‘Man Of Steel’ Director Explains Film’s Mass Destruction As Myth-Building

by Brett White

Whatever your thoughts on the kinda divisive Man of Steel,” you have to admit that the film had it’s fair share of destruction and (at least implied) death. I had my own thoughts about “Man of Steel’s” big finale, where I wondered why a movie about Superman was so bogged down in mass destruction. Now director Zack Snyder has talked to the Japan Times about just why so many buildings got knocked down in “Man of Steel.”

“I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling,” said the director. “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 is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”

So it seems like Snyder is explaining away many critics’ “Man of Steel” hate as not being up on the particular myths he was referencing. Personally, I think that the exclusion of scenes of Superman trying to save every citizen in Metropolis only makes Snyder’s apparent desire to include ancient myth-building traditions more frustrating. He substituted Superman myth—the inspirational hero who saves people—for Greek and Japanese myth—which apparently uses mass deaths to symbolize disasters. But my nitpicky comments aside, it is a bit of a relief to know that Snyder was going for something with the action scenes—something other than just evoking 9/11 imagery.

Snyder also explained a bit of the Judeo-Christian themes found in the film as well.

“A very large part of Superman has stayed on Krypton, but he can’t leave his adopted country because if he does the whole world could be destroyed,” said Snyder. “If he steps in to save everyone, he’ll never be accepted as a normal guy. It’s not an easy choice. Because after all that sacrifice, what does humanity have to offer Clark? You have to admit, it’s not much. In one scene, a priest tells Clark to take a ’leap of faith.’ And that’s pretty much it for Superman.”

You can check out the rest of the lengthy interview over at the Japan Times.

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