Man of Steel's Hidden Detail Reveal Redeems Its Most Controversial Scene 10 Years Later
Superman wasn't so cold-blooded after all.
Man of Steel is the beginning of the character – we see how he discovers his abilities and learns to master them. Zack Snyder’s Superman is inexperienced, scared, he has just survived his first flight, and has to fight more experienced Kryptonians who want to destroy everything he cares about.
He makes mistakes, stumbles, and his mistakes are paid for with human lives, which Snyder never lets us forget. It's a very realistic portrayal of what it really means to be a hero, the sacrifices you have to make, and how you can’t win without them.
However, this approach to Superman caused a lot of criticism from fans of the superhero. What remains most controversial is the fact that Superman, fighting General Zod, never tried to take the fight out of the city, which resulted in innocent people getting hurt.
Yes, the filmmakers have said many times that Clark has not yet fully mastered his powers and is not yet the Superman he will become. But still, the first thing any self-respecting superhero should do is reduce the number of potential civilian casualties.
As it turns out, at least some of those charges against Superman can be dropped. Man of Steel storyboard artist Jay Oliva took to his Twitter account ten years later to reveal details that seem to somewhat exonerate Clark Kent.
According to Oliva's commentary, in the scene where a tanker truck explodes, causing the building to collapse, there were be no casualties because there were no people there at all:
“I came up with that scene and had no bystanders anywhere shown and used an empty parking lot for said destruction. If you want to believe that there’s people in there then that’s on you but not what’s in the film or what was intended.”
This does improve the ending of Man of Steel, as it makes sense why Superman didn't try to save the civilians. However, we still must not forget a number of scenes in which both Zod and Superman destroy buildings during their fight, which inevitably leads to casualties.
Source: Jay Oliva on X