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When I add a new Metarig, it looks perfectly fine:

enter image description here

But when I generate the rig, the spine becomes this sort of broken mess (all the other bones are hidden for clarity):

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I can't understand anything of what is happening here. Why is spine_fk not connected to spine_fk1? Why are spine_fk1 and spine_fk2 at similar position and rotation?

I guess it has something to do with the rig's controllers and how they need to be set up, but I'm not sure if this is a Rigify bug, or some normal behaviour I can't understand? And if it is intended behaviour, is there any way I can have a more "normal" looking spine?

I witnessed this in Blender 2.98, 3.0 and 3.1.

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It is intended behavior and not a bug. Torso rigs, including the spine, are particularly complicated to help animators avoid having to counter animate head and neck movement; to simplify animating spine curving; to have the option to follow or not follow head and neck movement; and to select the pivot point of the torso to reflect the way the rig is pivoting.

Some of the bones are disconnected to avoid introducing dependency loops.

You can't really have a more normal looking spine and accomplish all of these goals; but you're looking at the spine in edit mode, something that's not really intended for generated rigs. Here are the default torso controls and tweaks, as they would appear in pose mode:

Rigify human rig showing torso/tweak controls

As you can see, rigged controls for complicated rigs don't look at all like skeletons but are meant to help the animator understand how to use the controls.

One of rigify's weaknesses is that there isn't a good set of instructions for how to use the the controls, unfortunately.

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