Zack Snyder Doesn’t Believe He Changed Superman in ‘Man of Steel’

By February 5, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is coming in hot – only a month and a half away, give er’ take some days; and the marketing campaign is beginning to rev its engines for go time. Slowly but surely, people from the movie are talking. Some Henry Cavill here, some Ben Affleck there… And then there’s Zack Snyder, who was on FX Movie Download last week talking B V S while a repeat for Man of Steel played on the network. He offered, between commercial breaks, small bits and pieces to get people hyped.

One of these planned “small bits of press” came on a podcast from Hall of Justice (via Collider) in which he, finally, defended his Superman in Man of Steel. I say defended because that’s what it feels like to this Superman fan, based on his quotes. And I’m not in the least upset like some people are – at least for the people on line when they tend to yell the loudest.

In the discussion, Snyder spoke on his Superman when asked about the fans’ issues. He’s claiming he stayed very true to the source material:

“I was pretty ready for it,” he said of the response to Henry Cavill’s Superman. “I knew that we were really updating a beloved character. I don’t think ‘changing him’ — People are always like ‘you changed Superman.’ If you’re a comic book fan, you know that I didn’t change Superman. If you know the true canon, you know that I didn’t change Superman. If you’re a fan of the old movies, yeah, I changed him a bit.”

Doing some quick dips of research into the internet pool, I see fans upset over this comment. Why? Because, taken out of context, it seems like Snyder is basically saying you have to be a comic book fan in order to get ‘his’ Superman. It also seems like it’s a backhanded compliment TO comic book fans. ‘Well, if you know comics you know I didn’t change Superman.’ So we’re suppose to know comics to like Superman in Man of Steel?  Sure, that’s what it sounds like.

BUT – here’s the thing… I don’t take offense to this in the least. You see, I came to love and follow Superman comics AFTER the 1978 Richard Donner film, Superman The Movie. That, for me, will always be my Superman. Always. Not the comic book version, Christopher Reeves Superman.

And does that fact exclude me from having an opinion cause I don’t follow comics? Therefore I’m not really a fan? I think that’s the other side of the coin.

If you just look at the source material, there’s no way you can find the “definitive” version of Superman. He has over 75 years of stories. That’s a lot. At least it seems overwhelming to find one, definitive Superman story from the comments.

What I always heard from the Superman faithful, if you will – after MOS, was all about Zod. He killed Zod. MY Superman doesn’t kill! THE Superman would NEVER kill! And THE REAL Superman wouldn’t have let all that destruction happen to Metropolis, he would have taken the fight to “fill in the blank.” Like space. Or maybe over the ocean… Sure I get it.

But I actually “get” what Snyder was trying to do while also agreeing that there were major flaws in the movie. Mostly to the ending. Yeah, I get it. Lot’s of destruction and 9/11 imagery and what not.

But I see the intention (from Snyder) and I get the response (from the fans). In my head, I could have found a “story” beat – like Superman flying away and luring Zod away with him – to save Metropolis. But I think that’s going to be addressed in B V S. As it should be.

As for the comics and giving a definitive answer to whether or not Superman has ever ‘killed’ before…? I just don’t know or have the knowledge to comment. Has he killed in the comics before? Pretty sure he did as I recall an awesome comic called Superman vs. Aliens (yup, that’s a real thing) in which Supes is haunted by the fact he had to “kill” in the past (whom I can’t recall) and so he tries to “reason” with the alien creature(s). Pretty cool.

It doesn’t work as the aliens from that same universe (the movies) has no reason. Just creatures with instinct to kill and attack and make baby aliens. PS – the comic is batshit insane cool.

So if Superman has had to kill in the past comic book issues, I only know of that one (weird) example. Meaning, I’m not the expert.

For the movies, I feel like I am an expert and I guess you could say he never killed anyone. Though you could argue, and believe me – fans DID argue this point back in the day… You could argue that Superman (in part 2) does kill. Meaning, he picks up Zod and tosses him into some endless pit. The other two Kryptonians also end up in the pit. So did Superman kill in this example? Until I see proof that his pit had a safe landing on the other end, I would argue he did kill Zod. Think about it – you hold someone over a cliff and ‘let go.’ Seems pretty legit there.

Again, going to MOS, I just happen to ‘get’ what Snyder was doing. When Superman snaps Zod’s neck to ‘save’ that family from being BBQ’ed by heat vision, he had no choice. And in that once choice, MASSIVE consequences followed with Clark/Kal’s psyche. He just killed the last of his kind (for now) in order to save some humans. I would buy that’s why Cavill’s Clark/Kal unleashes a heartbreaking scream shortly thereafter. That’s some deep stuff. Character stuff. Hard stuff to deal with if you were in his shoes. That’s why I appreciate it.

Sorry if you don’t share my opinion. And please don’t yell at me on the internet – if you are a Superman fan and HATE that part of MOS, I get it. I really do. But it’s your opinion.

Moving on to more of what Snyder says, now that I made my case on not taking what Snyder said at first too hard, here’ Snyder quotes pleading the case:

“I feel like I tried to create a Superman that would set a tone for the world,” he continued, going on to say that he feels that the DC movies will be faithful to their comic book incarnations. “My point is that, if you know anything about the actual characters… what we’ve done is create a place where they can really be the mythological characters as designed in the comic books. If you’re a fan of them in the comic books, you’ll get a great opportunity to see what they look like, and how they move, [that] they’re real.”

Look, he’s basically doing HIS interpretation of the characters. His Superman (and then HIS Batman and HIS Wonder Woman). That’s all. And you either like it, hate it – or allow it to be just that… an interpretation and not, say, a “raping your childhood” response.

When it comes down to it, as a fan of Superman and him being on film, I do actually wish another director took on Superman. Doesn’t mean I don’t see Zack Snyder’s love for the guy. Because he DOES love him some Superman and, for me at least, I do see him trying to serve the character as best he can. Look at any of his interviews when he talks Superman; you can tell he’s having fun and is very passionate. That’s good enough for me… at least for now. I am a bit skeptical but, in the end, I believe Snyder has it in him to nail the landing with Batman V Superman. And I really hope he does. That’s all.

If you completely disagree with me (and Snyder) would love to know your thoughts on it all. Hit the comments below and we can wax philosophical on Supes.

For the rest who are excited for the ‘dream-team’ matchup of Batman and Superman, Dawn of Justice hits theatres on March 25th, 2016.

Make sure you check back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Mark Reilly
Born a geek a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - Tustin, CA - Reilly is a seasoned writer and producer with over twenty years experience in the film industry. He is the co-host of 'Far, Far Away' here on GeekNation as well as 'Meet the Movie Press' on the Popcorn Talk Network; which airs live every Friday morning at 9am pst. Tweet him at @Reillyaround