The Moral Implications Of Man Of Steel

movies man of steel henry cavill superman1 The Moral Implications Of Man Of Steel

If you’re the kind of person who will insist on clicking an article entitled “The Moral Implications of Man of Steel” and then mindlessly crow in the comment section about the amount of spoilers contained therein, then let’s make this clear – there are spoilers in this article. If you want to go into the movie fresh, clean, and not knowing anything, then do not read on. In fact, clicking here will take you back to the home page. Do it.

As somebody who has never read any of the Superman comics, or even seen all of the films, I’m not putting myself forward as a scholar of the character. I’m not even really a fan, if I’m honest – the story of a god falling to Earth always seemed much more interesting in the hands of Thor, not Superman. Although it got a pretty orgasmic review on this very site, to me, Man of Steel actually turned out, in the end, to be a pretty traditional Superman movie. It didn’t rewrite the rulebook in quite the same way as Batman Begins did for Batman, and I don’t think future cinemagoers will regard it as highly as that film, either.

Where it did succeed was in modernising the way Superman’s story should look in today’s world – everybody agrees that Zack Snyder absolutely nailed what a Superman film, released in 2013, should look like. Whatever you might think of him as a filmmaker (I’m not a fan, but Watchmen did have some great moments), he certainly didn’t skimp on the spectacle. The story as it was told here seemed to make sense, if you didn’t analyse it too closely.

However, I did have a few problems with the moral implications of some of the themes of the film. I’m not trying to reinterpret Man of Steel in a controversial way; all I want to do is open up a conversation, to allow people to respond in a (hopefully) nice way, and to clarify a few points.

This is where spoilers begin. 

When we discover that Clark Kent is carrying the codex within himself – the DNA of everybody who will ever be born on Krypton – Zod’s plan becomes clear. Kill Clark, harvest the DNA, then terraform Earth to make it amenable to the Kryptonian citizens as they still exist – about five of them, in total. This in itself is weird, as we have explicitly been told earlier on that Clark doesn’t suffer from the effects of Earth’s atmosphere because he has been here from an early age. This, combined with the Earth’s proximity to the sun, also contributes to his power. Why the Kryptonians didn’t also just hang around on Earth for a bit and acclimate themselves to the atmosphere, becoming even more super-powered before commencing their plan, is irrelevant (apparently).

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Man of Steel General Zod armor 570x415 The Moral Implications Of Man Of Steel

Zod’s plan makes him a very different kind of villain, even though he is dressed in traditionally villainous garb. If you were to strip him of that, however, he could be seen as an anti-hero. His stated mission is to resurrect his people from their current state of unbeing, lying dormant within the body of megalomaniac god-figure Clark Kent, who has been brought up in the knowledge that he will definitely change the world, as Superman.

For context, let’s imagine for one second that Zod was given his own film called Man of Krypton. Instead of Kevin Costner fixing cars and giving homely advice on how he’d change the world one day, young Zod’s parental figure would be fixing the ol’ spaceship and giving Zod homely advice on how his destiny was to save his people, one day. As Zod points out at the very end, by destroying the terra-former, Superman removes his entire purpose for living. Could Zod have done anything close to that to Superman? Could Zod have taken away Superman’s purpose for living? There’s no way. Superman chooses not to give the people of Krypton another chance by destroying the terra-former. Ignoring the fact that it was destroying our own planet for one second, Superman actually says “Krypton had its chance.” Do we give him the power to make that kind of decision? How long until “Earth had its chance” as Superman might say?

Zod works for the good of Krytpon. The only time he is objectively painted as a villain is when Superman drowns in that vision of a scorched Earth, coated in skulls. While destroying Earth would be a repulsive, genocidal act, it’s not personal. If anything, Jor-El would have known that Zod would have gone wherever he sent baby Kal. He effectively doomed Earth, and is revered in the film, portrayed as a saintly warrior figure who helps the fight for good. The fact that the fight between Zod and Superman is a fight that he himself caused is glossed over.

Is Zod to be blamed for his actions, given that he is only fulfilling a role that society carved out for him? We’re all victims of our circumstances to some extent, it’s just unfortunate for Zod that he had the misfortune of being destined to save (his) planet. In this way, the fight between Superman and Zod is actually the fight between two Supermans (Supermen?), from two different perspectives.

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man of steel 10 The Moral Implications Of Man Of Steel

Perhaps Man of Steel is more complex than I initially gave it credit for, as there is no traditional hero or villain. Sure, Superman gets the triumphant score, while Zod gets the enormous butt-ship, but I feel sorry for Zod, and I think it’s worrying when we as an audience are asked to side with Superman just because he’s on our side. Why else would Jor-El have put the codex inside of Superman if not so that he could one day resurrect the population? Is Zod not actually carrying out the wishes of Superman’s father, and what is supposed to be Superman’s destiny? Are we only siding with Superman because he sides with us?

The ultimate message of Man of Steel, and Superman overall, is that your circumstances don’t define who you are. It’s what’s inside that counts. But by allowing our own circumstances – humans, living on Earth – to define how we feel about Superman, are we actually going against the message of Superman, by siding with Superman? This bothers me. If there’s no other reason to support Superman other than that he saves humans, to the detriment of other species – even his own people - I find it difficult to approve of. He isn’t objectively good, he’s subjectively good in the narrow set of circumstances that Man of Steel provides. He’s not even that heroic there – he thinks nothing of bringing the fight to Metropolis, content to wantonly destroy buildings filled with people, yet blanches when Zod tries to kill three people in a museum. He is the living, breathing, flying embodiment of the phrase “one death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic”.

My point is that Superman is no hero, he’s just the beneficiary of good editing. Don’t agree? Let me know below.

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  • bonz86

    He didn’t bring the fight to Metropolis. That’s where Zod began the attack. Plus it’s very clear Krypton and it’s society was turning for the worse. Zod was part of the worse. Zod didn’t want to spend time adapting life Kal el had to. This whole article is explained in the movie.

    • daneforst

      yup. I seriously think all the negative “plot holes” people bring up are explained if they only paid attention. This flick is pretty damn solid.

  • Munktopia

    Jor-el wants to share earth with kryptons people, he says so in the movie… Remember that?! Zod wants to kill everyone, he is indeed a villain. And he wants to grow kryptonian embryos that don’t yet exist, hence there are no people to save, only people to create and replace the humans.

  • Todd Doutre

    The only moral implication was origin. If you were human then Superman was right. If you were Kryptonian and not Superman, then you had a choice; coexist or destroy all humans. Zod chose to destroy all humans. That was the path he chose and it was that choice that sealed his fate. Humans or Superman weren’t given the choice. The choice was Zod’s alone. Mute point. Not worth arguing. The real argument was should Superman have killed Zod?

    • James Carter

      What else would you have had Superman do in that situation? This was a young inexperienced Superman for all of about 48 hours w/the suit. Zod clearly stated he wasn’t going to stop from killing those people.. and the more to come. It was to ends in Supes death, which in turn Zod would have killed mankind, or Zods death, which would save the rest of the planet. You can’t say Superman hasn’t killed before because he has, he just needs to reach that point where he has no other option, but to do what is necessary.

  • bluebrick

    i also felt sorry for the villains. they were genetically engineered to protect krypton (Faora’s morality was even genetically removed to help her in this cause). they have no free will which is why Zod tells Superman this can only end with one of them dead. Superman is the first kryptonian to have that free will whereas Zod, Faora and all the other villains were destined from birth to die for their species. this makes their arcs actually rather tragic, they cant escape their fate.its why superman’s parents couldn’t leave krypton either, they were genetically bound to the planet and incapable of making a choice that would to them abandoning their planet. this destiny versus choice theme was the most interesting part of the movie for me and i wish it had been explored deeper.

  • pinkincide

    I never bought Zod’s motivations. Why not just take your planet engine to another star system and rebuild Krypton there? Superman would’ve HELPED him do that. It went beyond being evil to being stupid.

    • Bragunica

      I just had a slap myself upside the head moment with your comment. It would have made for a terribly boring movie… but you’re totally right.

  • Josh Bunyan

    I respectfully disagree with this article. First of all, Zack Snyder was attempting to create a movie about Superman living in our world, in 2013, as realistically as possible. And he accomplished this extremely well. Second, more than anything, this movie was about Superman discovering who he was, and what he was supposed to do with his abilities. Those are the questions he had been asking himself and his parents for his entire life. Jor-El didn’t doom Earth, by sending his son there. He saved it. Superman proved himself to be a hero continuously throughout the film, both in flashbacks and the present. Zod did the exact opposite. From the very beginning he was set out to destroy the original Kryptonian leadership and start a new society and make himself the leader. That’s not a hero. Killing Jor-El didn’t make him a hero. Attempting to kill everyone on Earth and proving that Superman was the only person who could stop him and giving him absolutely no other choice but to kill him in order to save the human race, certainly didn’t make him a hero. In the comics and cartoons, they have built various “super-prisons” to hold people like Zod and other villains. But in a movie that’s presenting a grounded, real-world take on Superman, this clearly isn’t an option, and would have been an extremely stupid choice for the movie. And Superman absolutely struggled with his decision both before and after killing him.

  • Josh Bunyan

    I respectfully disagree with this article. First of all, Zack Snyder was attempting to create a movie about Superman living in our world, in 2013, as realistically as possible. And he accomplished this extremely well. Second, more than anything, this movie was about Superman discovering who he was, and what he was supposed to do with his abilities. Those are the questions he had been asking himself and his parents for his entire life. Jor-El didn’t doom Earth, by sending his son there. He saved it. Superman proved himself to be a hero continuously throughout the film, both in flashbacks and the present. Zod did the exact opposite. From the very beginning he was set out to destroy the original Kryptonian leadership and start a new society and make himself the leader. That’s not a hero. Killing Jor-El didn’t make him a hero. Attempting to kill everyone on Earth and proving that Superman was the only person who could stop him and giving him absolutely no other choice but to kill him in order to save the human race, certainly didn’t make him a hero. In the comics and cartoons, they have built various “super-prisons” to hold people like Zod and other villains. But in a movie that’s presenting a grounded, real-world take on Superman, this clearly isn’t an option, and would have been an extremely stupid choice for the movie. And Superman absolutely struggled with his decision both before and after killing him.

  • Dupree 

    One point of contention: Supes didn’t destroy Zod’s reason for living and the future of Krypton by destroying the Terra-Former, he did it by destroying the incubator ship that was found under the ice that Zod got in at the end.

  • Michael in Toronto

    Superman has often been compared with Jesus.
    A more apt comparison would be with Moses.
    Superman was sent away to avoid a calamity; he is not a god but rather a messenger with a purpose (to inspire).

    Moses killed to protect the weak.
    Superman has done the same.

  • frank

    Whoever wrote this article is a huge derptard. Krypton drove itself into the ground. And yes Zod wanted what was best for krypton, but in the worst way possible. He wanted to be ruler and it would have been a dictatorship. Just like Jor el said, “who gets to choose the bloodlines? You?” he showed up on earth and immediately started destryoing it. if he wanted to coexist it was another thing, but he was looking to dominate and destroy all of earth. typical liberal speak. the enemy was only doing what was in the best interest for their planet, so we should like him. I wonder what your stance on nazi’s were?

  • P. White

    Is Zod you’re run of the mill villain? No. Anti hero? I’m not convinced. You say:

    “His stated mission is to resurrect his people from their current state of unbeing, lying dormant within the body of megalomaniac god-figure Clark Kent, who has been brought up in the knowledge that he will definitely change the world, as Superman.”

    There’s more to it, i think. It’s the fact that he’s willing to wipe out an entire race, without batting an eyelid that to me makes him more villain than anti hero. Like you I sympathised with the fact that he was born and bred to protect Krypton at whatever cost necessary, however, so was Jor El (albeit through scientific, rather than military means). Nevertheless, he and Lana seem to have been able to snap out of the deterministic Kryptonian mind set. I think it’s because both he and the Council are unable to snap out of it, despite the fact that the planet could be about to implode, that Jor El feels that any hope for their race lies in a fresh start. Zod proves him right in his willingness to wipe out an entire race and that being the case, Supes is probably right when he says:

    “Krypton had its chance.”

    As for the question, “Do we give him the power to make that kind of decision?” No, Krypton pushed the self destruct button on itself. As does Zod by attempting to push the same button on all our asses.

    “How long until “Earth had its chance” as Superman might say?” Hopefully it never comes to that. Even if it did, I don’t think would ever pull the plug on humanity. however, if humanity ever threatened to pull the plug on another helpless planet, he might… and I don’t think I would blame him.

    “Why else would Jor-El have put the codex inside of Superman if not so that he could one day resurrect the population?”

  • P. White

    Is Zod you’re run of the mill villain? No. Anti hero? I’m not convinced. You say:

    “His stated mission is to resurrect his people from their current state of unbeing, lying dormant within the body of megalomaniac god-figure Clark Kent, who has been brought up in the knowledge that he will definitely change the world, as Superman.”

    There’s more to it, i think. It’s the fact that he’s willing to wipe out an entire race, without batting an eyelid that to me makes him more villain than anti hero. Like you I sympathised with the fact that he was born and bred to protect Krypton at whatever cost necessary, however, so was Jor El (albeit through scientific, rather than military means). Nevertheless, he and Lana seem to have been able to snap out of the deterministic Kryptonian mind set. I think it’s because both he and the Council are unable to snap out of it, despite the fact that the planet could be about to implode, that Jor El feels that any hope for their race lies in a fresh start. Zod proves him right in his willingness to wipe out an entire race and that being the case, Supes is probably right when he says:

    “Krypton had its chance.”

    As for the question, “Do we give him the power to make that kind of decision?” No, Krypton pushed the self destruct button on itself. As does Zod by attempting to push the same button on all our asses.

    “How long until “Earth had its chance” as Superman might say?” Hopefully it never comes to that. Even if it did, I don’t think would ever pull the plug on humanity. however, if humanity ever threatened to pull the plug on another helpless planet, he might… and I don’t think I would blame him.

    “Why else would Jor-El have put the codex inside of Superman if not so that he could one day resurrect the population?”

  • Nathan Paul Kennedy

    There were other planets out there capable of supporting Kryptonian life, we see that very clearly in the movie as Zod and his people flashback to visiting the old colonies. Admittedly, those colonies had died out,supposedly from lack of help from Krypton but if Zod had said to Kal “Hey, you have the codex in your DNA, can I extract it so I can establish a new colony on one of our old planets and then we’ll share our knowledge with humans in return for help with keeping the colony viable”, Superman would have said yes instantly, wouldn’t he? Instead, Zod chooses to attempt genocide against humanity for no apparent reason other than a refusal to live alongside them, he’s hardly a misunderstood anti-hero for doing that, he’s a monster who chooses to kill rather than co-exist!

  • babyg

    I think the movie is portraying a very important message about globalization and streamlining our society. Earth has a chance because we should learn from Krypton’s mistakes. To achieve divine and superior society, Earth has a chance to make the emotional decision if it’s worth it, not a rational or logical decision. Because rational and logical are often measure with a dollar sign or a number of units. Every products and services that give us a few months of a surprise factor comes with a un-measurable cost for the future.

  • daneforst

    The “he doesn’t care about all the people dying” comments drive me NUTS! This is so
    dumb I can’t even believe it. He’s trying to take out the bad guy who
    is murdering the entire planet the only way he knows. I’m sorry, but a
    few buildings in one city pale in comparison to the entire planet. He’s
    attempting to limit the casualties and just because they don’t show him
    crying and screaming at every possible death that means he doesn’t
    care? Are you fucking serious? Then, he saves a family right in front
    of him by making a horrible and shocking (realistic) choice by snapping
    his neck and then they’re like “Superman wouldn’t do that!!!”. So I ask,
    “Which is it?”. Can’t have it both ways, people. This film attempts to
    treat it’s audience like thinking adults and most have rewarded it by
    asking to be treated like idealistic children. “But Superman doesn’t
    save EVERYONE, he sucks!” You all deserve your shitty Transformers
    flicks. Idiots.

  • Rummy389

    Didn’t Jor-El say in the beginning that they had it coming ever since they stopped natural births or something? Everyone on Krypton disagreed and then it blew up. Also, it’s ultimately on Zod for deciding to destroy the human race instead of just co-existing (which was totally an option) like Superman did. And let’s say Zod was successful, who’s to say that what happened to Krypton wouldn’t end up happening on new Krypton as well?

    We side with Superman not because he protects humans but because he’s rational.

  • dudders09

    I think you already answer your question when you try to flip the script about General Zod being the protagonist. It is a good point and one that I pondered during the film as well. For me I took it from this angle…. The movie had a few different themes going man vs himself, man vs authority, etc. Let me preface this statement by saying I love the United States all shortcomings considered. I felt that Zod’s patriotism for planet crypton was much like some people in this country or any other country for that matter. Our country is the best, and we must do whatever it takes regardless of the consequences to maintain the status quo. In his unwillingness to be open minded and just somehow coexist with humans, Zod becomes the villian or antagonist. He is willing to commit genocide to restore the race of people that have already had their chance in the evolutionary chain.

  • like-mind

    I find your argument nuanced and very interesting. I haven’t seen it multiple times yet, so I may be wrong, but the krypto-former did not hold the room via which future Kryptonian babies would be birthed — that was in the outpost space ship from the Arctic. That ship was also destroyed in the battle, but I’m hoping there might be some recoverable portion to negate your point about the dead-end of the race. I also hope this might offer future glimpses of Artificial Intelligence-Jor-El, who was uploaded into the ship via the S key.

  • like-mind

    The Profundity of Whether to Kill, Which Superman and the Rest of Us Face ~

    Superman in the 1970′s Supes-II throws Zod and his male Lieutenant into the Arctic crevasse, then Lois follows suit with the female Lieutenant. The three villains have lost their powers so they suffer off-screen death.

    That being said, comic purists could argue the Mythos requires Superman never to kill. I can understand that point of view but don’t share it. Having begun my membership in Super-fandom in the late 1950′s via comics, I feel we are a more blood-thirsty culture at this point in time. Long-overused is the trope of Superman being bedeviled by the villain for a prolonged period due to Supes’ rule not to kill, the relief of which is offered by the villain dying on his own. This is a moral cheat and has been a cheap resolution throughout all hero films and TV shows employing it during the 20th century. Even my child-brain wondered, what would they all do if the villain HADN’T conveniently, say, fallen off the skyscraper?

    The real moral dilemma facing our world now is WHEN killing a bad guy is justified, and it is appropriate our era’s films should chew on that. Even the excellent Star Trek Into Darkness [SPOILER] hinted Spock might have killed the villain after catching him near the end, whaling on him down on Earth. Spock’s rage was stopped short and redirected by Uruha saying they need the villain to resurrect Kirk. In fact, that entire film’s meta is the question ‘When should we break rules, and when should we not, and why?’. All permutations of rule-keeping and rule-breaking are on display during the Star Trek-II film, with the coda of Spock saying, “I will leave it to your good judgment” — meaning there is no black/white rule “Never Break Rules” — one must develop good judgment, which is our Human Condition.

    Right now there is fierce public debate whether it is right to drone terrorists to prevent them the chance of raining down their terror. Also controversial is whether extensive monitoring of the public should be employed to avoid terrorism. Personally, I think both droning and data-mining are appropriate in our world today, where bad guys don’t face each other on the field of battle; instead they melt into the multitudinous crowd, then strike. Terror plots don’t foil themselves, and think of how we’d be clamoring for MORE protection if those fifty or so foiled plots described by the NSA hadn’t been stopped.

    In ‘Man of Steel’, Zod eluded being sucked back into the ‘Phantom Zone’/Singularity. After that, there could be no resolution for him other than death, no cage to hold him. And, as others have pointed out, a Superman who suffers the anguish of killing Zod, will have internalized the proscription against killing, and will go to great lengths in the future to avoid doing it again. In future films, we will understand why he does so, and we will relate to his struggle to find non-murderous resolution. After all, the question of Capital Punishment is another debate our world is having. ‘Man of Steel’ offers a truly 21st century Superman, embroiled in the profound moral dilemmas of our time.

  • Mike

    Zod became the bad guy to earth only for the fact that he wanted to destroy us to bring back krypton, but he was not a bad guy when it came down to what he was trying to do. He tried to prevent his planets destruction and the loss of its society and failed. Had he sided with Jor El they may have pulled it off. But who would not try to bring ther planet back. Now why could he not have used the device to tera form mars or another planet is the real question. I think his state of mind was just geared to bringing back what he lost, to not feel alone. I do feel for Zod, he was not a bad guy but a man who chose the wrong path. Superman had it bad as well, he had to kill what he thinks is the last of his people and the last chance for kryptons survival, and now he is alone-ish. Zod basicly did a suicide by cop/Kel El. The movie was great. Better than most superman movies out. I give the movie a A or thumbs up.

  • JuneBug81

    There is a central moral difference between Zod’s mission to resurrect Kryptonian life and Superman’s to protect human life.

    The beneficiaries of Zod’s mission are already dead. They died tragically. But they died. The beneficiaries of Superman’s mission are still alive. If you eliminate the distinction between Kryptonian life and Terran life and simply view both as “sapient life,” then assuming you adhere to a set of principles or moral rules that define the protection of life as “good,” protecting the currently living beings from destruction if at all possible is clearly the most moral decision.

    That Zod isn’t inherently evil isn’t a conflict. It’s analogous to reality. Every tyrant believes that what they’re doing is right on some level. They feel fully justified in their actions. This does not make the immorality of their actions subjective unless you distinguish between “the people of planet A” and “the people of planet B,” rather than simply seeing both as “people.”

    If our only reason to siding with Superman is that he sides with us, then we are being self-interested, yes. But hypothetically if there were a third planet in play and he chose to save them instead of letting Zod terraform that planet as well, I’d still side with Superman. Because the safeguarding of life is his mission and in the context of this fiction, it’s moral.

    That’s my way out of this thoughtful moral quandary.

  • itbegins2005

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    I’m sorry. Let me rephrase that.

    This is a stupid argument. Just absolutely, unequivocally stupid.

    General Zod is not a hero (or, for that matter, an anti-hero). To ANYONE. The people that he’s trying to protect are already dead. And in order to resurrect them (despite the natural course of their cultural evolution leading them to destruction), he’s mortgaging the lives of an entire ecosystem of creatures– he’s killing not just humans, but EVERYTHING ON THE PLANET. And did I mention humans, as well? Because that’s not something you can just brush off.

    The most absurd thing in this entire article is when the author writes, “Ignoring the fact that it was destroying our own planet for one second, Superman actually says ‘Krypton had its chance.’”

    Uhhh, no!

    You don’t just IGNORE the fact that Zod is trying to murder everyone on the planet! Nor can you claim that Superman isn’t morally justified in destroying the ship to stop him– that vital bit of context COMPLETELY alters the ethical equation. Yes, his actions mean that Krypton can never live again, but snuffing out the potential for their lives also means SAVING AN ENTIRE PLANET of living, intelligent beings– a planet that ZOD placed in the crossfire, forcing Clark to choose one over the other rather than allowing both to live and coexist peacefully.

    Here’s a question for you: if Zod is simply looking out for his own people, and isn’t an evil guy when you look at him from a different perspective, then why didn’t he choose to terraform… oh, I don’t know– MARS?!?

    The fact is, Zod is a fascist, xenophobic, genocidal madman. He’s a Kryptonian supremacist. The fact that he was molded into this by his society and his genetic composition makes him sympathetic (as does the fantastic performance by Michael Shannon), but it doesn’t make him morally sound. Whether it’s for the betterment of Krypton or not, he’s still trying to kill people. And while Superman was forced to choose between the two unsavory options foisted upon him by a lunatic– watching an entire planet die to resurrect a single dead species, or throwing away the hopes of bringing them back in order to protect a people that cannot protect themselves– you’d better BELIEVE he made the right choice.

    • itbegins2005

      And BTW, who’s to say Supes would never be able to rebuild the Genesis Chamber? Maybe– JUST MAYBE– the remains of the scout ship could be salvaged and reverse-engineered by Earth scientists (once Kal gains the trust of Humanity, of course), allowing him to extract the genetic sequences from his cells and resurrect Krypton WITHOUT killing everything on Earth. Just like his father wanted him to do IN THE FIRST PLACE. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  • itbegins2005

    Oh, and one more thing: Jor-El is not at fault for Zod’s attack on the Earth. Frankly, Jor-El couldn’t possibly have known that Zod would even be around to attempt such a thing!

    Think about it: when Jor-El sent the ship to Earth, Zod was in the midst of a coup. How could Jor know that Zod would lose? How could he know that Zod would end up in the Phantom Zone– the EXACT PLACE he would have to be to survive the destruction of Krypton? Had Zod won his little war, he’d probably have been dead before he could mount an expedition to find Kal– Krypton’s spacefleet was mothballed, remember? How could he predict that Zod would (or even COULD) convert a prison ship into an interstellar spacecraft?

    And how could he know that Zod would even be able to trace Kal to Earth? The Phantom Drive was untraceable– basically a teleporter that popped Kal in our solar system without leaving a trail. The only way Zod found Superman was because he accidentally triggered a distress beacon… on a ship Jor-El couldn’t have predicted his son would even find?

    For an article examining the moral implications of a film, this sure does miss the logical ones.

  • itbegins2005

    Okay, okay… last point: the buildings Superman “wantonly” tossed Zod through? They were EMPTY.

    The Kryptonian ship had been attacking downtown Metropolis for at least a half-hour to an hour before Supes and co. sent everybody to the Phantom Zone– it was enough time for Supes to fly to the Indian Ocean and back, and for the Air Force to scramble an entire fleet from an air base which we never see, but I don’t think was too close to Metropolis. You can’t tell me emergency services weren’t working to evacuate Metropolis in that time– hell, we even see them in the street directing people to safety! Would anyone be stupid enough to stay in their office buildings while all this crap was going on?

    So when Supes and Zod start careening though offices, we even see that every office they pass through is deserted. And Superman would know this (because he has super-senses, of course), so he did his best to put Zod down in mid-air, slamming him into whatever he could find, rather than taking the fight back down to ground level (which Zod only forced him to do when he chucked a satellite at him and started whaling on him at re-entry).

    Any collateral damage that occurs in the film is primarily due to the fact that Superman can’t control the fight with Zod– he’s up against an opponent just as strong as he is, and with DECADES of combat experience, whereas he’d never even thrown a single punch before that day. So when Supes and he end up flying down into the midst of innocent civilians, Supes tries to keep the fight going fast and furious– so Zod won’t have the time to murder any innocent bystanders, as he’s already threatened to do. I don’t know about you, but that definitely sounds like a hero to me.

    Alright! That’s enough ranting for me today. I just get a little touchy when people call out a film for failings that fall apart when you pay closer attention to the movie.