The Ending Of MAN OF STEEL Garners Controversy

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?

Posted By:
Mark Cassidy
Member Since 11/9/2008
Filed Under "Superman" 6/14/2013 Source:
DISCLAIMER: is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
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C17Swampy - 6/14/2013, 8:54 AM
It all depends how they handle it in the next film IMO
thebamf - 6/14/2013, 8:55 AM
Whatever. He had no choice. Superman kills Zod and 2 other Kryptonians in Byrne's run. That action right there is when he makes a promise to himself to never kill again.
Jollem - 6/14/2013, 8:58 AM
i had no problem at all with it
MrReese - 6/14/2013, 8:58 AM
Better twist than Trevor.He had to stop Zod & he did.
Jollem - 6/14/2013, 8:58 AM
superman went for the greater good
TayDee - 6/14/2013, 8:59 AM
Love that Superman is a killer, yet it's acceptable.
Jollem - 6/14/2013, 8:59 AM
wasn't a twist, the only thing that twisted was zod's neck
Jollem - 6/14/2013, 8:59 AM
he obviously didn't feel good about it
Jollem - 6/14/2013, 9:00 AM
"krypton had it's chance"

this is a man of values who makes the right decision
typicalfanboy - 6/14/2013, 9:02 AM
Superman killed zod in the comics then went into a self imposed exile. Nothing new. It was a reimagined origin story. Mistakes are always made by the hero to ground him. This is superman's. I was shocked but his reaction after sold it for me. He felt remorse. It parallels what zod did to jor-el 2 hrs earlier. Superman will obviously take a different route than zod.
Superman007 - 6/14/2013, 9:05 AM
" a good death is its own reward " !
thebamf - 6/14/2013, 9:06 AM
You could see it all over him after he did it. He felt horrible. He will never forget what he did and I can guarantee that he won't kill again.
Happy11 - 6/14/2013, 9:11 AM
I was actually alright with this, I know its not a superman thing to do but you see that it devastates him. Its not like he killed zod then said a cheesy quote right after it.
Giznad - 6/14/2013, 9:12 AM
I haven't even seen the movie yet and it sounds like Superman learns death is apart of life at the beginning. Then, by the end, he learns the hard way, perhaps? Maybe I'm not making sense yet, but it sounds alright.
whoa123 - 6/14/2013, 9:14 AM
I can't think of any way how Supes will stop Zod. Maybe his super speed has a chance but what if Zod was also fast enough to kill that family? And if Supes didn't break Zod's neck, wouldn't that just make their battle unending? There was almost no way to stop him except for breaking his neck. If anyone can think of another way, please share guys.
TonyChu - 6/14/2013, 9:15 AM
The phantom zone drive was gone and Zod stated himself that this would end in his or Clark's death. Since when are people more compassionate towards a genocidal general than towards a young family with two kids. And on top of that after that scene he did show some remorse for what he did and could possibly be the reason he adopts the no killing rule he has always abided by.
whoa123 - 6/14/2013, 9:16 AM
Well said TonyChu
TayDee - 6/14/2013, 9:18 AM
So if Batman kills someone hut yet he feels sad and then adopts a no killing policy, it's fine all of a sudden?
DioFoRio - 6/14/2013, 9:19 AM
as long as this is the only time he kills I'm cool with it. Essentially, this is his origin. If he were to kill anyone I'd hope it to be Zod...but he can't kill again. Otherwise what does that make him standing next to bats in the JL? Bad Cop? My only real character gripe is him killing but if it's something he never does again....I'm down.
TonyChu - 6/14/2013, 9:19 AM
The way I see it is people are still attached to tech Reeves incarnation of Supermanand can not accept how he has actually evolved as a character tremendously since then. I found this Superman to be more like the one from Bruce Timm and Paul Dini animated series and that is my favorite incarnation of him yet.
RorMachine - 6/14/2013, 9:19 AM
I'n glad so many of you guys agree. I'll accept and understand some of the criticism leveled at this movie, but when people start making shit up to complain about it really annoys me.
KoonEl - 6/14/2013, 9:19 AM
Good point about Superman II. If we're going to revere those films and make them out to be greater than they actually are, how can we forgive Superman murdering a defenseless Zod who was beaten. I've never even heard this brought up before. He simply throws Zod to his death when he could have taken him to jail easily at that point. And that version of Zod barely even killed people. He did a lot of threatening and some killing, but this Zod tried to destroy everyone on the planet. If anyone had to get killed to save the world it was this new version of Zod.
DioFoRio - 6/14/2013, 9:20 AM that man you? Then no, you're my booboo ; P
gillri - 6/14/2013, 9:20 AM
So Goyer and Synder said it was first and foremost a 'first contact story' and that they are approaching this like there hasnt been superman done on film or screen before and people are like...

ZOMG its nothing like Superman!..............well duh!!

people need to get off Donners' penis casue this film was pretty awesome

oh and didnt Supes kill zod in the comics? what was he supposed to do let zod keep on killinh?
DRMidNite - 6/14/2013, 9:20 AM
Waid needs a [frick]ing Valium. Ror is's been done before and while it was unnerving, it served character development. He's a hack, a disgruntled one, pure and simple.
sups92 - 6/14/2013, 9:20 AM
I jumped at first but I thought it was necessary.
DioFoRio - 6/14/2013, 9:20 AM
Im starting not to like it cuz Ror likes it ; P
TonyChu - 6/14/2013, 9:20 AM
@Taydee Batman had always adopted the no killing rule from the beginning.
gillri - 6/14/2013, 9:21 AM
indeed Supes kills Zod in Superman 2, and he is defenseless and not about to heat vision a helpless family!
LEVITIKUZ - 6/14/2013, 9:21 AM

Really? Like Dini & Timm's? That made me excited.
TayDee - 6/14/2013, 9:22 AM
TonyChu - I guess, maybe its just something I'm not used to yet.
LEVITIKUZ - 6/14/2013, 9:22 AM
Do we need to hate on Mark Waid for his opinion? This guy gave you guys Kingdom Come, Birthright, Tower of Babel and more. Show some [frick]ing respect.
JohnLamb - 6/14/2013, 9:22 AM
Better ending than Iron Man 3. After he broke Zod's neck he kneel down and scream. You can tell he really didn't wanted to do that.
TonyChu - 6/14/2013, 9:23 AM
And besides how many people do Marvel characters kill in their movies. For instance Captain America was killing Hydra solders the entire movie and yet was garnered no criticism. But you know what we accepted it because it was necessary and for the greater good.
Jobin - 6/14/2013, 9:24 AM
I dont mind that he kills.....or you'll end up like Batman...round and around and around fighting the same villains over and over as they kill innocent people because he doesn't have the guts to finish it before more people get killed.
DRMidNite - 6/14/2013, 9:25 AM
@Levi: Birthright? I mean, I'll give you Kingdom Come (Which went on in an ENDLESS run in Justice Society to wrap up Waid's loose ends), but Birthright? Garbage...
Jobin - 6/14/2013, 9:26 AM
Mark Said would have gotten kicked in the head had he dispruoted the theatre I was in with his crybaby outburst. Its a movie......relax
v1101011 - 6/14/2013, 9:26 AM
This has been bothering me since I saw it last night but as I ran it through in my head several times, it was the only way to stop Zod. Even in the comics, Superman has killed Krytonians bent on world domination. Do I agree with it? Not completely, but as whoa123 said, the battle would be without an end and cost the lives of more people since Zod would only grow stronger the longer he was exposed to Earth's atmosphere and sun light.
LEVITIKUZ - 6/14/2013, 9:26 AM
And yet Birthright is an influence for the movie.
Jobin - 6/14/2013, 9:26 AM
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