This article contains SPOILERS for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you haven't seen it yet, it's probably not a big deal. Just see Zootopia instead.

batman v superman

It can't be easy being Zack Snyder. When you head up a project as massive as the first-ever Batman/Superman movie, there's always going to be a million eyes judging everything you do. That kind of immense pressure may have contributed to the... underwhelming end product when it came to Dawn of Justice. Combined with the assuredly endless press interviews and junkets, it was inevitable that Snyder might slip up and let a few odd soundbytes into the wild. But as the campaign for BvS went on, it became clear that Snyder not only is unrepentant in the face of criticism, but seems to have doubled down many of his mistakes. No one's blaming him for defending his films (which, to be clear, are the work of many many people in a vast collaboration), but the way he's been going about that has verged on the nonsensical. Let's take a look of some examples.

 

1. Snyder compared Superman destroying Metropolis to blowing up planets in The Force Awakens

zack snyder star wars

Easily the biggest complaint about Man of Steel revolved around the unbelievable destruction during the climactic fight scene. As any comic fan will gladly tell you behind a cloud of white-hot spittle, Superman never once tries to steer his epic fight with Zod into an unpopulated area. Even after emerging victorious, Supes seems more preoccupied with Lois Lane smooches than say, helping with the first-response effort of Metropolis' own Quintuple-9/11. 

And to be fair, someone at Warner Bros must have heard, because Dawn of Justice goes to great lengths to ensure that you know the new earth-shattering fight with a godlike foe doesn't have any casualties. The movie even opens with another view of the Man of Steel fight, seen from Bruce Wayne's perspective. It's suitably terrifying, and all in all one of the highlights of BvS.

batman v superman

In the end it's still a little unbelievable that Doomsday's mini-nuke tantrums didn't hurt anyone in the explosive Dawn of Justice finale, but we can give the movie the benefit of the doubt there. It would seem that Snyder conceded the point about Man of Steel, but on the eve of BvS' release he took everything back in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Snyder was mystified when someone told him that they couldn't think of a movie in recent memory that's had as much collateral damage as "Man of Steel." "I went, really? And I said, well, what about ['Star Wars: The Force Awakens']?" the director says. "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 troubling on many levels. For one, Zack Snyder seems to have a different definition of "collateral damage" than the rest of the world. Collateral damage is incidental to the damage being inflicted; in the case of The Force Awakens, collateral damage would be a spaceship that got blown up after being hit by debris from a destroyed planet. 

But mostly, it's the fact that it was THE BAD GUYS who were responsible for silencing those billions of lives. While Kylo Ren and The First Order deliberately fired the Starkiller weapon at those five worlds in an act of mass genocide, Rey and Finn were on another world entirely.

kylo ren starkiller

It's simply incredible that Snyder doesn't seem to understand that it's not the death toll itself that people are upset with -- and I can't believe I have to explain this -- but it's that the "good guy" in Man of Steel doesn't seem to care about innocents being killed as a direct result of his actions. Nobody flinched when Germans kill Allied soldiers in Saving Private Ryan, because it's World War II and they're god damned Nazis, but audiences would have been upset if All-American Hero Tom Hanks blew away an orphanage to get back at the bastards. 

Who are we kidding, we can't stay mad at Tom Hanks.

 

2. A truly bizarre "explanation" for why Batman kills people in BvS

ben affleck batman

Over the years, many different iterations of Batman have broken the "one rule" and resorted to killing as a means to an end. Snyder's Bruce Wayne isn't even the first of the modern cinematic Batmen to do dirty; that honor goes to Tim Burton's dynamite-happy caped crusader. You could even argue that the Ben Affleck Bats has a better motivation for murder, seeing as his version of the character has been crimefighting for decades and is likely tired of seeing the inefficiency of nonlethal methods. Heck, he probably regrets sticking to what The Punisher would call "half-measures," since coming up with a more permanent solution for the Joker may have saved Robin's life. 

ben affleck batman

There's nothing inherently wrong about a Dark Knight that goes all the way, but that hasn't stopped Zack Snyder from insisting that the Batman in BvS technically isn't killing people, even though he totally is.

So, I tried to do it by proxy. Shoot the car they're in, the car blows up or the grenade would go off in the guy's hand, or when he shoots the tank and the guy pretty much lights the tank [himself].

Destroying a car that happens to have a person inside isn't killing "by proxy" -- it's straight-up murder. If someone sets fire to an IHOP, that arsonist is responsible for the deaths of the diners who are burned alive in front of their Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruitys. Likewise, when Batman shoots the gas tank on that guy's back and it explodes into a massive fireball, Batman is responsible for the lives of the goons killed in that massive fireball.

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There is room for a Batman who would happily immolate a shitbag if it meant saving an innocent life. John McClane kills a dozens terrorists in Nakitomi Plaza and it doesn't make him any less of a hero -- just a different kind of hero. And yet, Snyder still goes out of his way to excuse Batman's actions.

I perceive it as him not killing directly, but if the bad guys are associated with a thing that happens to blow up, he would say that that's not really my problem.

The logic here is nothing short of mind-boggling. Following this line of thinking, Batman could throw a knife at Two-Face and then blame him for putting his forehead in the way.

And it only gets more infuriating from here.