The Insane Destruction That The Final “Man Of Steel” Battle Would Do To NYC, By The Numbers
In a study done exclusively for BuzzFeed, scientist and longtime disaster expert Charles Watson worked with his team at Watson Technical Consulting to model and anticipate the damage done to Metropolis, both in the form of human casualties and monetary cost. They ran analyses of the World Engine ground zero in Central Manhattan and central Chicago, finding that the major damage would be a mile in diameter.
WTC estimates that, in the days after the attack, the known damage would already be stunning: 129,000 known killed, over 250,000 missing (most of whom would have also died), and nearly a million injured.
The impact, WTC writes, “seemed to be similar to an air burst from a 20kt nuclear explosion in terms of shock effects, but without the radiation or thermal effects.”
In terms of the strictly physical damage done to the city, the initial estimate is $700 billion. To put that in context, 9/11’s physical damage cost $55 billion, with a further economic impact of $123 billion.
Overall, WTC estimates that the damage would be $2 trillion.
That's what Snyder showed on screen, and that's what they were going for when making the movie. They said that they wanted Superman to first show up in the world in a time of tremendous death and destruction, so that he would be like a Greek God to the people of the DC-verse:
Originally Posted by Zach Snyder, The Director of Man of Steel
I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling ... In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters.
With this in mind, we can better understand the thematic meaning of Jonathan Kent's sacrifice. Jonathan Kent told his son that he should only open up to the world when the world was ready, and if he had come out as a hero when the tornado happened, only a handful of lives (possibly just one) would have been saved, which would have been unmythological. By allowing his father to die an extremely painful and scary death, Clark Kent emerged to the world in the midst of a disaster and mass death, and he could thus be a mythology to the people of Metropolis and Earth.