I’ve had it with the fanboys. The real problem with Dawn of Justice and Man of Steel isn’t how Snyder has portrayed Superman or Batman, it’s how he has portrayed us. The Epic of Gilgamesh has a scene where the Mesopotamian goddess of love is enraged at the titular hero for denying her advances. Gilgamesh had pointed out that all of her previous lovers had met with a rather tragic end, i.e. she disposed of them once she was done with them. So she goes to her father screaming, “He told me what I did to my face!” (Paraphrase) We are that goddess to Snyder’s Gilgamesh.
Let me start with the number one complaint, Superman killed Zod in MOS. Was it shocking to see Supes break Zod’s neck, yes. It was meant to. Not because it was out of character, but because Henry Cavill made us feel Superman’s pain with that primal scream.
Please note that Superman has straight up murdered Zod in every single iteration of the character regardless of medium (except the 90’s animated series which threw him into the Phantom Zone). In the comics Superman de-powered all three and killed them using Kryptonite, why? Because if their powers came back no one could stop their devastation and humanity would be wiped out… kinda sounds like Afleck’s Batman, doesn’t it? In Superman 2 he permanently depowers them, crushes Zod’s hand to powder, and them throws him off a cliff. Let me reiterate: Zod was permanently depowered. Supes only got his powers back because Brando gave them to him, and I don’t think Zod or his posse brought their holographic space daddies with them. Zod was no longer a threat and Christopher Reeves smiles while he executes all three of them. No, it was not killing a murderous Zod who was actively trying to commit genocide that we had a problem with, it was the fact that it bothered him.
Everyone has been pointing to "All-Star Superman" (which I love) and saying that’s who Superman is, not Snyder’s “Emo-Superman.” But what is the difference between MOS/BvS and "All Star?" The ordinary people. In "All-Star Superman" everyone loves and trusts Superman, the only one who resents him is Lex Luthor, but in the Snyder-verse NO ONE trusts or even knows what to do with Superman. Snyder has used Superman to hold a mirror up to us and that bothers us. We’re used to seeing the best of us in the people around Superman. Those characters that fawn all over him and trust him because he’s the good guy and we all deserve to be saved by this good-looking alien who asks nothing of us. Instead, Snyder has said, “Firstly, we should feel the suffering he endures to help us, and no, in the real world (we’re clamoring to see on screen) people would fear/hate him or worship him.”
If you doubt me, look at the election. I don’t care which candidate you discuss, all are presented as either God’s sovereign gift to mankind or they are baby-eating reptilian aliens. No one says, “Hey, maybe they are all flawed humans trying to do the best they can. Let’s see whose ideas are the best.” Snyder even points this out in BvS when Superman saves the rocket capsule, there is a phone interview where a voice says, “Maybe he isn’t a god or the devil, but a guy trying to do the best he can.”
Ultimately, Snyder’s movies remind us that we are petty and small, that we aren’t people who are good and deserve to be rescued. Rather Snyder has given us the most inspirational Superman we have ever gotten, a flawed human being who is trying to do the best he can, just as we should.
Lastly, I do think we’ll get more of the Superman we’re used to in the future, not because we screamed for it, but because in the film (spoiler alert) Superman’s sacrifice made everyone realize that he was willing to die to save them. That in spite of everything, he still fought to do the right thing, and that is very much a Superman thing to do.