David Goyer Defends Decision To Let Superman Kill, Says 'Man Of Steel' Is Basically 'Superman Begins'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
September 24, 2013 1:11 PM
9 Comments
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One of the most controversial points of the already uneven "Man Of Steel" this past summer, was the decision (spoiler alert) to have Superman kill General Zod. Christopher Nolan wasn't initially a fan of taking it in that direction (early drafts had Zod sent to the Phantom Zone instead), while comics writer Mark Waid (of “Superman: Birthright” fame) was nothing short of enraged by what he saw in theaters. But speaking at the BATFA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture last night, writer David S. Goyer defended his choice to put blood on the hands of Clark Kent.

"This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers—'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film," he explained. "So the situation was, Zod says 'I'm not going to stop until you kill me or I kill you.' The reality is no prison on the planet could hold him and in our film Superman can't fly to the moon, and we didn't want to come up with that crutch."

In short, it seems that in providing a grittier reality that we've seen for Superman, Goyer and co. were aiming for a grittier resolution to the fate of Zod as well. And the writer also makes it clear that it's a difficult lesson for the emerging superhero and one that will resonate in "Superman Vs. Batman" and beyond. "Also our movie was in a way 'Superman Begins,' he's not really Superman until the end of the film," he said. "We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."

It's some pretty rich thematic stuff, and while diehard Superman fans may lament their hero being flawed on the big screen, it does make for a deeper storytelling experience. How that will resonate when Superman faces Batman we'll have to wait and see. That movie arrives on July 17, 2015. [DigitalSpy]



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9 Comments

  • Donella | September 26, 2013 4:04 PMReply

    Agreed. Poor, lazy writing.

    Goyer should have listened to Nolan. But its not the first time Goyer's worn his ass on his shoulders [Blade:Trinity].

    Maybe the not listening part is why Nolan/Christian Bale declined participation with Batman vs. Superman.

  • hank | September 24, 2013 3:33 PMReply

    Oh yeah, it's really "some rich thematic stuff." so thematic, so rich, so creamy.

  • Luke | September 24, 2013 2:20 PMReply

    Well, ok. I think the real problem of this film was the editing.

  • TheoC | September 24, 2013 2:16 PMReply

    he killed Zod he obliterated cities, reality shouldn't play a part in this, but I would have loved if it felt like a Superman film.

  • millie | September 24, 2013 2:15 PMReply

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  • Nemo | September 24, 2013 1:57 PMReply

    in reality? this is a Superman movie; hence, the reality argument is bunk. it was lazy writing, plain and simple. the film would have been memorable if Superman, with the help of the US military, lois, lex luthor, Krypto the Superdog, for all i care, found a way to defeat Zod without killing him. Superman as the ideal for humanity to strive toward (All-Star Superman fan here) is conceptually brilliant and worthy of portraying on film. Superman that kills? not so much.

    no prison can hold him? simple fix: MAKE ONE UP!

  • No | September 24, 2013 1:24 PMReply

    "The reality is no prison on the planet could hold him..." Not even one made with kryptonite?

  • SOL | September 24, 2013 5:59 PM

    I won't claim to understand how their super-strength works, but, I thought it had to do with our sun, whether the light (they always make a big deal out of it being 'yellow') or radiation or whatever. So how about a box that none of that stuff can penetrate? Wouldn't that do it?

  • YES | September 24, 2013 1:33 PM

    There wasn't kryptonite in Man of Steel. As far as anyone was concerned, no one in the movie knew it existed. So Goyer is right.

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