Zack Snyder responded to Man of Steel’s finale, in which pretty much a gajillion people got murdered, half of which in the fist fight between Zod and Superman alone.
Honestly, I was hoping for something close to an apology – that it was an oversight, and this tone would be corrected in the sequels.
Barring that, ignorance might have been nice – Snyder saying that, in their attempt to satisfy the fans lust for action following the disappointingly dull Superman Returns.
The worst possible scenario, ever, is for Snyder to come out and say that everything they did was for a purpose, and there was no regrets. But that could never be the case, right?
Zack Snyder on the ending, via IGN: “In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence. In America, we don’t have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman… is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”
So…I mean…how do I even count the problems? For one, you’re relating an ACTUAL myth to something the audience is supposed to be taking seriously – yes, of course no one ACTUALLY believes Man of Steel is anything other than a form of entertainment, but when we watch films, the whole point is to suspend disbelief and immerse ourselves into that story. When that story ends by sacrificing hundreds of thousands of lives, only to compare itself to a myth, that doesn’t work.
Secondly…you know, my problem was never the violence at the end, on the surface level. You have two super beings fighting in a major city. Deaths are going to happen. Could Superman have tried to lead Zod away from the city? Possibly. But he would have wasted energy and effort diverting Zod, when for a lot of the battle, it was all he could do to survive against him. Had Superman lost that fight, Zod would have, theoretically, killed or enslaved the entire human race. So collateral damage was a necessary sacrifice.
But there’s that word – SACRIFICE. Sacrifices are hard to do, and never in the film, from the attitude of Superman, or the directorial choices of the filmmakers, did this tone come across. Superman is punched through a building and it collapses, but then the camera comes into a swooping close up as he counters against Zod, shot to make him look like a bad-ass and elicit a cheer from the audience. There’s no sadness in the tone here – it’s supposed to be adrenaline inducing action, meant to satisfy our craving, and nothing more.
When the fight is done, Superman doesn’t dwell on the loss of life, or regret any actions he made. He’s good. No one, behind the film or on the film, acknowledges the death toll, and this is the real problem of the film that no one seems to care about.
Again, I’m not saying avoid the destruction. If it serves the purpose of your movie and raises the stakes, it’s fine. But The Avengers was great, because despite the lesser death toll, the tone was serious, and the loss of life had meaning. Our heroes reflected on it. It bothered them. Hell, Captain America almost died just to save a building full of people. Not the city. Not a block. One building.
Hopefully Zack Snyder will be done making “modern day myth” by the time Superman vs. Batman begins shooting.