Zack Snyder Talks Superman’s Dilemma and the Mass Destruction in ‘Man of Steel’

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Henry Cavill as Clark Kent Kal El Superman in Man of Steel Zack Snyder Talks Supermans Dilemma and the Mass Destruction in Man of Steel

Man of Steel was a successful re-launch of the Superman movie franchise (in terms of box office returns); not to mention, the blockbuster laid the groundwork for a shared DC Cinematic Universe, with the sequel – which we’ve been referring to as Batman vs. Superman – being the next building block.

Director Zack Snyder’s 21st century (read: contemporary) re-imagining of the Clark Kent/Kal-El character’s origin story is also one of the most divisive titles to have premiered during Summer 2013, if but for one simple reason: it truly re-imagined the mythos, by ramping up the action quotient and painting Superman’s universe in deeper shades of grey than many longtime fans are comfortable with. (Just look through the comments for Screen Rant’s official Man of Steel review and you’ll be able to gauge the intensity of the debate over this film within the hardcore fan community.)

Snyder chatted with The Japanese Times about creating a more flawed and vulnerable Superman (portrayed by Henry Cavill), while making a promotional visit to Tokyo ahead of Man of Steel opening in theaters in Japan tomorrow. One of the subjects that Snyder touched upon is how he perceives Kal-El’s dual heritage – being a child of Krypton raised by the human Kent family on Earth – as something that presents him with a personal obstacle that many Americans can understand (which the filmmaker sought to emphasize in his Superman movie reboot):

“One of the original authors of the Superman comics, Joe Shuster, was an immigrant. I thought it was fascinating how Superman — an infant from a distant planet — was placed in Kansas, which is the most iconographically central location in the U.S. Clark Kent represents a dichotomy: He’s a complete foreigner, literally an alien, but trying to come into his own in Kansas. And he holds a mirror up for ourselves. In many ways, Clark Kent’s dilemma is the American dilemma. Wherever we’re from, we all have this very strong desire for acceptance. When he’s young, most of Clark Kent’s efforts are directed toward being like everyone else. So the fact that he’s not like everyone and never will be is very difficult for him to accept. And he’s adopted too, which could be hard for a kid. I have four adopted children, so I know how that is.”

Supe’s personal quest for acceptance in Man of Steel is complicated by him being a superhero that – in Snyder’s own words – is “literally Biblical” – something that’s emphasized through the film with religious symbolism and allegory. Snyder’s logic, as he explained, is that Kal-El is fundamentally a being with God-like powers, whose self-appointed responsibilities to humanity conflicts with his own personal interests in a big way:

“A very large part of Superman has stayed on Krypton, but he can’t leave his adopted country because if he does the whole world could be destroyed. If he steps in to save everyone, he’ll never be accepted as a normal guy. It’s not an easy choice. Because after all that sacrifice, what does humanity have to offer Clark? You have to admit, it’s not much. In one scene, a priest tells Clark to take a ‘leap of faith.’ And that’s pretty much it for Superman. By the way, his Kryptonian name of Kal-El means ‘God’ in Hebrew.” (It actually translates as “Voice of God.”)

Jenny Olsen and Perry White in Man of Steel Zack Snyder Talks Supermans Dilemma and the Mass Destruction in Man of Steel

However, if there’s one element present in Man of Steel that the film’s detractors have taken the most issue with, it’s the way in which Kal-El handled the threat of Kryptonian General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his forces – not just in terms of what happened at the end of the climactic fight (we’ve already touched on that debate), but also with regard to the sheer amount of destruction and the collateral damage that results from the battle. Snyder, however, felt that having so much destructive spectacle (evoking 9/11 imagery) was necessary, given his attempt to create a modern American mythology with Man of Steel:

“I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling. In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence. In America, we don’t have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman (who first appeared in ‘Action Comics’ in 1938) is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”

From day one, Snyder made it clear that the Man of Steel sequel will address the consequences of Supe’s actions in the first movie; that is, even before the rest of the world learned that Batman is going to be a part of the equation. Moreover, if you interpret Man of Steel as a superhero origin story allegory for real-world disasters (like Snyder does), then the logical direction for the second installment is to deal with the aftermath from the perspective of an older generation – one that’s weathered this sort of storm before, so to speak. That would appear to be the plan with the 41-year old Ben Affleck portraying a version of the Caped Crusader, who is described by Snyder as someone who “bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter.”

Ben Affleck Batman Superman movie Zack Snyder Talks Supermans Dilemma and the Mass Destruction in Man of Steel

… And suffice it to say: anyone who knows what the older and wiser version of Batman is like knows that he will have strong opinions to share with Kal-El, where it has to do with to the responsibilities that come with being a superhero (and how the Last Son of Krypton has significant room for improvement in that area).


Man of Steel will be available on DVD and Blu-ray beginning November 12th, 2013.

Batman vs. Superman/Superman vs. Batman/Man of Steel 2 opens in theaters on July 17th, 2015.

Source: The Japanese Times [via CBM]

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. thisnthread isnfunny to ke i wonder what people thouhts were when cyclops “killed” those students from wolverine orgins? or any hulk movies…..avengers?…….ghostbusters (marshmellow) lmao transformers……and my favorite “days of future past ” im jist calling it now with the sentinels on board if there ISNT any mass destruction the film is all wrong

    • Someone needs to take the GSP test again….

  2. I like Zack’s thinking here and it demonstrates
    he was thinking grand scale incorporating
    mythological elements into the story.

    I had zero problem with the destruction at the end.
    The World Engine was about to annihilate all of
    humanity into a terraformed planet until
    Superman prevented all of that.

    Superman saving over six billion people
    at the cost of some tens of thousands
    sounds very Supermanly to my thinking.

    As for the Batman and the role he is
    to play I would not like to see Batman
    as mentor of sorts to Superman who is
    driven by ideals of his Earth and Krypton
    fathers and if anyone needs moral guidance
    it would and should be Batman not Superman.

    • I find it quite curious that people had problems with the ending with a quarter of Metropolis was destroyed. I guess there hasn’t been a successful recent movie where aliens came down into a major city causing collateral damage and superheroes contributing to the damage by fighting them off. Oh wait; they did that in The Avengers. Also, I guess Superman never fought General Zod in Metropolis before, oh wait again, he did it in Superman 2.

      Superman did not want to see Metropolis destroyed. Remember, he is a farm boy from Kansas going up against genetically engineered soldiers with the same exact powers as him. And there are many of them going up against one of him.

      It looks like Zack Snyder studied Superman very thoroughly before he made the film. I like that. It was good to see the inner struggles of Clark until he makes his decision to be Superman.

      I agree with the above comment Superman tried his best as a hero and saved them world. Man of Steel 2 with Batman ought to be a lot of fun.

      • ^ This

      • I never will understand why ANYBODY took issue with the neck snapping or with the mass destruction of Metropolis.

        The movie had its flaws but those two things weren’t flawed at all. They made perfect sense to anybody with a logical brain.

        • All of this +1

      • I think people just noticed in Avengers they were actually shown saving people. You never really seen Superman doing that or showing remorse for seeing the damage. He seemed happy about embracing Louis though.

        • Pretty much everyone was out of the danger zone in Metropolis. In Smallville, he had bigger issues to deal with, namely Faora and then the army. Also, there’s the small matter of there being many Avengers and one Superman, who focused on the biggest threat. ‘It would have been worse if he sat back and did nothing,’ is pretty much all I can muster in Superman’s defence.

          Also, whether or not you were saving the world, Amy Adams!

        • He did save the soldier in Smallville and it got him props from the military. He also immediately got bashed in by what I’ll refer to as Nam-Ek for letting his guard down. A form of realism I’d like to see Marvel apply for once.

          Equally, when he finally got to Metropolis after destroying the world engine NEAR INDIA, most damage was already done and he pretty much immediately had to deal with Zod.

          There’s no flaw or stupidity in this, this is what happened as logical consequences of the given situations. I don’t get people who don’t get this, seriously, actually watch the movie or something.

  3. i think the director gave way too much credit to the intelligence of some of the audience and assumed they would be able to figure out superman was out helping as he did in the first parts of the movie and when the soldier fell because he didn’t want to see them get hurt or die in the first place. he was flying around after the movie when the drone was trying to track him and at any point could have been coming from saving one to a thousand people from something so for them to already show his weakness for humans from the start and continuing thru much of the movie shows it was already established.

    the destruction is something unavoidable as they outnumbered him completely and he had no choice but to stand his ground and try to save as many as he could regardless of location. the enemy made him come to them so i doubt him wanting them to go to a remote location where not a single person could get hurt was out of the question as they already had an idea of what his weakness for humans amounted to.

    • i agree, also its an origin story….this was supermans first big event, he’d most likely never used his powers to such a degree before, so its not hard to believe him causing some collateral damage in the process

  4. All I remember is the seemingly endless glass windows and crumbled pavement that was destroyed when Superman was repeatedly hurled into…

  5. All I’m saying is if I got yanked around by my cape a couple of times I would maybe take it off before I got thrown through a building or something.

  6. @RonparkerI Concur…….Marvel movies are just childish and unrealistic more like comedy shows…… I’ll rather watch mr Bean if I want to see a comedy

    • Tru n deed!

    • Totally agree!

    • Childish? You guys seem to forget that Tony Stark was always the comedic relief. Jokes were not all throughout Hulk, Captain America and few in Thor. Unrealistic? We are talking about comic books right? Very few things are realistic

      • The general tone is more optimistic and happy. Man of Steel’s tone (a.k.a. the Christopher Nolan bandwagon) is *not* about making everything realistic, but taking things seriously – “OK, we’ve got a super-powered alien. What would happen if he fought another super-powered alien? What would people do?”

        The humour in Man of Steel and the Dark Knight films feels more… natural? In the Marvel films, the jokes feel like they were written as punchlines. The characters of the DC films don’t appreciate one-liners either, with lines like, “What is the point of all those push-ups if you can’t even lift a bloody log?” Bruce gives Alfred a look that says, “Really? Joking at a time like THIS?!”

        Part of me thinks that this is why people loved Mark Ruffalo as Banner/Hulk – he wasn’t written into a role as ‘the leader’ or ‘the joker’ or whatever. Banner had a lot of nice moments and Ruffalo really sold his character’s anger management issues. I guess he just seemed a lot more genuine to me.

  7. @Ronparker I Concur…….Marvel movies are just childish and unrealistic more like comedy shows…… I’ll rather watch mr Bean if I want to see a comedy

  8. I believe the controversial of parts of Man of steel is apart of an over all story arc. Superman taking a life and the collateral damage he caused will haunt him, as he comes to terms with his god like powers and will be apart of shaping his morality. Also giving his antagonist something to use against him.

  9. “Voice of God”- sounds like The Word of God who went on to become Jesus Christ. Which is hinted at in the movie

  10. He’s in kansas with Toto too! Actually, I have not seen this except for trailers, but will be first in line to buy the DVD when it comes out. I have no trouble so far with Supes killing anyone, as long as the rest of the story is good.

  11. in regards to marvel- i do feel marvel is starting to loose touch with what the fans and general audience are wanting. don’t get me wrong i really enjoy marvels and dc movies but i think marvel is starting to become too comfortable with the fact that they brought out the team-up first and are now allowing themselves to fall in standard of source material. whilst the mandarin’s take was a little humorous i felt disappointed by him turning out to be a pawn when they themselves have already established that magic and other higher power beings/ objects exist so why not go for the full affect and have the ten rings be something more than what they were aside from just a terrorist group which could have coexisted with the power of the mandarin. they already felt it was fine for the main villain to breathe fire and regenerate (which completely negated the extremis storyline so they could have gone all out and had alot more development towards not just the mandarin but tony stark and his new ability to communicate with his armor etc. which could still bring about more conflict and even mentally moe tasking when ultron comes in (if stark is the one to design and create him.

    dc needs to stop trying to follow in the steps of marvel both movie and tv wise and listen to some of the greats like bruce timm just one example and at that is to stop getting rid of shows that brought in new characters such as young justice which could have introduced tons of new characters unknown to both kids and adults that watched which would then set them up for more movies to draw in more money from as that is their key reason for doing anything. both companies are flawed but hopefully fans will one day get some type of voice in regards to what seems to be a lacking of interest from companies towards their devoted fans before it is too late.

    • Yeah, you think since both companies own the comics you’d think they would make the films and shows to advertise them, like the Watchmen film sort of did. And some like Arrow don’t really have to change anything just have after the end “Don’t forget to buy the new Green Arrow graphic novel”.

    • For all intents and purposes, Killian, even stating so himself, WAS The Mandarin. He just wasn’t asian or had 10 alien-tech rings. All of Mandarin’s characteristics was put into Killian from his pettiness, hatred of Tony Stark, insanity, exploitation of his henchmen and use of constant lies.
      Either way you can’t say Marvel is out of touch with their fans when they’re adapting Guardians of the Galaxy to the silver screen with a whole other bunch of cosmic characters being featured in it as well as only one Phase 2 movie released out of 5.

  12. Man of Steel could have been better. In retrospect of course. Wont buy a ticket for the follow up.

    • Yeah you will… LOL!

  13. Anyone else up for a Batman with white lenses? I mean, his eyes are exposed.

    • I thought the same thing. They could explain it as some kind of sonar vision (you know, like bats have) if they wanted. Similar to the blue eyes Bale had in The Dark Knight.

      • “Detective Mode” ;D

  14. I Loved MOS. The story did seem scattered at times. I had no problem with the destruction at the end. I’m sure it will be addressed in the sequel. I loved the action, and happy to finally see an epic fight in a Superman movie. I was really happy not to see Superman save a plane and give a lecture why flying is still safe.

    I hope they show more of his life as Clark in the sequel. I was really hoping (but it probably wont happen) They mix the world finest story with the Superman Batman Apocalypse story That way they can explain what happen to Supergirl after her pod was open and introduce Darkseid. and set up a Darkseid invasion for Justice League.

    I hope they save Doomsday for MOS 3, and do Superman Batman Public Enemies after the JL movie. I would love to see those 2 movies on the big screen. It should be enough villains and heroes established to make Public Enemies by then.

  15. Wow! The Snyder apologists are out in full force in these comments. Snyder is a hack and Man of Steel failed on many levels. Snyder’s “Superman” does nothing super in the movie (saving a falling Lois sixty times does not count). He doesn’t save anyone and causes the death of tens of thousands of people. “He’s not Superman yet” and “Collatoral damage is cool” are idiotic reasons to accept Goyer’s terrible plot.

    • I fail to see how he “causes the death of tens of thousands of people”. I’m pretty sure that was due to the world engine being used by the invading Kryptonians and due to Zod wanting to make Clark suffer by killing as many innocents as possible. Sure he was inexperienced but hey, what would you rather him do? save every person while leaving Zod to go on his merry way killing hundreds for every few Superman saves. He was prioritising, killing Zod prevented many more thousands if not millions of deaths!

    • He saved the planet. Did you watch MOS, or grasp the concept of what Zod was trying to do? I really don’t understand this argument at all. Was he supposed to do nothing? Just silly.

      • Did YOU watch Man of Steel? If you did, you would know that the Kryptonian invaders only came to Earth because of Superman.

        • He can’t be held personally responsible for that.

          Let’s say someone wires a door to a building with explosives. You are the one who steps through the door and sets off the explosions.

          With the argument you are presenting above, this means you are to blame for the damages.

          • I wasn’t suggesting that Superman was morally culpable for those deaths. I’m just saying Batfleck is technically right, Superman did indirectly cause thousands of deaths which is kind of an odd direction to take the plot.

    • He doesn’t save anyone? That’s basically ALL he does. He’s constantly stopping killer aliens from destroying everything and before they get to Earth, he’s travelling around and generally helping people. The exception to this is his trip (along with Lois) to see the Kryptonian ship and even then, he carries all of Lois’ luggage because he’s such a gent.

      Coincidently, one of my favourite moments was when Lois told ‘Joe’ to be careful with all the heavy gear and he just picks it all up in one go and she does a quick double take before carrying on.

      Anyway, Superman was dealing with a device that would’ve LEVELLED THE PLANET. To put it bluntly, he may have trashed a few buildings, but if he had done nothing, it would’ve been a heck of a lot worse. He isn’t responsible for the deaths of thousands. He’s responsible for the death of one. And that’s enough to haunt him.

    • He saved the whole planet. If Superman didn’t fight them off (albeit causing some collateral damage and putting lives in danger), EVERYONE would’ve died. Sometimes saving the world has its costs. Unless you’re the Avengers. Then it’s a fairy tale ending.

      • So Supes = Spock?? O.o o.O

  16. If I was making this movie I would make it a story about friendship between two heroes from different walks of life and when they come together they each learn something from each other and are able to move past their tension between each other and actually accept each other I don’t know if that’s what the film will be but I still hope it’s good

  17. All these haters! One rule for everything: nothing will be perfect for everyone or anything. Look past your own selfish wants or desires and take it as face entertainment value. And for people who won’t see the second one…yeah and I’m the Queen of England. So much hate. Tsk tsk!

    • Thank you people need to stop being so upset and wait to see it for themselves maybe more than once to make a personalized judgement about entertainment. Just give things that interest you a shot.

      • Exactly! Formulate an opinion after you have seen it!

  18. Yeah too many Superman haters is right! He is my favorite comic book character of all, because as a kid, I did not need a more realistic hero instead of an unbelievable one. I was way too young to notice or even care about how much Batman was a deeper character with more real like issues. I see that now of course,and I get why fans can relate to that more than an alien from outer space coming to earth and having to hide his true indentity with a pair of glasses, because that’s just too unbelievable, but the kid in me fell in love with Supes first and always will be. Who would not want to be able to fly?

  19. just FYI,

    I work with ‘The Japan Times’ . . . you refer to it as ‘The Japanese Times’

    no big deal though.

  20. I agree with the everyone’s comments about the God references in MoS, and I also acknowledge that Supe’s powers are God-like, especially in MoS. However, I also feel there are scenes where he shows extreme over-confidence in his abilities. I believe in MoS his motivation was more personal, given the death of his Father, the attack on his Mother rather than his sole motive being that of saving the human race. I feel that in MoS he looks at most humans as helpless, incapable of protecting themselves. This is why the sequel will be very good. Batman will show him, that even with seemingly insurmountable strength, speed, etc., that he is not a God, and in reality is just as vulnerable as the humans.

  21. I really didn’t feel anything special about Meh Of Steel. The acting was a pain to watch, the plotholes were huge, and it never really got to establish who Superman really was. However, the CGI was the only good thing about the movie. It’s good for a one-time watch. Don’t waste your money on Bluray though.

  22. Off-topic in Marvel universe, but this reminds me of the premise of the Ultimate Spider-Man tv show. Nick Fury is mad at Spider-Man because he is causing so much collateral damage in the city while fighting bad guys. So Fury wants to recruit and train Spider-man to fight bad guys away from populated areas and/or with strategies that reduce property damage. For that’s what it means to be ULTIMATE Spider-man. Was a funny episode where they introduce the construction company responsible for waste management and city repair. Also, in the Justice League show, the government thinks Superman causes more issues than fixes and is too powerful so they come up with schemes. Like someone should care that he levels an entire city while fighting the ambiguously guilty lex luther or a visitor from his home planet. Collateral damage is one reason why Batman is prolly mad.

  23. Has everyone forgotten one thing about the attack on Metropolis. The terraforming machine increased gravity to the point were glass,steel and concrete were reduced to fine powder. I don’t think anybody could survive that. And most of the buildings outside the area had been evacuated before the fight started.

  24. Too many comments to read and I apologize if I’m repeating someone else’s point but from what I’ve read about this being Superman’s “rookie” performance, here is my take:

    Although it’s his first time to wear the suit, it’s not his first time to use his powers. Like in Smallville, he should have been spending most of his adolescent, teenage and young adult life learning about, controlling and refining his abilities. It even sort of showed that in the flashbacks… and in all of them, it involved him saving people (the bus, the ship… even Lois).

    So fast forward to the present, would it be too hard to show him saving people (not just the military) from falling debris etc during his fight with Zod? It does two things… 1) Shows us that at his core, he still wants to save everyone on his adopted homeworld and 2) Shows Zod how much he cares which gives more meaning to what Zod attempts to do at the end.

    If I’m Zod and just spent the last 10 minutes (or however long that fight took) causing massive destruction that probably ended up killing at least a few people, why would I have it in my mind that Kal-El would care if I killed a few more?

    Just sayin’.

    • That would have been nice to see, yes. Perhaps we’ll see more of it in this next movie. And I think the reason Zod would think that Superman would care about those few more people is that they were right there in front of him. He made it extremely immediate and personal. It’s a little different than the possibility that people died in those buildings. Those people were literally about to be incinerated right before his eyes.

    • *Spoiler Alert*

      I thought he showed he cared more about earth when he destroyed the ship Zod was flying that was about to take out the airplane at the end. Zod said if he destroyed the ship there would be no way to make a new Krypton.

      And Supes said Krypton had its chance and destroyed the ship. Zod went ape sh## and said he chose the humans over his own race and that he lived only to protect his people was gonna kill everyone on the planet and take them away from him for choosing humans over them. If i remember correctly.

      I cant wait for the Blu-ray so i can see all the things i missed and catch deleted scenes and extras.

      • And if i remember correctly the city was pretty much destroyed before the last fight from the world engine

  25. “I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling. In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence. In America, we don’t have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman (who first appeared in ‘Action Comics’ in 1938) is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”

    EH,,, WHAT???


    • Wow. Blatant immaturity and name-calling at its best.

    • Tsk tsk.

  26. Get over it such a bunch of overly PC soft coc&$ !!!! the destruction & the spectacle were awesome & there should have been more, the effects the action sequences were amazing…..screw the aftermath, Go hard, go big bring on the destruction :-)

  27. MOS was boss, and all the destruction was awesome to watch, some of the best action scenes ever, just imagine the chaos when/if/hope when Doomsday comes to town, I guess they will save him for the last one but a fight btw Superman and Doomsday will be beyond epic, please make that happen Zack!

  28. Here’s my problem with the final battle: The film establishes that Clark’s powers developed slowly as he matured. This basically follows the history that I believe was established by John Byrne during his run. Clark’s body acts as a living solar battery. It took years for him to reach the power levels that he exhibits in the final battle. On the other hand, Zod experiences a momentary disorientation and then suddenly has control over all of his powers and can match Clark blow for blow. I find this to be a MAJOR fallacy in the screenplay. My other problem with the final sequence is that Clark exhibits no tactical abilities at all. As far as I remember, no attempt to take the battle to an unpopulated area, or limit collateral damage in any way. I think this shows that Mr. Snyder was more interested in spectacle than a cohesive story.

    • Massive spoilers follow… Clark’s powers unlocked as he grew up until he was a grown man and realised that he didn’t have an ‘upper limit’ after Jor El gave a little speech about not really knowing the full extent of what his son would be able to do. Zod is an adult and reasons that, since they are biologically very similar, he would have the powers that Clark did.

      The ‘living solar battery’ argument runs out of steam when we see Superman pretty much ‘dead’ and he needs to recharge by using the sun – if he had stored up decades of solar energy, which would be unlikely, then it was all used up destroying the non-Metropolis bit of the World Engine.

      And old Zoddy boy. He’s a soldier, born and bred. Literally. That’s why he was created using genetic wizardry. Whilst Clark cried in a cupboard and had to be coaxed out by his mother, Zod used sheer force of will to focus his senses. He’s hardcore. He’s also far better at tactics than Clark – when he still can’t fly, he uses his super strength to climb and jump up a skyscraper as if crawling. When he uses his heat vision, he realises that there’s a ‘cooldown’ phase so when Clark next uses it, Zod waits for the moment after he’s finished and punishes him. Zod’s final act was forcing Clark to acknowledge what Zod was going through – the death of his people, his home and, ultimately, asking Clark what he was willing to do to protect them.

      Clark didn’t take the moment needed to regain composure after using heat vision into account. His ‘control’ over his powers is not Smallville-style where Clark can – with seemingly no effort – gently burn his signature into a baseball in Season 8 (I think) but it’s more control over his powers ‘coming out.’ Clark no longer instantly uses heat vision when he feels strong emotion (although he can ‘hold back’ as seen when he’s considering whether destroying ‘the future of Krypton’ is the right thing to do) and never has that many opportunities to really let go. So whilst he’s inexperienced with using the upper limits of his abilities, Zod just doesn’t care how much damage he causes. These two things add up to an AWESOME FIGHT SCENE. So you can have spectacle and a cohesive story.

      • I respectfully disagree with your post. Although I think its an interesting viewpoint, I still hold with my original statement for the following reasons:
        1. I believe that the movie firmly establishes that it takes Clark years for his powers to develop to the levels he demonstrates at the conclusion of the movie.
        2. I believe that the movie also firmly establishes that Zod experiences disorientation when he feels the effects of the yellow sun.
        3. I’ve never seen anyone capable of performing anything from an athletic feat to cooking a gourmet meal at a world class level (Substitute “super” if you will) without some kind of training and preparation. I think Clark would have been able to end the fight right then and there or at least be able to overpower Zod easily because his body hadn’t had enough time yet to build up to the level of Clark’s. I feel this is a defensible statement because I don’t know of any type of energy source that operates on a battery principal that will charge from 0 immediately and be at peak level. It takes time. To me this makes the scenes that follow just an example of blockbuster film making.

        I agree with you that Zod was obviously bred for war. However, I think the script would have been enhanced if it showed Clark trying to think about what to do and how to do it. Even The Death of Superman Storyline took great pains to show Clark trying to find options. And that story still had plenty of spectacle!

        • I’ll try to take on all three points at once and probably fail spectacularly. Here’s how I saw it – Clark’s abilities only really ‘happened’ when he was growing up. The classic one is strong emotion causing heat vision, which he has learned to control fairly well. Flying takes some practice. Similar to humans, most of his abilities become most prominent during/after puberty, kind of like X-Men – the abilities were always there somewhere, it’s just they grow into using them. Sort of.

          Zod is already a fully-grown man and it’s not like ‘learning a new skill’ – it’s hard-coded into his Kryptonian DNA – and since he doesn’t really want to control himself, he destroys a lot of stuff. Zod experienced Earth’s atmosphere twice. The first time **SPOILERS** was after Superman punched his helmet in and Zod could hear everything and see through his hand, see the bones etc. The second time, much later on, he basically stares intently at his hand until his eyesight and hearing stop being so super. This may be a cop-out, but it establishes Zod as someone who can readily adapt to a situation.

          However, Zod’s tactical knowledge only makes him Clark’s equal. Clark is more used to using all of his abilities and so uses them with ease. Zod doesn’t give Clark much time to think and that seems to be a Kryptonian tactic. To call Faora’s assault on him earlier on in the film ‘relentless’ would be underselling it. These people trained on Krypton and became muscular and deadly and the yellow sun just multiplies that. Zod isn’t using too many new tactics, just his old army ones, but now with more punch.

          So, basically, I reckon that Clark’s powers developed as he grew up, but that’s how it would work with all Kryptonians on Earth/under a yellow sun. For instance, if they added in Supergirl, she would come out of her pod and instantly have access to most/all of her skills. Zod responds badly to Earth’s atmosphere/yellow sun radiation, but he forces himself to deal with it. Clark wasn’t storing yellow sun energy in himself all of his life and if he was, he used it all up on destroying the world engine as he is seen completely exhausted and he just has to lie there in the sun to be able to move and he immediately flies to Metropolis. This is the equivalent of Superman taking a nuclear explosion to the face in The Dark Knight Returns.

          An issue with showing Superman trying to think of ‘options’ would be that it would take away the immediate nature of Man of Steel’s battles. I really liked that they didn’t just throw in a load of slow motion and that it was super-fast and super-strong. You never know, Superman might learn ‘proper hero etiquette’ from an older, more experienced Batman as portrayed by Ben Affleck.

    • If Zod achieved the same level of control as Kal, he should have won the fight. Kal has adapted to earth’s conditions but has never had to fight. General Zod’s been trained from childhood but hasn’t gained complete control of his powers. A fair fight… wouldn’t you agree?
      Zod is the tactician not Kal. If you watch carefully you can clearly see that Kal tried to keep everything above skyscraper level but Zod didn’t really care much about that.
      He also couldn’t whisk Zod over to the nearest desert.

  29. MoS was just awsome. I completely understand why all the damage was done to the city. It had
    two god like beings fighting. One which care less about its structures and life of earth. The death scene of Zod was both tragic and shocking. Superman had to make a decision that would’ve broke most men. To kill the last of your kind because you want to save those who fear you. The reason superman felt so isolated and alone. He had chance to possibly rebuild his race and culture.