Zack Snyder has been defending the enormous death toll in Man of Steel for awhile. A few years ago, he confirmed there were many people killed and compared it to myths about mass deaths being used to symbolize real disasters. He continued his defense last year when he said, “you can’t just have superheroes knock around and have there be no consequences.” Then he repeated that sentiment on a podcast last February. Now he’s come up with another defense of Man of Steel in a lengthy 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.”
We don’t know just how many people The First Order murdered with their Starkiller base, but it almost certainly exceeds the death toll in Man of Steel, as Snyder suggests. Some statistical analysis pegged the likely damage in Man of Steel at 129,000 people killed and almost a million people injured, as well as $700 billion in property damage and $2 trillion in damage to the economy. To put that in perspective, the loss of life is similar to that caused by the U.S. dropping an atomic bomb on Nagasaki during WWII, and the structural damage and economic impact are approximately thirteen times and sixteen times the magnitude of 9/11, respectively.
On the other hand, the deaths in Star Wars: The Force Awakens were caused by The First Order acting alone, not by Rey punching Kylo Ren through a skyscraper. Though I would have bought a lot more tickets to The Force Awakens if she had.