Warning: spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice are ahead!
Superman isn’t a being that angers easily, but when you threaten his adoptive mother, Martha Kent, then the rage understandably erupts. It happened in Man of Steel when General Zod’s forces came to the Kent household, and it happened last month in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when Lex Luthor kidnapped her for his evil scheme. Of course, with all his abilities, some might wonder why he never sense the latter happening, and director Zack Snyder attributes this potential plot hole to scene that was cut for being too dark.
When asked by why Superman didn’t hear his mother’s screams for help when she was kidnapped, Snyder originally attributed it to the distance from Smallville to Metropolis being to much for the Kryptonian’s hearing or Metropolis’ "clutter" messing with his hearing, but then went into detail with IGN about the deleted scene of him searching for her. He said:
We had a scene that we cut from the movie where he tries to look for her when he finds out that Lex has got her. It was a slightly dark scene that we cut out because it sort of represented this dark side. Because when he was looking for his mom he heard all the cries of all the potential crimes going on in the city, you know when you look.
Considering all the flak Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has received recently for being too dark, it’s interesting that Snyder would think that this of all scenes was too much to include in the movie. As far as Superman goes, I’d say that the moment where he kills Batman in the "Knightmare" was at the top of the darkness meter for him. It’s also hard to imagine a Superman who would be ignoring crimes happening around Metropolis. Yes, he is worried about his mother and wants to find her, but if he saw someone about to be hit by a car or being held at gunpoint, he could easily prevent those in seconds while still looking.
Snyder also explained how he’s found the idea of Superman not always intervening a interesting one to explore in the movie. He explained:
I kind of like the idea that he’s taught himself not to look because if he looks it’s just neverending, right? You have to know when, as Superman, when to intervene and when not to. Or not when not to, you can’t be everywhere at once, literally you can’t be everywhere at once, so he has to be really selective in a weird way about where he chooses to interfere.
The "neverending" part of the quote no doubt refers to that moment in Clark’s childhood in Man of Steel when he was overwhelmed by all his powers, so he learned how to compartmentalize them. Still, what many people love about Superman is that he tries to help humanity whenever possible simply because it’s the right thing to do. Obviously he can’t save everyone (especially when he’s on the clock as Clark Kent at the Daily Planet), but if he sees an opportunity to save someone or prevent an act of evil, he’ll seize that opportunity as opposed to ignoring it.
With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s theatrical cut lasting 151 minutes, it’s understandable why this scene was cut given everything else being packed in, but perhaps it will be included in the "Ultimate Edition" home media release hitting shelves later this year.