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Superman Is Not The Bad Guy

Pictured: Not the Bad Guy

I don’t want to step on the toes of my esteemed colleague, but one of the things that the release of Batman vs. Superman has brought (along with some truly scathing reviews from journalists now released from their NDA) is more information about how “visionary director” Zack Snyder sees the world. And this information needs to be shared, because it’s legitimately scary.

We already knew from the reaction to Man of Steel that Snyder thinks that Superman needed to kill in order to learn that killing was wrong. This is news to me; I thought that perhaps one could figure that out from basic empathy or perhaps reasoning by extrapolation rather than direct experience. But according to an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Superman killing is ok because:

I went, really? And I said, well, what about [Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens]? In Star Wars they destroy five planets with billions of people on them. That’s gotta be one of the highest death toll movies in history, the new Star Wars movie, if you just do the math.

This is genuinely bizarre for two reasons. First, Snyder seems to think that we’re mad at him personally for killing fictional people, when the problem people had is that he didn’t film Superman trying to save anyone. Second, in The Force Awakens, the “they” who are destroying entire planets are bad guys, and shown as such:

And while I can’t believe I have to say this, but Superman is not the bad guy, he’s the good guy. One of the ways we tell bad guys from good guys in movies is that good guys try to rescue people. Superman especially is known for it – in his first appearance in Action Comics #1, he saves a guy who’s on death row from being unjustly executed; in his first film appearance in 1978, he saves Lois Lane from a helicopter crash.

But hey, I hear there’s a book that explains that altruism is for losers.

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