One of the louder criticisms from this summers Man of Steel was the destruction of a large section downtown Metropolis in the third act (spoiler.) The damage that Superman and his nemesis, Zod, wreaked upon the fictional east coast city was massive, there is no arguing that. Back in June Buzzfeed enlisted some experts to tally up cost of the Kryptonian slap fight and they came up with a staggering $2 trillion Dollars including more than half a million Metropolites dead or presumed dead. Some have rationalized that most of the buildings appeared empty meaning the city was mostly evacuated. Zod did give a 24 hour heads up -surely many people made it out alive, right? Hundreds of thousands dead or missing was probably more like 10’s of thousands… right?
Wrong. Apparently the death toll was staggering, and Director Zack Snyder says that was part of the message in the movie. Talking with the Japan Times, Synder dropped this bomb:
“I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling. 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. In America, we don’t have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman (who first appeared in ‘Action Comics’ in 1938) is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”
To play devils advocated here, I think I can see where Snyder is going with this. There is no arguing that the final battle was epic in scope and while Superman seemed oblivious to the civilians below, we definitely see them on screen and since they are CGI we know they are there purpose. If his intention was to have this massive disaster be apart of his rebooting of the Superman myth, maybe that means we’ll see the last son of Krypton dealing with the aftermath in the forthcoming sequel.
As a small addendum, I still feel that he could have had his massive explosion cake and ate it too with one simple scene. Superman fans wanted to see Superman be Superman, even in this newer, modernized, ‘realistic,’ iteration. All Snyder needed to do was have a scene where the big blue boy scout smacks Zod away (through a building even, since Zack seems to love that kinda stuff) to buy time to save a little girl from being crushed by a bus. My guess is that would have even turned Mark Waid back from hating this new Synderman version of the man of tomorrow.