Should the tornado scene from Man of Steel have been pulled or are audiences totally fine with acts of God?


Clark Kent does some superheroing in the tornado scene from Man Of Steel

Poor Ross McD. He just can’t get this whole Superman/Jesus/God thing out of his tiny little mind. Fresh from angering half of Christianity last week with his diatribe on Superman being like Christ (well…. duh, McD), now he’s waxing on about God and Man of Steel below. Luckily, he asked MoS director Zack Snyder – who McD has now spoken to twice (that’s one more than Ryan Gosling) – what he thought of the whole kaboodle.

I was sitting in the press screening for Man of Steel in Hollywood a few weeks ago and a thought occurred to me: Why is the issue of sensitivity in film a double standard when comparing an act of man against an act of God?

Take for example the recent Ryan Gosling film Gangster Squad. Set for release in September of last year, the studio and director decided to postpone it until January and replace an entire set-piece in the wake of the Aurora shooting incident, in which a gunman killed 12 people at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

The scene that was replaced involved a shoot-out at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and wasn’t just some throwaway sequence; it was, as Gosling himself told me in an interview shortly before the release, ‘the centre-piece of the film’.


This theatre shooting scene was removed from Gangster Squad after the Aurora killings last year

I was looking at the screen showing Man of Steel and *mini spoiler for those of you who haven’t seen it* a number of people are killed in a tornado. The film was scheduled for release just 24 days after the Oklahoma tornadoes, which killed 25 people. More than twice as many as the Aurora gunman.

Surely those who have lost friends and family in Oklahoma will find watching a tornado fatality just as upsetting as the family of Aurora victims would find watching a theatre shooting?

Yet when I asked Man of Steel director Zack Snyder if a release date reschedule or a replacement of the ‘offending’ scene had ever been considered, it seemed like my question was the first time it had ever crossed anyone’s mind.

This isn’t an attack on Zack Snyder, who I think is a great director, or the distributors who indeed produced both films. I just wonder why all the cast and crew of Gangster Squad I spoke to were fully behind director Ruben Fleischer’s sensitivity, but when I asked the Man of Steel director his personal opinion on sensitivity regarding acts of man versus acts of God, he seemed almost blindsided.

‘Yeah, that’s a pretty big question,’ he told me. ‘(The tornado outbreak) was only a couple of days ago so it’s hard to digest all that immediately, especially in relationship to a film which is fictional.

‘As far as an act of God or an act of man, again you know it’s hard to digest those things in terms of our movie. Our movie is this creative endeavour, it was meant to take a comic book and bring it to life as best we can. It really has little bearing on real events in the real world.’

This COULD lead on to a wider question… if God is as real and as tangible and as knowing and as powerful as his most ardent supporters claim…. well then He has killed an awful lot of people indiscriminately. I’m most certainly not arguing that point, but it wasn’t me that coined the term ‘act of God’.

Nor is this an attack on Christians (I was born and raised one).

But as anyone who read my post last week comparing Jesus to Superman will know, mentioning religion in an argument will bring a shit-tonne of hate of your head, which is not without irony since most religions are about love and forgiveness and appreciating the gift of free will to write silly tongue-in-cheek articles.


One Response to “Should the tornado scene from Man of Steel have been pulled or are audiences totally fine with acts of God?”

  1. I think most people see an act of man as a more real, tangible thing and that terrifies/unsettles them. I mean, we can all agree that people are real, but not all agree that God is real. So “act of God” can sound more superstitious than true. Many just chalk it up to “Nature sucks, yo.” But with the shooting, people can’t find an excuse other than “a person did it.”
    My thoughts, at least.

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