The following story was written by Fred Blunden
The ending to Man of Steel has been hotly debated by movie goers since its release in 2013. Seeing Superman kill General Zod hotly divided the fan base, and the furor hasn’t really died down since.
Talking to The Nerdist, Man of Steel writer David Goyer explains that the Superman you see in the movie isn’t the superman you know and love. He’s a farm boy that’s only been flying for a few days, hasn’t established himself and isn’t even close to having a full grasp of his powers yet.
The way I work, the way Chris [Nolan] works, is you do what’s right for the story. That exists entirely separately from what fans should or shouldn’t think of that character. You have to do what’s right for the story. In that instance, this was a Superman who had only been Superman for like, a week. He wasn’t Superman as we think of him in the DC Comics.
The issue with most fans wasn’t that Zod was killed. It was that Superman kills him. If it had been any other action movie, the genocidal mass murderer being killed at the end would have been utterly satisfying. The Man of Steel isn’t a killer though. He’s not an anti-hero along the lines of Constantine or the Comedian. He’s supposed to stand out as the hero’s hero.
Goyer explains that the decision to kill Zod isn’t made by that Superman though. It’s made by the Superman that you see grow and develop in that movie. He makes choices based on that movie, those sets of experiences. In this context, the decision makes total sense.
He’d never fought anyone that had super powers before. And so he’s going up against a guy who’s not only super-powered, but has been training since birth to use those super powers, who exists as a superhuman killing machine, who has stated, ‘I will never stop until I destroy all of humanity.’ If you take Superman out of it, what’s the right way to tell that story?
Give any other hero the choice to kill Zod in order to save humanity, they’d have to kill him. “Take Superman aside, I think that’s the right way to tell that story.”
Once Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theatres in March 2016, we’ll see a more mature Superman, one with more control over his powers. Will he make the choices we expect from his comic book counterpart? Only time will tell…