Today, I’d like to discuss the 2013 Superman reboot Man of Steel. More than likely, you have heard people discussing this movie before, criticizing it and mocking it.
I, myself, only watched the movie very recently. And for those of you who are curious and may value my input, here is my verdict.
It was good.
It’s not perfect, of course. I’m not saying it doesn’t have flaws. It does, just like any other movie. But it was perfectly passable, and I don’t regret watching it, nor do I think it deserves the negative reputation it has received.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m writing about it. The reason for that is the same reason I watched it. I watched it because I wanted to make sure I had the proper context for this article. My goal is not to ridicule or mock this movie.
My goal is to address a complaint against this movie which is not valid.
As you know, if you’ve followed my blog, I am all for nitpicking and criticizing even the most innocuous details in movies and games. I’d never dream of objecting to mocking and ridiculing stupid things.
However, I DO object, when I find myself disagreeing with those complaints, on account of them being invalid.
So, what is this complaint people raise about this movie, which I do not agree with?
The complaint that, in this movie, Superman killed Zod.
To which my answer is: Yes, he did. So what?
The argument seems to be that Superman is a hero, and heroes NEVER kill!
Dave: Yeah! Doing so is a complete betrayal of what Superman stands for.
Ah, I see Dave has decided to join the discussion… goody…
On the bright side, this gives me a chance to properly address the arguments. You see, I don’t believe it is a betrayal. I am not opposed to heroes killing villains.
Let me explain. I am not opposed to heroes killing villains in and of itself. I just believe heroes shouldn’t kill villains, if possible.
Really, it boils down to two conditions. If a hero kills a villain, A) that has to be the absolute last resort, and it has to be clear that no other option was available. And B) Even if this is the only option, it should still haunt the hero. It should show to us that this decision, while impossible, was still traumatizing.
That is the difference between a hero and a villain. When a villain kills his enemy, the end justifies the means. They “did what they had to do”. When a hero kills his enemy, even if that enemy was unrepentantly evil, even if they had no other choice, even if they saved the planet, they might consider it a failure.
A villain shrugs off the decision. A hero comes to terms with it and lets it serve as an example.
Dave: And Superman didn’t have to kill Zod!
Is that so? Then tell me, what other choice did he have?
Dave: Those civilians could have gotten out of the way! There was nothing stopping them! Superman could have told them to get out!
Ah, I see. Let’s suppose he did, and those people got away? What then?
You think that would be the end? Zod is a superpowered alien, with heat vision, superstrength, the ability to fly, he has outright said he intends to kill Superman and everyone else on Earth…
And of course… (and this is the important part)
HE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO LOSE!
What, exactly were Supermans options there?
Dave: He could have choked Zod out!
And then what!? What prison on the planet could hold him? Who, other than Superman, could oppose him? You think Zod would wake up in a prison cell and go “Oh well, I had my chance…”
No, he’d bust right the fuck out and start killing people!
Dave: Superman could have sent him to the Phantom Zone…
The only two Phantom drives in the fucking solar system just blew up! You think he’d just have a spare lying around?!
So what else? What other solution do you suggest?
Dave: They could build some sort of super special prison to hold him…
No, they couldn’t! Even if they could, in the time it’d take, Zod could break out of whatever holding cell they put him in, and kill countless more people.
There was NO OTHER OPTION.
Dave: Well, I still think heroes shouldn’t kill.
Perhaps… but you know what’s funny to me? That this outrage exists about Superman, but you don’t hear a peep of it when Batman kills an enemy. This despite that Batman appearantly has a “no kill” rule, a line which he would never, ever EVER cross.
Dave: Well, when Batman did it, it was also unavoidable.
Really? Throwing a joker goon from the clock tower in the 1989 movie was “unavoidable”? It was “unavoidable” to tie the jokers leg to that grotesque, which lead to him falling off the cathedral?
He couldn’t avoid sticking a bunch of dynamite onto a circus goon and knocking him down a hole in Batman Returns? Killing Two-Face in Batman Forever? Outright leaving Ra’s Al Ghul to die in a traincrash HE CAUSED in Batman Begins?
Interestingly, you know what all of those had in common?
Dave: What’s that?
Not only were they all VERY avoidable, especially if Batman is as smart as his fanboys claim he is, but they all involved ordinary, non-superpowered humans…
And of course, Batman killed them in active cold blood, without a moments remorse or regret at having crossed that “blood red line”.
Superman, having killed an enemy with the strenght of 60 men, who could not be stopped by other means, who could not be contained, and with no other options possible, fell to the ground and howled in rage and horror of what he just did.
Batman, having killed an enemy with the strenght of exactly ONE Liam Neeson, who WAS stopped, could EASILY be contained in any prison on earth, by leaving him to die in a train crash, that was only about to happen because of Batman? He not only ignores this, but JUSTIFIES IT to himself, since he’s not killing Ra’s. He’s just not SAVING him.
One of them comes to terms with his actions… the other shrugs it off, by claiming “it doesn’t count”.
And it’s the former that gets mocked and criticized, while the latter gets off scot free…
Is it just me, Dave, or does that seem a bit strange to you?