I completely understand that in Man of Steel Kal-El is the only one who can break Zod's neck and it's essentially a level playing field (like two humans fighting each other).

However, what I see as a huge plot hole, surely Zod's broken neck would just heal from the sun? In Batman v Superman

Superman survives a nuke to the face!

One is to assume, if Zod had snapped his neck it would've healed almost instantly. Can someone clear this up? I can only imagine that Zod has not been on earth long enough to have such an advanced healing ability?

There is this existing question about how Superman could kill Zod and it is fine, I can understand why Kal was able to defeat Zod in the way that he did.

My point is based on what happened in BvS

Superman is physically killed by Doomsday. The life drains from him as it did Zod but over time he recovers.

How could Superman recover from that while Zod was not not able to do the same?

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    Possible duplicate of How did the final confrontation in Man of Steel get resolved?
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 12:21
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    Maybe because they can heal wounds but not broken neck.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 12:44
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    Kryptonians are usually depicted as human-plus. They heal extremely rapidly from the things that humans would usually heal from. They get killed by the things that would usually kill a human.
    – user7812
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 12:54
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    @NapoleonWilson I can't speak for the OP, but he endured a nuclear missile explosion, and a big one at that. I'm not a physicist, so I don't really understand what force that entails, but i think it's safe to say that would annihilate/vaporize/whatever a human. It was a little cartoon-ish that he healed in minutes in the movie.
    – Dom Vito
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 13:49
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    @DominicG. Well, a human, sure. I admittedly haven't seen the film yet. But if the nuclear explosion and his reaction is modeled after The Dark Knight Returns (as other aspects of the movie seem to be), then he was merely severly weakened after that and regained his strength from the sun. He wasn't dead as in, biologically dead, flatlining, out of existence... As much as the sun might enhance Superman's (or any Kryptonian's) healing abilities, being actually stone-dead and coming back to life after that still seems to be a different thing.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 13:51

1 Answer 1


I gave an explanation of the ending of Dawn of Justice that touches on this topic a bit. So far it's not entirely clear how Zach Snyder's Superman "works", but the idea here seems to be that the Kryptonians can heal from almost any damage -- as long as they're still alive.

When Superman kills Zod in Man of Steel, he inflicts lethal damage on Zod in a very short period of time. Having his neck snapped kills him almost instantly -- we see his other Krpytonian powers (like heat vision) cut off immediately.

On the other hand, when Superman is hit with a nuclear weapon, it appears to cause him a lot of damage and injury, but it apparently did not kill him. (To be honest, I'm not sure why it even hurt him at all -- he ought to be invulnerable to that kind of thing). The key is that the blast appears to knock Superman unconscious, but he was still alive. So, the sunlight was able to boost his Kryptonian healing to recover from that damage.

A similar effect appears to be happening at the end of the movie. The combination of Doomsday's super strength plus the nearby kryptonite allowed Doomsday to inflict a very serious wound on Superman, but I suspect that it did not kill him. Instead, as with the nuclear explosion, it "shut down" his body while it repairs itself. I think we all know he's not really dead, and this seems to be the "out" that's going to let him come back to life.

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    Nice answer, you just missed referring to the nuke part in The Dark Knight Returns, where he regenerates with the help of the sun, too.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Mar 31, 2016 at 17:07
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    Thank you for this. This makes the most amount of sense. I also feel his longer exposure would mean he's more "invulnerable" than Zod at that time.
    – Shwmae
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 10:42

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