar no?

    Also, I’ve seen superman in the justice league cartoons shoot down numerous space ships and whatnot with his heat vision in battles…usually you see the pilot eject, but he’s just blowing crap up with his heat vision…I guess he just assumes people will get out of the ship? a pretty dangerous assumption if he is so concerned…I feel like people are taking themselves a little too seriously here…in most of the stories he easily could be responsible for a lot of deaths…just like any super hero giant battle scene…there’s crap exploding everywhere…

    Also, I don’t get all the “Destruction Porn” complaints either…welcome to super heroes and alien invasion movies…think Independence day…he essentially stopped an all powerful invasion…people are upset that some of the city got destroyed by ZOD?? he was going to level the whole planet…and Superman stopped it at like a 20 square block radius…not bad…it’s hypocritical to like tons of other super hero movies and then complain here…Zod is arguably the most powerful villain we’ve seen on screen, and there were at least 4 of them…with ships…and superman fighting them that JUST learned he could even fly…

    And the Collateral Damage in the city complaints…that’s not new…watch any animated series or justice league cartoons…he regularly throws villains though buildings…multiple ones…and the buildings lights are ON…people were in there…welcome to SciFi Superhero Fantasy…it happens…he even leveled an entire city development fighting captain marvel in one episode…were all those wrong too?

    in MOS they topple already destroyed buildings…the ones that were not already destroyed he puts some damage on and holes through, yes, but that’s what happens when supers fight…since when is that a problem…?

    People are entitled to not like the movie, that’s fine…maybe you were expecting something else…maybe you wanted it to be lighter in tone…maybe you didn’t like the flashbacks…that’s fine, but it seems to me a lot of these complaints were ready to come out before they even saw the movie…it was new and different and people didn’t want that…

    Hey, at least it didn’t have a friggin’ romantic flight through the sky with a 16 year old girls love note poem narration…
    Also, maybe he should have saved all those lives you’re concerned with by reversing the rotation of the earth…

    • THAT!

    • @KaracterZero: THIS.

    • well said. the Captain Marvel vs. Superman fight from JLU is my favorite example for countering the “Too Much Destruction” garbage.

      • That episode was well-written, 1, and didn’t involve the deaths of innocent people, 2. Superman was acting irrational, and that’s what the scene was meant to show, which was punctuated by Captain Marvel resigning from the Justice League.

        Man of Steel? Not so much.

        P. S. You can’t use an example of too much destruction to justify an example of too much destruction! The destruction in the JL episode was uncalled for and it was ALL SUPERMAN’S FAULT. MOS lovers don’t want to admit the same or any responsibility for Superman in that supremely disappointing reboot.

  9. Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II. A little research shows it didn’t happen, and the best argument a detractor can make is for an ambiguous outcome in the theatrical release.

    Superman does kill Zod in MOS. No argument there.

    • Since you keep throwing “research” out there check this out from a medical journal:

      “If the crush injury is severe enough, the body releases cellular byproducts and electrolytes (e.g., myoglobin and potassium, respectively) from the affected muscles and damaged tissue into the bloodstream. This physiologic response, called crush syndrome (rhabdomyolysis), can lead to acute kidney (renal) failure and heart arrhythmias, sometimes resulting in permanent disability or death.”

      So we know Superman crushed his hand, then he throws him against the wall, *maybe* breaking his back and he disappears. Keep in mind the words of Jorel or Lara (depending on who you believe is the spirit in the fortress) the red sun rays make the Kryptonian mortal just like a human being “You can be hurt like one of them. You can die like one of them.”

      There were no arctic police. There is no mention of him in the sequels, why didn’t Luthor try to use them to fight Superman again in Superman Returns? Because they were dead. The TV version with the police is just that….a TV version. It is not included in any DVD release. The Donner Cut may possibly be considered canon of you don’t mind Superman spinning the Earth around twice in two movies back to back to resolve it which is really really really stupid.

      You’re the only one who shoots off one liners with no back up or proof of your allegations. It’s safe to say you are so blinded by your surroundings of Superman posters, Superman hand towels, Superman bedsheets/blankets and your Superman jammies that you can’t accept this. It happened. Deal with it.

      Hate Man of Steel if you wish but don’t spread lies about it or the previous franchise.

    • Not only does Superman kill Zod at the end of Superman II, he kills Zod who NO LONGER POSES A THREAT TO HIM or anyone else, just to be a dick. Then, to be an even bigger dick, he goes out and kills another dude in a diner bu throwing him into a pinball machine.

    • Dude. You are little on the slow side right? Admit when you are wrong and move on Nancy.

    • You do know the theatrical version is the canon right?

  10. Would you people choose a version of Superman II? Donner’s cut is great as well as the old ABC/KCOP TV edits, but Richard Lester’s cut (which contains a lot of Donner footage) is what was shown in the theaters.

    That’s the version that needs to be used in this argument. And in that version it’s clearly implied that Zod dies or falls or ends up in the Earth’s core, but he isn’t arrested or seen again.

    • Agreed Gary! The Arctic Police version isn’t even available as a special feature/deleted scene on any commercially released DVD so I don’t get how someone can cite that as true canon material.

      Waldae is the only one on here grasping for this. From a writers perspective, they set this up from the beginning on Krypton when they talked about how everyone has a genetically designed purpose. You knew he would fight to the death to preserve his purpose. Sending him to the Phantom Zone would have been anti-climactic. This sets him up like in the comics to realize what power he has and to maybe think about what he has to do to not kill in the future and thus make him the Superman that always apprehends Luthor instead of getting fed up and killing him.

      It’s nice to know there’s more people out there that can see this, thanks Gary!

  11. The sure sign of a lost position, is when you have no answer for it. I read everything from using the comics as an excuse, to pseudo-medical explanations about Zod’s breaking. Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II, in any of the versions. The result is ambiguous at worst, and we’re dealing with Superman who does not kill. Not the murderer in MOS.

    • Actually the sure sign of a lost position is when you consistently address one allegation and ignore the rest. You have yet to address the irrefutable evidence that he killed Nuclear Man in Superman IV. Regardless if he was artifically created, he was a living thing. This was indeed “first degree murder”. He could have found somewhere else to hide Nuclear man to where the Sun would never shine on him but he dumped him into a Nuclear Reactor instead.

      Second of all, you still ignore that he killed Luthors goons in Superman Returns. This was manslaughter at best but still killed as a result of Superman’s actions. You clearly see them being crushed by falling pillars.

      Your case has absolutely no weight. You ignore the evidence from Superman 22 wherein regardless of your theory that Quex Ul killed Zod first that would mean he died as a result of Supermans kryptonite and even with the remote possibility that they killed eachother which I can provide forensic and medical evidence showing how this isn’t possible, he still killed Faora who was standing alone.

      Pre Man of Steel Superman is charged and found guilty of being responsible for the death of:

      - Nuclear Man in Superman IV
      - Luthors goons in Superman Returns
      - Faora in Superman 22
      - Quex Ul in Superman 22 (debated)
      - Zod in Superman 22 (debated)
      - Zod in Superman 2 (debated)
      - Sean Kelvin in Smallville episode 1×05 “Cool” (thrown into a lake by Clark and froze
      to death)
      - Trent MacGowen in Smallville episode 4×02 “Gone” (overcome by Clark and fell into a trough filled with molten metal.)

      I could google all the other Superman shows if you’d like but I think that would reveal your Superbuddy to be a mass murderer. All of the above real and researched.

      None of which you care to dispute.

      So go run along an put on your Superman jammies and brush your teeth with your Superman toothbrush and Superman toothpaste, climb under the covers of your Superman blanket and lie your head down on your Superman pillow, set your Superman alarm clock and go to sleep. This will all still be real tomorrow.

      • You sir, are missing the point in the most spectacular way possible.

        Are there examples when it happens? yes, but the rule as a whole is Superman does NOT kill. period.

        Think of how few examples you have there, from over 70 years of stories from all different mediums.

        But since we are grabbing stories and using them as examples for points, let me pull quotes from the comic “Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow?” Superman kills in that one too, here is the conversation after he does.

        Lois: “B-but you had no choice! You’ve done nothing Wrong!”

        Superman: “Yes I have. NOBODY has a right to kill… Not you, not Superman…. ESPECIALLY not Superman.”

        Thats a direct quote.

        The point is, the way man of steel does the killing, and the whole movie in general, just goes against everything superman stands for. In all honesty, the neck snapping scene was only the least of it to me. We never see this new superman get any of his morals, and we kinda get the implication that he has actually been told the Opposite.

        “So what, I should have just let them died?!”

        “….Maybe.”

        Remember that scene? where he was basically told DONT SAVE PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT!!

        The whole movie was just a depressing disappointment. Visually, it was dull. Next to no color, lots of blacks and browns and grays that was just uninteresting to look at. and what color there was, like the superman suit, was all muted. All of the kryptonian stuff and tech all looked like stuff we have seen in other movies, The test tube kryptonian babies being obviously ripped off of the matrix being the most prime example. As a movie itself, the plot was incoherent, with stuff poorly explained or not explained at all. Clark Kent in this movie is reckless and very very VERY careless. Destroying practically everything he can just, well just because. So many buildings destroyed this movie was basically destruction porn. Not to mention setting off a black hole in the middle of a busy city, cause that makes sense. Honestly, i just found the movie to be boring and uninteresting. Even during moments that were meant to be a visual spectacle, like the big Zod vs Superman battle at the end of the movie just felt like the Neo Vs Smith fight in the last matrix movie. The fight with the lady Kryptonian in smallville felt like the fight in the first thor. It all was just so.. Boring, nothing we haven’t seen before. But dark and edgy is in. So lets make everyone more like Batman. This is not a superman movie. Far from it.

        • I’m sorry.. What?

          “Are there examples when it happens? yes, but the rule as a whole is Superman does NOT kill. period.”

          So, you’re saying, “Sure, he’s killed before. It happens from time to time.. but the rule is he does not kill.. Period.”

          I hope you see the contradiction in that statement.

          • I would if it were contradictory, but I was stating the rule and acknowledging that the rule has been broken. You seem to be familiar with Superman’s source material over various media, right? When Superman kills, it’s deemed wrong. It’s policed, he stops, he exiles himself, he pays a heavy penance, or he gives up being Superman. There is accountability for the rule.

    • Troll harder…

      • You’re the only one trolling here, jack.

  12. Exactly my point. A litany of examples that don’t refute the fact that Superman didn’t kill Zod in Superman II. That’s what the article is about. You offer the other examples because you can’t refute that point. Zod’s fate is ambiguous at worst, and in Superman II, we are with the Silver/Bronze age Superman who doesn’t kill. Now I’ll wrap myself in my Superman Jammie’s and sleep the sleep of the just and right.

  13. Look, even if Superman hasn’t killed before, this Man of Steel kill gives him the reason for his no-killing rule. The remorse he feels for what he had to do is perfect in that it sets up his famous aversion to killing. Lex Luthor could even prey on that in Batman vs. Superman, it would be a great character move.

  14. “we are with the Silver/Bronze age Superman who doesn’t kill”

    Interesting quote considering you consistently ignore and refuse to rise up to the challenge of his other kills. You are pegged and focused on Superman II and Zod specifically. The article is about a Superman who kills, with the most popular but not the only example of him killing.

    You consistently ignore everything that is presented to you. That is called ignorance.

    Not one person on here has jumped onto your side of the fence.

    Your Superman and every version of Superman has killed at least once, but you can at least sleep sound in knowing that we understand that most of (if not all) of the mainstream Superman’s have killed only as a last resort, unlike the Superman in the universe of the Justice Lords or in Injustice Gods Among Us.

    • I don’t need anyone to jump on my side of the fence, because I’m right. Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II. The act is ambiguous at worst, and there is no reason to believe that Superman would kill Zod or anyone else.

      Man of Steel? That guy killed Zod, dead. Snapped his neck. No ambiguity there.

      Superman killed the trucker in Superman II? See why I don’t need your people on my side of the fence? ;)

      I really hope that Superman’s no-kill code extends to other things like rape, mutilation, mental cruelty, etc. I’d hate to think that he would have to perform those acts as well, just to realise that he shouldn’t do them.

      Superman does not kill. Man of Steel got it wrong. Deal with it. LOL!

      • Again, you fail to acknowledge the slew of kills. If you’re basing your rationale on the Arctic Police Ending, consider this. In the Arctic Police Ending, Superman destroys the Fortress with his “telekenetic powers” and the Fortress mysteriously reappears in Superman IV and Superman Returns (which does not acknowledge either Superman 3 or 4).

        There is nothing – NOTHING to show that there is a prison down there, not mentioned or even hinted at. My debate is fueled by facts:
        - there is no food in the Fortress (because Superman does not *need* to eat)
        - Superman crushed Zods hand (completely unnecessary) and then threw him against the wall where he falls into the foggy pit (again unnecessary)
        - Zod and company are mortal so they need food and are completely human
        - they are never mentioned or spoken of again
        - there is no mention of a prison or a giant cushion to catch them at the bottom.
        - the height at which Zod falls to where he disappears into the fog is sufficient to cause serious fall injury. Based on the sound of Zods cry as he disappears into the fog, he fell almost the same distance, enough to cause a fatal injury.

        So in order to silence you, I can prove the fall killed him with a mathematical formula showing how far he fell and then compare it to scientific evidence of whether the fall would kill him.

        This evidence is not ambiguous, your conjecture that there was something at the bottom to stop their fatal fall is ten times more ambiguous.

        Trucker? I never mentioned him killing the trucker. In Superman 2 he went back to “bully” him. In Man of Steel he just destroyed his truck.

        • All noted. Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II. All of these examples you continuously bring up do not refute that fact. It’s conjecture, guesswork, and endless work at squaring a circle.

  15. http://www.supermanhomepage.com/movies/movies.php?topic=m-movie2

    Also read the gripe about Superman II here on the Superman homepage….apparently people were indeed upset that Superman killed in Superman II as well.

    And finally i’ve taken it as a mission to contact Richard Lester myself to ask him that very question:

    Did the Phantom Zone Criminals die in Superman II?

    Then we can shoot an email over to Richard Donner and ask the same question. Interesting to note is that if it is confirmed by the directors, even Superman turning back time in the Donner Cut would not erase the kill. Timewise yes it would not have happened but Superman would have done it and it may have fueled his decision to turn back time so to the rest of the universe it didnt happen but it would still be burned into Supermans memory. *tear

    Sorry buddy, cuddle up to your Superman plush toy because reality is going to check in.

    Heres another official website quote to prepare your mind:

    “So to close, the criticism of the film that Superman would never kill is simply unwarranted, unsupported and ignorant, because Superman has killed before and will most likely do it again someday, but only when it is absolutely necessary.”
    (from comicbook movie.com)

    • Good luck on that, man. Not sure how you’re going to validate any response, but it doesn’t matter. Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II. No amount of quotes, fansites, or ridiculous attempts at insults will change that.

      • So what you are saying Waldae is that even if Richard Lester and Richard Donner both say yes in the theatrical version of Superman II Superman kills Zod, you are not going to accept it because you refuse to believe that you’ve wrapped yourself in Superman jammies and a Superman blankie for the last 25 years?

        Wow….i’m going to stop myself now because I can see now that logic has no place in your little world.

  16. The whole basis of the argument is to whether Superman killed before Man of Steel. He did. Your entire argument is based on Superman II Zod. That’s like being on a jury in a murder case and it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the defendant murdered the victim and someone brings in what they think was one of the murder weapons and when a shadow of a doubt has fallen on that *one* weapon you dance around the fact he is still a murderer based on the validity of that one murder weapon.

    Since you are completely ignoring all other murders, obviously you don’t take this seriously. Pre “Man of Steel” Superman is responsible for the death of:

    - Nuclear Man in Superman IV
    - Luthors goons in Superman Returns
    - Faora in Superman 22
    - Quex Ul in Superman 22 (debated)
    - Sean Kelvin in Smallville episode 1×05 “Cool” (thrown into a lake by Clark and froze
    to death)
    - Trent MacGowen in Smallville episode 4×02 “Gone” (overcome by Clark and fell into a trough filled with molten metal.)

    He’s killed when he’s had no choice. Batman is the only one who’s code is to never kill.

  17. what i find funny is everyone freaks about the MOS kill but no one freaks about injustice:gods among us. not talking about all the people the alternate evil supes kills but all the INNOCENT PEOPLE the “good” superman vaporizes in their cars that the alternate earth’s black adam throws at him.

    it’s a quick time event and it’s a good 15-20 cars that are specifically shown driving past that adam just picks up and hurls at you. and you as superman instead of catching them you nuke them with your heat vision. those cars are filled with 1-5 people each. do the math anyway you want but the big blue boyscout racks up a hell of a bodycount.

    and aside from the the three kryptonians in the comics superman has killed doomsday and in the first justice league arc of the new 52 universe he killed ALOT of parademons.

  18. Don’t care that the Man of Steel killed Zod, Zod left him no options, a superneck break probably was better a super nut punch. The movie’s kill wasn’t the prob, the overkill of the movie in parts was. It may inspire adults more than kids with not much up up and away inspiration, and is a Lex Luthor dream of rebuilding a city in his image and a world not really trusting of the alien, if for no other reasons than property values.

  19. This a Superman reboot not a remake. So things can change. The fact it’s so talked about makes it a good decision.

    Besides, he knew this was his chance to kill Zod, how else could he do it? And in doing so saved many many more families. Zod was going to kill them anyway.

  20. In all honesty, the pit had fog, so we can’t really know if it was bottomless or just pretty deep (yet, non-lethal). The biggest hypocrisy is that Superman did kill Zod in the comics. After doing so, however, he feels deep regret and goes into self imposed exile in space to reflect on his actions. I thought the ending was almost spot-on. It’s fine he killed Zod. However, I would have liked if the last moments of the film, rather than that ridiculous business with the drone, had focused on Clark’s reaction, maybe in a small chat with Martha, where he realized the error in his ways, realizes that the easy answer is not always the right one, and vows never to do it again (yes, he did have a “moment” where he screams and lois comforts him, but i though they could have done more). I just hope that in the second film they somehow re-visit this event and show how Clark/Supes has “evolved” and finally takes a vow to “never kill again”. If they do this, I feel the Zod-killing-gate will be put to rest.

    • Also, I think they found a pretty cool nemesis to superman besides kryptonite: his own morality. If he kills, he’s doing something he doesn’t like. If he doesn’t, he’s letting people die. It’s a much better way to harm Supes than kryptonite, which can harm his body but not his soul.

  21. It’a amazing how a debate can go on so long and people can get so riled up wihen there’s no reason for such controversy in the first place. Superman was using every last bit of his strength to keep Zod grounded and in place, and he was failing. That family was going to burn to death if he didn’t act, and he did the only thing he had the power to do if it meant not getting innocent blood on his hands: kill Zod. It was not the easy answer, it was the ONLY answer. Many people seem to forget the difference between killing in direct defense of the lives of others, and cold-blooded murder. The former cops and civilians are both authorized to do. The fact is, the comic superhero’s no-killing rule is a joke. Not because they simply don’t believe in shedding blood, but because any time a completely inescapable situation like this would show up, there’d be some magic way out popping up at the last millisecond killing the argument in a heartbeat. That’s not reality. In a realistic setting, Superman wouldn’t use some Torquasm-Vo psychic attack to paralyze Zod without moving, or have someone else immediately appear and take the situation out of his hands. He’d do the only thing he could to save that family and snap Zod’s neck. Many others seemed disillusioned by a Superman that wasn’t a do-no-wrong, messiah-esque fantasy, but I simply saw him as he’d be in real life. Truth be told, I thought they went way too far in showing the complete lack of a choice he had to the point that there was zero moral ambiguity. Leave it to comic fans to condemn his actions anyway.

    • Just to be fair, Supes DID have one other option. He could have covered Zod’s eyes. This was more a failure of the writers to actually think, ofc.

      • And what would have been the point? So the fight could go on? Since apparently nobody dies when they are fighting and destroying buildings… Even if he “subdues” him, he’ll escape, like comic book villains always do, and then more lives will be lost? For what, so you won’t have to deal with the fact that murderers are better off dead?? I always wonder why it seems like it’s more important to keep criminals alive than potential innocent victims…

        • Exactly! There is literally no prison on Earth that could hold Zod, since the Phantom Zone projector device was just destroyed. At that point, it was either A.Kill Zod to save the family and stop him for good. Or B.Cover his eyes until Zod overpowers him and starts ripping through people like a chainsaw.

        • Exactly. There was no flying up, down, left or right. There was no knockout or covering of eyes or deep space exile. Once the Phantom Zone ship was destroyed there was only kill or be killed.

          I dont understand why this is so hard for people to accept.

  22. Zod was not killed in Superman 2.

    • This scene doesnt even show up in any of the DVD versions. I have three of them. Not in ANY…ANY OF THEM!

      The Donner Cut doesnt count because that would mean he spun the Earth back in both movies which would be horrible.

      Superman killed Zod. Eat my kryptonite dust!

      • It’s there. You’re just not looking carefully. If you don’t see it with the Donner cut, I don’t know what to tell you.

        Superman did kill Zod in Man of Steel.

        Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II.

  23. I have 2 messages, 1 for Waldae and 1 for everybody else.
    To Waldae: You are correct. Superman DID NOT kill Zod in superman 2. This superman is the Chris Reeve superman who does not kill (regarding superman 4, nobody f***ing cares. The movie is a piece of crap. Chris Reeve had to pull it together almost all by himself. He was pressured.) Richard Lester killed Zod. In the donner cut, superman is a clever person. He does technically kill him, but he thinks about flying around the world before it ever happened. Also, regarding MOS, Superman IS a murderer. He killed zod so he is a murderer. But, he is not a mass murderer. He did NOT INTENTIONALLY kill ANYBODY that died in the Metropolis massacre. (Hoping superman reflects on his actions in MOS 2) Your opinion is correct.
    To all else: Waldae is only stating that he DID NOT kill zod in superman 2. He never said “superman must never ever kill or he will surely be hated forever” he probably acknowledges all the times he killed. He is only saying superman didn’t kill zod in superman 2. Which technically he didn’t. Richard Lester did.

    • You’re mistaken about Man Of Steel. Killing in direct defense of the lives of others is not murder.

      • @Eadlaw

        Thank you, if I shoot someone who is just about to murder innocent people, that is not murder. Same situation with Superman in MOS.

      • He didn’t have to kill Zod to save the people.

        • Yes, he obviously did. It couldn’t be more blatant that he had no choice. What part of nigh-invulnerable, superstrong, superfast killing machine that no prison on Earth can hold on’t you understand? If he did anything but kill him, Zod would’ve gone on a bloody rampage. It would’ve been a classic case of delaying the inevitable.

          • Right, and you can just snap the neck of a nigh-invulnerable, superstrong, superfast killing machine.

            You can’t have it both ways, where Superman is killing the “un-killable”.

            • I think I can. In addition to it being established in the comics that superman can be hurt by beings of equal strengh and durability, such as doomsday, it makes perfect sense that as durable and powerful as they are, only one with equal strength and durability COULD harm them. Technically, as the movie proves, kryptonians are nigh-invulnerable, but they’re still living organisms, so a twist with every ounce of his strength would be able to do just enough to kill him. Besides, your argument does absolutely nothing to help your case, given the movie contradicts your logic, and I was speaking in comparison to anything the people of Earth could throw at him. To them, he’s invincible.

              • In the film neither Superman or Zod sustain any injuries in their battle. No blood, no scars, not a split lip. However, we’re supposed to believe that an indestructible being can suddenly have his neck snapped, and by the inferior fighter who is “just starting out”, as Goyer likes to say. It’s bad writing.

                Superman did not kill Zod in Superman II!

                • As I said, they’re still living organisms, and it’s never said they’re
                  completely invulnerable. As I also said, they(or their exteriors, it
                  seems) are very likely nigh-invulnerable to the point that they’re
                  like human steel clashing against each other. It’s lot easier to bend
                  and snap something you’ve got a firm grip on than it is to pound it
                  until it breaks, especially with Kryptonian muscle-power. Again, this
                  argument is pointless anyway because if Supes tried to relax for one
                  second to fly up(clearly using every bit of his super-strength to stop
                  Zod from killing everyone he can, and almost certainly flying down to
                  stay in that position as well.) or anything else you’ve suggested, Zod
                  would’ve broken free, and ripped that family in half, or killed some
                  other humans,(as of that point, his goal was not “do battle with
                  Kal-El”, but “kill every human I can” and certainly wouldn’t hold
                  still while Superman tried to move with him in tow.) and you’ve yet to
                  say what he should do IF he managed to knock him out. I’ll say it
                  before, and I’ll say it again, it would only have been a matter of
                  time before Zod woke up and started another rampage.

                  • “As I said, they’re still living organisms, and it’s never said they’re completely invulnerable.”

                    No, it’s shown that they’re completely invulnerable until the plot needs Zod to die. Superman withstood the weapon in the Indian Ocean, though it was supposedly weakening him the whole time. On Zod’s ship, he passed out in seconds, but with gravity weapon, he doesn’t?

                    Faora and company are knocked unconscious by a missile. A missile! However, Superman couldn’t produce enough concussive force to do the same?

                    Through it all, they don’t bleed, get scratched, nothing, until Zod has to die. Bad writing at it’s worst.

                    “As I also said, they(or their exteriors, it
                    seems) are very likely nigh-invulnerable to the point that they’re
                    like human steel clashing against each other.”

                    Poor analogy, as steel versus steel produces a moot result. You need something stronger than the other to get what your after, or it’s just a beating until one wears down first, which is hardly what happened in MOS.

                    “It’s lot easier to bend and snap something you’ve got a firm grip on than it is to pound it until it breaks, especially with Kryptonian muscle-power.”

                    Unless, of course, it’s indestructible.

                    “Again, this argument is pointless anyway because if Supes tried to relax for one second to fly up(clearly using every bit of his super-strength to stop Zod from killing everyone he can, and almost certainly flying down to stay in that position as well.)”

                    Superman has Zod in a submission hold. There’s a reason why it’s called that. Zod was losing the fight, hence why he tried to kill the people. Before that, for all the bluster about killing people, the only person he ever attacks through the entire film is Superman. Bad writing.

                    It’s telling that supporters of the film believe that there was nothing Superman could do, that he couldn’t defeat Zod another way, or would be too stupid to find a way to restrain Zod when he had beaten him, but bend over backwards and extend through their legs to offer up fanboy malarkey to defend the crapioca writing that was in MOS.

        • True. Very true.

          • Ignore that, i was replying to waldae.

      • ->sigh<-
        I hoped that would end the conversation.
        Ok, technically Superman is a KILLER, not exactly a murderer.
        Sorry for confusion.
        He is still righteous, wants to help, but he is new to this.
        He knows very little about what to do when they come to Earth. I agree with Waldae.
        Superman did NOT have to kill zod to save them.
        That corner did not have a full wall. They could have runned to the other side.
        The ONLY reason superman kills Zod is because he has NO way to control him,
        The Phantom Zone generator is gone. NO way to imprison him.
        Also, We have 0 idea of how deep the pit is in the fortress. I am very sure police come up so they probably pick the Zod Gang (NES Superman reference) up as well.
        In the Donner Cut, they MIGHT die, but Superman brings them back to life.
        I truly hope that clears things up.
        PS This logic may be flawed as I am only 12 xD

        • That’s the thing, like I said before, he DID have to kill Zod to save the family. You all seem to be thinking about the eyebeams, and nothing that would happen afterwards. So, they run to the side. Alright, then what? Supes waits until he can no longer keep Zod restrained, and Zod kills them anyway?

        • Even if the family hadn’t been killed by the beams, Superman would’ve been overpowered in seconds, and they would’ve died anyway, along with hundreds more, until Supes finished Zod for good.

  24. He actually did have to kill Zod to save the family, considering he was using every last ounce of his strength to restrain him, if he even tried to loosen his grip to cover his eyes, Zod would’ve super-sped to them and ripped them apart. As I’ve said before, even if by some divine miracle, Superman had somehow gotten the strength to knock him out or anything, which was quite clearly impossible at that moment, he would’ve ripped through hundreds upon hundreds of humans like a chainsaw through paper. Superman killing him would’ve been a matter of when, not a question of if. There’s no logic that anyone could use to condemn his actions that can’t easily be torn apart. He had no choice. It’s just that simple.

  25. Well, I have seen the ending to superman 2 and he throws the bad guys into a chasm which has a mist that clouds what is below. Logic dictates that they die, but that is using real world logic, comic book logic states otherwise. Comic book logic states that if you don’t see a body, then they didn’t die.
    But beyond that, judge the movie on it’s own merits, and think about where the complaints are coming from, comic book lovers. Comic book lovers are judging the movie based on what they expect from the comic book. In the comic book, superman goes out of his way to avoid killing someone. Arguing that the cartoons and other movies have shown him killing people before is like arguing that the elves showed up to the defense of helm’s deep in the lord of the rings novels because the movie showed it.
    I feel that if they had superman kill someone, they would need to spend more time on his reaction to it then what they did. Did that make it a bad movie, not at all, it just didn’t live up to the character of superman from the comics. So enjoy the movie or not on it’s own merit.

  26. Kofi Outlaw. A very good article, (sorry I am just now reading and responding).
    With regards to Superman II (a far better film than MOS in my opinion), Superman doesn’t murder anyone in Superman II. What occurs with the Kryptonian Triple Threat is not revealed to the audience. As some (like your self) have inferred from the scene posted above, Zod, Ursa and Nod were killed/murdered. But we never witness their actual death. They just vanished. With that ambiguity, their demise is greatly exaggerated. Case in point, there is a scene that shows Superman talking to Lois Lane at the Fortress of Solitude and in the background you can see the three (walking under their own power) as well as Lex Luther being escorted to police vehicles. This would indicate that no one was dead or murdered.

    With regards to MOS, my anger stems from the fact that the scene was created to just have Superman kill. It’s an out, to justify Superman’s actions. Make him dark. When people say “He had no choice.” that malarky. Superman is a fantasy character, which means the writer(s) can do anything to advoid the killing scenario. Even while Zod is firing his heat beams, Superman could have blocked them with his arm. Angled Zods face elsewhere. Superman could have just flown off with Zod. Instead, he kills. And what has occured, we now have made the character no better than us. MOS Superman eliminates the hope he once represented, and now has become the new generation of America. Where life has no value and we justify murder as being right.

  27. Think of Zod’s words leading up to his death. Not only does he threaten the citizens of earth, telling Superman that he would “rip them from him one by one”, he also refuses to stop when Superman begs him to. Even if Superman had been capable of stopping Zod from killing that one family and sending him the phantom zone, Zod had enough of a vengeance to always remain a constant threat to the lives both his fathers raised him to protect. Superman knew he had no choice but to kill Zod eventually, and chose so to do it then and there to spare as many human lives as possible. It showed his empathy and humanity he had learned from his family, that he was not just an all powerful kryptonian but a imperfect human as well.

    • While you’ve stated your analysis very well, it’s not your insight but the film’s lack of structure and piss-poor writing that is the problem. Too much is said and not shown. We hear “hope”, but never see any. Zod says he’ll kill humans, then attacks Superman. It’s discordant to say the least. With the exception of Clark’s mother, Zod doesn’t directly attack a single human being before the penultimate moment with Superman. Even then, he only attacks because he’s losing the fight. Then magically Zod remembers that he hates the humans. The scene was crafted to make Superman kill. That’s it. It’s not brave, or poetic, or anything else. It was designed to have Superman kill someone and that’s all. It’s transparent to say the least and it’s why so many have taken issue with it.

      • You, sir, are the best analyst I have ever seen. I never noticed that, I just watched it for fun. He does simply remember that he hates humans. They tried to make Superman too much Batman. Zod killing father is just showing that they want Superman=Batman. Hope is something that isn’t in the movie. Give me Donners Superman any day. Thanks Waldae.

      • “Zod doesn’t directly attack a single human being”

        Pretty sure Zod killed a few human beings when he turned on his terraforming machine and started pounding the crap out of Metropolis.

        “Zod says he’ll kill humans, then attacks Superman”

        Just because he wants to kill every last human on Earth doesn’t mean he’s also not pretty angry with Superman. And just because he attacks Superman doesn’t mean he won’t still try to kill humans. That’s just stupid reasoning.

        • Nothing you have written refutes what I wrote. Does not directly attack any human beings. Again, I said directly. As for the rest I recommend that you review the film and you should see exactly what it was that I wrote. God says you going to do something, and then doesn’t do it. He doesn’t attack a single human being directly until he’s losing the fight with Superman. And that makes up for poor writing. Have a showns directly attacking human beings, human beings in direct threat of his actions, then it would’ve made for strongest story and Superman’s killing of side would have seemed more than justified. Instead we got the piss poor writing show that was man of steel.

          • Nothing you wrote refutes what I wrote.

            Zod displayed his willingness to kill humans when he turned on his terraforming machine (and you don’t need to kill someone with your bare hands in order to be directly responsible for their death. Did Hitler directly kill a single Jew?)

            Just because Zod attacked Superman doesn’t mean that he wasn’t still planning on killing every human on Earth. That’s just stupid. Did he say something like “I will now focus all of my attention, from here on out, on the single task of killing every human on Earth. Please don’t disturb me while I do this.”

            No. Because that’s just stupid.

            Superman still stands opposed to this. He would still have to get through Superman to do this. Once he beats Superman, what do you think he plans on doing? Should Superman wait for Zod to actually go out and kill someone right in front of him before he takes action? It’s not like Zod was just going out for a walk in the park when superman attacked.

            What am I missing?

            • I guess when they genetically modified Zod to be the greatest warrior on Krypton, they neglected to give him the basic ability to multitask.

            • You’re missing the actions of the story we’re talking about. It’s writing 101: show, don’t say. Don’t say hope, show it. Don’t say you’re going to kill humans, do it. Don’t say you’re about protecting Krypton, then attack it’s only other living survivor, who has the Codex within him. That’s what you’re missing.

              • He killed humans when he turned on the terraforming machine. THOUSANDS. It’s inconceivable that no one was hurt when that thing was turned on.

                He WAS about protecting Krypton but with the terraforming machine destroyed he no longer had a purpose. Superman was the one who destroyed the only chance Zod had of resurrecting Krypron. The Codex was useless to him.

                • And I think you’re missing a major point of the movie. Zod wanted Krypton, the place and culture, to survive. Jor-El wanted its ideals to live on. When the terraforming machine was destroyed, Zod lost his chance to bring Krypton, the place, back. With that opportunity gone, he was willing to destroy everything – not a very good representation of Krypronian ideals. Kal_El represents the ideal.

                • How many humans did Zod directly kill? How many humans did Zod directly attack before he was losing to Superman? Not one.

                  Terraforming? Zod and company passed how many planets to terraform Earth? Zod is about protecting Krypton and that means the people. He was distraught over the destruction of the gestation chambers, not thus terraforming device. Kal-El is now Krypton, as he is the last survivor and holds the Codex. Zod’s genetically engineered self should look to do everything to protect Kal, unless of course he can ignore the engineering when he wants, which is another plot point fail.

                  Bad writing. Full stop.

                  • “How many humans did Zod directly kill?”

                    THOUSANDS. You think he wasn’t directly responsible because he didn’t kill them with his bare hands?

                    “Terraforming? Zod and company passed how many planets to terraform Earth? Zod is about protecting Krypton and that means the people.”

                    And that means it’s people? Says you. Zod thinks differently. Terraforming those other planets was useless until he found the Codex. Did you see the movie?

                    “He was distraught over the destruction of the gestation chambers, not thus terraforming device.”

                    Six of one half dozen of the other. Either way, he’s not getting Krypton back.

                    “Zod’s genetically engineered self should look to do everything to protect Kal”

                    Again – says you. Kal wasn’t even born when Zod was made. It’s well established that Zod’s sole purpose was the protection of Krypron, not it’s people – otherwise, why kill Jor-El?

                    • And I should point out that because of Kal’s live birth, Zod considered him an abomination. Why would he protect him?

                      You really don’t think these things through.

                    • Yes, Kal was an abomination, or an act of heresy as he stated in the film. He then asked the same abomination to join him because. . . .? Bad writing.

                      He killed because, and it’s confounding that I have to explain this to you, because of bad writing. Zod was all ready beaten. He’d lost. He killed Jordan-El when there. Was nothing to be gained.

                      If you don’t know the difference between a direct and an indirect killing, it’s time to head back to secondary school. We kill all the time, every day, as life needs the living to exist. However, it’s one thing to kill a nest of ant s while tilling a field, it’s another to look for the nests to eradicate them because a conservationist is keeping you from plowing the field. Such nuance may be lost on you.

                      If this is going to be says you, says me, you’ve all ready submitted to my point. The writing was bad. Full stop. You can still enjoy it, but scat is scat.

  28. I am a huge Superman fan. “Superman doesn’t kill”, has been a staple in the comics for a long time. Although, in different reincarnations he has killed. As a defender of his name, I sometimes get a lot of “Why doesn’t he kill anyone?” “He could be more of a real superhero, and a bad-ass if he did.” To me it is always a choice for him. Superman stands for truth, justice (and the American way), not death dealing. He is not judge, jury and executioner. He believes in the human races ability for good. He is a symbol of “HOPE” for all to strive for, even superheroes in the DC universe.

    This doesn’t mean I am not a fan of the new “Man of Steel” movie. I re-watched the ending, and something Zod said left me in awe, so much so I came up with a theory on the ending called “Zod’s lesson”. He stated that he was made for the protection of Krypton and its people, and that he had no people left. This statement is actually false because of the fact that Superman even though on opposing sides, was in fact, not only a part of his people but the future of his people, to include the codex imbedded into all of his cells (just stating the obvious with that one). I think Zod was actually teaching Superman, giving him a lesson in how to protect his new world. Zod stated that one of them had to die. At this point I thought Zod maybe a little suicidal from the loss of his fellow Kryptionian’s. He is a military General and would not go down without a fight, what is considered to be an “honorable death”. Zod wanted the last Kryptonian to be tough and have the ability to protect himself and his new people at any cost, just like Zod had been doing all along. Towards the end Zod could have easily looked at that family and killed them, not too hard to look a little to the right, in my opinion. The way he did it was slow, in order for Superman to make the decision himself to complete Zod’s lesson.

    Once I thought about it for a while it made more sense to me and I was at peace with the ending. If you want to place this Superman in a different one of DC’s multiverse, and say it’s not the one from the comic books to justify it, by all means. But they can’t keep recycling the same old story line. They need to show superman in a trilogy to really show his true character. In my opinion it should revolve around the death of Superman. Movie #1 Doomsday, going over the history of where he came from how he got to earth and the end battle with Superman. Movie #2 Death of Superman, showing the aftermath and the power vacuum that came about, and who tried to fill his boots when he left. Movie #3 Man of Steel Rises, ending the story by showing how he survived and how he regains his power and position back over scrutiny of his return.

    • “But they can’t keep recycling the same old story line. They need to show superman in a trilogy to really show his true character. In my opinion it should revolve around the death of Superman.”

      So they should recycle the Death of Superman storyline instead.

      And the second movie wouldn’t even have Superman in it?

      • “So they should recycle the Death of Superman storyline instead.”

        Are you a fan of Superman? Everyone that I have talked to would love to see that happen on the big screen. Wouldn’t you? Doesn’t have to be a Trilogy, but there is so much they could put in there for the movies. The thing is more people watch movies then actually take time to read the comics. What I was referring to was the recycling the movie plots(what a majority of the population has seen of Superman). Anything being done for these movies is going to be a derivative of the comics,”recycled”.

        “And the second movie wouldn’t even have Superman in it?”
        The comics had superman gone for a while, did that stop people from enjoying them? Nope. There is such a big story line to introduce new characters, like Superboy and Steel. Also, how pissed is Lex Luther that he wasn’t the one to kill Superman? It’s just my opinion of something I would enjoy watching.

        I’m interested to hear your opinion of what a good Superman movie would revolve around.

    • @Serioke

      Interesting analysis

      And I’d like to see an adaptation of the Death of Superman storyline, but I wouldn’t dedicate an entire movie to his replacements, the first half, perhaps. The second half would be Supes regaining his powers and defeating w.e threat there was (Bizarro?) maybe w/ Steel as back up (Oh no! He’s DCs War Machine, they’re stealing from IM2 now!!!). So w/ MoS and the Doomsday film, that would make 3 Superman films completing a trilogy there.

      Then they can take the story from there.

  29. “Yes, Kal was an abomination, or an act of heresy as he stated in the film. He then asked the same abomination to join him because. . . .? Bad writing.”

    He’s still Kryptonian but, at that point in the movie, Superman hadn’t destroyed Zod’s plans for a new Krypton. He has no reason to kill him at that point in the movie. He certainly has no reason to keep him alive once Zod has no way to bring Krypton back.

    “He killed because, and it’s confounding that I have to explain this to you, because of bad writing. Zod was all ready beaten. He’d lost. He killed Jordan-El when there. Was nothing to be gained.”

    He was in NO WAY beaten. It could be argued that Zod could never really be beaten. What do you think happens when the credits roll? Zod just stops? Because Superman got him in a headlock?

    “If you don’t know the difference between a direct and an indirect killing, it’s time to head back to secondary school. We kill all the time, every day, as life needs the living to exist. However, it’s one thing to kill a nest of ant s while tilling a field, it’s another to look for the nests to eradicate them because a conservationist is keeping you from plowing the field. Such nuance may be lost on you.”

    Direct and indirect is a moot point, and I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make with that. Zod killed thousands of people when he turned his machine on Metropolis. If the machine had continued to do it’s job, every human on Earth would be dead. Zod knew that. Now that the machine is no more, did Zod suddenly become a peacenic? NO. He flat out says that he is going to kill every last human on the planet. He has the power to do so. He showed he is willing to do so (by turning the machine on).

    “If this is going to be says you, says me, you’ve all ready submitted to my point.”

    If your point is that you don’t understand things like conflict and subtext, then yeah….

    • “He killed Jordan-El when there. Was nothing to be gained”

      Zod killed Jor-El because Jor-El stood in his way. It’s called conflict, dude. Every story needs it.

      • Conflict? The conflict was over and the great general, bred for battle lost to the scientist. Great writing. Then he stabs him from behind because he lost and he was the bad guy. Great writing. Jor-El didn’t stand in his way. Zod was a dolt. You want the Codex, why didn’t you get it like Jor-El before attacking the council? Bad writing.

        • Gosh Waldae. You would have written the greatest story ever told! The bad guy gets to the thing that everyone wants first, and then the credits roll. Great writing, m’man!

          How about Captain Jacobi brings the Maltese Falcon to Sam Spade and they call the fat man and Miss Wonderly to have lunch? BRILLIANT!!!

          • OH – That’s actually what happened in the movie – LOL. But when Waldae writes it, Jacobi brings the Falcon to Spade in the first scene.

    • So he’s an abomination but only when it works for you, right? LOL!

      Oh, Jor-El beat him, and Zod stabbed in the back when Jor-El wasn’t looking. Then Superman has him in a submission hold and he suddenly remembers the people. Ah, the elite warrior. Bad writing.

      Direct and indirect aren’t moot, hence they have actual meanings. You can’t acknowledge that, since you have no point. You engaged in a discussion that you didn’t understand, simply because you like a flawed film.

      • “So he’s an abomination but only when it works for you, right? LOL!”

        There was no point in killing him at that point of the movie. There was no reason to protect him when he ruins Zod’s plans for a new Krypton.

        “Oh, Jor-El beat him, and Zod stabbed in the back when Jor-El wasn’t looking.”

        Zod is above treachery???

        “Then Superman has him in a submission hold and he suddenly remembers the people.”

        What makes you think that it was sudden?

        “Direct and indirect aren’t moot, hence they have actual meanings. You can’t acknowledge that, since you have no point.”

        Here’s why it’s moot -> People died as a direct result of Zod’s actions. He was the cause of their death. How many people did Hitler kill – directly? If not for Hitlet – how many would have died?

        Understand?

        • Seriously? Hitler? LOL! Goodwin’s Law in full effect. When you have to reference other films and use Hitler, you have no point. The writing was bad. Scat bad. If you enjoyed it, fine. It’s still piss poor and the actions of the characters display that throughout the film, start to finish.

          • LOL – Goodwin’s Law. Funny. But the point still stands – Zod was the DIRECT cause of all the death’s that occurred when he turned on his machine. You can’t deny that. Try. So how many did he DIRECTLT kill. Every last one of them.

            The Maltese Falcon wasn’t a reference to prove a point – just mockery at your understanding of how a story works.

            • And my point is that you are wrong.

              • Why, because you say so? I’ve given clear examples for my position which you can’t refute, yet you believe MOS is a good film only because you believe it.

            • Did you see the film. Zod didn’t turn on the machine, he gave the order. Can you give anymore indirect examples? LOL!

              Sure, you used The Maltese Falcon to mock me and not advance your flailing point. Sure you did. The Hitler reference too, right?

              Again , bad writing, bad film.