Ever since Man of Steel came out back in 2013, fans have been deeply divided over the ending, which sees Superman snapping General Zod’s neck to save a family and stop the Kryptonian invasion of Earth. In a recent digital watch party for the film, Zack Snyder explained the emotional set up for the scene.
“[It] is also all about him ending up alone. We can debate forever whether Superman would kill Zod. But the real question is his legacy. He’s choosing. He’s choosing us. He’s so hurt. He’s torn a piece of himself out.”
Snyder went on to explain how the act of taking Zod’s life was supposed to make up for the earlier inaction on Superman’s part when it came to saving his Earth father. In the beginning of Clark Kent’s journey, he stopped himself from revealing his presence to the world even though in doing so his father Jonathan Kent lost his life due to a tornado.
Fans were against the idea of Superman not saving his father just to protect his identity. But according to Snyder, that earlier moment is what led Superman to later decide that breaking his ‘no-killing’ rule to stop Zod from killing the family was something that had to be done, and provided some measure of redemption for previously failing to act to save Jonathan Kent.
This idea of Superman having to deal with the consequences of his action or inaction is one that Snyder has remained firm on from the start, having echoed similar sentiments during a recent digital watch party for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
“Even if we understand from this outer perspective that Superman is saving the world being essentially terraformed into another planet, the greater good is being served. It’s like an Ozymandias-type scenario when, you know, a big sacrifice is made to save the world and I would say that not even intentionally in this case, Zod is a powerful dude. To suggest you could defeat him without him nearly winning is not realistic at all or the kind of consequence I wanted from my superhero movies. I don’t like this idea where there’s no consequence, that these characters get to knock around in our world and that they create and solve these giant problems.”
Snyder’s take on the mythology of DC Comics has always left the fandom deeply divided. But supporters of his distinct vision were recently vindicated when it was announced that HBO Max would be airing the Snyder cut of Justice League next year.
The new version of Justice League is predicted to be around four hours long, with Warner Bros. reportedly planning to spend an additional $20 million on reshoots and added CGI for the film. With the new Justice League, Snyder will finally be able to complete his Superman’s journey in the DCEU that started with Man of Steel. How much better or worse the Snyder cut is going to be from the theatrical version of Justice League remains to be seen. This was originally broadcast on Vero.