The Ending Of MAN OF STEEL Garners Controversy
The climax of Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel seems to have rubbed some fans up the wrong way, comics writer Mark Waid among them. Obviously only read on if you've seen the movie already, or don't mind MAJOR SPOILERS..
Still here? Okay, so at the very end of Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel, Superman is forced to kill Zod in order to save the human race from his wrath. It's made very clear that this is his only option, as Zod is never going to stop punishing the Earth for Kal's perceived treachery. I felt it was a very powerful moment, and Supes is clearly devastated by the actions he's forced to take -- but many feel this goes against the character. Well, it doesn't actually! No, Superman is obviously not a killer by nature and will usually take every measure possible to avoid it, but as any comic book fan knows he HAS taken that extreme step -- several times actually -- in order to save more lives. It is definitely a darker side to the mythos, and I can understand why some wouldn't like to see it, but to dismiss it as in some way taking liberties with the character just isn't really accurate. Well, Mark Waid doesn't see it that way, Here's his thoughts:
"Superman wins by killing Zod. By snapping his neck. And as this moment was building, as Zod was out of control and Superman was (for the first time since the fishing boat 90 minutes ago) struggling to actually save innocent victims instead of casually catching them in mid-plummet, some crazy guy in front of us was muttering “Don’t do it…don’t do it…DON’T DO IT…” and then Superman snapped Zod’s neck and that guy stood up and said in a very loud voice, “THAT’S IT, YOU LOST ME, I’M OUT,” and his girlfriend had to literally pull him back into his seat and keep him from walking out and that crazy guy was me. That crazy guy was me, and I barely even remember doing that, I had to be told afterward that I’d done that, that’s how caught up in betrayal I felt. And after the neck-snapping, even though I stuck it out, I didn’t give a damn about the rest of the movie.
As the credits rolled, I told myself I was upset because Superman doesn’t kill. Full-stop, Superman doesn’t kill. But sitting there, I broke it down some more in my head because I sensed there was more to it since Superman clearly regretted killing Zod. I had to grant that the filmmakers at least went way out of their way to put Superman in a position suggesting (but hardly conclusively proving) he had no choice (and I did love Superman’s immediate-aftermath reaction to what he’d done). I granted that they’d at least tried to present Superman with an impossible choice and, on a purely rational level, and if this had been a movie about a guy named Ultraguy, I might even have bought what he did. But after I processed all that, I realized that it wasn’t so much my uncompromising vision of Superman that made this a total-fail moment for me; it was the failed lead-up TO the moment. As Superman’s having his final one-on-one battle with Zod, show me that he’s going out of his way to save people from getting caught in the middle. SHOW ME that trying to simultaneously protect humans and beat Zod is achingly, achingly costing Superman the fight. Build to that moment of the hard choice…show me, without doubt, that Superman has no other out and do a better job of convincing me that it’s a hard decision to make, and maybe I’ll give it to you. But even if I do? It’s not a victory. Not this sad, soul-darkening, utterly sans-catharsis “triumph” that doesn’t even feel like a win so much as a stop-loss. Two and a half hours, and I never once got the sense that Superman really achieved or earned anything."
As I said, I see where he's coming from but disagree. There is no definitive Superman; he's a character that has had numerous incarnations over the years and while there are a few things that are kept from writer to writer, this doesn't fly in the face of anything we've seen. I mean look at the end of Superman 2 -- Supes kills a de-powered Zod in that when he doesn't even have to! This was a dark Superman tale no doubt, maybe next time we'll get a lighter one - Ultimately it's just different strokes at the end of the day. What do you gusy think?
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