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Discussion in 'Man of Steel' started by Thread Manager, Jun 19, 2013.
This is a continuation thread, the old thread is [split]459783[/split]
I'm amazed I've not seen an independent thread on this. Considering the levels of rage over the lack of red undies, the fact of Superman - the most boyscout and law-abiding of all heroes -
breaking the "one rule" and killing Zod...
I was shocked as hell to see that happen. Supes has always been the least likely character to
kill his enemy.
When Martha said
"your Father would be so Proud ".
She was talking about well Clark shouldered the burden That Jonathan knew he would one day have to carry .
It starts there yes.
But if you need me to walk you through it, sure.
Superman's head lock is the first and perhaps only time he will conceivably get the trained warrior in that compromising a position as far as he understands in that moment. When this position is lost, not only do I not see it happening again(see faora and her on the job learning curve), but superman is very likely to end up in something himself, especially if he starts diverting his attention to saving people(but don't worry he don't care about that suff). These guys haven't shown that they can get tired the way we do so this fight is going to rage, possible for a few days, at which point it won't only be that family dead.
Assuming the earth isn't scorched, and Zod wins, well.... But let's be optimistic here(this is a superman story after all). So superman, knocks him out(if that's possible). What's he going to then? Sit on him and wait for him to wake up so he can do it again, and again, till they somehow design and build a cage strong enough to hold an alien they can't begin to know the power levels or for or limitations of? Superman just volunteers to hold him for the rest of their immortal lives somehow, never faltering once?
You see this is where in the comics they toss him into a red solar box or a kryptonite room...and superman is handed his back door.
How much more damage will be done the minute superman gives up his position to move zod away from the family. The man said it himself, this will only end when one of them is dead(A classic silly goyer line that actually serves a narrative purpose). Effectively suggesting that this is a self defense situation for superman cause zod can't be detained till he's dead.
I'm curious, in the realm and scope of this film's universe and human tech, what are superman's options at this point? This obviously isn't a case of batman tossing joker in jail to later break free and kill again, but I'm sure you know that.
I guess he could try talking him out of it...
I don't understand this. I've always known Batman had his "code" of not killing. He experienced his parents killed in front of him, which would show his disdain and hatred for killing. But I've never thought of Superman having the same frame of mind. Especially since he would come across aliens or all other supernatural beings. For me what Superman revered above all was HUMAN life. I would always assume he had no problems killing aliens and the like (yes even Kryptonians) if it would save HUMAN LIVES. I think Zod didn't care anymore if he won or not. He was just concerned with killing the most number of people just to toy with Kal, and he knew that. So he had to do what he had to. And I wasn't bothered by it. If Superman snapped Lex Luthor's neck, that would have been a real issue.
Why the ending makes perfect sense:
-Character build-up between Clark and Jon Kent show the young hero learning about what it means to make crucial sacrifices in order to protect what is most important (ie maybe letting a busload of kids drown/letting Jon sacrifice himself to protect Clark's secret). The final scene shows us Clark coming to terms with his father's lessons - you may have to hold the burden of one or a few men's deaths on your conscience in order to save the lives of countless others.
-Zod's strength was equal to or greater than Kal's in the final battle. Kal would not move Zod away using the power of flight. He could not let go of Zod to punch/kick him away. He did not show us that he is capable of freeze breath yet. Kal faced a true no-win situation - there is no way for him to prevent Zod from killing those innocent humans without taking his life.
-Even if Kal could muster the strength to move Zod with his power of flight, Zod would have created another situation exactly like that BECAUSE HE WANTED SUPERMAN TO KILL HIM. He wanted to force Kal to end his life - because Kal had taken his purpose for living from him.
-From a writing stand point it makes perfect sense to have Kal face this kind of situation. It is Kal's first battle - it will inform all of his future confrontations as he protects the Earth from powerful villains in the future. He does not have a no-killing policy yet (other than the human code of morality which says that all life is sacred and that killing is evil). But that moral code is broken - because sometimes taking one life is the ONLY way to save countless others. In the final battle we see Kal face this kind of situation - and he is forced to kill. In future installments I hope we see the regret of this decision weigh on Kal's mind, and motivate him to instill a strict no killing policy. IMO this is a very intelligent way of examining one of the defining characteristics of Superman in a modern and realistic world.
Also I believe it does not take anything away from the Kents' influence on Superman at all. In the comics it might be okay for him to get his no-killing rule simply by accepting the teachings of his parents who say that it is wrong. But that's not good enough for a modern telling of the story. We need to see Superman confront this issue first-hand, and learn from experience why killing should not be an option. And it is the lessons of Ma and Pa Kent which allow him to shoulder this burden in the climax of the movie (hence the "Your father would have been so proud" line from Martha).
I've been back and forth about the killing thing. To be honest reading snyders explanation of "this is why superman doesn't kill" kinda turned me against the idea again.
Just based on the values he had been brought up with, did he need that lesson to know why he shouldn't have to kill?
Did he have to be written into a situation where he had no choice but to kill to actually feel the impact of taking a life? I'm still not sure.
It's also very interesting how Nolan was actually very against them having superman kill.
Superan Killing Zod and F/Zaora in the comics
Right click and open image in new tab to view a larger picture and read the text.
Zod: You may have roobed us of our powers superman but that will avail you nothing!
Zod: We will find a way to get them back! We will find a way to get to your reality
Zod: and we will 'DESTROY YOU AND YOUR WORLD!
Zaora: You cannot even return us to the phantom zone!
Superman: You're Right zaora. I have no Idea how to rebuild the phantom Zone Projector Quex-ul destoryed.
Superman: Nevertheless, I am forced to stop the three of you once and for all!
Superman: You have ruthlessly murdered all the people on this planet... FIVE BILLION HUMAN!
Superman: That is a crime without equal! The Nazi Holocaust Pales by comparison.
Zod: You share this pathetic idealism. you cherish life even ours and that is what make you weak.
Superman: what i must now do is harder than anything i have ever done before but as the last representative of law and justice on this world it falls to me to act as JUDGE, JURY.... AND EXECUTIONER
ZOD: GREEN KRYPTONITE!
ZAORA: NO! NO!!
Zod: *beg's for life*
Zaora: *beg's for life then offers to be superman's sex slave*
technically Zod gets murder by the other Kryptonian while superman is killing all three with the Kryptonite.
To put that panel in context i think it's only fair to mention that the events in those panels happen in a pocket universe within the actual superman universe.
So it was technically superman going into an alternate dimension essentially not his present one.
That is still one of the only "modern" examples we can find of superman acting in such a way, it has never been something that's really transcended in his regular continuity. If that was in his "regular" universe i doubt he would have killed them.
They where threatening to get out of there pocket universe and kill every human in his universe if he left them alive. He knew that potentially that they could get there powers back. He knew they where capable of mass murder. So they would eventually come to his world and kill if he just left them there. He was in a no win situation so he had no choice. It's identical to what they did in MOS.
Still that is one of the only few isolated events in superman's history to depict that kind of action. Arguably every super-hero should kill their main super-villain adversary due to the fact they will undoubtedly kill and destroy again?
This is something Batman in the comics goes through constantly with the joker about why he doesn't just kill him and stop him for good?
This has been one of the defining issues of characters like batman and superman for years now.
And so is him killing Zod in MOS. They where just recreating that for the movie.
My point is, it was not and is not a common character trait for superman. Technically they could have had batman on film go around shooting bad guys with a hand-gun because he technically has in his early comic days.
However it is not now and hasn't for years been a relevant part of batman's character. The same goes for superman and killing. It doesn't reflect the character as a whole, despite the technicality of it happening in one panel in one issue back in the day.
Reading peoples explanations and justifications for what he did makes me ever so slightly more okay with it. But I had to come on a forum to see them. There's nothing in the film which conveys any of this. It plays out for sheer shock value. It's an isolated scene and the film doesn't bother to address the huge significance of what just happend. I love the film, but I'll always dread getting to that point in it, because when I watch it, I can clearly see Synder's fingerprint there, his decision for it to happen, but nowhere can I see enough reasoning or justification of why it makes sense and shouldn't make me extremely uncomfortable.
Zod couldn't' be stopped. He was committed to killing Superman and committed to killing every human being on the planet after Superman took his reason for living away. If superman was to some knock Zod out what would he have done with him. What happens when Zod wakes up. How would you restrain Zod. You can't sent him to the phantom zone again because the only way to open the gateway is gone. If Zod wakes up he just break out of where ever he's at and start killing again. No one would be safe as long as he was on the earth. If you kicked him off of the earth he would just come back and start killing again. The only choice was to put him down and you can tell that sups didn't want to do it.
Superman shouldn't have killed Zod.. That's the end of it IMO. It doesn't sit right with me, or the character in general. It opens a can of worms that future films will have to deal with.. The MoS believes that killing someone is acceptable and reasonable in a dire situ. (You could argue it is) However it shouldn't be the option when it comes to Superman. The guy can no longer take the moral high ground as a goodie. Having said this, after his dubious upbringing from his Pa Kent, I'm not particularly surprised he thought this type of action was acceptable.
As for the argument 'Well what else could he have done against the General, as he was as strong and as indestructible'
Well this comes down to poor story telling, poor scripting, and a poor concept. In this story the writers should have written a better screenplay that gave an option other than death at the end. Be that the phantom zone, or whatever. However they decided on the ultimate example of lazy storytelling by having 45mins of pure destruction, then after hitting their 2hrs 25mins (or whatever) limit in time they just decided that Superman would turn into some kind of trained cold blooded killer who professionally snaps people's necks in a crisis. There should have been a better option in the script, someone somewhere in the production of this movie should have said 'Does this feel right as an ending, or as something Superman would do'. This is my opinion on the matter. I will accept the ending was probably the only way to go in this version of Superman, but that's not a glowing endorsement, just highlights how poor this script was. (IMO)
Yeah I understand all this, Superman does it because he didn't have any other option in the situation, I get that and so does everyone who is okay with it, given the circumstances. I'm not saying everyone who is okay with it is wrong and should feel bad, because Superman is presented with a very tough decision.
I just wish it wasn't written like that. For instance, Faora, Nam Ek (the bog guy if that's his name) and all the other Kryptonians presented the same challenge as Zod. Near invunerable, wouldn't stop and wouldn't back down. Did Superman have to go round breaking all their necks? No, the story was written so that that didn't have to happen. To which I say the same could have been done for Zod. Writing him out by being murdered by Superman wasn't the only way to do it.
Now I'm not saying films shouldn't challenge notions of what can be done, or make us think outside the box, but the climax here doesn't attempt to do that (in my opinion).
Good post. I completely agree. This isn't about 'what else could he have done' well we know the answer was 'nothing' thanks to this script. I appreciate the story can't really go anywhere else except what ultimately happened. That's an indication of a poor overall concept, rather than just a poor ending of a movie.
This is gonna be controversial but maybe it is OK to kill a villain at the end of a Superhero film. I mean look at the films themselves they usually only last for 3 films before rebooting again so we would never see them return anyway. Btw that isn't me talking about Superman specifically and no I don't want him to kill the villain in every film but its just something to consider as the films are not ongoing like comics are.
I've been a longtime Superman fan and to be honest, I had no issue with him killing Zod.
Ultimately, the story placed him in a position where he had no other choice; Zod was going to kill innocent humans (including a child) and had already basically stated that he was never going to give up. In that split second, Superman had no other choice other than to end his life. The fact remains also, that this was something that obviously didn't sit well with him, given his cry of anguish afterwards. It wasn't how he wanted to deal with Zod. It reallly was a last resort, and his only option after battling Zod and his minions for the last 50 mins with massive destruction, injuries and loss of life in Metropolis.
Now obviously you can say that the story and writing is fundamentally flawed if it puts Superman in a position where he has to kill someone, but why not? The film is taking a more 'realistic' route after all. He can't just throw this Zod off into a misty darkness like in Superman II, with no-one wondering where he went or what became of him. And I agree with Snyder's reckoning that having Zod be sucked back into the phantom zone would have seemed anti-climatic after everything that's came before.
We should bear in mind also that there is no single definitive list of references for what a character like Superman should do. There is a long and extensive history of Superman comics with different ideals, different approaches, and different characterisations. Does he kill enemies often in the comics? No. Does that mean he's never killed? No.
In the Death of Superman storyline, he effectively killed Doomsday in order to stop any more loss of life in Metropolis and to put a stop to Doomsday's rampage on Earth. The situation was actually very similar to Zod's rampage in MOS - a massive battle in downtown Metropolis, with massive destruction and a hugely powerful villain who wouldn't stop. He wasn't to know that Doomsday would later recuperate. Doomsday may not be like a typical human or Kryptonian, but he was still sentient lifeform - does that make his death any more or less acceptable than Zod's?
Oh yeah that's why I said in Superhero films and of course there's ways for the villain to die without the hero been the one pulling the trigger. My comment was regarding superhero films in general.
I really had no issue with Superman killing Zod cause the way it was done worked. But I can see why people would take issue with that, its certainly a better argument than did he make sure the buildings were clear etc