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Nolan Opposed Man of Steel’s Controversial Ending (Spoilers!)


If you watched director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and thought there was just no way Superman would snap General Zod’s neck, you’re not alone. However, it’s not only a relative handful of comics fans who took issue with the controversial ending (despite the Last Son of Krypton having killed before): Producer Christopher Nolan initially didn’t buy it either.

“Killing Zod was a big thing and Chris Nolan, originally, said there’s no way you can do this,” Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer revealed in a podast interview with Empire magazine. “That was a change – originally Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others and I just felt it was unsatisfying and so did Zack. We started questioning – we talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, ‘Do you think there is ever a way that Superman would kill someone?’ And at first they said ‘No way, no way,’ and we said, ‘but what if he didn’t have a choice?’ Originally Chris didn’t even want to let us try to write it and Zack and I said, ‘We think we can figure out a way that you’ll buy it.’”

Still not convinced? Well, then, let Snyder take a crack at it: “I guess for me – and in the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone – David and I had long talks about it and Chris and I talked long about it and it was like, ‘I really think we should kill Zod and I really think Superman should kill him.’ And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him – like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out – I felt like that could also make you go, ‘OK, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’”



  • Simon Whitelaw

    You don’t NEED to create a specific origin point to explain why someone has an aversion to killing people… most people have an aversion to killing people because KILLING PEOPLE IS WRONG.

  • Sam Robards, Comic Fan


    I haven’t seen the movie, but the more I hear about it, the less interested I am. If there’s one thing that defines Superman, it’s his moral compass.

    According to Snyder and Goyer, Superman doesn’t know something is wrong until he’s done it. So what’s next? Superman learns rape is wrong by drugging Lois?

  • CudaBiro

    Another option.

    What if Zod decided to kill himself? Would Superman stop him?

    I find that a more intriguing question than “would Superman ever kill”.

  • CudaBiro

    Good news for you, Kal (he’s barely Clark) does have a moral compass. At every opportunity, barring the final battle and another crucial scene, he goes above and beyond to save people and restrains himself even under pressure not to directly retaliate against others.

  • Ovaltine Pineapple Jenkins

    But even during the final battle shouldn’t Superman be trying to help the people in those buildings he’s wantonly destroying?

    I get that Zod is a huge threat, but I don’t think Supes would resign himself to letting buildings full of people die without doing anything…

    But then I haven’t read any Superman comics, this is just what I thought Superman was, a hero or whatever.

  • mel

    The buildings were evacuated.

  • Ovaltine Pineapple Jenkins

    When? The planet was evacuated, saw that, but are you saying they managed to evacuate that whole are of metropolis in that short of a time? Traffics not moving, those people are on the streets, buildings falling everywhere.

    Just give a few shots of Superman saving someone from debris and it would of at least made him look better and killed most of my complaints.

  • humandivine

    “if we can find a way of making it impossible for him – like Kobayashi
    Maru, totally no way out – I felt like that could also make you go, ‘OK,
    this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically
    obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for
    it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’””

    ugh, ok. i kind of buy it now.

    this is the “retelling of superman”. we all have these preconceived notions of who superman is, but this is superman without a backstory, this is meant to be the FIRST superman story. so it makes sense.

  • emteem

    It’s also what happened back in 1987 during the John Byrne reboot. Superman killed Zod and his allies being the one time he killed and later causing his self-imposed exile from earth. Superman killing Zod isn’t a new concept.

  • Detanfy

    “He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it”

    This is the biggest problem I have with the movie. When he yelled “Krypton had its chance” then destroyed the Scout ship with the Genesis Chamber in it I lost my shit. He then sucked everything into the Phantom Zone, along with the amulet key thingy with Jor-El’s conscience in it. I’m sure the ships and and stuff he destroyed had data banks with his peoples entire history in them, and he just let it all die. Does he even have a Fortress of Solitude?

    Oh well, at least the Codex is stored in his DNA, so when he breeds with Earth women, he can pass across traits and create a hybrid species. I’m almost sure that was Jor-Els intention.

  • Kevin M. Brettauer

    Mmm. Yeah, see, this totally fails as a Kobayashi Maru scenario in EVERY DISCERNIBLE WAY. Does Goyer listen to himself when he talks?

  • Eldo

    Talking in terms of “Superman had no choice but to kill Zod” is misunderstanding the character. Superman fights the impossible and for him, there is ALWAYS a way. He´s not a cop with a gun, he´s a demi-god! And the bullshit ending is only one of several things that went wrong in the movie.

  • Nate Daniels

    Had no problem with Superman killing Zod. You can tell he is trying to do anything but kill Zod, but the villain gives him no choice. Zod is going to kill that innocent family in the subway, and then he’s going to eventually escape and kill more – most likely Martha Kent and Lois are high on that list. Superman reluctantly realized he had no choice and did what he had to do. Does not make him less of a hero. The fact that he tried other options first and that it affected him so deeply immediately afterwards shows his moral compass is still there and also shows the regret he had at losing ties to his culture. Superman sacrificed that he had spent the last 10 or so years doing – trying to learn about his people and where he comes from — to keep Earth safe.

  • kat

    Wow, chill out. This is a young superman, one that has never been in such a dire fight. He can’t be expected to do everything right the first time even if he is superman.would it be believable that zod is so little a threat that kal el could take a break from fighting him to grab some people. No, zod would be on him every single second because he is too big a threat to take his eyes off for even a second

  • Derrick Fish

    When was he supposed to be saving people? In between the super speed punches by Zod, whose direct plan at that point was to wipe out all of humanity one at a time? Everyone making this complaint seems to think Superman was just talking a tea break and letting people die for shits and giggles.

    Here’s an idea. Pick a fight with a maniacal sociopath by taking from him everything he has and then try to walk your dog at the same time. See how well it works out.

  • Derrick Fish

    All you people that think the ending was a well reasoned but difficult exploration of what is and isn’t the right thing to do when facing an impossible set of choices just don’t GET IT! You don’t understand! Superman isn’t a “character” with a growing personality and all-too human flaws. Superman is a 2-Dimentional icon. What he is is what he always was and always is and any variation from that unflappable and childish ideal rapes my childhood. (And all the instances of this thing happening before don’t count because I don’t like those either)

    Don’t you realize that for the perfect being that is Jesu… Superman, there is ALWAYS a way to save the day! Even when there totally isn’t, it’s the writers fault for putting him the exact kind of situation Superman would regularly be put in. They should have written in a back door so as to never have to challenge the pristine, unquestionable perfection that is Superman. How DARE they depict the character in a realistic light and not feed us yet another nostalgic trip down happiness lane where no problem is too great to turn the world back on. For Superman, there’s ALWAYS a way. Even if that was makes absolutely no sense. Because THAT’S satisfaction!

    I mean, we’re the internet, Hollywood. We would obviously accept a hyper convenient deus ex machina that defies all common sense and wouldn’t ever nit pick the concept to death. (*Cough* Red Matter *Cough* Unobtanium *Cough*) We’re just not that petty. (*Cough* Tribble Blood *Cough* Midichlorians *Cough*)

    Give us what we want! I’m sure that by the time we can agree on what that is, you’ll be willing to spend 250 million dollars on exactly that. And then all of us comic fans will rush out to see it. Maybe even TWICE. And then you’ll be rolling in millions, Hollywood. (Apx. 2 whole million dollars based on the current sales numbers of the Superman comics. Cha CHING!)

    Also, Hitler. There, Internet law dictates this argument is over.


  • kylemac6

    I don’t buy it. First of all, no, it’s not simply in his DNA to not kill. It’s instilled in him by his adopted parents, along with respect, love, honor, and many other things. The only reason his aversion to killing is unexplained in this movie is because he never receives that guidance and in fact receives the opposite. Jonathan actually tells him “Well… yeah. Your secret is worth letting children die to keep.” No, letting someone die and actually snapping their necks are not quite the same thing, but this Superman was apparently never taught the sanctity of all life.

    With all that said, I could still accept him killing in extreme circumstances when there really wasn’t another choice. I’m okay with it in this movie because it fits within this movie’s logic and theme of uncaring and unthinking, but this wasn’t even an option where he didn’t have a choice. He made almost no effort to take the fight somewhere else or avoid further human casualties until he was face to face with a family about to get Zod’s heat vision. Even once he was in that situation, first of all the family should’ve been toast right away because all Zod had to do was look at them – eyes are not in a fixed position and can, in fact, still move if someone is holding our head still – and Superman could’ve easily covered Zod’s eyes with his hands or made an attempt to hold onto him and fly them away with him.

    It wasn’t nearly a had-to-do-it situation. It was a lazy writing situation. But that’s okay. It fits with a lot of what led to the moment. I do agree that Zod simply being sucked away would’ve been somewhat anti-climactic.

  • Ovaltine Pineapple Jenkins

    But that’s because it was written that way…

    They could of added a scene where Superman sees people falling or debris falling on them, knocks Zod away to save them, gets them to safety Zod attacks again, or have Zod kill them as Superman is trying to save them thus making Zod even more of a bastard and added gravity to Supermans decision to kill Zod.

    I get what you’re saying, I’m just saying they could of made it a bit more impactful than it was by adding these little moments.

  • kylemac6

    Do you mean when he grabbed Zod and and flew him right through a large expanse of isolated cornfield, entered a very populated Smallville, and crashed into and exploded an open-for-business gas station? Is that when he went above and beyond? Because that seemed almost like he was actually trying to kill people.

  • Shawn L.

    “What if Zod decided to kill himself?”

    I suspect that’s not a “what if” scenario. As soon as his mission was lost, his soldiers gone, he became nihilistic. He wanted his death, just that he wanted everything else on Earth to go before (or with) him. Zod’s dialog just before and during the one on one fight with Superman suggest this.

  • Shawn L.

    It was an alternate universe Zod & company who did succeed in exterminating that planet’s Earth. And it was a more coldly made decision by the main DC Universe’s Superman, using that universe’s version of Kryptonite to execute them, as punishment for their crimes, and to prevent them from repeating them on his Earth.

  • MaskedManAICN

    This is pretty funny, like listening to a six old year trying to explain why he did something wrong lol.

  • Gildren

    I agree … but it’s more than killing Zod that bugged me. He also had the chance to save his dad, Jonathan Kent, but he didn’t do it then. I felt he would’ve told Jonathan to “screw that, I’m not letting you die.” I really felt some of the logic was really flimsy in the film, and made Superman inconsistent.

  • Nick

    When I watched it, I didn’t even find the scene controversial. I thought it was heavily emotionally-driven because of how difficult it was for Superman to kill Zod. To the people complaining about him not saving people– he didn’t have time to just stop fighting and go save people. This is the same thing– you guys are acting like him killing Zod was his first choice and that he took pleasure in it. You’re giving a misinterpretation of that scene to the people who haven’t watched the movie yet. It’s like a one-sided story you guys are telling. I see people talking about him killing Zod, but not about him saving the family, about him screaming afterward, about him trying to get Zod to stop.

    And again, this is Clark’s beginning as Superman. This is his first huge battle. He’s going to be impulsive. He’s going to be raw. He’s going to be emotional. This is the battle where he learns. Killing made him feel awful– he’s not going to do it again. In the second movie, let’s hope that he realizes all the damage he caused killed lots of people– he’s going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. You can’t learn without mistakes.

  • SageShinigami

    Oooh! I like this game! Let’s see. Stock responses for why people have a problem with this movie…uhhh

    – Superman should’ve been better at using the powers since he’s had them since he was like, 10.
    – This film isn’t about “what I would do if…”. I’m not Superman, and Superman is supposed to be better than me. Than you. Than all of us. He’s something to aspire to, not someone to relate with.
    – They stripped out any reference to Kryptonian weaknesses (all of which could’ve been explained to Kal when he was in that alien ship) to make everyone feel better about the killing, which boils down to…
    – They didn’t have to write the movie that way

    There have fun.

  • SageShinigami

    A MUCH better, more interesting question.

  • Tim

    Well, Clark let his father get blown away by a tornado just to protect his identity. Why not kill Zod. He’s already pretty ruthless. Letting a person die (Pa Kent) to achieve a goal is by definition ruthless.

  • Tim

    Correction: I meant Clark has already proved himself to be ruthless in this movie.

  • Damien

    Superman killed a version of Zod and his allies in the comics. Its not off base He felt he had no other choice and that action followed him around for sometime……

  • Tim

    Not wonder Mark Waid blew a gasket. Even you see this as out of character and you aren’t even a comic reader.

  • Tim

    There’s no way all of those buildings were evacuated. On the other hand, it would take a C-17 at least 5 hours plus a possible refueling to fly from Arizona to New York. Well, except for that C-17…

  • EvererttSoares

    ‘but what if he didn’t have a choice?’
    I call BS on this. When there is only two choices on the table, kill or be killed, the hero always fines the third choice. A hero must rise above the choice of ending a life, no matter how evil.

  • Joe Coates

    i didnt have a problem with it. How was he going to save the people Zod was about to kill? Earth is his planet, it’s all he knows, where he was raised. Why would he let Zod kill anyone if he could help it?

  • JoeComics

    All statements of” but this is how Superman learned not to kill.” I think is BS. What he learned was that killing solves his problems. So why shouldn’t Superman kill in the films again. What’s the big deal? Synder et. al. have established Superman isn’t opposed to killing. Don’t be surprised to see it again.
    I really didn’t get a sense of remorse after the snap either. “Lois, come hug me” not exactly a “what have I done moment?”
    The Superman has killed before argument. Show us more then just Superman #22 by Byrne that shows him doing this. Superman 2 is a little up in the air, since Donner’s cut shows Zod and company being arrested. Even in the theatrical release I never thought they died falling into that smoke. We’re talking about a movie that had amnesia kisses, cellophane S shields Supes throws from his chest, and a closet in the fortress that takes and gives powers.

    All I want to say is that in that last scene. I keep thinking why isn’t he covering Zod’s eyes or flying away with him.

  • Chainsaw

    Yet no one complained when superman turned zod human and let him probably freeze to death or drown in superman 2

  • Travis

    The whole point of the Kobiyashi Maru story was to show that Kirk could be put in an impossible situation and still find a way out because he’s just that awesome.

    Great, that’s TWO characters that Snyder completely misses the mark on.

  • juan ferreyra

    Couldn’t he just moved Zod’s Head to the left or fly up?

    if he can brake his neck he can move his head without breaking it.

    He could’ve saved his dad, at least running at normal speed and try to help him, and blocking any cars or whatever, who cares is 50 people see you surviving that, it could be another miracle!


  • George Doukas

    And don’t forget that Zod isn’t really dead because its just a death like coma (see Death and Life of Superman comics) and once Lex and his scientists get him exposed to enough sunlight he will emerge from it and be back to try and free his people, likely freeing Kara El from wherever she got herself stuck (the empty pod on the ship which everyone is calling the “Fortress of Solitude” but isn’t at all. I expect Man of Steel II will be a far superior movie now that we got the pipework laid out. Just hope they make it less low brow.

  • waddupjoshjohn

    your kidding me right? superman shouldn’t have killed ZOD?? KILL?? what about the THOUSANDS of people KILLED from their fighting alone?? don’t tell me they evacuated the 2 dozen buildings that collapsed from them smashing through everything?? GIVE ME A BREAK!! did superman rescued every single person from those buildings before the MASSIVE DEMOLITION that happen in METROPOLIS?? THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS died from superman and zod’s carnage!! so superman killing zod is a non-factor.

  • Jack R

    OK, I get what Snyder just said about the origin of a ‘never killing code..’ That’s fine.. There’s even precedent for the decision to kill Zod in the John Byrne era of the comic. The problem is they didn’t edit it or sell it emotionally to that affect in this movie. Which is why there are so many people having a problem with it. The one criticism I don’t think they can get around is after the Smallville fight, and during the entirety of the Metropolis fight, you never see Superman react to saving anyone (other than Lois) from the shear devastation his own fist fight with Zod is causing. Mark Waid said it best in his blog, the entire fight, as awesome a spectacle as it was, would have made the point more valid if Superman was constantly put at a disadvantage trying to save people.. Pushing him to the conclusion this is the only way to stop Zod’s relentlessness. But as it was cut, we only get that moment just before his decision to kill him. A weaker emotional build. So by the time we get to Grand Central Station and the family in danger it’s kind of like “So now you’re worried?!?!” It’s a consideration I’m sure that had to be brought up by someone at some point during the editing of this thing. Ironically, Snyder’s mistake is he shot and cut this in a way that he marginalized the very point he wanted to make.

  • waddupjoshjohn

    there was NO evacuation. if there was, there was no way they cleared ALL those buildings in time before that massive carnage happen. and if NOLAN or SNYDER said that’s what they did, then they’re full of crap because realisticly, it’s impossible. no freaking way! when the first airplane hit the twin towers, they started evacuating. you know how long it takes to get people out in an orderly fashion from buildings that large?? A LONG TIME. by the time the second airplane hit, and the building collapsed, thousands died from inside to outside. so NOLAN and other people thinking that superman shouldn’t have killed zod is a total joke. him trying to stop zod from heat-visioning those 4-5 people is laughable because them fighting killed more people you can count!

  • Jane

    Am I the only person think that Zod is actually awarely killing himself by doing that to force Superman to kill him? I mean, I have no problem of Superman “killing” when there’s extreme situation. And I think that scene in the movie at least partically worked out.

  • nuj

    i’m a DC fan and i see no issue in that ending… Supes indeed has moral compass… so maybe we are going to see a backlash of sort of this action in the next movie or so… probably, people not trusting him enough that Lex would arise in power or something… hold on to your horses and just enjoy the movie…

  • Jane

    Really? You didn’t get a sense of remorse after the snap? Really?
    Oh well.

  • Esteban Pedreros

    I guess there’s no way you can tell a succesful guy that he is wrong, but David Goyer is an idiot and Warner is stupid for trusting him so much. If you think he “gets” comicbook characters, think again.

  • MegaGearMax

    Travis, I thought the point of Kirk CHEATING on the Kobiyashi Maru test was because the test was a no-win situation. The test measured character faced with a no-win situation. Kirk won the test because he cheated taking it. That’s why Spock’s death hit him so hard in Wrath of Khan, because he never “lost” before that point.

  • Prodigal73

    To all of “fandom” I say move out of your parent’s basement and go get a life. It’s one of many screen interpretations of Superman, and one that works really well. Is it perfect? No, no movie is perfect – that includes Dark Knight and the Avengers. And no, it’s not the comic book Superman. Well guess what, neither is the New 52 Superman. It was a good, strong movie – although the popcorn tasted a bit stale.

    So grow up fandom.

  • MegaGearMax

    How do you stop Zod without killing him is the no-win test that he speaks of.

    There’s no metahuman prison.
    All the Kryptonian tech is destroyed.
    Zod is getting stronger with each passing moment and will only cause more damage.

    You throw Zod somewhere, he’ll just return.
    You bury him, he’ll dig his way out.
    Even if Superman knocked him unconscious, what do you do with a knocked out Kryptonian? There’s no jail that can hold him.

  • Jmacq1

    So for all you folks screaming “He should have found another way!!!” Just what do you propose he should have done?

    He didn’t have a phantom zone projector. He didn’t have a second ship to create the same reaction to suck someone into the zone again (assuming the “Fortress” ship still had a working Phantom Drive after it’s crash).

    There’s no prison on Earth that could hold Zod, particularly at the point in the story where human’s had literally learned about superhumans a few days prior.

    So bearing all this in mind…what, exactly, was Superman supposed to do? Knock him out? Great…then what? Zod wakes up, and the fight starts all over again, because again…there’s no prison to hold him. It’s not even about the specific instance in which the killing happened…yeah, Superman could have stopped that particular instance without killing him, but once again…then what? Zod made it clear he wasn’t going to stop.

    It was, in fact, a no-win scenario for Superman at that point. There was no feasible (key word there) alternative to killing Zod, without writing in some plot device…the kind of crap people thought was silly in the old Superman movies. Should he have turned back time? Thrown super-cellophane at him? Perhaps erased Zod’s memory with a kiss?

    This also plays into the “not saving people while the city is being trashed” concerns, both with the Kryptonians in Smallville and Zod in Metropolis (and particularly the latter). If Superman stops to save people during his fight with Zod, Zod will just kill people elsewhere, or kill HIM while he’s trying to save them, and if Zod wins, humanity dies. So the only option becomes to keep fighting until Zod goes down. Oh, and note that Superman DOES try to take the fight outside of Metropolis…specifically into space. It doesn’t last. Why? Because Zod’s not just going to stay-put because Superman wants him to.

  • josh

    Tt’s just a movie. Good god if they had wasted time showing people evacuate in every building other than the daily planet people would bitch about that. Superman killed it’s happened before get over it and move on with your lives. The movie was awesome.

  • Jmacq1

    If Superman had stopped to try to save them all, Zod would’ve just killed other people somewhere else, or prevented Superman from saving them by attacking him while he made the attempt.

    There really wasn’t much Superman could do at that point, when dealing with an opponent (almost) as powerful as he is.

  • Jmacq1

    And then what? Sure, he could’ve stopped Zod from heat-visioning the family in that particular instance without killing him. But then the fight just continues, with more destruction and death coming along with it. Zod wasn’t going to stop until one of them is dead, and even if Superman knocked him unconscious, there’s no prison on Earth that can hold Zod, so he’d just wake up and the fight begins anew.

    Within the context of the movie itself, Superman truly had no other feasible option.

  • cosmocat

    That has to be one of the most ridiculous lines of logic I’ve ever heard in my life. ‘He doesn’t know killing is bad, and he won’t know until he kills.’ REALLY?! I guess we ALL don’t know killing is bad until we kill.someone.

  • Jmacq1

    He could’ve covered Zod’s eyes or flown away with him, and then the fight just continues, with more destruction and death occurring while it does.

    There was no prison that could hold Zod, and at that point no way to get him into the Phantom Zone. Even KOing him only lasts as long as it takes to for him to wake up.

    Within the movie, Superman has no feasible option but to kill Zod, because Zod makes it clear he won’t stop until one of them is dead. The writers could have written in some plot device if they wanted to avoid the killing, but they didn’t. Within the film as presented, the logic is completely sound.

  • Jmacq1

    So what was the other option presented within the movie?

    There’s no prison that can hold him. There’s no remaining way to get him to the Phantom Zone. Knocking Zod out only neutralizes him until he wakes up, as there aren’t any restraints on Earth that are going to hold him.

    How exactly do you think Superman should have “rose above” the choice of ending a life in these circumstances? No re-writing the movie to give him plot devices he didn’t have, mind you.

  • MegaGearMax

    There was also killing Doomsday.

  • Blackfist

    Poke Zods eyes out, fly to the moon, combine is his powers to overwhelm Zod. because he hasn’t full mastered all the powers, use his ice breath.
    The best thing about superman is that he’ll usually never stop trying to save find a better way, it won;t be perfect or easy but he’ll do it.

  • Roger Means

    So what he killed zod because he literally had no choice and he would do it in the comics if he was forced in the way that he was you could see the emotion of when he was forced to do it and considering its a origin story after and the emotion after killen zon that was a turning point where he makes the choice to never kills afterwards.

  • Chris Buckley

    Sadly, that means I won’t be seeing this film.
    He’s not Superman if he kills, just a warrior in a red cape.
    Guess he got lost on his way to the 300 prequel.

  • gordon

    “there is ALWAYS a way.”

    Except for that time he executed the alternate universe Zod, as someone mentioned above.

    I think it’s perfectly valid to create a situation where Superman has no choice but to kill Zod–and Snyder’s idea that doing so is why he’ll never kill again is genuinely interesting–but the scene they created just wasn’t that. Maybe there was ultimately no way to stop Zod without killing him, but in that moment, to stop him from killing those 4 or 5 people, he had options. If nothing else, I’m sure there was another massive and magically evacuated building he could have tossed him through.

  • sαη∂y♡

    So at what point do we suspend reality in a movie where there is a humanistic alien with super powers?

  • Shadowpdf

    It’s not just that there’s “no way” that Superman wouldn’t kill (he wouldn’t, despite what happened once in the comics). It was wrong for the movie. There was a way around it. It was right there in the script. You just move the final battle up a bit to where it’s taking place during a prolonged scene where the spaceship is being sucked into the Phantom Zone. Superman and Zod fight while the other Kryptonians are being zapped into that black hole. At one point Superman (purposely) maneuvers Zod and shoves him into the hole. Big drama, big satisfying battle, and no killing. I figured it out. Superman should have been able to.

  • gordon

    Wasn’t he trying to kill Doomsday when he died in Superman #75 (considering how many times Doomsday has come back, I’m a little unclear at this point on whether he did kill him)? And again, there’s that time he killed Zod in the comics.

    A lot of the criticism of the ending seems totally valid to me. It’s a flawed scene. Clinging to the principle that Superman simply cannot kill, however, is ignoring a handful of situations where he has killed.

    However, it doesn’t help Snyder’s argument that the movie essentially ends a minute later and the only emotional impact we see is that one scream. The whole “Superman learns a lesson and won’t kill again” thing is a nice idea, but it’s not there on the screen.

  • The Laughing Fool

    The thing is, they never really establish that Clark has some aversion to killing people. Yes, he saves lives. But he watched his own father die just to keep his powers hidden. It torn him up, but that’s the kind of compromise that lends itself to making “It’s him or them” decisions.

  • Benji

    I’m glad Snyder had his way. I loved the ending and the movie as a whole. It took some tremendous risks, and it totally paid off (for me). Nolan doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  • Brandon Allen

    Killing people is not always wrong. It was right for Superman to do what he did, just as it was right for WW to kill Max Lord. And that’s just in fiction. The same goes for reality; if it’s a choice between the immediate death of [an] innocent[s] or the death of the attacker then killing the attacker is the right thing to do.

  • Tyler Hayes

    Exactly. Think of how tough it is for us to pick a cookie at a cafe when given 2 choices and being forced to make the decision in a split-second.

    Now imagine having the same amount of time and choices but instead of cookies you have to choose between 2 people: 1 lives, 1 dies.

    Oh also you just learned a million new things about where you came from and your life’s purpose in the last few hours and all your horrible memories of your father’s death are being dredged up.

    Oh also also, these aren’t just any 2 people: one is the sole remaining survivor of your species who you just met — and he’s not all bad, but very clearly bent in the wrong direction — and the other is a truly innocent person, someone who is part of the species with which you’ve identified for the last 30+ years.

    I think people keep forgetting Superman didn’t even know how to fly until he was forced to learn during the events of this movie. It all happened over the course of several hours. Yes, this was several hours after several years of soul-searching and finding his way, so he had a good moral base to start with. But the guy was put into life-altering decision after life-altering decision — both for his life and billions of others’ — and had to very quickly cement his beliefs and act on his convictions with as much wisdom as he was fortunate to gain from his parents. That was actually one of the biggest takeaways I inferred the writers/director were trying to give to the audience, and I really respect it. I’m surprised more people aren’t seeing this.

  • waffles

    he’s killed zod in the comics and even in the Reeves superman. so why is everyone crying.

  • TheWhyOfZackSnydersPretension

    The why of wanting to see this movie further eludes my grasp with every interview I read with Snyder. This is the why of my waiting for HBO is growing more and more apparent.

  • Christopher Fergo

    Either Superman kills Zod or Zod kills that family. Seems like a pretty obvious choice to me.

  • TheWhyOfZackSnyderSayingTheWhy

    We have to figure out the why of this poor grammar! The why of my DEPTH.

  • Sakasa

    Ok lets take this one from the top. One people in building two did not evacuate immedately, nor did either have elevator access. The daily planet for instance it is understood that it is some how completely evacuated but it also was not directly hit until long after the “attacks” have struck. Also many people would have died from the megaton gravity wells as you can’t out run them. But here is something else to think about. If the death isn’t onscreen did it really happen? So allowing Zod to kill the “laughable” family cowering in fear while the father trying to protect them from instant molecular heat death on screen and therefore infront of Supes would have been Supes letting Zod kill them directly. That is different then unavoidable carnage from Kal being knocked through a building then going back through it to get to Zod. It is manipulation of reality and circumstance to bring a direct choice to the audience to witness.

  • Sakasa

    Well the one that was destroyed in the gravity well/ Dead Zone was zod’s ship. The Scout ship was destroyed but not lost and the Jor-El data cube was deleted. So he has the tech just not the supposed know how to repair and reassemble (which most likely will be gleamed over or conventantly the Codex in his DNA will auto activate repairs).

    The fortess of solitude shifts its meaning from time to time. Sometimes its a wealth of information, other times its the separation He needs from the rest of the world. Really because of the limited screen time and the missing parts of the universe that gives alot of Supes answers (STAR Labs) the sequel if there is infact one will have a time skip similar to Nolans Batman which they will fill in with some of the missing parts but somethings like Brianic and Lexcorp will have to be left out similar to Arkham or Blackgate prison.

  • JF Thomas

    HOLY crap!!! It was REAL?!? I thought it was A MOOOOOO-VIIIIEEEEEEEE!

  • zr
  • zr
  • Tomi Hanzek

    We humans are so pathetic. Superman saved our ENTIRE WORLD and all we do is complain that he didn’t do it fast enough and morally enough. I would have let Zod have his way and head for some other planet.

  • thanos0145

    I wouldn’t call 33 YEARS of age which they purposely had clark state (to go with the Christ symbolism throughout the movie) young.

  • Mike

    Weak sauce explanation. First, there were many different ways Superman could have saved the family, he did have other choices.
    Second, if it was meant as “Superman learns the tragedy of killing…” Then SHOW THAT. Instead he was regretful for like two seconds, then confronted the General with a smirk, like everything was cool (which was an awesome scene, but still…).
    When Wayne Manor got destroyed in Batman Begins, they had an epilogue scene, indicating that they would rebuild it better, advertising “This is where we are headed with this random destruction”
    A couple more lines is all it would have needed:
    General: How can we trust you when you just kill your enemies?
    Superman: (Dramatic pause) I’ve learned since then…..there’s always another way. I’ll have to prove that to you over time…. (Flies off)
    The sad part is that Goyer should know better. And to summarize the above article, everyone thought Superman killing was a bad idea, but Snyder sacrificed that character characteristic for a plot point. When they were making the film, I was enthusiastic about all the talent behind and in front of the camera, but I was worried about Snyder bringing an excellent movie down to merely good. This article just proved me right.

  • Kelsey Arnold

    I think it’s fair to say we don’t know HOW bad until we’ve experienced it. I know rape is bad, for example, but I have no real understanding of just how completely unimaginably terrible it really is because I’ve never been there. It’s easy to say “I could kill to save myself” or “my family” or in Superman’s case “this planet,” but until you’re in that situation you can’t grasp the full emotional impact.

    I think his father’s death created more tension over whether or not to kill. Superman already blames himself for letting his father die–even though that was what his father wanted–so to deliberately kill someone must have been a huge deal. I’m not expressing myself as clearly as I’d like because it’s late here, but I hope you grasp my meaning.


  • Kelsey Arnold

    Not exactly young by years, but as SUPERMAN THE SAVIOR AND DEFENDER OF EARTH, very young.

  • GaryEA

    I read CBR on Flipbook, unfortunately, you spoiled the ending. Thanks.

  • Frank

    Did people feel that Batman killing Two-Face in The Dark Knight was this controversial as well?

  • Frank

    I completely understood what you were saying, well said.

  • Frank

    (…I actually do live in my parent’s basement but that’s not the point, ha.) I honestly felt this was a perfect interpretation on how Superman would be depicted now, in our current society. It literally had all of the aspects from the Superman Mythos when it comes to his origin and what shocked me was how it was used so well in this movie, I couldn’t have asked or hoped for more. My father thought so as well and he’s been reading Superman since the time around Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen comics were coming out. He’s always been a fan of Superboy and how he grew up and he also believed that this was a wonderful movie.

  • Frank

    I just laughed at how stupid that last line was.

  • RussBurlingame

    Some did, some did not, but I do think it’s fair to say that Superman is held to a higher standard than anybody else, even Batman.

  • komiksman

    Interesting… but would totally look lame in the big screen. C’mon how many times has this been done before?

  • Eric

    Seriously! And that was an experienced Bruce, not a “Been a superhero for all of a few hours” Clark. Yeesh!

    He’s NOT Superman in the film…not yet. He’s a totally green Kal…to expect him to be perfect right out of the gate is lame.

  • RussBurlingame

    That’s been my biggest issue with all of this; if Snyder has to TELL US that this was his intent and it’s not there on the screen, that’s as big an issue as what actually transpires, to me.

  • BigEZ

    Okay have to put my two cents in as a former soldier. As it’s been said KILLING PEOPLE IS WRONG. However I can pretty much guarantee that most people posting on here have ZERO idea of what they would do if put in a situation where there may be no other choice. If you’ve ever been in a combat situation where someone is doing their damnest to either kill you or something/someone you love your perspective changes FAST. Does the fact I’ve had to do things I’m not proud of make me immoral. No, on the contrary it gives me an informed position. KILLING PEOPLE IS WRONG and people will say you should do everything in your power to avoid it. Yes, but you also have to realize that no matter what your convictions or your moral code is sometimes you are powerless. It’s us people who’ve been put in that position and felt it’s impact on ourselves or seen it on our buddies and can still say KILLING IS WRONG who can stand on the pulpit and preach. Everyone else is just speculating. Should Superman have killed Zod who knows but given the story at that point it made sense.

  • Manuel Lopez

    SPOILERS…Go see it before you talk shit about the movie, then and only then will your bile (or love) for the movie will have justification. And that last part about the rape crap, it’s fucken tasteless. What Superman does at the end is absolutely necessary, at that point Zod has made it clear to him that he will not stop until he fries and destroys any human he comes across. Superman SAVES the entire planet in this movie, despite not having any experience, despite being untrusted by the military, despite the odds against him!

  • Confused

    It doesn’t make sense that they’ve created a cinematic universe where Batman doesn’t kill, but Superman does.

  • Manuel Lopez

    Bullshit! At that point he lunged at Zod who was threatening his moms life!! And note this is the first first time that Kal engages in a super powered fight! He had just learned to fly right for God’s sake.

  • Frank

    You do realize that in a Christopher Nolan movie The Dark Knight, which is probably one of my favorite comic book films/general films, Batman kills Two-Face, right?

  • Manuel Lopez


  • AlexiasLazar

    Ok, works for me!

  • Manuel Lopez

    Waid is an idiot and hypocrite. In Kingdome Come which he wrote, he nukes all of Kansas!! And at the end Nukes 90% of the remaining superheroes too!!

  • AlexiasLazar

    Word girl.

  • Manuel Lopez

    And a bunch of ninjas and the fake Ras at Ras Al Ghul’s place too. Burton’s Batman kills too, in one of the movies he straps a bomb to one of the thug’s hips and Boom!

  • Frank

    i didn’t get the impression that he purposely killed the fake Ra’s but more so that the fake Ra’s was killed by the falling pillar. With Two-Face, Batman pretty much deliberately pushed him to his death to save James Gordon Jr.

  • Red Robin

    This was painful. The reason Superman doesn’t kill people is because he was taught by the Kents that all life is sacred. They were supposed to be his moral compass. He doesn’t need to “learn the lesson” by committing murder and destroying his own race.

  • Jon

    The buildings were never evacuated. I paid close attention to this. Do you know how long it takes to evacuate every building in the downtown area? There was no time. Also, we saw several shots of people on the ground, seemingly stranded there, which makes sense since you’d imagine road traffic to be at a complete stand-still. People had nowhere to go. Where did those gazillion tons of debris fall? The battle had to have taken many hundreds of lives. Watch it again and see.

    That being said, they can make all of this right by simply addressing it in the sequel. Make a point of humanity being unsure about whether or not to embrace Superman because of all these (accidental) deaths. Have Kal himself question whether or not he wants to BE a superhero on a planet that’s obviously too fragile for him. Have him agonize over the life he took consciously as well as the accidental ones. DON’T JUST MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ADVENTURE, USE THIS, WARNER BROTHERS.

    No one wants to see a perfect, flawless Superman. Superman Returns proved that. But a Superman who accidentally killed hundreds in his first-ever superhero battle, then consciously snapped the villain’s neck… he was thrust into this situation, he wasn’t as ready for it as he thought… have him agonize over the mistakes he made, because Superman can screw up too — and when he does, the consequences are a heck more dire than they would be for the rest of us.

    Then, at the end of the sequel, have him resolved and decided to never allow these mistakes to happen again. Suddenly, your Superman is a little more flawed, a little more relatable, yet at the same time be the Superman we all know and love by the end of the next movie.

    The difficulty to cope with his mistakes would fit in perfectly with the mood of the movie, and the mood of the shared universe that DC wants to create in general. Nolan’s Batman was just as conflicted. Heck, it could finally be that thing Batman and Superman have in common. Because lord knows there’s absolutely nothing else about these two characters that explains why they’re constantly together. Give them this bond.

    You’d kill so many birds with just this one stone, if only you acknowledge the deaths Superman is responsible for in the sequel.


    “his aversion to killing is left unexplained.”
    If you feel the need to have to explain why someone dosn’t like killing people then you seem to have a very little understanding of humanity. I wouldn’t have minded the supes killing if they gave him more than just a scream and next scene transition, they do not explain that this is what causes his aversion, you know why, BECAUSE GOOD PEOPLE DON”T WANT TO KILL PEOPLE, IS THAT REALLY THAT HARD TO GRASP.

  • Kol Drake

    So, how many people does he get to kill before he is officially a ‘good guy’?

  • Spooner15

    Superman doesn’t kill because be was taught right from wrong by his salt of the each parents

  • Kol Drake

    Saved the planet while killing not only Zod but a good percentage of Metrolpolis as they tossed each other through skyscrapers and had all those buildings do a ‘9/11′ with all the people inside. Seems killing and not caring about the people he’s supposed to be protecting does not come into this ‘new’ darker, realistic superhero franchise. Or maybe those are ‘more lessons’ he will have to learn….. IF there are any people left before he learns THAT lesson.

  • nnon

    If you don’t have a problem with Superman killing than you don’t understand Superman. Might as well kill Lex and every other bad guy now really.

  • nnon

    Also read All-Star if you haven’t already, he saves Lex’s life even though Lex has poisoned him and he knows it will kill him. That’s Superman.

  • Chuck777

    Kirk cheated because he couldn’t accept the no win scenario.

  • Chuck777

    Being a miracle like that makes you an instant celebrity. News Companies would flock to Smallville and interview other townsfolk for interesting anecdotes about Clark. Someone would let slip the old, “Well there was this one time that Clark did XYZ that was pretty astounding.” Then other people would chime in and suddenly the whole world knows Clark is extra special.

    What then?

    Pa Kent wouldn’t want that kind of publicity for his son. Ever.

    The part that irks me most about Pa Kent dieing is that he died trying to save a dog, a dog that his wife was foolish enough to lock in the car and dumb enough to beg her husband to go save.

    As for Zod, it was just bad writing that eliminated all other means of defeating Zod other than killing.

    He would never relent. No earth-based tech can contain Zod. The longer he is on Earth, the stronger he will become. All access to the Phantom Zone ended when Clark blew up the scout ship and had the other Kyrptonians bombed.

    There is no other means of ending the conflict other than murder.

  • Chuck777

    Man of Steel II: Zod’s Revenge

  • Chuck777

    Or… Man of Steel II: Rise of Zod

    MoS2: Into Darkness

    MoS2: Zod Unchained

  • Chuck777

    I bet in the director’s cut they will show a scene where they evacuate Metropolis but idiots… I mean secondary characters, decided to hang around.

  • Chuck777

    Stuck with the original script?

  • Chuck777

    All they would need is someone in that military base to say, “We should evacuate Metropolis.” One throw away line and all this negative reaction becomes moot.

  • Chuck777

    Superman has killed Doomsday and Zod in the comics.

    I don’t like the fact that the Man of Steel kills in this movie but, to be fair, there was no other option at that point in the plot.

  • Chuck777

    To be honest the point where Clark is kissing Lois, kinda feels like the end of the movie.

  • Chuck777

    I’ll bet you that the DVD will add a throw away line that has one of the military guys say, “We should evacuate Metropolis.” The people who make the DVD will say the dialogue was recorded during filming but we’ll know the truth.

    At any rate, you can’t really blame Clark for not being the veteran Superman we know and love. He’s never fought a super villain before, much less anyone as powerful as he. Rookies make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are catastrophic.

  • Chuck777

    The two scenes that followed the killing really felt like more like they were meant for the post-credits.

  • Chuck777

    You should get in the habit of reading titles first. I made the same mistake a few weeks back and had one of my comics spoiled. :(

  • Chuck777

    Superman will swear to never let anyone else die after Zod’s attack.

  • Chuck777

    Their arguments are centered on the fact that Superman is held to a higher standard. He is an ideal that we commonfolk look up to.

  • Jay

    Aside from these examples below, let’s not forget Batman also let Ra’s Al Ghul die in a very unheroic way. Superheroes save everybody they can. Even Batman. But especially Superman.

  • Joe Stone

    You see, I felt that the felt presented the situation as if there was no choice when there actually was. Superman had Zod in a head grip and was holding onto him, why didn’t he just fly up taking Zod with him and drop him in space or something?

    My main issue with the ending (and to an extent the whole film) was that almost all of the choices Superman is presented with are entirely black and white. Kill Zod or he kills everyone else. Destroy the genesis pod or let the Kryptonians win. Was there no middle ground where he could have not committed genocide and saved the genesis pod, but just on a different, uninhabited planet? Couldn’t he have stopped Zod from killing without snapping his neck? The films states – literally, with Zod’s dialogue – that the climactic fight only ends when one of them dies, so it seems like that’s the only option, but there were actually lots of other ways it could have been handled. I get the feeling those other ways wouldn’t have made this version of Superman ‘different’ enough from previous incarnations and the filmmakers wanted to put their stamp on it, but in doing so took away a lot of what makes him a great character.

  • George Doukas

    Exactly… Hopefully it will include Kara though.

  • Jmacq1

    Oh, so you wanted a Christopher Reeve “Turn back time” moment, where Superman can alter reality itself. Yeah…that would’ve been -swell-.

    So lemme be more clear. What should he have done within the actual movie?

  • Jmacq1

    Ahh, gotcha. Killing is bad, but brutally and permanently maiming is TOTALLY OK!

    “Combine his powers to Overwhelm Zod?” Once again…what happens when Zod wakes up? What happens after Zod breaks out of the super-breath ice in about a microsecond?

    What happens when Zod flies back from the Moon after Superman takes him there? Just in case you missed the part where Superman took him into space and he, you know, went right back to Earth.

  • Jed

    Ah, but you forgot about his one TRUE weakness: coughing fits. Am I the only one who was bothered by that? We see him flying in the vacuum of space, but a little smog from his home planet is causing him severe discomfort? Couldn’t he just hold his breath? This is supposed to be a critical point in the film and all I could think was “Is Superman really being subdued by… smoke”?

  • Steven O’Neill

    killing Zod wasn’t wrong, he was an unstoppable douche that needed to be put down

  • Marc Witz

    I will not see this film, but having read the spoilers — he let’s how many people die during the fight — what’s another one to the pile? (The gang running DC now doesn’t really give a crap, as long as the check clears)

  • 01010111100010101101010

    It is a solid explaination, however, it would have had more punch if Superman hadn’t intended to kill Zod, but just did, because he lost control.
    Superman’s aversion isn’t just that he doesn’t want to kill anyone, its his realization that at any moment he could crack the planet in half, and dangerous and troubling a thought that is.
    So give him a no win situation, and have him try to hold to his morals, then (as in the first movie when he reverses time because he couldn’t bare the human loss of lois lane) leave him no choice, and fill him with regret for what he had to do.
    I haven’t seen the film yet, so maybe that is exactly how it plays out. But what’s important if this is the way you want to go, is you need to have a real weight to death for Superman, where he realizes he’s done something unforgivable and something that can’t be undone.
    From what I’ve heard, I don’t think they handled it in quite that way, which is why people are upset about the ending I think. That Superman might have to kill is not what bothers people, it’s that he seems to have done it when other options might have been available.

  • 01010111100010101101010

    Maybe its forshadowing of kryptonite in someway. That the polutants in the Kryptonian atmosphere had a negative effect on his pysiology.

  • Esteban Pedreros

    Thank you. English is my second laguage, though

  • CudaBiro

    Killed Doomsday is debatable, as by his very nature he can’t die. He can’t even be unmade permanently.

  • jmyoung

    I thought this would be about the thousands of people Superman murdered (or manslaughtered) in the big fight scene with Zod.

  • Travis

    I wouldn’t say Kirk “lost” so much as Spock’s death was the price of his victory.

  • Simon Whitelaw

    I admit that in real life sometimes there is no other choice than to kill someone.

    But that still doesn’t make it a good thing.

    Besides which the point here isn’t whether or not killing is wrong. Goyer and Snyder admit that killing is wrong. The point is that they decided that Superman is so stupid he needs to actually kill someone before he can learn for himself that killing is wrong. It’s moronic and unnecessary because not killing is basic kindergarten morality.

  • Simon Whitelaw

    But whenever Superman has killed in the comics it has been shown as the exception to the rule… something that is so out of character it either drives him insane or forces him to hang up his cape. It sort of works in those instances because it has been driven home to the reader countless times that he doesn’t kill. It’s shocking and dramatic and powerful because he is breaking a long established precedent.
    In MOS tho he just kills right of the bat… he isn’t breaking a precedent he is setting one… and it’s the wrong one.

  • WhatIsTheWhyOfDumb

    What is the why of dumb? How is the why of when connected to the what what of wherefore?

    Snyder needs to be kept quiet by the studio. The reviews and the plot revelations don’t bother me nearly as much as turning “why” into a noun.

  • Rick

    Ok, there’s a zillion of comments here, so I’m probably repeating what’s already been said. Alos, I’m referring to what is said, because I’m still to see the movie (and I’m watching it anyway).

    It’s been a while I’ve been thinking “uh-oh, bet this time they’ll made big blue kill some Kryptonian criminal, Byrne style, ’cause it happened and they never did it in a movie”. And they did.

    I’m disappointed, not only because even if Supes did kill in his history that was always regarded as out of character (including Byrne stuff, which was differently handled, tho) but because seeing Superman killing anybody with his bare hands denies evrything this myth should mean.

    He COULD have killed to eliminate the threat (think about Batman that practically kills Ra’S by leaving him to die on the monorail, perfectly in character), but this just says: “Listen guys, I’m Superman, I’ve hundred of ways to stop you doing bad things, but just p!ss me off too far and I’ll fry you with heat vision or smash your skull, because I can. I can’t spend all day on this, y’know??”

    There are a lot of reasons for Superman is against killing, but the main one is he has to show his tremendous power makes him self confident there’s always a better way, there is always hope and hope for redemption. I’ve read this concept in hundreds of stories in the last 40 years, but this message went totally lost in reaching Snyder, Goyer and “some of the people at DC” (quote)

    So much for hope, justice and redemption. Supes smash.

    I hope watching the movie I’ll change my opinion.

  • TheWhyofIt

    We don’t use words like “the reason” or “the reasons.” We say “This is the why of it.”

  • WhatIsTheWhyOfLife

    I am searching for the why of life.

  • BboiBlack

    All the heroes in the Marvel cinematic universe would argue different.

  • BboiBlack

    All those buildings fell during the gravity beam fiasco that superman was risking his life to stop.
    When he started fighting zod, he was tossed though a one or two buildings(that didn’t topple) and actually took the fight to the skies and even space.

    This isn’t superman fighting a bunch of green men, it’s him fighting someone that will demand his constant attention. Then again there is superman 2.

  • BboiBlack

    Superman acted as bravely as superman would given the situation. That’s enough for it to be Superman.

    I get what you are saying about how it might look better, but that doesn’t excuse all these people saying lack of it is some kind of big failure.

  • BboiBlack

    Waid made superman a vegan.
    Is he the authority on superman’s moral decisions now?

    This kid’s an american farmer for petes sake.

  • BboiBlack

    And what does basic Kindergarten morally say about the situation superman faced at the end there?

    Someone knowing that killing is wrong doesn’t not equal someone that has killed vowing never to do it again.

    How’s that for Kindergarten.

  • BboiBlack

    care to explain how he’s wrong then?

  • Mr_Wayne

    If you’re not trying to see the movie it’s because you’re not trying to see the movie. It’s because of the scene itself. You’re telling me you sat around for a week and didn’t watch a movie because of one scene? Watch the movie and judge the scene for yourself. Don’t be an internet lame. The problem with Snyder and co. is their explanations. I wouldn’t explain anything. I’m a DC Comics guy thru and thru and I’m here to say… Superman had NO OTHER CHOICE. Sure there are scenarios that could have been given but Superman has killed in the comics before. I respect your passion for the character despite.

  • BboiBlack

    he wasn’t killing before than and he sure wasn’t acting like it’s his normal precedent after.

  • Manuel Lopez

    The point is Batman has killed. He’s no assassin, but he has had to do what is necessary against the bad guys. Superman does the exact same thing in MOS. MOS for all intents and purposes is ‘Superman Begins’. The choices he makes in this movie shape him to be the great superhero he is destined to be. Superman killed to save thousands of lives and he felt like shit about it! It’s something that will hunt him for the rest of his life. It was not ‘killing’ for the sake of killing. It wasn’t sadistic the way The Punisher kills in his movies or the way Blade, Ghostrider and even Hulk attack their opponents. The bottom line is that Superman saves EVERYBODY’S life in MOS. He saves the entire planet. He chooses to save humanity instead of siding with his misguided Kryptonians. It’s a choice that took guts, integrity. The movie emphasizes that doing the right thing isn’t as black and white as other superhero movies make it out to be. Again, MOS was GREAT!!

  • MegaGearMax

    Superman didn’t know that originally when he killed him in Death of Superman.

  • lynn

    Exactly. I can feel sorry for Zod because his DNA gave him no choice but to be the way he was. One could say a rabid dog can’t help their actions either, but it still has to be put down. Unlike Zod, Superman got to choose which path he followed (be Earth’s protector or its conqueror/co-conqueror). I was shocked, yes, when he killed Zod in the movie, but then I realized why he had to do it and how much grief he had over it. Zod was no longer just a Kryptonian general fighting a war for the survival of his race and causing collateral damage along the way. In that moment he was an out and out murderer trying to deliberately fry a specific family — and like you say, Nate, other individuals, including those close to Superman, were sure to be high on Zod’s list next. Superman did what he had to do in that situation, even if it broke his heart to do so. Heroes sometimes have to make hard choices. Lois understood.

  • AZDrifter

    You mean the Marvel universe where Captain American used a Gun and they had no problems shooting a Nuke at the aliens, killing them and preventing them from destroying NY??? And we are all getting on Superman because he killed 1 guy… who also happened to be an alien trying to kill all life on earth…

  • Dave

    I dont have problem with him killing Zod, he killed him in the comics. I think doing it in the first movie was a little much. First movie should have been Brainiac, then bring Zod in at number two or three. Build up that Superman does not kill, then have him kill Zod because there is no other choice. And as far as the buildings go, in a major battle like that he cant stop and make sure every one is out, best he could do is try to move the fight to an unpopulated area, which he should have done. But all in all I didnt hate the movie and actually really liked Cavill as Superman.

  • Neal Harris

    I’m surprised you would say this. Kal almost exclusively only bothers to save a few characters who are key to the plot, considering how many thousands are certain to have died in this film.

  • Frank

    Well said, Manuel!

  • Alejandro Aguilar

    Superman needed to kill General Zod. It setup his morals and explained why he doesn’t kill. You can see how it hurt him. Zod was ruthless but he represented Clark’s history. They were the last of his people, the last of Krypton.

  • mega48man

    tell that to psychopathic murders, both real life convicts or characters like the Joker. not everyone thinks killing is wrong, and that’s what separates Zod from Superman. Zod sees killing as a means to an end. (keep in mind 1. Superman has the powers of a god compared to us and has been given no reason, other than proper parenting from the kents, that killing those lesser than him is wrong, and 2. he is still learning where his place in life is, whether it be right or wrong) To superman, killing someone has traumatized him, both emotionally, destroying the last remnants of his kid, and in character, that the do-good innocent boy scout has taken a life.

    superman’s gone rouge in the comics before, it’d be tragically fascinating to see him to it in the movies and now we have a wonderful backstory to allude to for when he does go rouge, bringing more tragic irony to his character and thus creating a very powerful story.

  • Craig Peters

    I don’t think he should have killed Zod (I thought Michael Shannon was terrific as Zod, by the way), but that’s less disturbing than Jonathan Kent standing proudly with barely a wiggle in the midst of a tornado or whatever the half-ass reasoning might be for how the Phantom Zone knew what to suck back in and what to leave alone

  • jesusdesaad

    Superman has killed Zod in the comics before. Along with his two lieutenants. Again, also in the comics, it was what drove him to never take another life away, ever again.

  • Lead Sharp

    I have less of an issue with the killing scene and more with the fact the film was a joyless, preachy mess.

  • grendel824

    I think it would’ve been interesting to have Lex Luthor kill Zod – it could be a great way to introduce him and it’d already draw attention to the tragedy that, if not for Superman, Luthor might have gone on to cure cancer and be a great humanitarian. Plus, he’d be the guy who helped save Metropolis and… actually, that premise is giving me so many intriguing ideas that I’m going to keep them to myself on the off chance I ever get to write a Superman story…

  • Rick Marcil

    I too thought Superman killing was a little over the top, but so was most of the destruction anyway. I mean how many buildings did he punch Zod through, without making sure they were empty or a clear path before hand? To me it was more to due with his growing up. He never defended himself against the bullies, to save himself (even if it only was his pride, not the pain). Yet he would do anything he had to, to protect other people.

  • brownbear34

    I really felt that you had a great point until you mentioned the heat vision thing. I wouldn’t call it laughable because Zod was trying to kill him using the heat vision and then while fighting it got directed to those people. Also what would you have done in that situation if you were superman? Run away and let Zod destroy the planet? Supes did the best he could given what he had and the situation he was in.

  • Bret

    Or they could have done a similar situation like in Batman Begins where Ra’s Al Ghul is about to go down in the train and Batman chooses NOT to save him….

  • howler

    I am really sick and tired of all the Nolan hype mainly because i feel their are many area’s he needs to work on in his movies but this just further proves that dc should shovel all the money they can to keep him around

  • winlandbooks

    It is clear that Zod is committing suicide (the whole “honorable death” foreshadowing by Zaora), and he drives this point to Superman, stressing that his purpose and “soul” are gone. It is clear that Superman is *tortured* by Zod’s killing, but there was no other option, and it really was what Zod was pushing for. The stakes were HUGE.

    I know people idolize the boy-scout-perfection ideal of Superman, but this is not the angle that Nolan, Goyer, and Snyder were going for. That was the only way to stop Zod.

    THAT said, Supes should have been taking the fight OUT of population. I can understand the melee getting out of hand, but after the first few minutes, he should have tried to get the Kryptonians out of Smallville, and he should have tried to keep Zod out of Metropolis.

    Still a damn good film.

  • nnon

    Superman doesn’t kill because he is GOOD. So good it’s pretty much a superpower.

  • fearlubu

    So what do you propose he do? How can he detain zod?

  • fearlubu

    Weeelllll, letting someone die and straight up killing them are completely different. Besides, his pops didn’t want to be saved. Did you not watch the movie? They explained the consequences of revealing himself twice.

  • fearlubu

    Basically what Jmacq1 said.

    Also, that sounds like what YOU expect from a superhero movie; that doesn’t mean that every superhero movie has to be like that.

  • Joe Stone

    I’m not a filmmaker or a screenwriter, so I’m not the best person to ask and nor was I trying to imply that I could have done a better job.

    That said… off the top of my head, Zod was still adjusting to his powers due to arriving on Earth much later than Superman, so chances are he would have certain weaknesses that he didn’t yet realise. Maybe flying him up into space, thus causing a pressure change which he had yet to adjust to and rendering him unable to fight back. Superman could then have flown him over to Mars or something and dumped him there (which could also tie-in to the Justice League movie with Zod’s discovery of the Martian culture and eventually the Martian Manhunter).

    Killing him goes entirely against Superman’s character. There is always another option.

  • fearlubu

    I felt it was obvious to the point that it didnt need to be said.

  • fearlubu

    1. Unlike other incarnations of supes, he was taught NOT to use his powers, and up until he finds that ancient kryptonian ship, he only used it to save people from time to time. Especially his ability to fly, which he didnt find out until when, somewhere between a third and halfway through the movie?

    2. Thats what YOU expect from supes. Remember, this is Snyder’s take on Superman, not the run of the mill stuff we’re use to. Remember TDK trilogy? Also, this is his origin — he’s still very young as a superhero and cant be expected to save the world with flying colors his first time around.

    3. In Snyder’s universe kryptonians might not even have any weaknesses for all we know. And how would that make everyone feel better about the killing?

    4. That’s a terribly moot point.

    Well, that was easy.

  • mwedmer

    They left out the part of the article where Zack showed Chris the final scene after it was shot, and finally agreed with Snyder that it was the right decision to have Clark kill Zod.
    You can read the uncut article at ign or bleeding cool.

  • mwedmer

    No they couldn’t.
    Faora stated to Superman that for everyone he saves, they will kill a million more.
    When Zod was trying to burn the people with the Heat vision, AFTER he told Clark that his sole reason for existing, his singular purpose, was now nothing more than Dust, showed that there was no way out. Zod even tells him that he will have to kill him to stop him.

    He pleaded with Zod not to do it, but Zod wanted to die. He left superman no choice. Period.
    Superman showed more anguish at that one death than most characters in any movie you ever see.
    He realized that he just destroyed any chance of learning about Krypton.

    He doesn’t know about the Codex..

  • SageShinigami

    1.) Again, that’s just how they chose to write the movie, so you’re trying to force people that dislike it into a corner that does not exist because there was no reason to write it that way to begin with. Why WOULDN’T you learn how to use your powers; even if only in secret?

    2.) No. That’s not “what I expect”–THAT’S WHAT SUPERMAN IS. That’s not something that can be added or subtracted for someone’s “take”. It’s like saying “Well its not like Thomas and Martha Wayne HAVE to get shot for Bruce to become Batman.” The moment Superman becomes less than someone to aspire to, then you made a movie about a guy who flies and wears spandex, not Superman. Incidentally: “run of the mill”? Interesting. Few people would call All-Star Superman or Superman: Birthright “run of the mill”.

    3.) You don’t need Kryptonite; we already know the red sun makes Kryptonians weaker. Just shutting him in a room that stimulated that would’ve stopped them from having to kill him. Its not about them feeling better about the killing, its about creating a situation where he didn’t have to be killed at all.

  • bill

    yeah, killing people is wrong. your not going to find anyone who argues with that i dont think, but is letting someone(or multiple people) die when you could have saved them any less wrong? there are no black and white decisions in life, even superman is subject to the harsh realities of life. supes knew that killing zod was wrong when he did it, but he also knew it would be equally wrong to let those people die. its not like he had time to sit and think about every little detail like we do before making the choice, and even if he did i believe he would have done the same thing. he sacrificed what he believed in when he made that choice, good or bad, and he saved lives(possibly all human life) by doing so. besides, how is sending someone to the negative zone to suffer for eternity any better than killing?

  • Kelsey Arnold

    Yeah, Snyder could have done a much, much better job with that subplot. Deciding whether or not to act and whether to save someone, let them die, or kill them is a HUGE moral question that Kal had to face several different times. More development on those experiences and how they informed his actions as an adult would have made the film much stronger IMO.

  • Kelsey Arnold

    I agree entirely. More development in that scene and throughout the movie on the development of Superman’s moral code would have made the whole thing stronger.

  • Kelsey Arnold

    He really should have done that on the screen, though. I think that’s the crux of this whole debate–it isn’t on the screen.

  • Kelsey Arnold

    Like his salt of the earth dad who said he should let a bus full of kids drown?

  • GaryEA

    Actually, I was reading the headline below the blurb. I looked up at something on the tv, and then I caught the words “Superman snaps Zod’s…” when I went back to reading. Total fluke.

    Well at least I know he didn’t fall down a bottomless pit under the Fortress of Solitude LOL!

    Sorry to hear about your comic book :(

  • robthom

    Really, they had to bring back Zod?

    I know these jj-esque movies are shinier and the teenagers are prettier but there is really next to no creativity under the gloss.

  • Godabed

    When they stop saying they tried to make a more modern, and realistic version of superman.

  • Godabed

    and after she snapped his neck Wonder Woman quite being WW for a year or so, and just wanted to be normal. Are you telling me superman is going to do that?
    In golden age, which was not silver age or pre-crisis superman. He banished himself after killing alternate Zod, is he going to do that here? Or in Mos2 is he suddenly going to have a moral compass and say… “that’s wrong” i shouldn’t have done that.

  • Godabed

    it’s because it’s already been established that majority of the avengers don’t have a problem killing. Captain America has openly admitted to killing nazis, during WW2, and would kill for his country. Black Widow was an assassin. Thor regularly kills frost giants and other thigns that threaten asgard with no hesitation. Hulk tends to kill the military who go after him or indirect damage. But it’s never shown that Hulk has outright killed anyone if it wasn’t in self defense of somekind. Iron i don’t recall killing anyone. Hawkeye is a shield agent and will also kill as he needs to. This is all established in their films, and even in the comics. Avengers tend to kill pretty regularly, i mean they have wolverine on the team now…

    which is why there is no problem with the avengers killing. But then again they aren’t superman, don’t have the superman mythos at all. The most modern versions of superman pre-crisis and current superman has not killed anyone, and would never go that far. Even in Kingdom Come to which a lot of people needed killing Superman didn’t. He always found another way.

  • Nitin

    Superman shouldn’t have killed Zod.Zod didn’t even achieve half of his goal of getting the Codex and developing Krypton on earth.Zod didn’t try to kill any human on earth except those few people at the end.Superman killed Zod for what he has not achieved yet.Zod was the second last Kryptonian besides Superman.How can a strongest human being destroy his own race?Every other enemy who wants to prey on innocent would do the same thing that Zod did at the end of the movie.Should Superman kill each of these enemies?Superman Kills Zod just shows that Zod had gone out of control and to stop him Superman also had gone out of control.

  • clanwolf

    One thing I loved about All star Superman was it never diminished Superman’s super science/intellect side, as well as how WISE he has become in relation to humanity. While it may be true that Krypton has degenerated, it is still an ADVANCED civilization. The Superman I saw has more in common with his imitators like Majestic, Supreme, Sentinel, etc.

  • Brandon Allen

    I never said WW was right to stop being Wonder Woman after that. If he states that it was wrong and he shouldn’t have done it that will ruin the entire thing. But after the stuff you mentioned and the new 52 [as well as a lot more] I wouldn’t be surprised; DC has a track record of ruining good things. Mostly because they had the wrong motives behind those good things and/or didn’t see them as good.

  • Godabed

    Well Superman and Batman scolded her after the fact. Neither one of them had a kill policy, and she took it entirely too far, she had to do soul searching. Without a moral compass there is no way Superman could have stood in front of Wonder Woman for killing a human being. Also in that Fight with WW & Superman, it was said that he was bloodlusted. Superman could easily kill WW on a given day, but even in that state he didn’t. But i don’t understand why you are trying to use WW as a justification in this instance.

    New 52 Superman is a mess.

  • Drew

    I always thought Superman didn’t kill, because then he’d wind up as Judge, Jury, and Executioner, but just punching guys and leaving them for the higher authorities makes it that his will won’t be completely opposed on the populace. By the way, why didn’t Superman just fly up, I mean he had Zod in a solid hold, why not just fly away.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    But Kingdom Come is totally an Elseworlds story. Everyone’s kind of out of character in that book.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    To be fair he was angry and was probably blinded by rage. He also hadn’t fought before. He just learned to fly not long earlier, and he probably has no idea how to navigate easily while holding on to an attacker.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    No, they implied that there needed to be that catharsis to fit an internal logic of explaining to the audience his choices and rationality. But do all films need to be driven by such an internal logic?

  • Phoneo Nemo

    No, he was written in a situation in which he had to make the brutal choice. But this is short-sighted, How is ever gonna be on a pedestal to discourage killing if it ever comes to that? To say that it’s his number one regret? Because that implies that he felt that he did the wrong thing (which isn’t true), while not feeling longterm remorse is out of character. That’s kind of a lose-lose, IMHO. It just isn’t fitting for the character within the greater context of a shared universe.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    The reason there is always a way is because WRITERS FIND a way in a virtually unlimited universe involving sci-fi, magic and time travel. I agree that he should have been in a world in which the option to not kill was available to him, but it did not exist in MOS. Hopefully the sequels will be different in this regard.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    They were the first big-budget superhero movies. People were happy to have them. Also, Reeve’s memory-wiping kiss probably works with audiences as well.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    He didn’t have ice breath in this movie. Zod would still be powerful without his eyes, also, enough force would enter the brain. Drop him in the moon? Supes was lucky enough to bat him into a satellite.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    And I would approve of that change!

  • Manuel Lopez

    The movies are also ‘elseworld’ stories by nature. I’m not sure what Waid wanted to accomplish really. He should know more than anyone else that writers tell their stories and they will not realize everyone’s expectations.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    That would be VERY ham-fisted. Zod dies, and Superman looks to the camera and says “I’m not doing that again” :P

  • Phoneo Nemo

    Apparently to filmmakers and some audience members, it is.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    Maybe he was afraid Zod would escape?

  • Kelsey Arnold

    I didn’t mean it had to be done BADLY on the screen, only that the message was not communicated in the movie. The fact they need to explain this as “word of god” shows that the movie didn’t get this message across.

  • Kelsey Arnold

    Weird, I thought I replied to this but I don’t see it. I didn’t mean it had to be ham-fisted or didactic, only that Snyder & co didn’t use the medium (the screen) effectively to tell the story. As I mentioned in another comment, it was late when I wrote that. :) Really, the fact that the creators have to explain their intent like this shows that they did a poor job conveying their message through the movie.

  • Phoneo Nemo

    They clearly minced certain elements, knowing it will be addressed in the sequel.

  • BboiBlack

    Post crisis and 52 superman have killed. Several times and under similar conditions.

    If that’s your standard, than call it a day.

  • Brandon Allen

    If it means that much to you to cry about it go ahead. I honestly don’t care.

  • Nat Defozzi

    OK, it is what it is. I liked it. If it was different, you’d all be complaining it was too hokey and bland not realistic and gritty enough.
    Oh, and if I wrote it, I would have had Lex Luthor come in suddenly during the Zod death scene, in an Iron Man-like suit, and kill Zod with one shot, while Superman had him in the headlock. Then Lex would start attacking Supes, screaming “Look what you alien bastards have done to my city! Then Lex would cool off after Supes convinces him they need to both deal with getting all the bad guys into the Phantom Zone. Then Lex would betray Supes and try to push him into the Phantom Zone, too, but fail, and then take off after gettin’ a whoopin’ from Supes that damages his power suit, shouting a good ole’ “I’ll be back to deal with you, alien bastard!” or something all dastardly and villainous to that affect.
    Nice and tidy, all set up for Lex to be the bad guy in the sequel.
    I’m gonna pretend in my head that’s how it ended (even though I thought it was actually fine the way it is, I still like my version more betterer). ;)

  • kylemac6

    I can get behind that explanation, but it doesn’t do anything to make him a very sympathetic hero in my eyes.

  • verb

    That’s his movie dad. And look, this Superman kills. Another Hollywood liberty taken with the print version.

  • Allen Gore

    This is true, I myself have yet to kill someone.

  • CarlosFontesJr

    I really appreciated the scene in ‘The Avengers’ when Captain America ran through a barrage of enemy fire to direct those 2 cops to evacuate the citizens to hide in basements and subways to avoid becoming targets. Also, Black Widow holding off Chitauri forces while Hawkeye evacuated the citizens trapped in that city bus. Also: Iron Man shooting flares at the giant leviathan, distracting it and making it chase him back towards ‘ground zero’ as it were, containing the destruction of the city to 3 city blocks. That was cool. I also like how Batman did NOT snap the Joker’s neck. And when Captain Kirk decided NOT to fire Admiral Marcus’ torpedoes and instead apprehended John Harrison to take him back to earth for a fair trial. That was cool. Making hard choices but staying true to your values, even in the face of adversity. That’s what makes good guys GOOD guys.

  • Tony

    Dude he stated that being close to the machine could affect his powers and it did thats why he was coughing. Were you not paying attention to the dialog??

  • Tony

    Another thing to understand is that Zod does not see the evil in his actions. He offers a place by his side to Jor-El repeatedly….he is genuinely upset that he was forced to do what he did to him.

    He makes the same offer to Kal, but once we realize that it means killing all life on Earth then we realize his aversion to morals. Had he wanted to take the matrix thingy to another planet besides Earth perhaps Kal will have complied.

    That being said the novelization for Transformers 3 has Megatron leaving Earth with the Decepticons because Prime lets them go…in the movie he kills him so why hasn’t everybody lost their minds over that.

    Superman HAS killed in both other movies and in the comics. It’s there its real. Deal with it.

  • Tony

    So killing Adolf Hitler would have been wrong, the Boston Bombers, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein?

  • Tony

    On top of that he left Kal no alternative….he made it clear that he destroyed his purpose for existing as explained at the beginning of the movie. People were bred for a specific purpose (much like Brave New World) and he said he was going to make each and every person on Earth suffer.

    Some people will never be satisfied with a superhero movie, but what makes me laugh are the ones who just say “Superman doesnt kill” clearly never have watched any of the other Superman movies, probably barely touched the comics.

  • amulya

    but isn’t it shown that he is his own race in the film when he has all the krypton DNA or whatever in his cells?

  • amulya

    I still don’t get how Zod died in the first place? Aren’t Krytonians like basically immune to getting their necks broken? I mean Kent was getting thrown around by those two people earlier in the film and he was fine.

  • stupid MOS

    he actually did saved the guy telling him to hide inside ihop, then he throws the krytonian enemy into the ihop killing the guy he saved.

  • stupid MOS

    damn straight, the zod killing scene is lamely forced. This movie stands for HOPE, makes us hoping it was never made.

  • stupid MOS

    we are also not paying attention why loise needs to be on the ship for no reason at all

  • stupid MOS

    despite on how sissy and lame the scene is right manuel lopez?

    Let’s say killer superman is inevitable, lame scene and story telling is just so sad to watch.

    He could have just poked zod’s eyes.

  • stupid MOS

    he had a choice to poke zod’s eye, why didn’t he do that? because it’s sounds lame, so why make that scene at all? they could have just think of a different situation. Poor story telling.

  • Paul Sharp


  • Paul Sharp