The writers made a choice to have Superman kill Zod to have a impactful, shocking, moment in the movie. They didn't write themselves in a corner they wrote themselves exactly where they wanted to go. And, for me, it worked. Again, Superman showed pain and remorse over doing it. It didn't come easy to him and that he didn't "simply kill Zod earlier" shows it was his absolute very last choice and not a decision that came to him quickly and easily. (See: Him risking exposing himself to a bus-full of children as opposed to letting them die to protect his identity.)
I think the killing of Zod worked well as far as showing us that Superman was basically outgunned at every turn, and the one moment he got the upper hand, he had to take the opportunity to eliminate Zod because it was the only way he could guarantee that there would be no more deaths (He didn't know if he'd get another chance to subdue him and he might get killed trying)
What I didn't like was how much of a one dimensional character Zod was. The movie tried to explain it as being "programming" in his brain. I guess I can accept that, but it's still unsettling.
I think there's a great movie to be made with a better edit. I would join all the Smallville stuff together into a linear, coherent 30-40 mins at the beginning. I would also extend the scenes where Clark is just moving from job to job making a living while hiding his true nature. If there's deleted footage there, I would add it. There needed to be a solid 1hr at the beginning building up who Clark is, so that when he decided to become Superman, we can feel how he got there (the movie just gave up a connect the dots "he became Superman because he was supposed to". I wanted to see him have an actual choice, and choose good because of the way he was raised).
Then the 1.2hr have a more coherent effort by the military to treat Superman as an enemy at first, but then clearly show that they realize Superman is fighting on their side. I would have loved to see some Michael Bay style military power being thrown against Zod and his minions.
We know that just the military on their own would have been useless. But it would have been cool if, the efforts of humanity's military powers would have distracted Zod's army just enough to give Superman a fighting chance to beat him without Deux Ex Machina "quantum engine triggered black holes".
I guess to recap, my biggest complaints about the movie are:
1. Not enough build up of Clark, and who he is as a person. We are told he wants to be good, but only glimpses as to why.
2. Not enough military involvement. I got the sense that they didn't trust Superman, and then they just did a 180 and trusted him. I didn't feel there was a path to get there. It just happened because the movie said it did.
3. More minor, but still annoying, was the overblown fight scenes. If I can't see what the heck is going on, I might as well be watching a screensaver. Copious amounts of FX doesn't make up for confusing cacophony.
I hope an extended release come out with deleted scenes. I can't wait to put together my own version. The ingredients are all there to bring this movie from a C to an A, at least for me.
What a sad life you must have when you must ignore GOD's number one commandment..On your definition on hero????
I don't understand what the big deal is about this. Zod is a crazy son of a bitch that is killing humans left and right with no remorse and will continue to do so. There is no way to contain him on Earth (at least not yet in this movie save for the trigger of the Phantom Zone again which he managed to dodge). So the Phantom Zone being the only way to contain him, and having that opportunity gone, Superman couldn't take the chance to let him live. His death was necessary to save billions of lives. I don't see that as a bad thing.