One of the biggest criticisms of Man of Steel was that Superman pretty much let the city get destroyed in the film’s massive battles. I mean, Superman literally tosses another Kryptonian into a crowded IHOP at one point.
I mean, I’m betting none of the patrons were feeling Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity after that.
Mostly though, the criticism was that Superman’s disregard for civilian life in the film was exceptionally out of character. We’re talking about a hero who is supposed to try to go out of his way to save people, and there are literally moments where Superman himself is the one endangering passersby in the film. It’s weak writing, and frankly why Man of Steel didn’t really feel like a Superman film at all.
But Zack Snyder is defending it.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Snyder said, “I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me, that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.” Apparently his whole point was to make Superman a jerk so the world would go against him.
Which, y’know, is stupid.
He’s pretty much saying he decided to make Superman a rampaging maniac so the world could judge him as one — instead of making him a character focused on limiting collateral damage. Many have compared the destruction in Man of Steel with Marvel’s first Avengers film — in which an alien force attacks a major metro area. The difference between the two events is that in Avengers, the alien menace destroys buildings, but the heroes focus on saving civilian life. In Man of Steel, Superman does just as much damage as Zod and his minions.
And if Snyder had featured the same amount of destruction, but showed Superman trying to stop it, his argument would hold weight. But he fundamentally misunderstands the core of Superman’s character, and the film is worse for it.
…and likely so will the sequel be too.