When audiences walked out of the theater after seeing “Man of Steel,” many of them wondered why so many people had to die, and so much destruction had to be done, during Superman’s (Henry Cavill) battle with Zod (Michael Shannon). After all, Superman is usually opposed to people dying. Saving innocents from death is sort of what superheroes do. However, director Zack Snyder says the death count, which is estimated at about 129,000, helps tell the story.
While speaking to the Japan Times to promote the film’s release in that country, Snyder says, “I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling.” What does that mean, exactly? Snyder continues, “In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence.”
He says that the United States doesn’t have “that legacy of ancient mythology” and that Superman is about as close as it gets. “It’s a way of recounting the myth,” Snyder explains. The reasoning leaves a little to be desired. It’s easy to tell a story of the scope shown in “Man of Steel” without killing over 100,000 innocent people. It could even be easily explained that citizens were being evacuated, and still impact the audience. Instead, America’s most well-known superhero is partially responsible for it’s worst loss of life in history.
Perhaps it will be addressed in the movie’s sequel, when an older and more experienced Batman (Ben Affleck) joins the story.