The Flash will show an alternate reality version of Man of Steel, with Supergirl’s role also taking Man of Steel’s controversial ending further.
The Flash movie is doubling down on a controversial element of Man of Steel. In The Flash, Barry Allen makes the decision to travel back in time to prevent the murder of his mother Nora (Maribel Verdú) and the wrongful imprisonment of his father Henry (Ron Livingston) for it. Unfortunately, Barry’s actions end up creating an alternate reality in which General Zod (Michael Shannon) is once more leading Krypton’s forces to terraform Earth, forcing Barry to team-up with unlikely allies to save the world.
Barry’s allies include Michael Keaton’s returning Batman, a younger version of Barry himself, and a Kryptonian refugee named Kara Zor-El (Sasha Calle). The latter is well-known as Superman’s cousin Supergirl, and the glimpses that have been shown of her in the trailers indicate that Kara will be one of the most powerful characters in The Flash. Kara’s role in the movie is also placing her right into a much harsher take on the controversial ending of Man of Steel, in which Superman (Henry Cavill) kills General Zod.
Supergirl Is Taking Superman’s “No Kill” Controversy Further
In The Flash‘s trailers, Kara is shown being freed from a prison by the two Barrys and Keaton’s Batman, and early on, she clearly has no compunction about taking lives. Kara is shown throwing prison guards around like rag-dolls, with one being tossed directly into an explosion and Kara sending another flying off the prison’s mountainous base. None of the guards seen in these moments could have realistically survived Kara’s wrath upon them, and this is an even more overt display of a Kryptonian hero using lethal force than Man of Steel‘s ending.
In Man of Steel, Superman fights Zod in a dead-even battle through the skies of Metropolis, and finally manages to gain the upper hand only for Zod to attack a terrified family with his heat vision. Superman begs him to stop, but after Zod growls “Never!“, Superman is forced to snap Zod’s neck. This ending remains one of Man of Steel‘s most divisive elements, with detractors insisting Superman’s no kill rule is inviolable while others say that Superman had no other option available. While The Flash is leaning into this with Supergirl, it is likely to dodge that same controversy.
Why Supergirl Killing Enemies Will Be Less Controversial
With The Flash being DC’s big multiverse movie, the story is essentially an alternate version of Man of Steel inspired by the Flashpoint comics story. The fact that it mainly takes place in an alternate reality alleviates it from adhering to mainline continuity concerns or potential criticisms from that. Supergirl herself also has far less of a big-screen history than Superman, which makes the concept of a no-kill rule less entrenched for her. Moreover, Kara having been a prisoner subject to ill-treatment for so long makes her more likely to default to lethal force against her captors.
With all of these factors at play, Supergirl’s role in The Flash will likely not face the kind of controversy of Man of Steel, especially with an apocalyptic story like Flashpoint as its basis. Even still, The Flash revisiting of Man of Steel through an alternate reality lens is even more intriguing with Supergirl being more prone to kill compared to Superman being devastated he even had to do it once. In doing so, The Flash is embracing the long-standing impact of Man of Steel as being firmly embedded in DC’s legacy on film.