One of the more controversial aspects of Zack Synder’s Superman film, Man of Steel (setting aside other such bothersome quibbles as: dude, your hero basically allows 9/11 x 1,000,000 to happen in a proxy New York City all so he can keep his girlfriend; a third act comprised of tossing out whatever thinly-maintained philosophical warbling the film had until that point and just becoming a re-do of The Matrix Revolutions’ punch-fest finale), one thing that bothered fans of Supes more than anything was that the film’s climax involved Superman purposefully snapping the neck of his villain, Zod. Because, like Batman, that’s the one thing Superman of the comics refuses to do.
And in response to some fan backlash, Man of Steel screenwriter David Goyer defended the decision at a BAFTA and BFI Screenwriter’s Lecture:
“We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial. It’s not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren’t just doing it to be cool. We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice.This is one area, and I’ve written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers – ‘Superman doesn’t kill’. It’s a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don’t believe in rules like that. I believe when you’re writing film or television, you can’t rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film.
“So the situation was, Zod says ‘I’m not going to stop until you kill me or I kill you.’ The reality is no prison on the planet could hold him and in our film Superman can’t fly to the moon, and we didn’t want to come up with that crutch.
“Also our movie was in a way Superman Begins, he’s not really Superman until the end of the film. We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he’s Superman and because people idolise him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard.”
So… do you buy it? To us, while it may seem unrealistic (but no more unrealistic than a Jesus alien in blue tights who can fly, burn things with his eyes, and confuse a building full of award-winning journalists that he is someone else by simply putting on glasses) for Superman to not kill…well, that’s kind of what makes him Superman, no? To be better than us, to rise above and make choices a normal human could not, rather than solving his problems with a depressingly human solution.
So, for those who found Goyer’s interpretation of Superman kind of a drag, the next bit of news may make you antsy: when asked if he is going to pen The Justice League film,Goyer simply stated that he “might,” but that he “can’t say.”
What do you think of the Superman news?