Superman
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Superman (1978) More at IMDbPro »

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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Superman can be found here.

The movie Superman (1978) located the fictional U.S. town where the baby Kal-El was found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent in the state of Kansas. This tradition has carried through into subsequent Superman comic-book stories, animation, and television series. Earlier comics however placed Smallville in the north-eastern United States, somewhere near the eastern seaboard. Also, some comics-related sources in the 1970s and '80s placed Smallville in the state of Maryland. In the TV series "Smallville," Smallville has been established as being located in the state of Kansas and also close enough to Metropolis that on clear days, one can view it in the distance.

Metropolis is a fictional port city located somewhere on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Where exactly varies depending on the source. The four superman movies made in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987 staring Christopher Reeve, do not specify its location, but based on the existence of various real-life landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, it must be a stand-in for New York City. In the DC Comics Universe, it is considered to be in New York State (which also is said to be geographically larger than its real-life counterpart). Some sources had previously placed Metropolis on the shore of Delaware Bay in the state of Delaware, across from Gotham City (from the Batman universe). However, this has been superceded by more recent continuity. In the latest Superman movie, Superman Returns, when Lex Luthor unveils his plan on a series of maps, Metropolis can be seen located on a Northeastern U.S. map exactly where New York City would be. (Also, on a side note, Long Island is not present at all.) In the TV series "Smallville," Metropolis must be located either in Kansas, or close by in a neighboring state, as the show has established that 1, Smallville is in Kansas, and 2, Metropolis can be seen from town on clear days in the distance.

At this point in Clark Kent's life, he has not yet fully developed, super-power wise. He has varying degrees of some of his powers, while others not at all, including the ability to fly. That is why he runs super fast home, instead of simply flying. The effect was achieved by dangling the actor just above the ground with wires, and having a fast moving rig pull him across the intended path. In some shots, it was clearly blue-screened though.

Once he turned back time, he then had the time to stop Lex Luthor's guided missles, and in effect, prevented the earthquakes, etc. The controversy surrounding the time-reversal theme of the movie has been a discussion point since the film came out. Most viewers see it as a cheat, others see it as a ridiculous way for Superman to save Lois. Either way, Richard Donner has commented very little on his choice to include it. We have to assume that, although he turned back time to a point before the dam really breaking through (as is clearly seen being reversed), he did not take it back further than that, to before the explosion (crucially, we do not see that being reversed). Presumably, he is only prepared to defy Jor-El's warnings to a certain extent, otherwise why not reverse the whole thing and save all those killed in the nuclear blast and quake, messing seriously with 'Earth history'? So, he simply had a little bit more time, which he used to save Jimmy a bit earlier (it is clear that he still did so and deposited him on the road, because Jimmy says so when he arrives at the car at the end) and also to deal with the damaged dam, perhaps not needing to stop the deluge because this time he has enough time to repair the damage before it bursts completely. He also somehow prevents the crack that reaches Lois' car, though she has still experienced the quake/aftershocks and the exploding gas station (she says as much). And of course, Luthor's huge crime has still taken place and so he must go to jail and for trial.

She asks him about this during their interview: "Is it true that you can see through anything?". He then states specifically that he can see through anything but lead (when she steps out from behind the lead plant box she has on her terrace, he says "pink", giving an answer to her question about what color underwear she'd had on). Lois is primed with a lot of questions, though we are not privy as to how she knows to ask this one. Also, the printed article Lex Luthor et. al. read the next day, "I spent the night with Superman", contains details about him that we do not see Lois and Superman discussing. So, we must simply assume that various rumors and facts had leaked out prior to the interview, during Superman's first few appearances, somehow (we do see him talking to Jor-El about his having been 'showing off' and now being 'revealed to the world')and a lot more putting the record straight must have taken place off-camera, while Lois is interviewing (flying with) Superman.

Superman, and its characters, are based on comic books. In the original Superman comic book universe, it is safe to assume some, if not all, characters have trouble coming to this conclusion. In real life, although it is possible for a person to recognize Clark Kent, or Superman vice versa, there are numerous people who found they could conceal their identity from at least strangers with a single facial detail like Harold Lloyd (who was an inspiration for Clark Kent) with his glasses or Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx with their artificial mustaches. This was probably left out for plot reasons, and to allow a longer running series.

If the comic book series bordered too close to real life, with rational and smart characters, Superman would never have survived this long. His identity would have been deduced very early, and his closest friends and relatives would have been systematically killed. In the modern comics, the disguise has been supported by the fact that the public does not know that Superman have a secret identity since he does not wear a mask, suggesting he has nothing to hide. Furthermore, he has had the help of shapeshifters like the Martian Manhunter who have posed as Clark Kent with Superman in public appearances to make it seem obvious they are two separate people.

More than the glasses, the Clark Kent disguise consists of a completely different personality. Christopher Reeve was chosen, in part, because of his ability to play two completely different characters. Kal-el takes Jor-el's advice that his secret identity is absolutely necessary to heart and develops the Clark Kent persona in order to keep humans from over-relying on Superman and to protect those he loves. Clark Kent is a bumbling, "mild-mannered reporter", easily dismissed by Lois and everyone else; Superman is confident andcharismatic with a witty sense of humor. Lois even considers the possibility that they are one and the same and then, considering Clark's personality, dismisses the notion as ridiculous. The skill of Reeve in portraying the identities is demonstrated in this film when Clark is tempted to confess in Lois' apartment; the sight of him simply taking off his glasses, straightening his back and speaking with unexpected timbre has a convincing effect of suggesting another person.

See Kill Bill Vol 2 for a comment on Superman's condescension towards humankind's easily manipulated psychology. One minor touch often overlooked: Kent and Superman part their hair on opposite sides.

In the year 2000 the Director's Cut of Superman was released. Most of the new material are smaller sequences with plot extensions, but there are two bigger sequences added as well. The first one shows Superman in the Fortress Of Solitude, talking to his father Jor-El about the advantage of his supernatural powers. The second one shows Luthor trying to stop Superman by the use of heavy arms, fire and ice. The 4 Disc Special Edition is a Must Have for each fan of this film beacuse it's the only DVD release including the Director's Cut and the Theatrical Cut as well. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

Page last updated by kyle_delaney, 3 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: Otaku-sempai, blueelecteenfilms, feegin-777, ewansp-2, hbanneck9141

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