'Man of Steel's' Death Toll Is Mythic, According to Zack Snyder

Have a problem with "Man of Steel's" massive destruction? You shouldn't, according to director Zack Snyder, as it's perfectly in keeping with the mythical roots of the character.
Warner Bros.

When it was released this summer, Man of Steel came in for a lot of criticism for the sheer carnage -- and civilian death toll -- that resulted from the movie's climactic battle between Kal-El and Zod's forces. With the movie about to open in Japan, director Zack Snyder has explained his reasons for the high level of destruction on display.

"I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling," Snyder told The Japan Times in an interview. "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."

Hopefully this isn't a hint that Snyder intends to have large swaths of people die in each Man of Steel installment just to keep up some idea of a mythical scale (Ben Affleck, only your Batman can save us now!), especially since, elsewhere in the same interview, the director suggests that the true Superman story is something much smaller and more personal.

RELATED: Fan 'Man of Steel 2' Trailer Will Make You Believe in Batfleck (Video)

"In many ways, Clark Kent's dilemma is the American dilemma," he said. "Wherever we're from, we all have this very strong desire for acceptance. When he's young, most of Clark Kent's efforts are directed toward being like everyone else. So the fact that he's not like everyone and never will be is very difficult for him to accept. … If he steps in to save everyone, he'll never be accepted as a normal guy."

Maybe not as a normal guy, but when he runs into another superhero who's sacrificed his "regular" life to save the day on a recurring basis, perhaps he'll find himself accepted into a brotherhood … or even a league, if you will. Stay strong, Superman. Better days are on their way.