The heroism of killing is also not so obvious. In Hollywood movies it is all too commonly a childish fantasy, a way to get off on the thrill of the kill while pretending to be realistic. The new Superman's playing around with this may be nastier than the old Superman but fundamentally it's just as unserious.
The movie hardly suggests that Superman killing Zod was a "heroic" thing, only that it was necessary in that moment-- just like it often is for our own cops and soldiers.
And there was hardly anything thrilling or exciting about him doing it either. In fact it was actually pretty tragic to watch-- which was the point.
the G-man wrote:
The whole set up wherein Superman "had" to kill Zod was because Snyder and Goyer wanted it in there to "reinvent
" the character. So they rewrote the ending, which originally, had Zod getting sucked into the PZ, to create a situation under which he "had" to kill Zod.
And they were right that that original ending would have been deeply unsatisfying-- and way
too easy for the character. Not only did the movie still need some kind of powerful conclusion, but we needed to see Superman truly tested as well.
Seeing him finally forced to kill Zod to prevent more death and destruction, and seeing the pain and agony he felt afterwards, only reinforces the idea that this is something that Superman-- more than any other superhero-- takes VERY seriously.
We needed to see that pain, because that is something only the Superman of the comics would truly feel (even if it was over the death of someone who had killed his own father!) In fact in my mind this act only makes him seem MORE like Superman to me.