SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen Man of Steel, and don't want to be spoiled, read no further.
Man of Steel has been receiving a lot of backlash for many things, chiefly among them, is Superman's murder of General Zod.
Now, [Man of Steel](movie:15593) was far from a perfect film, but Superman killing Zod is not something to dislike this movie for.
Now before you all close out this article or scroll down to the comments to disagree with me, hear me out, I have solid reasoning.
Superman doesn't kill, I get that.
Well, Zod does. He made it pretty clear to Kal that he was going to kill every human in order to "rebuild" Krypton.
In fact, Zod is so determined to kill, he goes on to fight Superman for a good 45 minutes after his plans have already failed. His goal is to kill Superman and the people.
Now, the scene in question, begins when the two crash into a train station where a few people are hiding from the destruction going on outside.
Superman has Zod "secured" in a headlock and Zod uses his heat vision in an attempt to kill the people that are cornered. He claims: "If you care for these people so much, you can mourn for them!"
I also believe it was a last taunt to make Kal finally "do what is necessary" like Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins. Zod's plan has failed, and he has only lived for his mission which he truly believes honors Krypton. Now that he and Kal are the last living Kryptonians, he has no purpose other than to kill.
Hundreds of people, maybe even thousands have already died in the destruction. Superman couldn't do much to save them since he was fighting Zod and the Worldmachine. By fighting Zod he is saving them. However, now Superman is faced with a choice to save the lives of innocent civilians. If he chooses to let Zod kill them, their deaths are forever on his conscience, since he could have done something to save them.
If he chooses to kill Zod, he is guilty of murder and of killing the last member of his race.
He only has a few seconds. The lasers are getting closer. He chooses to kill Zod. So he snaps the neck of the last member of his race.
He saved the lives of innocent people, and killed someone who attempted genocide, and is guilty of thousands other crimes both on earth and Krypton.
I know, I'm trying to justify the murder. Yeah I am. I would have done the same thing. If he hadn't, more people would have died and the battle would have just gone on until one of them died and thousands more did in the aftermath.
Now, Superman didn't kill him in hatred. In fact, immediately after killing Zod, he regrets it and screams. He didn't want to kill Zod. Killing Zod makes Superman just as bad as Zod. (Another Batman Begins reference there.)
He shows remorse, and knows he has just willingly taken the life of another. He has learned "With great power comes great responsibility." (You know what reference that's from).
I'm sure many of you have heard the explanation given by the writers:
In Man of Steel, he technically isn't "Superman" yet. This is the first chapter, the "Year One" story in Superman's life. This is the origin of how and why he doesn't kill people.
I get that. But, it's not a good explanation to the hundreds of upset FanBoys who are all asking about killing and the "one rule."
First of all, Superman has killed before. In fact, he killed Zod before.
Don't believe me?
Watch the 1980 classic Christopher Reeve film: Superman II.
(The video of Zod's death is below. It's a little long, but it's there trust me)
Superman throws the powerless Zod against the fortress of solitude and watches him fall to his misty death.
Sure, it's not a vivid and graphic as Zod's death in MoS, but Zod still dies. His death here is meaningless and doesn't really affect Superman in any way. To me, that's more of a sin since he shows no remorse here, and deosn't even acknowledge his death. (Lois is just a mass murderer secretly anyway).
So all the Superman fans clamoring for a more Chris Reeve like Superman, is really clamoring for a cold-hearted killer.
Now I love Christopher Reeve's Superman. Superman II is my favorite Superman film, (and The Richard Donner Cut I like even better). Henry Cavill is the Superman of today, and Superman fans need to appreciate that. Sure you may not appreciate his performance, but at least his visuals are stunningly better than the 70s and 80s films. (No wires are seen anywhere in MoS). Reeve is Superman, there's no denying that. Without him we wouldn't believe a man could fly, but now that we know they can fly, its time to let others fly as well.
Sure MoS was missing some of the humor and lightheartedness apparent in the Donner films, but WB was clearly trying to establish that this was a REBOOT and not a continuation of the existing films (like Superman Returns). They were clearly looking for an entirely different vision, and they got it.
Now, for the "one rule". That's technically not even a Batman rule. In Batman's earliest comics, Batman killed without regret, and even walked around with a gun in some early missions.
In the Burton films, he doesn't mind killing. He even threatens to kill (and actually does end up killing) The Joker in the 1989 Batman.
(The Video below shows that, also a bit lengthy, but trust me, it does)
Nolan puts the "one rule" in his dark, realistic Batman films. However, in all three films, they show Batman contradicting his "one rule" he "doesn't save" Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, which is essentially killing him. In The Dark Knight, he tackles Harvey Dent off the building and ends up killing him. In [The Dark Knight Rises](movie:39011), he fully intends to kill Bane "Then, you have my permission to die." until Catwoman kills him for him.
So this "one rule" isn't even a valid point to bring up.
Superheroes do kill. Superheroes have to make decisions that normal people don't have to make. They fight bad guys, save people, and kill people.
Iron Man (& Friends) kill Iron Monger, Whiplash, and Aldrich Killian respectively in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Iron Man 3.
Wolverine is always killing (he kills JEAN GREY!!!), and in the comics, heroes are always killing as well.
(Don't want me to compare DC to Marvel? Okay, fine.)
Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern (all the main DC heroes with films so far) have killed in their films.
Superman does kill in the comics. Dommsday, Hank Henshaw, (in some stories even Zod and Mr. Mxyzptlk) have been killed by Superman. Superman does kill, but not very often, because he prefers to be a beacon of hope for everyone, both good and evil. When he needs to though, he has killed.
Superman may not kill very often in the comics, but the fans seriously need to get over being mad about the decision to kill Zod.
It was the smart thing to do, and it was good for the evolution of Superman's character for later films. He won't be killing in later films I can guarantee it.
Alright, hypothetically picture a fight in [Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice](movie:711870) with Batman and Lex Luthor against Superman (both Bats and Lex want to kill Superman, but Superman won't kill them, so holds back when he fights.) That already helps make the film make sense.
So you can dislike the decision Superman made to kill Zod. You can dislike how dark the film is.
But to hate and dislike the whole film just because of Zod's death is not cool.
What do you think?