bill-swift - June 19, 2013
I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Metropolis gets seriously f$#ked up by the end of Man of Steel. You can see in the previews that Superman and General Zod have an epic god-man battle in the middle of the most populated city in the DC version of Earth. But just how much damage was done? The list-lovers at Buzzfeed brought in Charles Watson from Watson Technical Consulting to assess the damage. They used the Metropolis-like cities of New York and Chicago as stand-ins and discovered some truly frightening results. They estimate that the battle would have killed 150,000 people, trapped another 250,000 in the rubble, and injured almost a million. That's almost twice the number of American deaths in the Vietnam War...in one day. All told, the damage would have been in the neighborhood of 700 BILLION dollars. You have to ask yourself, is Superman really Metropolis' "defender"?
Even as a kid I thought it was weird that Metropolis, (or Gotham, or Tokyo), would be virtually destroyed by not just the supervillain but the superhero as well. Every time Superman throws an empty bus at Braniac or melts a radio tower with his heat vision it costs the citizens of metropolis millions in tax revenue to replace it. Sure, he stops the villain from killing everyone in the city but seeing as the villain was only there in the first place to kill Superman, he's endangered everyone's lives just being there. If he flew back to rural Kansas or Greenland and had his epic battles there, no one would get hurt. It's one of those cases where the cure is worse than the disease. Superman should really reconsider his strategies on helping people by trying to, you know, not kill them.