David S. Goyer doesn't believe in the "Superman doesn't kill" rule when it comes to film
SPOILERS: If you live in a cave and haven't seen MAN OF STEEL then be warned there are major spoilers discussed here. Best steer clear.
Personally speaking, I thought MAN OF STEEL was the movie to beat this summer, but many felt differently, especially with the controversial ending that involved Superman taking a life. For comic fans and Superman "traditionalists" it was a move that bordered (or crossed) the line of blasphemy. For others, it wasn't a big deal given the circumstances of the story. Either way, the death caused controversy and many turned to both director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer to unleash some fan fury. While speaking at last night's BATFA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture, Goyer addressed the issue, controversy, and reasoning behind Superman on film taking a life.
"We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial," Goyer said. "It's not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren't just doing it to be cool. We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice.
"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. "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.
"Also our movie was in a way Superman Begins, he's not really Superman until the end of the film. 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 idolise him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."
Interesting stuff. I know some will feel that Goyer is wrong and that he's betraying tradition, but I tend to agree here. It's not like Superman goes on an intentional murderous rampage (we just call that destruction at the end collateral damage, right?) and I think that the choice was clear within the context of the story. Zod had to die. Plus, I didn't want to deal with him in the sequels, so it all works out.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Goyer's statements?
Man of Steel hits Blu-ray/DVD and digital download on November 12, 2013.