The Broken Neck: Yea or Nay? *SPOILERS*

Discussion in 'Man of Steel' started by EssayM, Apr 20, 2014.

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What's your stance on Superman killing Zod?

  1. Hated it. Superman should never kill.

  2. Liked it, but it could have been handled better.

  3. Loved it. No problem with it whatsoever.

  4. Didn't care.

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. Brother Jack

    Brother Jack Believer

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    I don't have a problem with the actual kill; regardless of it being too soon in Superman's tenure it was a situation where he had no choice. Zod forced his hand. My problem was the lack of proper context in the whole situation. The amount of death and destruction that occurred just prior is barely addressed by Superman so the fact that he appears so distraught over the possible extermination of a single family is inconsistent. Maybe he did care immensely but there is no recognizable indication.
     
  2. Batmannerism

    Batmannerism Super-unknown

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    The following is just my opinion. If people don't like the neck snap on a gut reaction, nothing I can say will change that. I respect your opinion, but
    have a think about the following points, they might make you a bit less certain about the wrongness of it, but at the end of the day it's still a personal taste thing.

    Here goes.

    Before I saw MOS, I was all like " Superman doesn't KILL !" and expected to hate the film.

    However, after seeing it, and seeing how it fit within the context of the story, I think it worked perfectly. Yes, some say, "Superman should never have been put in that situation" or "The writers got it wrong"

    Really though ? I like to see Superman making a hard choice, the hardest choice perhaps -and a final choice between Earth and Krypton.
    (btw -despite what some say, I don't believe that Supes killed Zod and co at the end of Superman II, now THAT would have been massively out of character for Reeve's Superman, and the overall tone of the film).


    As far as other options, I have yet to hear a singe convincing other option that Superman had under those circumstances. Without any way to imprison or restrain Zod permanently (plus Zod clearly sucidial and bent on forcing Kal to kill him)

    Also, those who complain that Superman committed murder, simply put, he didn't ! Superman doesn't murder people. Yes, he killed Zod, but it's not murder.

    Every common law country has self-defence provisions that allow for a use of force in defence of oneself or others. (check out New York Penal law article 35.2.a which specifically provides for use of deadly force).

    (btw murder is generally defined as one human killing another, subject to a certain level of intent, so technically it wouldn't apply to kryptonians anyway. Yes, that's ).

    So legally, Superman did not commit murder.

    Furthermore, Superman has killed before in the comics. In fact, so has Batman, and he has arguably the strongest code against killing of all the DC characters.

    Personally, I like that Goyer took some risks with the character both in his look and his portrayal (which is precisely what Singer didn't in Superman Returns, and the reason why that film sucked IMO). I think those risks paid off, but that's really just my personal reaction.

    I suppose the inference we can draw is that Superman will develop his code against killing (in general) from this incident, as in future he will appreciate what a terrible thing it is to take someone's life, and try his damndest not to do it again.

    In summary, Superman killed Zod, I think it worked in the context of the story and was a risk that the new iteration of the character justifies.

    :super:
     
  3. MrsKent26

    MrsKent26 Whatever.

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    This is superman's first day as superman. He's never seen anything like this. He's finally met his own people. He doesn't want to kill them. I don't think he even understood that Zod would not stop killing until he had him in that headlock and heard him say "never" when asked to stop. This is where he finally gets it. He knows he has to make a decision or the killing won't stop. Also, this is the only time Supes had an obvious advantage throughout his fight with Zod. He may have never got another chance like that to end the fight and he knew the choice between Zod or the humans had to be made then.
     
    #28 MrsKent26, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  4. FeedOnATreeFrog

    FeedOnATreeFrog (A Metal Gear reference)

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    I thought it was pretty well done.

    The two sides of Clark's character arc come to a head in that scene. 1) he's able to do what's necessary, realizing there's "more at stake" than the life of the individual, yet 2) he retains his humanity. He cares for the life of the individual, even the enemy who he has every reason to hate, shown by his hesitation, pleading, and crying afterwards.

    Do I think that scene was vital? Not really, because in prior scenes he already showed his willingness to think about the greater good ("Krypton had its chance") and his care/trust for humanity (when he chooses to trust the military, when he musters the will to destroy the world engine, etc).

    My only problem is that I would have preferred if it wasn't such a downer of a climax.

    All the focus is on the lengths he's willing to go to and the sadness he feels, but not enough focus on what it was for. I would have liked to see that family, and then the rest of the citizens of metropolis, hugging, feeling safe, etc (ala the ending of TDKRises or the end of the train scene in SM2), perhaps with Superman getting up and continuing to help people. Another option would have been to put the Zod fight before the world engine scene.
     
    #29 FeedOnATreeFrog, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  5. Glassjaw

    Glassjaw In training

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    In that exact situation, in that exact circumstance, he had no choice but to kill Zod. I agree there was little else he could do.

    But my problem is that the film-makers didn't come up with a much more satisfying and hopeful ending to the conflict. In that scene, Superman had no choice but to end Zod. But Goyer and Synder had a choice when it came to writing the film. And why they went with the most depressing end to a super hero fight I've ever seen, in a Superman film no less, I don't know.

    'You can save them, you can save all of them.' 'It's not an 'S'. On my world it stands for hope.' None of these lines have any relevance after they are delivered. Goyer and Synder completely forget to show us why Superman is special.
     
  6. Lencho01

    Lencho01 Shazoogle! Shazoogle!

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    You can hope he doesn't snap your neck. :woot:
     
  7. InJustice

    InJustice Registered

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    I'm surprised that a decent amount of people voted Superman should never kill, considering there is comics precedence for Superman resorting to death as a means to solve a problem.

    It's especially annoying to see posters writing "Superman doesn't kill!" when that statement is erroneous. There is a difference between your concept of Superman, and how Superman is actually characterized.
     
    #32 InJustice, Apr 21, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  8. Human Torch

    Human Torch Registered

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    A lot of times people want to bring up "he's killed in the comics before",but obviously "killing" has never been his defining attribute.When a character has been around 75 years,they've done darn near everything.

    I can show a comic where Batman wears a pink costume or one where he's dressed as a pirate.Does that make it something worth putting on the big screen?Does it fit the Batman of today that we all know and love?
     
  9. InJustice

    InJustice Registered

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    That’s not what the anti-“Superman never kills” people are trying to say. When I brought up the comics as a precedent, I was trying to show that there are instances where Superman had to resort to killing in order to accomplish a goal. Killing is not Superman’s defining attribute, but that doesn’t mean that Superman will not kill in difficult situations where morality appears grey rather than black/white. That being said, it's absolutely worth exploring on screen because it breaks down the very stereotype that has haunted Superman since the Donner movies finished, which is the idea that he's a cheesy boy scout. I'm not saying killing makes him edgy, but rather, it infuses more depth into his character. As such, it makes him more interesting to look at when studying his character.

    Also, that’s a poor analogy to use, considering that it’s not close to similar in comparison to a scenario in which a superhero has to resort to killing to achieve a goal. If you had said something like “I can show a comic where Batman uses a gun to stop a criminal” then it makes sense to compare these two scenarios. Lastly, “Does it fit the [hero] of today we all know and love?” is a problematic question, it implies that re-interpretations can never work, if they do not measure up to our preconceived notions of how the [hero] should act in the line of duty. Which is of course paradoxical considering that the hero we saw in its inception, is never the same as the modern interpretations of said hero. That kind of mentality shows how people are unable to separate between being biased and assessing the character objectively.
     
  10. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    I can't trust that now... :p

    I've never once heard anyone on my side of the argument attempt to argue that he has NEVER killed in the comics. That'd just be stupid. Because he has.

    But you can't take a couple of rare anomalies and use them to justify having Superman kill at the beginning of his reintroduction to the mainstream.

    Yes, he's killed. But you have to take those examples in context.

    1. Sometimes, it's about the events surrounding it. What he does next. How he reacts to his actions (i.e. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow). In a story like that, killing is not just something that happens and he moves on from... it is a huge career ending moment. It means something more to him than just being a little upset.

    2. Most of the other examples I can think of... you know why they shouldn't be used as a jumping off point for a new franchise? Because they SUCKED. They weren't even well received at the time. Let alone now. I mean, people sometimes point to Superman 2... but really, did anyone ever watch that and think 'Oh it's so great how he killed them?' :whatever:

    He's killed a few times. Anyone care to figure out how many times he HASN'T? How many times he's chosen not to?

    What do you think is the more consistent behaviour?

    I mean this whole concept of 'Superman doesn't kill' hasn't come from no where. It's come from this idea actually existing in the comics, that this is an ideal that he tries to live up to... It's consistently discussed in dialogue, and is often the center of a story line.

    And the thing about bringing a character to the big screen, is that your trying to present the most consistent version. Pulling together all the years of stories and going 'Okay, what parts of this character are usually always present?'

    I mean, you don't have to have a scene where he has a mullet because he had a mullet once in the comic. You don't have to have a scene where he gets infected by pink kryptonite and falls for Jimmy because it happened once in the comic.

    But you include the things that are usually present in most stories, and you use that as your base for your own story. And Superman's no kill rule... it's usually present.

    They decided, for whatever reason, that they wanted to break that. That in this movie franchise, they didn't wanna carry on with this... they wanted to have Superman be a character who had to kill his first villain.

    Fine. Don't have to like it tho :)

    Mainly because, like I said, this is actually reintroducing Superman to a whole new generation. And it's sad that their choice basically means that Superman's 'no kill rule' won't exist in most people's minds anymore.
     
  11. Human Torch

    Human Torch Registered

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    You've said it better than I could,HD.

    Glad too see you around.Haven't see you lately.:woot:
     
  12. snpklsdmbldr

    snpklsdmbldr welcome to the planet

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    to me Man of Steel is like a prequel to a full blown Superman movie. people are so used to movies where the superhero is already THE superhero in the first movie, even in the Donner movies they fast tracked his journey how he got there. from childhood, teenage years and then he's Superman already saving people. I think (and hope) everything makes sense in the sequel. unlike the other works of Snyder, Man of Steel has an expected sequel. (I think) when they made Man of Steel there are plans already on how it will connect to the next movie, there's an obvious continuity. Even Snyder himself said you just don't make one Superman movie, Goyer also said they want a cohesive universe. it's like a standalone movie but a part of a yet to come something bigger movie.
     
  13. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    Thanks :)

    Yeah, I wanna get back into the swing of things... The trouble is I'm finding I don't have much to say!

    I'm sure when news picks up I'll be back ready to dissect the hell out of every tid bit :hehe:

    Yeah I hope that's true.

    If there is actually some discussion of the consequences of having to kill, it will definitely make me feel a lot better about the whole thing.

    I mean, if they bring up how the public fear Superman because of how things went, or if he talks about the toll it's had on him... Anything really.

    I'm mostly just worried it won't have meant anything, and something that is a big deal to do with Supes will have just been treated like an every day occurance.

    I think that's why I'm in two minds about the brutality of the scene... Sometimes I love that they made it such a tormenting moment because I don't want Superman to kill someone and not break down about it... But most of the time, I'm just gutted it happened at all and I have to go through that heart ache every time I see the film :(
     
  14. herolee10

    herolee10 No More Miracles

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    Granted, i agree about the "save all of them" part, I think the hope factor was actually in reference for how a person can still have hope for a better future, despite the bad things that are going on in the present. This most evident during the moment where lara shows that she has hope for a better future for her son to experience, despite krypton ending in front of her
     
  15. InJustice

    InJustice Registered

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    I’ve seen people say Superman should never kill under any circumstances, which is why I always bring up the comics. Heck, look at jonathancrane’s signature…he claims that the writers are “wrong” for making Superman kill. I wouldn’t exactly call Superman killing/Superman exploring killing as anomalies, considering that many comics and TV shows have explored the notion.

    1. Now what you’re saying is fair and is actually a problem in Man of Steel. The fact that it went from a scene where you had the potential to explore Superman’s thought process after killing Zod, a simple line like “how can I be a beacon of hope, when I’ve destroyed my own heritage?” and following through on that point. (Though, I think people would’ve just complained even more about how it’s a bleak conclusion). Instead the movie cuts to a comedy scene with no real purpose. As for Superman II, just because people didn’t think that, it doesn’t mean that the message isn’t there. The same problem exists in Superman II, only Superman is written as a *****e considering he breaks Zod’s hand and then proceeds to “kill” him, and then we cut to an ending where Superman and Lois are all smiles. Both of these scenes are problematic in their own way.

    2. Look at the comics. John Bryne’s story where Superman kills Zod and his crew garnered similar controversy despite the fact that it was after Superman was established as a character. People complain about anything when it does not suit their concept of Superman. That doesn’t mean that you can’t explore new ground and see the new direction(s) you can take your character in. What it comes down to, is people not being able to differentiate between expecting creators to pander to their concept of Superman, and becoming aware that there are many different interpretations of Superman out there.

    As for the consistency aspect of comic book characters, that’s not necessarily true. Look at characters like Spider-Man and Batman (more specifically, the Raimi and Burton films), they don’t exactly follow the patterns found in the comics and yet their characters are well-received. Even more, their reboots took their characters in different places (albeit a bit problematic for Batman since he contradicts his no-kill rule often in the Nolan series) and they work just fine.

    If we’re going to keep thinking about consistency with characters, then what’s the point of having re-interpretations? It seems like it’s a rather limited mentality to have.

    Again, just like HumanTorch you’re using a poor example to refute the idea that Superman killing should be shown on screen. Pink Kryptonite and mullets are nowhere near as significant as someone breaking their ideals to save people. Not to mention, it’s more of an anomaly than Superman breaking his own rules.

    There’s a reason behind what they did, to quote Snyder again:

    “I guess for me–and in the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone–David and I had long talks about it and Chris and I talked long about it and it was like, ‘I really think we should kill Zod and I really think Superman should kill him,’” Snyder explained. “And the why of it was, for me, that if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained. It’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something, just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet or any of the other things that you’re sort of seeing for the first time that you realize will then become his thing. I felt like, if we can find a way of making it impossible for him–like Kobayashi Maru, totally no way out–I felt like that could also make you go, ‘Okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again, right?’ He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture and he is responsible for it and he’s just like, ‘How could I kill ever again?’”

    As for the no-kill rule, it’s consistent in the comics but the way it is used has different narrative effect. If you establish that Superman has a no-kill rule, but has never killed in his career, it allows him to reminisce on whether he made the right choice, seen in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, and John Byrne’s controversial issue. Which of course leads to a possible problem in the future, if he contradicts his ideals, then what’s really stopping him from breaking his ideals again? Which is basically what happened in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Whereas, if you don’t establish that Superman has a no-kill rule, then you can explore that and show how it haunts him so much so that he will no longer use it as an option. Which I think will help Superman’s ideals stay consistent rather than contradicted all the time a la Batman in TDKT.

    Having said that, I think you’re jumping the gun a bit too early without knowing what the sequel is going to do in regards to Superman having killed a major villain. If they explore it further in the sequel (which is almost a given) and show how Superman killing results in the no-kill ideal, then it sounds to me that they’re not going to allow audiences to forget about the no-kill rule.
     
  16. EssayM

    EssayM Just A Guy

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    I'm not necessarily against Superman killing, but I would have liked it to be given a lot more gravitas, more emphasis on how devastating this is for him. I would say either have it take place earlier in the movie, or have it be the focal point of a sequel (something like what TWS seems to be for Cap; challenging his principles, making him question what he stands for, "How far am I willing to go for justice?", etc.) If they're going to go that route, I would like a little more screentime devoted to it.
     
  17. MrsKent26

    MrsKent26 Whatever.

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    I voted "loved it."

    When I first heard that supes was going to break Zod's neck, I didn't believe it. I heard it as a spoiler online. When it was confirmed to be true, I was pissed. I thought Goyer and Snyder absolutely didn't get Superman and wondered if I should even see the movie.

    Of course, I calmed down a little, realized it's just a movie and went to see it. I ended up thinking that scene was one of the most moving scenes in the movie. Cavill's acting really sold it for me. He was fantastic. I could actually see supes heart breaking. I loved the scene of Lois comforting him too. I wish it had been followed by a scene of supes pulling people out of the rubble and trying to control his emotions instead of that Swanwick scene, but I still think the decision to have supes kill Zod made sense.

    The no-kill rule is really nothing more than convenient writing. If writers don't put supes in a situation in which there's no magic "superman can do anything!" solution, a no-kill rule can exist. But that's not really making supes a more righteous character than a supes that kills when necessary. That is simply putting him in a less realistic environment. That moment of visceral emotion from Superman after the killing was better than a whole two hours of stereotypical camera mugging or kitten rescuing that people expect from this character. Give me something real.

    Inevitably, a situation like what supes faced in MOS would come up. I love that this movie didn't shy away from that. I love that this superman lives in a somewhat real world. It gives me hope for future movies because only in a universe that puts him in situations like this can we see a good man struggle to maintain that goodness in spite of a cruel world. Greatness is always greater if even honorable people have to work themselves to their emotional core to earn it. I say bring it. Show me how superman becomes a legend, the light in the darkness, despite his own brushes with the world's dark places. Ascending to greatness from the very bottom (and I would say MOS's supes moment on the floor after killing Zod was his bottom) is more compelling than always magically and inexplicably being at the top.
     
    #42 MrsKent26, Apr 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  18. FeedOnATreeFrog

    FeedOnATreeFrog (A Metal Gear reference)

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    It's not triumphant, but it does feel heroic.

    Some people are acting like killing Zod was some kind of immoral act. It really irks me when people call it murder.
     
    #43 FeedOnATreeFrog, Apr 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  19. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    Oh i've definitely heard people say that he SHOULDN'T... i'm just saying i've never heard people argue that he HASN'T.

    But yeah, it's more of a personal preference thing when people talk about whether he should or not. Some people prefer to keep a 'rule' like that consistent (and i'm one of them)... I dunno there is just something comforting about it to me :)

    Totally agree. Handled in the right way, I think I would have been okay with it... and it's a shame, because the scene itself is kind of harrowing... if the lead up and the follow up had been stronger, it might have actually turned into something I really loved and respected them doing.

    I think you're right to an extent and it is about what a fan wants... but there is a line between a fan just being picky and a fan feeling that a core aspect of the character has been ignored for the sake of shock value.

    But that's the problem - what can be defined as a core characteristic is so subjective, especially in a medium like comics.

    Again, it's not about there being a complete consistency, but just picking up on certain aspects that are 'core' to the character and that you should try to keep in tact through all interpretations in order to even have him be recognised as the same character.

    You could say that was names, outfits, back story, villains, settings etc... or you can feel that what really needs to remain for a character to be recognisable are parts of his personality... and the ones that a fan are going to consider the most important are the ones they love him for.

    So for a fan like me, that has always loved Superman for having such a strong opinion on killing, it is really important to me that this is translated in the film...

    ... and I don't feel like it was :(

    Not just because he killed someone. But because there was never any discussion about what that meant.

    The creators of Man of Steel treated the 'no kill rule' as a completely disposable aspect of Superman's plethora of characteristics - whereas I think it is absolutely essential.

    So it feels like less of a Superman story to me.

    I have always hated that explanation.

    Because it seems to be a little small minded to think that a strong aversion to killing is something that a person cannot simply have without having killed someone... Like you can't have just been raised a certain way to feel really strongly about it. Or it can't come from how connected you are to life because of your enhanced senses and how that makes you see it as a previous thing. Or how much of the good in people you've seen and why that makes you value all life.

    Not to mention the fact it's an utter contradiction.

    You've set up an impossible situation in which he HAS to kill. There is literally no other way. Killing is argueablely the RIGHT thing to do in that situation... and then your saying he's going to see it as a reason to never kill again? That logic doesn't even make sense... :whatever:

    Again though... it makes no sense.

    I mean, put him in that exact same situation in which a family with kids is going to die... you're saying that because of how much he hates killing because he's done it once before, second time around he wouldn't do it? He'd risk the lives of that family with kids?

    This is why I just hate them writing him into that impossible situation in the first place, with no 'out'.

    It's not neccesary. It's the world of Superheroes. There is always an out just when you think there is going to be no other way, just when you think it's hopeless... something happens and you breath a sigh of relief.

    They exist to do the impossible... not be stumped by it.

    I've said before, there is a potential for the sequel to deal with some of these issues... but I still think it's going to be really problematic because of the way they set it up.

    Totally agreed :)

    I know what you mean about it being 'earlier in the movie'. Even if they'd just followed the event with more substantial scenes... but it's like it happened and then they just rushed a few scenes together to conclude it in a 'hollywood' way and it just did not satisfy the weight of what had happened. It was badly balanced.

    I definitely don't see what he did as murder, that's just people being over the top.

    Agree so much.

    I was saying to a friend the other day after seeing ASM 2, that it bugged me how both films mentioned 'hope' a lot... but ASM 2 was the only one of the two to actually deliver on it. To show people actually inspired. To show the hope within the character himself.

    I just didn't get that from Clark in MOS. He seemed like a kind of hopeless character who had a few moments of hopefulness at times.

    Maybe that'll improve in the sequel when he's more a part of the world tho :)
     
    #44 hopefuldreamer, Apr 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  20. Metal Spidey

    Metal Spidey Spider-Man rules!

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    It was nessessary I guess. What else could he have done with him? There's no kryptonite and I don't think he had access to The Phantom Zone.
     
  21. I Am The Knight

    I Am The Knight Tonight's a good night.

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    Hopefuldreamer....agreed on most of your posts really. The "origin of the no kill rule" makes no sense. He did the right thing by killing Zod. I think this so called origin of the no kill rule is some kind of justification for putting the scene in there in the first place.

    People say it's a bold move since there was no convenient deus ex machina to solve the conflict, but what's gonna happen in the sequels? Simple, Superman will "conviniently" never be put into a impossible situation away or there will be some kind of alternate solution to resolve the conflict so Superman is not forced to kill again.

    Snyder and Goyer are not satisfied with the ending to their own movie? Fine, but there's no need to include a plot element that only works if you justify it with wonky logic.

    These are fictional characters. They don't "need" to do anything unless the writers dictate so. The Zod kill idea seems to come from Snyder and Goyer's inadequacy to resolve the conflicts in their movie.
     
  22. hopefuldreamer

    hopefuldreamer Clark Kent > Superman

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    Because they didn't write those options in... but they could have.

    Agreed... and I also think it has a lot to do with Snyder thinking it was a 'cooler' ending... and his idea of cool is similar to that of a teenage boy.
     
    #47 hopefuldreamer, Apr 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  23. Mysteryman

    Mysteryman Registered

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    I take Snyder at his word.
    And, I assume that it is all part of a larger story .
    I guarantee you that Bruce Wayne took notice when one of the most powerful beings that the Earth has ever encountered killed one of his own .
     
    #48 Mysteryman, Apr 27, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  24. Spider-Aziz

    Spider-Aziz Not the Voice You Know

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    This, is exactly how it is
     
  25. spiderman2

    spiderman2 Registered

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    loved it because you could see that he didn't want to do it but had to do it. He had no choice people where just going to be killed over and over again.
     

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