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David S. Goyer Discusses 'Man of Steel's' Controversial Ending

The movie's writer shares his expanded thoughts on the polarizing moment and what it means for Superman.

*Obviously contains Man of Steel spoilers*

Man of Steel's conclusion with General Zod has been the subject of a lot of heated debate (and that's putting it lightly). Since the film's release, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer have all spoken about the shocking moment, but now writer David S. Goyer is giving even more information on the scene. Speaking at the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture, Goyer shared his thoughts on the no kill rule and why he believes Kal had to take Zod's life.

"We were pretty sure that was going to be controversial. It's not like we were deluding ourselves, and we weren't just doing it to be cool. We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice.

This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers - 'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film.

So the situation was, Zod says 'I'm not going to stop until you kill me or I kill you.' The reality is no prison on the planet could hold him and in our film Superman can't fly to the moon, and we didn't want to come up with that crutch.

Additionally, Goyer states the action will indeed have a lasting impact on Clark.

"Also our movie was in a way Superman Begins, he's not really Superman until the end of the film. We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."

In case you're wondering, the Man of Steel blu-ray/DVD will come out November 12th.

Source: Digital Spy

242 Comments
Posted by Krazy_Carmine

I agree this is the part in life were people need to just calm down and enjoy a awesome film...the mere fact thats how Zod was defeated in the original Superman (Christopher Reeve) they need to make different endings...Plus lets be honest IMO i believe you need to kill off these popular/main villains because honestly these films can go on forever then look at the Dark Knight films, Two-Face dead, Bane dead, Talia dead and no open ending there if Damian will be born to become Robin...Superman no kill rule lets just take it as the rule applies only for him not to do it on us humans, alien species that are capable of destroying cities by sneezing i think Kal will sleep good at night

Edited by Mia26

@mister_sensational said:

@teclo:

COULD NOT AGREE MORE!!! That was very well said and thank you so much for posting that clip! I honestly don't know how anyone could watch Superman II, a movie many still consider the best Superman movie ever made (more so the best representation of Superman), knowing how it ends and have a problem with Man of Steel's ending! Though everybody is entitled to their own opinion many of the comments on here with their simple "Man of Steel sucked because Superman doesn't kill period!" illustrate a perfect example of Mob Psychology.

And it saddens me to say but you @g_man as far as THIS website goes is the head of the Man of Steel lynch mob and have been since the day the film was released.

No Superman II is not the greatest Superman movie, that would be Superman the movie. As for G- Man, he has his views as do you and everyone else, his not wrong to believe in a Superman that doesn't kill and neither do the other countless fans who have loved Superman throughout years.

Edited by therev_99

Even though i agree with Superman having to put Zod down can we please stop debating this. This topic seems to pop up every month and the same arguments are being thrown around its getting annoying.

Edited by The_Absolute

Lack of imagination. I loved 3/4 of the film, it's lack of imagination is what killed it - kinda like. . . nevermind. At any rate, "What if: Superman was a regular guy?" is the question that film asked and answered with child-like simplicity and creativity. What they failed to realize is that it's not what he can do that makes him "Super", it's what he chooses to do and the why he chooses to do it. But then again the movie wasn't called "Superman" it was called "Man of Steel". So, there you go.

Posted by Beerminator1

In the comics, the Kents usually teach young Clark about morals and stuff. And how to be a hero one day. This movie was much more realistic than that, the Kents really cared about Clark and didn't want him to be taken away, so they taught Clark to hide his powers. The Kent's lessons have usually been the corner stone of Clark's principles, in this movie, there had to be something that teaches Clark that killing is always wrong. This was the only way.

Man Of Steel = 2nd best comic book movie ever made.

Edited by Mia26

"This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers - 'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film." - David S Goyer.

Well given that Mr. Goyer used the plots, dialogue, scenes(he changed them a bit to not be called an outright cheat) from variuous Superman stories that were about a Superman that does NOT ... kill, let his dad die, provoke fights in small towns, show very little wisdom(given that is a 33 year old Superman), have little regard for casualties etc .... then YES you brilliant, genius,orginal man you should have been constrained to those "Outside" sources like Superman Earth One, Superman: Birthright, Superman: Secret Origin, and even All-Star Superman ... You FREAKING basically plagiarized the WHOLE FILM. Did Mr. Goyer have any ideas of his own that didn't over complicate an already Epic, beautiful, yet simple origin, or that didn't piss off fans or that didn't polorize the critics and the genearl audience .... NO ... all Mr. Goyer did was shit on the works of this great writers. Goyer got payed to write crap dialouge and change things a bit so he doesn't get called a cheat because the best lines or dialouge were straight out of the comics and the co- plotters were Waid and Straczynski and they didn't get a cent while he most likely got at the very least a million. So Goyer stay away from my hero you sad little man and next time don't rip off this great writers. I know Goyer doesn't really understand Superman and his barely fan so why did he write Superman ? Money, it's all about the money. Goyer does not understand Superman and that became clear when he insisted we believe in Superman as a "God" (from the annoying Jesus imagery and age).....

Clark : "Thank you ... "

Lois : "For what ?"

Clark: "For believing in me." ....

Nope Mr. Goyer you got it wrong, Superman doesn't need us to believe in him to give him strength or assurance. His not that type of person or "God", Mark Waid said it best "Gods achieve their power by encouraging us to believe in them. Superman achieves his power by believing in us."

Posted by YouRight12

The film made under 700 mil what percentage of that money came from die hard comic fans? probably 25% I'd say half(or more) of that 25% was really upset over Superman killing Zod and I truely believe even less of those people are out buying/suporting the Superman comics on a regular basis, or even were pre-reboot. It's like people who say they love their grandparents get mad when someone talks about them but never ever visit them or talk to them. I'm ok with the explaination I'm ok with the direction they're going(but still cautious) in the future movies. As a Superman fan since a child I wanted this movie to be good if not great and I was a little let down a first(partly because of the mixed recation) but when I watched it again and again I realized whatever mistakes they made in the first movie they can fix in the second, thats why its good it was so successful because we're getting a sequel and thats what I think people should be optimistic about.

Edited by E1000

Ow, there were characers in this movie ? I didn't see them. What I saw was a bunch a people punching each other and some very bad CGI to conclude te movie. Clark Kent became Superman ? Who was Clark Kent in that movie ? There's absolutely no insight to his pschology (apart from with the deat of his father, which is awesome). Who was Superman ? A freaking guy flying around that no one knows or cares about.

Same goes for Lois Lane. What an awful movie really.

Posted by MatteoPG

I find this a good reason. Think about people who didn't know the character. This movie is supposed to be for anyone, not only long time comic book fans. Not killing is an extreme choice if you fight dangers of that magnitude, it's not at all automatic, logic or easy. It was really really smart of them to give him an actual moment where he decides he shouldn't kill ever.

Hell, a lot of kids, when they are very little, go through some sort of first encounter with death before being able to perceive it as bad. Why wouldn't an alien god-boy who wanted to defend the whole planet?

I understand some people not liking it, but it's wrong to say that this is an absolutely non-sensical choice. It made a lot of sense for what this movie wanted to be. It's not made to be liked by everybody, it's just a different vision of such an extreme choice, that actually fits into how a good character arc should be written.

Also, I didn't hear people complaining this much about Batman killing enemies and abandoning his quest (8 years in his mansion... that's not the Batman from the comics), both very out of character in regard to the comic books, but fitting for the character, a different one, that Nolan wrote. And still, Batman has the exact rule followed with the same rigidity in the comics, and in the movie it would have been already justified by the trauma of his parents being murdered.

So, I understand if some of you didn't like it, but it's not like they did this unspeakable and unthinkable thing, if you think about it from the outside.

Posted by Beerminator1

@e1000: You must have been over 2 hours in the bathroom during the movie. Less than 7 minutes of the movie was actually fighting...

Edited by SuperBoyPrimeMa

Superman had to kill Zod, making this impossible act because the action had to be done. This situation is alot like the Batman and Joker complex. Joker just keeps coming back to kill. Okay, in this movie Zod isn't really a bad guy or villain. He is trying to save his race no matter the situation. There doesn't seem to be an alternative of saving the world and not killing Zod. With Zod's anger and determination he was too powerful for Superman to overpower without the action of killing him.

Posted by fodigg

@darthshap said:

@g_man:

They did not "sorta wrote themselves into a corner". Goyer is saying that it was 100% deliberate, that they wrote the corner so that he would have to kill...and it is completely idiotic.

Then he says this :

"We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."

First of all, you really do not need to take a life to realize killing is not OK. Superman is not a sociopath.

Secondly, what is this supposed to mean? That next time he is in this exact same situation he won't do the same thing? That he will let those people die? No, chances are, it means that the writers will not be putting him in this exact same situation where he has to kill again...which makes the entire scene completely pointless.

And the whole "I have too much integrity to write a scene just to be shocking" is complete BS. The guy wrote one Superman story in his life and it was about him renouncing his American citizenship (and I am not American).

completely agree...comic book Superman didn't need to learn that lesson because he was raised by parents that taught him that every life is sacred...not by the dickish Pa Kent in the movie who scolded him for saving a bus full of children

Good point.

Posted by Rossnrachel4ever

I have no problem with the execution of a tyrannical space nazi. My grandfather and his buddies killed many nazis in the war, nazis that probably weren't half as evil as Zod, and we call them the greatest generation. Zod deserved to die. That can be a hard thing to wrap your head around if all you know of evil comes from comic books and fantasy. Some people, through their actions, forfeit their right to life, and normally it's not as cut and dry like it was with Zod. The evidence of his crimes had been carved into the face of the Earth. This was meant to be a more realistic take on Superman and there is nothing realistic, or logical, about keeping Zod alive, even if some magical prison could have been erected. Putting down a rabid dog does not make you a psychopathic killer.

As for the destruction in Metropolis, in the Justice League cartoon cities were wrecked in such a way that massive loss of life was obvious, but no one cares about that at all.

I also think the guy whose truck Superman wrecked got off light. I hear people say that Superman ruined his lively hood. Why do we care if the jerk at the bar that harassed a waitress and poured beer on a man loses his means to make a living? That should happen every time someone acts like an A hole.

Edited by aaunderoath

ITT: people who completely ignored this quote "Zod says 'I'm not going to stop until you kill me or I kill you.'" So Superman's choice was kill Zod or destroy Earth .. in the movie those were his options. For the love of God stop comparing comics to movies

Posted by laflux

@lvenger said:

@war_killer said:

How does covering Zod's eyes stop him? Yeah, it stops him from killing that family, but what's stopping Zod from killing another group of innocent bystanders? Sure, he could fly Zod into space, but again, what's stopping Zod from just flying right back to Earth. You say there are "loads" of ways Superman could have stopped him without killing him, but you have yet to give me one.

Covering Zod's eyes or flying him into space does not stop Zod, it simply slows him down. Even if Superman could overpower Zod and defeat him, where is Superman going to put Zod? There aren't any prisons that can hold him, and even if there were what's stopping Zod from breaking out and starting the whole thing all over again?

Sometimes, even for the greatest superhero in the world like Superman, there just isn't another way.

  • Flying him into a remote area where he can fight all out and not hurt innocent bystanders
  • Keeping the fight mainly in the air so buildings and bystanders aren't hurt
  • Putting him in one of the cryogenic pods that were still on the old Kryptonian ship after subduing Zod

Do you want more? Because I can do this all day. This is one area I feel very, very strongly on as for me, Superman does not kill. Period. Sorry but you're not going to convince me otherwise as for me, it's a prerequisite of the character and speaks a great deal of his moral code. Superman's morality has been an example for me all my life and when Zod's neck was broken, that really stung a great deal. Search the net if you want more alternate suggestions or something like that but trust me when I say there are more ways Superman could have stopped Zod without killing him. There were prisons to keep him in and ways to stop him without endangering lives. In the words of All Star Superman, written by someone who actually gets Superman properly unlike Goyer's dark, morally relativistic questionable Superman

Of which one of those ways could include death >:)

Also All Star Supes is as cannon as MOS, which is Zilch >:)))

In case your not aware I'm just messing around. All Star Supes is one of my favorite Supes stories, and a desire to make movies dark and gritty is something which writers think is a requisite for success.However I was more upset by Supes not saving his Pa.

Edited by Mia26

In the comics, the Kents usually teach young Clark about morals and stuff. And how to be a hero one day. This movie was much more realistic than that, the Kents really cared about Clark and didn't want him to be taken away, so they taught Clark to hide his powers. The Kent's lessons have usually been the corner stone of Clark's principles, in this movie, there had to be something that teaches Clark that killing is always wrong. This was the only way.

Man Of Steel = 2nd best comic book movie ever made.

That's debatable, I believe Superman would have helped and save earth even without the Kents. The Kents gave Superman love and that's why he not only saves people but loves humanity as a whole because his seen the good in people and that started with the Kents. The Kents didn't give him the "no kill" principle.

Posted by SandMan_

Lol, this is funny. The butthurt is strong in this thread. Seriously guys, Superman killed and he has killed before...honestly all we need is someone to write the screenplay. Also...I find it funny that the people who don't like Superman are taking this so personal. If you didn't care about him before, why start now? Also CA killed, Thor kills, IM kills, does that makes them killers too?

Posted by SandMan_

@ghost_runner: LOL where you actually expecting to see All Star Superman right from the get got? Don't be so naive my friend. The whole point f this movie was to break those wall of people's false perception of Superman. Now, we need to fix the actual problems in the movie...we need a new screen writer and tell Zack to lose the shaky cam.

Posted by turel_hash_ak_gik

@sandman_: one thing there sport. they dont have a no kill code. so your argument is invalid.

Posted by w0nd

@thethe said:

@w0nd said:

@thethe said:

I understand where he comes from, but having a murderer for hero is not a good ethical move. Also, we've never really seen the impact of this on Superman(neither on the rest of protagonists). Something was clearly missing.

In that case cops and soldiers who have had to take a life are not heroes. and then the argument could be made "but they aren't superman" Well he didn't intend to be superman at that point either, he was just a guy who got caught up in the mix of things.

Superman is not a cop, neither a soldier. For his people, he is a living symbol chanelling politics, sociology in the style of King or Mandela. And those kind of figures cant afford blood on their hands. Perhaps i'm gonna shock you, but i dont consider heroic somebody who take a life when there is another way to put his opponent down.Cops and soldiers included.

you are right, superman is not a cop or a soldier(except for that time he was a soldier) but at that point in the movie he wasn't anything, he wasn't even a symbol yet or a public icon. He was a guy standing up to bullies pretty much. different universe different reasonings and so on. I accept this because it's a different universe but I can see why people would hate it, just one of those agree to disagree things

Edited by JetiiMitra

@turel_hash_ak_gik said:

@sandman_: one thing there sport. they dont have a no kill code. so your argument is invalid.

Not really. They kill with little regard for enemy life, and do so in abundance. Superman kills one enemy with extreme reluctance (at best) and is absolutely torn up about it, yet he's considered "just as bad as the people he's fighting." That doesn't make any kind of sense, no-kill code or not.

Edit: I'm talking about the movie versions, and in those Superman doesn't even have a no-kill code yet.

Posted by texasdeathmatch

Did anyone mention how stopping Zod's head from turning shouldn't really effect Zod's ability to simply look at the mother and son to fry them? I mean, if we're still nit picking and all that jazz.

Posted by turel_hash_ak_gik
Posted by StrangeMan

Jesus christ Goyer just let it go, as the writer you shouldn't have to justify every goddamn thing you write, you don't see other writers going around explaining everything they do, the reasoning behind the decision is self explanatory within the context of the movie, you don't have to spell it out, no matter how many times you say you're reasons the people who disliked that part of the movie aren't going to suddenly like the decision.

I understood the moment, didn't particularly like it but I understood it and saw some weight behind the decision, wether this was a bad decision or not I don't know and frankly don't care, at least it caused some buzz around the movie and made Supes a little bit more relevant in today's pop culture, without that moment people wouldn't have cared as much.

Posted by BransonHuggins

@lvenger: Wrong, wrong wrong. I love how all of you Superman fans completely forget about this one very important story. http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/2725231.html

The day Superman kills. The first post crisis appearance of Supergirl. I figured this would be a big deal, but apparently a lot of people seem to miss this one.

Posted by Mia26

@sandman_ said:

Lol, this is funny. The butthurt is strong in this thread. Seriously guys, Superman killed and he has killed before...honestly all we need is someone to write the screenplay. Also...I find it funny that the people who don't like Superman are taking this so personal. If you didn't care about him before, why start now? Also CA killed, Thor kills, IM kills, does that makes them killers too?

No, but they are not Superman to begin with so that rule doesn't apply to them.

Posted by Mia26

@w0nd said:

@wade_wilson22 said:

@danhimself: "We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard." I don't understand who idolize this superman. Yes people love the traditional superman because he rises above the challenges and makes the morally correct choice.

You can not change the formula and say it equals the same outcome, meaning you can not have superman kill in a blatant manner and say it's the same red, white and blue superman that people love. www.marveldcforum.com

who said it's the same one...i thought they counted this as their own version in their own universe with their own made up history?

No not really, since Goyer basically plagiarized from Waid and Straczynski, they pretty much deserve co-plotter credit. That's why we can apply the "No Kill" rule to Goyers world because he used outside sources like Superman:Birthright and Superman Earth One that didn't kill.

Edited by Lvenger

@bransonhuggins: I'm afraid that particular instance of yours can be chalked down to very and I do mean very poor out of character writing. Superman killed the 3 Pocket Universe criminals despite having already depowered them with gold kryptonite and could have imprisoned them normally. But no, he went against years of traditional in character morality and killed them instead. Read some of Mark Waid's tweets on that story, they paint a very good picture of what was wrong with that story. So I'm afraid I'm not wrong, wrong, wrong at all. I have a different opinion but I'm not wrong. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Edited by Bezza

Change of tact for a minute, what does he mean "this superman can't fly to the moon". Are they hinting at the fact that their Superman isn't really that super? I mean one of the whole things about Superman is that he can fly into space, into the sun if necessary. TBH this point annoys me more than the whole tiresome "Superman killed" debate. To that I basically answer that I wasn't totally comfortable with it, but I understand where the writers were coming from in trying to make a more "realistic" superman, he did it, lets move on...p.please!!!

Posted by Mia26

@lvenger said:

@bransonhuggins: I'm afraid that particular instance of yours can be chalked down to very and I do mean very poor out of character writing. Superman killed the 3 Pocket Universe criminals despite having already depowered them with gold kryptonite and could have imprisoned them normally. But no, he went against years of traditional in character morality and killed them instead. Read some of Mark Waid's tweets on that story, they paint a very good picture of what was wrong with that story. So I'm afraid I'm not wrong, wrong, wrong at all. I have a different opinion but I'm not wrong. Sorry to burst your bubble.

This .... thank you.

Posted by AustinHasten

The point is he didn't like having to follow the no kill rule and made a seen where he did just to say " I can do whatever I want "

You don't actually believe that was his train of thought, do you?

Edited by Oscars94

@teclo: I hate fanboys sometimes. Sometimes people can never be happy...

Posted by tommywell

just as Paul replied I didn't even know that people can earn $9562 in one month on the internet.website reference buzz37.com

Posted by JaelBaez

@smart_dork_dude: I think it's hilarious how people are COMPLETELY ignoring the multiple times that Superman has killed in both comic books and movies. For the people saying that Goyer took the lazy approach: always writing a way that a hero can get out of a difficult decision is just as lazy!! Superman clearly did not want to kill Zod. And his scream of grief right after he did it shows that he was VERY conscious of what he just did! He wasn't "business as usual" about it. Yes, killing is wrong, I think Man of Steel knows that...but guess what...morality is nuanced. Sometimes you have to do something wrong for the right reason. I think that getting rid of a mass murdered who promised to keep on killing is sometimes the moral thing to do (specially when that mass murdered is a homicidal Kryptonian). And it was obvious from the movie that this killing was he exception to the rule, not the rule itself (as has always been true of Superman). In the movie, he had no other choice. Comic books are never ending stories, so writers always write in an alternative so that they can keep using the villain in future stories. But movies are not part of a never-ending continuity which allows them to be more realistic, and in real life, you don't always get the ideal alternative. I do agree that Superman is a lot more "wholesome" (for lack of a better word) than this movie portrayed. But you know what, in this movie Clark was Superman for less than 24 hours! There are still more movies to go that will hopefully show the full evolution of his wholesome nature. I can live with this death as long as the future movies don't forget about it and it has a role to play into the development of a character.

Posted by AmazingWebHead

Batman ties Joker's leg to a gargoyle, leaves Ra's al Ghul on a train about to crash, and shoves Two-Face on a building. Nobody minds.

Superman is forced to kill Zod to save innocent lives that were seconds from death. Everyone flips out and thinks he just tore Zod's head right off in cold blood for no reason at all.

That's what's called "playing favorites".

Edited by kidhero999

goooooooo

Edited by Toa_Manaia

My opinion is what the hell is the problem. Superman made the best available choice at the time. If it was an older superman then he may of found a way to take zod out without killing him. He had only just become used to be superman, and he is faced with an opponent that matches his strength speed etc. He did what he could and made the call when it mattered...

Why is superman killing Zod irrelevant?

-Iron man kills evil Afghanistan soldiers and Stane...hero

-Captain America kills Hydra agents...Hero

-Avengers kill hive controlled Chitauri...Hero's

-Wolverine kills everybody...Hero

-Superman kills Zod...the comic book fan world go into convulsions...

It's irrelevant, it's petty, it's the reason why some comic book fans should not be allowed an opinion...

Posted by MatteoPG

Batman ties Joker's leg to a gargoyle, leaves Ra's al Ghul on a train about to crash, and shoves Two-Face on a building. Nobody minds.

Superman is forced to kill Zod to save innocent lives that were seconds from death. Everyone flips out and thinks he just tore Zod's head right off in cold blood for no reason at all.

That's what's called "playing favorites".

This. Also, Superman did kill in the comic book. It was an extreme choice, also because killing them at that time didn't immediately save anyone, just prevented them from generically hurting other people in the future. This is part of the character: failing morally once to rise up and be stronger than before.

I really don't get the outrage.

Edited by BastardMcPussFace

First i'd like to start out with this quote.

"We felt, in the case of Zod, we wanted to put the character in an impossible situation and make an impossible choice."

From there we are eventually lead to this.

"I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film."

The latter statement proves that this entire excuse is garbage.

The fact is, Kal-El had a Kryptonian ship (aka the fortress of solitude). Thanks to Zod he had access to more Kryptonian technology. And let us not forget that, for most of the film, he HAD the stored consciousness of his father (the man who is believed to be the most brilliant mind in Krypton). Last but not least, the travel to Earth was made using PHANTOM DRIVE TECHNOLOGY. Therefore, the most simple conclusion would be... Kal-El banishes Zod to the Phantom Zone.

This wouldn't have taken leaps and bounds or been unbelievable as a conclusion. The fact is, they CHOSE to ignore this option. They CHOSE an ending that they knew would be controversial. Why? Because they wanted to make an impossible situation. But guess what, that qualifies as "a rule that exists outside the narrative".

Personally, I believe they chose this route BECAUSE it was controversial. It was because the people involved in this film were foaming at the mouth desperate to "darken" the Superman mythos in order to make it "Nolan-esque" because that's what they believe will work the best to fill theater seats.

Money and bullsh!t win over what the fans want YET AGAIN.

Edited by AustinHasten

@matteopg said:

This. Also, Superman did kill in the comic book. It was an extreme choice, also because killing them at that time didn't immediately save anyone, just prevented them from generically hurting other people in the future. This is part of the character: failing morally once to rise up and be stronger than before.

I really don't get the outrage.

^^ The only person with a brain here.

Posted by MatteoPG
Edited by MuyJingo

I think the biggest problem was not that he killed Zod, but that he was careless about the damage he caused or trying to save people.

When Zod through a tanker at him and he flew over it, letting it crash into people behind him instead of catching it and putting it down....that moment is representative of why the take on the character was flawed.

One of many such moments.