[Although the interview quoted in this Newswire is about Man Of Steel, the article also contains information about Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice that, while not revealing any specific plot points, could be construed as a spoiler. Proceed accordingly.]
If the terrible early reviews for Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice weren’t enough to send lifelong comics fans who grew up debating that very question into a paroxysm of nerd rage— you can read The A.V. Club’s review here, by the way—then this should send you over the top: Batman and Superman totally kill people. At one point, Batman blows up a helicopter with a rocket launcher like he’s a Die Hard villain or something. Why? Because it looks cool.
This blithe reversal of decades of superhero canon was addressed by director Zack Snyder in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, in which he defended the move by pointing out that tons of innocent people die in the Star Wars movies, too. Describing his response to fans who felt that Superman’s actions resulted in too much collateral damage in Man Of Steel, he said:
I went, really? And I said, well, what about [Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens]? 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.
Never mind that, in Star Wars, it’s the villains who blow up those planets, and the central conflict of the film involves the good guys trying to stop the bad guys from performing such shocking acts of space genocide. Besides, Star Wars is a standalone mythology, and can do what it wants. The universe in question here is DC’s. Anyway, Snyder doesn’t have time for your simplistic ideas of saving people being “good” and killing them being “bad,” he’s got ham-handed Jesus metaphors to craft. You’d understand all this, if you’d read The Fountainhead.