Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer knew the ending of Man of Steel would be controversial, but the screenwriter insists they weren't setting out to shock -- or outrage, as the case may be -- fans.
Warning: Spoilers follow for those who haven't seen, or read much about, the Warner Bros. franchise reboot.
"It's not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren't just doing it to be cool," Digital Spy quotes Goyer as saying at last night's BATFA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture. "We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice."
The impossible choice was, of course, what to do with a murderous General Zod set on revenge following the defeat of his Phantom Zone forces. In the end, Superman snapped his neck.
"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,'" Goyer explained. "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."
However, that's not to say the Man of Steel will keep breaking the rule -- or his opponents' necks -- which should come as good news to Ben Affleck's Batman.
"We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films," Goyer offered. "Because he's Superman and because people idolize him, he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."