Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Wait a Minute - Just What the Hell Is Superman Made of?

I used to think he was simply made of something incredibly dense, (and not just because of Superman IV: PeaceQuest, either - but also because of the bullets bouncing off). But any fool can see that can't be so. Because exposure to kryptonite renders him pervious to harm. So whatever he's made of, isn't why he's so tough. His invulnerability must be an energetic effect, which the K-rays cancel out.

Speaking of X-rays, while doing research for this article, I loved this sentence from Wikipedia describing his vision powers (including X-ray vision, heat vision, telescopic vision, microscopic vision, etc.): "These powers could be used individually or in conjunction with one another." That's awesome! Of course they can, and I never thought of that. Why does he never take advantage of this? He could, for instance, be standing on a street corner having a conversation, while simultaneously performing laser surgery upon you while you're on the surface of the moon. It wouldn't save you though. You need a moon suit to survive up there!

That paragraph took off in the wrong direction. Let's reboot it.

Speaking of X-rays, if Lois Lane gets breast cancer, are people going to be instantly suspicious? That would be the first thing I'd think of, personally.

Man, the "Richard Donner" version of Superman II sucks. Do you want to know how it ends?

(I don't think I need to be all "***SPOILER***" if I've already said "Do you want to know how it ends?")

After beating Emcee Zod and the Kryptonian Disco Unit, he once again uses time travel to undo all the bad shit that happened.

Yes. Exactly like he did in Superman I.

Now, I'm not sure that isn't kind of realistic. Once you open that can of worms, once you establish that this is an acceptable way to resolve conflict and tie up loose ends, then sure! Any time some real bad shit comes along to fuck up the world, once you're done mopping the floor with the perps, why not just wipe the whole incident off people's minds? Who'd be the wiser! It's just being considerate, really. But from a cinematic, dramatic standpoint, it kind of sabotages your anticipation going into any subsequent sequel. Once it's established that there's a pretty good chance that no matter what happens, the end will undo it all with a quick time travel that point, it begins to undermine the perceived heft of the events you're watching unfold. The whole thing basically starts to turn into The Secret Life of Super-Mitty.

But Still. In Donner 2, the time trick did solve the troubling questions raised by that magic memory kiss that Supes used on Lois at the end of the real version, to mind-whammy her so she forgot he was Clark. I mean, that's a cute sort of moment, but what a left field power. Come on. If he can do that, does he ever really have to worry about some super-villain finding out his secret? Just kiss him!

Let's be honest, if Superman wants to kiss you, you've got very little say in the matter.

Heck, he's so fast, even if the whole world found out somehow, he could fly all over the world and kiss everybody in like ten minutes.

Compared to the specter of something like that, I think we can all agree time travel is a less-silly ending option.


Sean Scully said...

This is an easy one, Joe. Superman is made of Sterner Stuff.

dogimo said...

Yeah, but see, that's what I'm saying! That's what I'm saying. It isn't the stuff that's sterner. Because the kryptonite doesn't change his stuff! But it does make it no longer stern. It takes the stern out of his stuff's sails.

So it's like, more his stuff has a certain stern attitude, rather than any inherent sternness.