At this point, one would think we have moved past the fact that Superman (Henry Cavill) killed General Zod (Michael Shannon) in Man of Steel, two years after the release of the film. So if you still harbor any ill-will over such a decision, then you are not alone. But director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David Goyer had to defend Supes killing Zod on numerous occasions, both citing that the hero was put in a difficult situation and forced to make an equally difficult decision. Whether or not you agree with this, it’s clear that Superman’s actions in Man of Steel have had a polarizing effect on DC fans.
But it appears that some still haven’t gotten over their non-killing hero killing someone in cold blood. So Goyer is once again defending Superman killing Zod, because the events leading up to that moment justify Superman’s actions and “that’s the right way to tell that story.” More on the story below.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Goyer has spoken about this. Back in 2013, the screenwriter said that Superman had every right to kill Zod. Goyer then talked about how the film had set boundaries and limitations, which prevented Superman from being god-like, and that Superman wasn’t really Superman until the end of Man of Steel, which does explain a lot.
Flash forward to this year, and Goyer appears to still be getting flack for making Superman a killer. So he defended himself once more, offering a new explanation in an interview with Nerdist:
“The way I work, the way Chris 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…or even in a world that conceived of Superman existing. He’d only flown for the first time a few days before that. 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? I think the right way to tell that story is if you take this powered alien who says, ‘You can have your race back, but you have to kill your adopted race,’ the moral, horrible situation to be in is to actually be forced to kill, not wanting to, the only other person from your race. Take Superman aside, I think that’s the right way to tell that story.”
He does have a point. Superman presumed he was the only survivor when Krypton exploded, and had to use his powers in a way he had never used them before when Zod and his cronies arrived. Plus Zod is a general, he knows how to fight using his military tactics and combat skills he learned while on Krypton. Going back to the impossible choice, Superman was the only being on Earth who could fight Zod, and when Zod pushed him into a corner by threatening to kill innocent humans, it was either letting an insane general kill the innocent, or killing the general to keep the innocent alive. Obviously he chose the latter. So in a way, maybe killing Zod helped shaped Superman to be a non-killer.
Let’s remember, a lot has happened between the events of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. While those exact details remain unknown until the sequel comes out, one has to think that during that time, Superman is now adjusting to being a hero while also being persecuted for his actions in the first film. So how will Superman react when he learns that not only is he being persecuted, but he is being hunted by vigilantes and a billionaire with his own god-complex?