In response to complaints about the high death toll in Zach Snyder’s Man of Steel, the director responded that Star Wars: The Force Awakens made the biggest in-universe damage of all.
With Batman v. Superman debuting in theaters this weekend, many fans and critics are looking back to director Zach Snyder’s first DC superhero film, Man of Steel. The biggest criticism of that Superman-centric movie was how much damage was wreaked and how many lives were lost. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Snyder finally made a comeback to that complaint using Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a comparison (via Comicbook).
"Snyder was mystified when someone told him that they couldn’t think of a movie in recent memory that’s had as much collateral damage as “Man of Steel.” “I went, really? And I said, well, what about [‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’]?” the director says. “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.”"
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It’s true, there really is no film in recent memory which has caused greater in-universe destruction than The Force Awakens. Perhaps it’s the Star Wars franchise’s epic galactic scale that causes critics to overlook the fact that an entire planetary system was destroyed in Episode VII.
Lest this turn into a critical review of Man of Steel, which is unfair on a Star Wars fan site, let’s direct the discussion to asking if the destruction of five planets was going a bit too far. I don’t think so, because it produced a massive and dramatic impact on the galaxy and probably also on people like those fighting with the Resistance, who most likely had friends and family on those planets. My complaint is not about the scale of the destruction, but about how lightly this genocide was taken by the main characters in The Force Awakens, particularly Leia. Leia is supposed to be a leader, and a politician, as well; surely she has connections among the people who were vaporized by Starkiller Base’s lasers. Not only that, but just the sheer knowledge that billions of beings were just destroyed, much like her people were on Alderaan all those years ago, would cause a devastating effect on her and everyone who witnessed it.
Of course, what’s done is done, and there’s no going back to change the way characters reacted to what happened in The Force Awakens. What Episode VIII can do is allow the main cast of characters those moments of reflection on the terrible events that have reshaped their world.