Zack Snyder Defends The Destruction In Man of Steel
While Man of Steel was one of the most popular movies of 2013, it was also subjected to far more criticism than the year’s other major blockbusters (Gravity, Despicable Me 2, Frozen, Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). A big reason for this is director Zack Snyder’s tendency to stage action sequences—particularly the ending—with maximum collateral damage. Reviewing the film’s destruction, professional disaster experts estimated that 129,000 people died and 275,000 were left missing, not to mention the $700 billion in physical damage. The common criticism is that Snyder (who also directed Watchmen) is too casual about casualties, but the director sees things differently.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Snyder (who is currently hard at work on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) suggests that there was nothing casual or accidental about his approach. “I was surprised because that’s the thesis of Superman for me,” he explains. “You can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.”
Snyder turns the debate around, pointing his finger at the superhero movies that keep the human toll of their destruction out of view. “That’s not us,” he says. “What is that message? That’s it’s okay that there’s this massive destruction with zero consequence for anyone? That’s what Watchmen was about in a lot of ways too. There was a scene, that scene where Dan and Laurie get mugged. They beat up the criminals. I was like the first guy, I want to show his arm get broken. I want a compound fracture. I don’t want it to be clean. I want you to go, ‘Oh my God, I guess you’re right. If you just beat up a guy in an alley he’s not going to just be lying on the ground. It’s going to be messy.’”
For his part, Batman v Superman star Ben Affleck takes Snyder’s side. “One of the things I liked was Zack’s idea of showing accountability and the consequences of violence and seeing that there are real people in those buildings,” he says, adding that some of those anonymous victims may be fleshed out in future movies. “In fact, one of those buildings was Bruce Wayne’s building, so he knew people who died in that Black Zero event.”