If you haven’t already caught the biggest June box-office opening of all time, you’ve no doubt witnessed the division of critics’ opinions over Zack Snyder‘s Superman reboot, “Man of Steel.” As much as a sequel is secured, the film is certainly a mixed bag, as we discussed yesterday in our look at its strengths and weaknesses; but while one of the latter gripes focused on the ending — spoilers, naturally — during the climactic Metropolis fight between General Zod (Michael Shannon) and Superman (Henry Cavill), now a few perspectives closer to the material have spoken up on the bold decision.
After their spoiler-filled podcast discussion on “Man of Steel,” Empire Magazine also devoted some time at the end to speak with Snyder and the film’s writer, David S. Goyer. They touched on the many tweaks to Superman’s origin story in the film, including the signature outfit and Clark’s foster parents, but it is clear from both that the decision to kill off Zod with a swift snap of the neck — therefore breaking Superman’s “No Killing” rule — did not come easily.
“In the original version of the script, Zod just got zapped into the Phantom Zone,” Snyder explains on the podcast, “But David, Chris and I had long talks about it, and I said that I really feel like we should kill Zod, and that Superman should kill him. The ‘Why?’ of it for me was that if was truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained… I wanted to create a scenario where Superman, either he’s going to see [Metropolis’ citizens] chopped in half, or he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do.”
Goyer agreed with Snyder on the idea, but there remained one behind-the-scenes holdout, and not a lightweight one either: producer Christopher Nolan. “[Chris] originally said, ‘There’s no way you can do this.’ After checking in with DC Comics about the change, to which they responded positively, Goyer was spurred forward. “I came up with this idea of heat vision and these people about to die, and I wrote the scene, gave it to Chris, and he said, ‘Okay you’ve convinced me.’ ”
While Goyer and Snyder may have won over Nolan in the end, comics writer Mark Waid (of “Superman: Birthright” fame) was in fact thoroughly enraged by the result. Waid wrote in his scathing review, “Some crazy guy in front of us was muttering ‘Don’t do it…don’t do it…DON’T DO IT…’ and then Superman snapped Zod’s neck and that guy stood up and said in a very loud voice, ‘THAT’S IT, YOU LOST ME, I’M OUT,’ and his girlfriend had to literally pull him back into his seat and keep him from walking out and that crazy guy was me.”
You can read the rest of Waid’s out-of-body experience over at Thrillbent (via Cinema Blend), and if you haven’t weighed in on the durability of an Earth-bound Krypton neck, let us know your thoughts below.