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It’s been three years since we saw Superman fight General Zod in Man of Steel, and a fair amount of time has passed in-universe when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice begins later this month. Since first putting on the blue Kryptonian suit and red cape, he’s been getting the hang of the superhero life and keeping humanity safe. Of course, not everyone believes he’s a benevolent figure, and despite his good deeds, people still find excuses to paint him in a bad light.
In the midst of fighting Batman and dealing with Lex Luthor, director Zack Snyder told DC All Access (via THR) that Superman will also have to contend with people blaming him for every action he takes as a hero in his second DC Extended Universe appearance. Snyder said:
He's been righting wrongs. There have been floods, mines have collapsed, bridges have collapsed, churches have caught on fire. He's basically been a hero…He's starting to see that every action has a reaction. Like, if you're just taking a cat out of a tree, you can't touch anything or the arborists will say, 'He damaged the tree branch when he got the cat down.' Or, 'The cat wasn't neutered, so now there's thousands of cats.' There's no winning anymore for Superman.
In the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice previews, we’ve seen the differing viewpoints concerning Superman. Many believe he’s the savior Earth needs, while others think he poses a threat with his godlike abilities. These naysayers Zack Snyder talked about sound like they fall into the latter category. No matter what Superman does to save their life, keep them out of harm’s way, or even get that cat out of the tree, they’ll find a way to criticize him, even if that criticism is out of his control. As powerful as he is, even Superman can’t force people to change their opinions, and that can be more frustrating than fighting a billionaire in an armored Batsuit set on neutralizing you.
The main reason that many don’t care for Superman in the DCEU is because his public debut had him fighting Zod across Metroplis, and that battle left untold amounts of destruction. Despite spending the time after Man of Steel protecting his adoptive people, there’s still a debate about whether Superman should carry any blame for those casualties, both in the DCEU and the real world. Within Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, this will eventually lead to him testifying before a Senate investigatory committee headed by Holly Hunter’s Senator Finch, and it doesn’t look like that will go well. Combined with Batman’s crusade and Lex Luthor’s secret machinations, Superman just can’t catch a break.
You can watch Superman be put through the wringer when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is released on March 25.