Man of Steel has been undergoing a slow, critical rehabilitation for some time. On its initial release, die-hard DC fans were intensely critical of its serious-minded examination of Clark Kent/Superman, with the desaturated color palette, destruction of Metropolis in the final battle, and philosophical pondering.
Fortunately, many of those voices have died down, Man of Steel‘s qualities are being appreciated, and there’s near-constant fan interest in bringing Cavill back to the DCEU. But there’s one story aspect the fans just can’t stop arguing about: Superman snapping Zod’s neck.
This comes after the fully-powered up Zod has demonstrated he won’t stop murdering innocent people, and as his heat vision slowly burns towards a cowering family. With no other options, Superman does what’s necessary. Now, a poster on r/DC_Cinematic has laid out why his hand was forced:
Many of the replies agree, though the counterpoint is that those reasons are only there because the writers decided it had to be that way. After all, they could have crow-barred a Phantom Zone projector into the script, or even introduced some form of Kryptonite a little earlier.
We like one poster who argues that Zod wanted to die. At this point in the movie, the Kryptonian terraforming machines and birthing matrix are both destroyed, ending Zod’s dream of recreating Krypton on Earth. After that, he doesn’t have much to live for, can’t easily commit suicide, and likely finds a strange satisfaction in his death coming at the hands of a fellow Kryptonian.
But, as we know from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Zod wouldn’t be allowed to rest easy as his body was the foundation for the creation of Doomsday. But that’s a story for another day.
Man of Steel is available to stream on HBO Max.