Zack Snyder Comments on Controversial Ending to ‘Man of Steel’

By July 4, 2015

When Man of Steel was released in the summer of 2013, it was certainly one of the most polarizing superhero films to be released in some time. The controversial ending — which culminated in Superman breaking the neck of General Zod after a massively destructive battle in the heart of Metropolis — seemed to really disappoint a group of fans dedicated to more “traditional” portrayals of the Last Son of Krypton, while others seemed excited by the possibilities that the film represented. Now, the director of that film has decided to directly comment on the controversial climax of his first effort in the DC Universe, as well as hint at what it could mean for next March’s follow-up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Speaking with EW, Snyder seems to have something of a perplexed attitude towards the reaction, saying that there was always going to be a sense of consequence from such a devastating occurrence taking place in the center of a major American city.

I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me, that you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences. […] There are other superhero movies where they joke about how basically no one’s getting hurt. That’s not us. What is that message? That’s it’s okay that there’s this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That’s what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don’t want it to be clean. I want you to go, ‘Oh my God, I guess you’re right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he’s not going to just be lying on the ground. It’s going to be messy.

Snyder added that he always had the intention of showing what the costs of that battle were in a follow-up, and the director is certainly correct in pointing out that other major superhero releases tend to skim over the concept of collateral damage. Both Avengers films, for instance, had their culminating battles take place in major population centers, but the tone in those battles is generally light enough that the concept of people in the crumbling buildings isn’t directly touched upon. Avengers: Age of Ultron also featured a city being raised far off the surface of the Earth, but didn’t go out of its way to depict those caught in the crossfire.

Another perspective on this comes from the new Dark Knight himself, Ben Affleck. Affleck states that part of what attracted him to joining this new project was the idea of following up on the costly final battle in Man of Steel, and how the story will directly deal with that. One of the main characters it affects? Batman. Affleck said,

One of the things I liked was Zack’s idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing that there are real people in those buildings. And in fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne’s building so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event.

The collateral damage suffered in that event could be one of the primary reasons that Batman takes it upon himself to try and take Superman down, which is thematically in-line with a lot of similar conflicts between the two characters in multiple eras and stories of the comics. It should prove to be very interesting to see exactly how the conflict between the “World’s Finest” heroes plays out when the movie hits theaters, and it sounds like the controversial ending to Man of Steel will be at the heart of the general uncertainty surrounding Superman’s presence.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will hit theaters on March 25th, 2016. More information is expected to come out of San Diego Comic-Con International next week, so be sure to keep an eye on GeekNation for any new developments on the anticipated DC Comics film!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • BrashHulk

    The seemingly endless destruction scenes didn’t bother me so much, as it was at least explainable: Gods & Monsters, indeed. What plagues me to no end about the movie is being force-fed the filmmakers’ premise, without any explanation, that Zod’s eyes were fixed in their sockets while using his heat vision. Is there a wild glitch in Kryptonian physiology not allowing eyeballs to move independently within their sockets? If so, that information wasn’t shared. Is using heat vision so difficult to a Kryptonian that the stress causes their eyes to become fixed in a direction once the energy is unleashed? If so, that wasn’t addressed either. To that point, however, there’s a scene showing Zod using his heat vision, presumably for the first time due to his shocked and almost pained reaction, where it looks like he’s unable to control it very well – but there’s nothing else seen or heard on that subject until Zod fires up the heat vision again in the subway while wrestling with Kal-El. Now, since Kal-El is easily able to control his own heat vision – and has seen Zod adapting to his powers quickly – why should he think that simply holding Zod’s face away from the threatened Earthlings would keep them out of the literal lines of fire? Did Kal-El have the same “locked-eyes” issue with his heat vision when he first discovered that power? We have no idea, of course. However, what we’re SHOWN is a panicky, freaked-out 9-year old Kal-El using his heat vision with great precision by heating up a doorknob without melting it – so the premise that heat vision is too powerful for someone like Zod to control seems quite weak. Of course, if the movie had included a montage of several Kent homes burning down while baby Clark was screaming in his crib, it would have helped to shed some light on the issue. Perhaps it was just an oversight from every single person involved with the film, but one would think such a crucial plot point would have been examined a tad more thoroughly.