Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for the Superman and Lois season 3 premiere.The premiere episode of Superman and Lois season 3 tackles a frequent complaint regarding Superman’s behavior in Man of Steel. Many feel that the Superman of the DCEU was unconcerned with civilian casualties and did not do enough to try and mitigate the damage his battles with the invading Kryptonian army caused. By contrast, the Clark Kent of Superman and Lois seems to go out of his way to put other peoples’ safety ahead of his own.

Superman’s compassion under fire was showcased in the action-packed centerpiece of the Superman and Lois season 3 premiere “Closer,” which pit Superman against one of his oldest enemies, the Neo-Nazi Atom-Man. This fight was more of a challenge than their first conflict, however, as Atom-Man had somehow acquired superpowers, in addition to his high-tech power armor. Despite this, Superman made a point of trying to remove Atom-Man from his chosen field of battle in the middle of a crowded Metropolis street, before trying to talk some sense into him and, failing that, fighting him. This stood in marked contrast to Superman’s tactics in the 2013 movie Man of Steel.

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Man of Steel’s Final Battle Complaints Explained

Custom image of a building collapsing and Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel.

One of the chief issues with Man of Steel centered upon its action sequences, particularly the final battle between Superman and General Zod. Many criticized Man of Steel‘s fight scenes because they took place in populated areas and Superman made no effort to try and move the battles elsewhere. Indeed, in the case of the Battle of Smallville, Superman intentionally pushed General Zod into the middle of Smallville, after passing through a farm building and a gas station.

While it could be argued that Superman wasn’t thinking clearly given that Zod was threatening his mother, he still made no effort to redirect the battle or escort people to safety after Zod’s army caught up with them. Superman was also incredibly lucky that Zod’s followers elected to chase after him to rescue their leader rather than vent their anger on Martha Kent. It would have much more sense for Superman to get his mother out of harm’s way rather than tackle General Zod.

Superman’s apparent indifference to civilian casualties became a plot point in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Batman’s distrust of Superman was fueled by what he saw during the Battle of Metropolis and how Superman apparently pushed Zod through buildings without thinking about the people below. Despite this, Zack Snyder defended the scene, claiming it was impossible for Superman to outmaneuver a master tactician like General Zod. This makes little sense, however, given that Superman had a greater command of his Kryptonian powers. While Zod may have genetically bred to be adaptable, it is unbelievable that he almost instantly mastered the powers Clark spent years learning to control.

How Superman & Lois’ Season 3 Addresses Civilian Casualties

Superman fights Atom-Man in Superman and Lois season 3

By contrast, Superman’s thoughts while fighting Atom-Man in the premiere episode of Superman and Lois season 3 “Closer” were firmly focused on the people around him and protecting them from harm. After Atom-Man threw him into a tanker truck and declared that he could do this all day, Superman’s first action after emerging from the flames was to look to the crowd and make sure no one was in immediate danger. Only then did Superman sternly reply “Not around them,” before charging Atom-Man and carrying him into the skies above Metropolis.

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The running battle which followed subtly showcased Superman’s regard for human life. While Atom Man kept trying to break free and fly through skyscrapers, Superman pushed him into the open air, away from populated buildings. Even after it became clear he couldn’t overpower Atom-Man, Superman still steered their battle through an abandoned building and into an empty construction site, rather than face Atom-Man on a street full of people.

Superman & Lois Season 3 Premiere Proves Clark Is More Heroic

Superman walks out of exploding tanker truck in Superman and Lois season 3

The conclusion of the Superman and Lois season 3 battle between Atom-Man and Superman confirmed Clark Kent’s concern for others trumped any other consideration, when Atom-Man was seemingly gunned down by a mysterious masked figure. Superman’s first response was to scan Atom-Man with his X-Ray vision, determining that there were no bullets in his body despite Superman hearing gunshots. When Superman suddenly heard people screaming and the sound of gunfire close by, he elected to investigate the unknown threat rather than confront the masked man. The sounds quickly faded and Superman realized the sounds of conflict were an illusion, meant to distract him while the masked man took Atom-Man’s body.

This scene in the Superman and Lois season 3 premiere proved the Clark Kent of Superman and Lois was a true hero, in contrast to the more confrontational and violent Superman of Man of Steel. Even when facing an unknown enemy, his first thoughts were to check on the welfare of the supervillain he’d been fighting. He also elected to investigate the sounds of people in danger, rather than force a fight with an apparently hostile man in a mask.

Superman and Lois season 3 continues on Tuesdays on The CW.

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