Obviously, comic book movie fans are anticipating the upcoming shared DC cinematic universe, which will really kick into high-gear next year with the releases of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. However, it’s not exactly news to say that the outlook on the blossoming franchise is a tad more cautious than other shared superhero movie universes, after the polarizing reaction to Man of Steel divided critics and audiences alike.
Though we certainly enjoyed the end result, there were many who criticized elements such as the script logic, characterization – and most of all, the destructive climactic Battle of Metropolis. Featuring an inexperienced Superman (Henry Cavill) warring against the hardened Kryptonian military leader General Zod (Michael Shannon), their fight made major waves due to the heavy amounts of collateral damage that flat out wasted an entire section of the city. And though the opposers were morally outraged by Kal-El’s actions, Snyder isn’t apologizing for anything.
In the ultra-informative EW cover story (which has supplied a bevy of Dawn of Justice materials this week), Snyder once again addressed the controversial ending to Man of Steel. As he has indicated before, he felt it was necessary for the reboot to sport some real consequences, which in turn are being used to fuel the storyline of Batman v Superman:
“I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me, that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.”
Though some will say that Superman could have taken Zod to an isolated area for their final showdown (where, exactly?), Snyder makes an interesting point. Zod’s mission in it of itself was going to cause massive property damage, as he and his crew were looking to terraform Earth to be a new Krypton. And when he and Superman finally had their big fight, it was essentially two gods coming to blows – so the force and brutality of their punches were going to have some serious after-effects. Plus, one has to admit that if Metropolis emerged from Man of Steel relatively unscathed, there would be a vocal majority of viewers expressing their displeasure with that instead.
In that sense, Snyder’s opting to run with the chaos is actually a smart decision. In order for the action to have any real weight to it, there needs to be heavy consequences. Otherwise, you have a “thrilling” blockbuster with no tension. Snyder even seemed to call out a certain superhero sequel from this summer, saying in his interview that there are “other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one’s getting hurt.” According to him, that’s not the way it should be, as he feels that any “massive destruction” depicted in a comic book movie should have important ramifications on those involved.
And this isn’t just Snyder getting on the defensive about his movie. Members of the Batman v Superman cast share his sentiment, such as new Batman Ben Affleck. The actor told EW that one of the things that drew him to the project was the director’s willingness to explore the “accountability and consequences of violence.” Affleck even admitted that one of the buildings leveled in the Metropolis battle belonged to Bruce Wayne, so Gotham’s favorite son knew people who died in the catastrophe. This will be an interesting angle to flesh out, as it sets the stage for the elder Batman teaching Superman vital lessons about what it takes to be a hero, helping the Last Son of Krypton become a better person overall.
Will these latest quotes on the Man of Steel finale end the debate over it? Hardly; if anything, Snyder is going to start another firestorm of controversy. However, it is nice to know that there was some vision to his madness, and that he thought things through when crafting the last big set piece. Yes, it arguably went on for a little too long, but if it lays the foundation for a thematically rich follow-up that actually deals with what took place, then he’ll be even more justified for doing what he did.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.