Acclaimed Clerks and Mallrats writer and director Kevin Smith defends Man of Steel’s most controversial scene where Superman kills General Zod.
Acclaimed writer and director, Kevin Smith, recently defended Man of Steel‘s most controversial scene. Directed by Zack Snyder, the 2013 Man of Steel started the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Although the film received mixed reviews upon release, critics and fans alike praised Henry Cavill’s portrayal of the titular superhero. The actor then reprized the role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justiceand Justice League (2017).
Snyder and screenwriter, David S. Goyer’s more grounded approach to Superman polarized much of the audience. The film uses a non-linear narrative approach to dissect Clark Kent’s psyche and what makes him the superhero he needs to be to defeat General Zod (Michael Shannon). As the Kryptonian warrior and Superman fight for the future of Earth, Clark realized he had to kill Zod to save everyone. The act caused immense pain for superhero, but also turned out to be one of the most controversial moments in Superman movie history.
While he shares his opinion with GQ regarding previous Superman and Batman portrayals in film and television, Smith . defended Man of Steel‘s most controversial scene. The director acknowledged that many of the opponents of the moment claim that Superman is a person who does not kill. However, Smith recalled that: Man of Steel wasn’t the only movie to kill the character on screen before. In fact, Superman killed Zod in the beloved Superman II starring Christopher Reeve. Read what Smith said below:
His Superman very controversially broke General Zod’s neck, which I didn’t quite understand was controversial because in Superman II General Zod is also killed in the fortress of loneliness. Presumably they just leave his body.
So when people say, “Hey man, this isn’t Superman,” I say, “I don’t know. Superman killed people in the 70s and 80s too.”
Would Superman still be this dark in the movie A Man Of Steel 2?
Smith’s confusion over Superman’s decision to kill in Man of Steel is appropriate as fans have previously shown no problem regarding Zod’s murder in Superman II. Taking into account the context surrounding both scenes, Superman II moment seems particularly worse than his Man of Steel counterpart. In Snyder’s film, Zod threatened a family stuck in the path of his heat vision. If Superman didn’t kill him by then, the family would die a brutal death. To save the family and ultimately the human race, Superman had to kill Zod. However, in Superman II, Clark removed Zod’s powers, essentially turning him into a human. Superman then casually lifts the Kryptonian general and throws him into a seemingly bottomless chasm, killing him. With Zod no longer a threat to Superman at that point, the villain’s murder seems particularly brutal.
Earlier this week, Warner Bros. that the studio was looking to continue the Man of Steel story with a sequel. However, given the reaction to Zod’s death and the overall dark and joyless tone of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justicesome have speculated whether the upcoming potential sequel will keep the dark tone of its predecessor, or follow in the footsteps of DCEU movies like Shazam! and Aquarius who took an unbiased page of the lighter approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the debate over Zod’s death still raging in certain corners of DCEU fandom, perhaps the… Man of Steel sequel can tackle the controversy directly to illustrate how such a drastic action affected the hero’s development.
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