Many fans speculate that the mass destruction and staggering death toll left by Superman and Zod's battle in Metropolis will serve as a jumping off point for the Man of Steel sequel. Lex Luthor could simultaneously earn the support of Metropolis and villainize Superman by stepping in to clean up the estimated $750 billion dollars worth of property damage, while Bruce Wayne/Batman's likely titular battle with the Man of Steel could be over the horrific loss of innocent life -- estimated by the same analyst at 129,000 people.
I absolutely loved the first film, and having the aftermath of Supes' first battle serve as a throughline for future sequels would be a clever approach to introducing these other characters. In a recent interview, however, Zack Snyder explained his reason for including all the death and destruction, and it isn't as schemingly crafted as we'd like to believe. While promoting Man of Steel, the director told JapanTimes:
“I wanted the movie to have a mythological feeling. In ancient mythology, mass deaths are used to symbolize disasters. In other countries like Greece and Japan, myths were recounted through the generations, partly to answer unanswerable questions about death and violence. In America, we don’t have that legacy of ancient mythology. Superman (who first appeared in ‘Action Comics’ in 1938) is probably the closest we get. It’s a way of recounting the myth.”
Having IHop and Sears in the background of half the shots must have also been used to give the film that "mythological feeling." We all remember how Greek gods love pancakes and power tools. Anyway...
Is comparing Superman and Zod to Greek gods and likening old comics to ancient myths a satisfying reason for the long and reckless battle at the end of the movie? You tell me. All I know is that I'm gonna do my part in recounting the myth. I'll tell my grandkids that sometimes gods, or god-like beings from another planet, come to Earth to battle, and as a result, people die… that ought to give them nightmares.