In the Batman v Superman movie, Superman is summoned in a court of law by Senator Finch.

What are the charges against him?

In the film we see him perform different heroic actions, like saving people from a flood, and carrying the upper part of a rocket that exploded. Surely he would not have been held responsible if the other part of the rocket hurt anyone.

Do they seriously think he should have let Zod destroy Metropolis?


He's being investigated, by a Senate committee, for the collateral damage he has been causing. The specific hearing we see in the movie was prompted by the incident in the desert near the start of the movie.

First off, it's important to note that it's not a court of law. It's a Congressional investigative hearing called by the Senator to determine if there's a problem that the US government needs to solve. The Senate committee (in this case) does not have the authority to arrest him (though any evidence they uncover could be used as part of judicial proceedings later). But mostly, the purpose of those hearings is to determine of there's some legal remedy needed to prevent the problem from happening in the future.

Second the hearing was investigating the events surrounding Superman's actions. Senator Finch was already investigating Superman's actions as far back as Man of Steel. For example, the man in the wheelchair was injured in the destruction of the Wayne Building was attempting to testify that it was Superman's fault that he was paralyzed.

The issue seemed to come to a head with the events surrounding Lois' rescue from the terrorist in the desert. Although it's not very clearly explained, if you listen to the witnesses closely enough, you will see one Arabic woman giving testimony that seems to implicate Superman in all of the murders that happened during that scene. (She describes a "loud boom" and then later seeing "bodies everywhere"). All of the men who were murdered by the private security force are being blamed on Superman, because no one else was alive to contradict those claims.

Ultimately, we are supposed to believe that this was all

a plot by Lex Luthor to discredit Superman by implicating him in a murder.

  • Well, it does fit Superman's M.O. of using unnecessarily-unique ammunition to murder people. – Liesmith Apr 5 '16 at 12:40
  • 1
    as I understand it, those bullets were designed to destroy themselves and their targets in a way that normal bullets didn't; the one that hit Lois' notebook is the only one that survived. – KutuluMike Apr 5 '16 at 12:50
  • @KutuluMike Lois Lane was pretty significantly alive to contradict those claims. – DariM Apr 6 '16 at 1:48
  • Lois was inside being held hostage when those men died so she had no idea what had happened; of course she "knew" Superman didn't do it but her testimony would have been considered unreliable and biased. – KutuluMike Apr 6 '16 at 2:18

What are the charges against him?

Senator Finch holds Superman responsible for taking unilateral state-level interventions with collateral consequences, specifically incited by the Nairomi incident.

The narrative is that Superman unilaterally elected to save Lois. Superman's intervention compromises the warlord and destabilizes the region when the Nairomi government comes and retaliates against the weakened warlord; and the villagers occupied by the warlord become collateral to that conflict. He's seen as a "rogue combatant" or someone acting without the consent or the will of the people.

Senator Finch wants Superman to address whether his actions are entirely of his own will or if he is willing to have a dialog about "what is good" with the American people before acting.

The Committee's investigative position isn't wholly supported on all sides.

  • Martha Kent believes that no statement is required and that he should be known by his actions alone.

  • Charlie Rose raises the point that Superman essentially only acts unilaterally because there's no time for any other choice.

  • Lex Luthor considers the hearings nothing but theater without an actual deterrent capable of cowing Superman behind them.

While these are real and serious questions which are ultimately unanswerable ethical, philosophical, and practical problems (nothing Superman could say would magically resolve whether or not he should be answerable under every circumstance), the dawn of the Justice League will mitigate the issue and mostly make it moot.

There's little point to hearings specifically about Superman's actions when there is a pantheon of other god like beings walking the Earth and- beyond that- they disagree among themselves how things should be handled. That means these weighty questions aren't as burdensome going forwards.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.