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Author Topic: Movie Questions  (Read 14616 times)
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Super Fan
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« on: March 29, 2003, 01:23:34 AM »

Hello. This is my first post on this MB. Anyway, I re-watched Superman 1 and 2 this weekend for the first time in years, and I noticed some plotholes that I never noticed before. If anyone can help me out with this, I'd appreciate.

- How is Superman able to turn back time by flying around the world? How did he know he had this power and why did he never use it before?
If he could turn back time why didn't he just go back enough to stop Lex from launching the missiles in the first place?

- If Supes went to save Lois after turning back time, what happened to the bus on the Golden Gate Bridge, the train, and the exploding dam?

-And why did Lois get mad at Supes after he rescued her! That woman is just rude! He should of let her die!

And of course Superman II(yes, I am nitpicky)

- Why the hell would Lois jump off Niagra Falls to try to prove a suspicion she had the Clark might be Superman?!? That is insane! Isn't she an ivestigative reporter? Why didn't she start investigating Clark? You know, like following him around and such until she could find hard prove that he is Superman?

- How did Clark and Lois get a car and drive back to that diner from the North Pole after Clark lost his powers?

- And for that matter, how did Clark get his powers back?

- And how did he get back to the North Pole without powers, and how did Lois get back to Metropolis?

- How did the Phantom Zone guys(forgot their names) get so strong so fast? Clark powers came from spending years under the yellow sun!

- And how were the able to discover all their powers so fast. Especially flying, which Clark only learned to do at 18!

- And aliens from another planet speak English?(I only find this a slip-up because General Zod and his friends could speak english. I believe that when we hear the people of Krypton talknig to each other, they are actually speaking in their own language. And whenever somebody hears the Jar-El or Lara in the crystals,  I believe that anybody would understand it in any language because there is a physic link)

- When did Supes switch the crystals around so that the others would be the ones to have their powers removed? And why would he kill General Zod and let the other 2 die! Supes would never do this! He could of easily put them in jail!

- And how did Clark erase Lois's memory by just kissing her?

- And why the hell would Clark go back to that Diner and beat that guy up!
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valdemar
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2003, 02:50:28 AM »

Welcome!

You've made some pretty good observations.  Here's my take on some of them:

Quote from: "Super Fan"

- If Supes went to save Lois after turning back time, what happened to the bus on the Golden Gate Bridge, the train, and the exploding dam?

An excellent point.  The only way this can work is if Superman isn't turning back time, but is actually travelling back in time.  So that once he is back in time rescuing Lois, there is still the earlier version of himself going around rescuing the bus, the train, and the dam, who then travels back in time to rescue Lois.  Yes, it's weak, but if you watch the movie this way it makes a bit more sense.

A bit.

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- When did Supes switch the crystals around so that the others would be the ones to have their powers removed? And why would he kill General Zod and let the other 2 die! Supes would never do this! He could of easily put them in jail!


If you watch the extended version of Superman II, you'll discover that this is exactly what happens.  The "Arctic Police" come to haul the three phantom zone criminals away.  This is a scene that should not have been cut, because it creates the mistaken impression that Superman killed Zod.  He didn't.

They also cut the scene where Clark goes back to pay for the hotdog he got at Niagra Falls.

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- And how did Clark erase Lois's memory by just kissing her?


He only thought he did.  Lois went along with it. Cool
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Super Fan
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2003, 03:00:23 AM »

Quote from: "valdemar"
Welcome!

You've made some pretty good observations.  Here's my take on some of them:

Quote from: "Super Fan"

- If Supes went to save Lois after turning back time, what happened to the bus on the Golden Gate Bridge, the train, and the exploding dam?

An excellent point.  The only way this can work is if Superman isn't turning back time, but is actually travelling back in time.  So that once he is back in time rescuing Lois, there is still the earlier version of himself going around rescuing the bus, the train, and the dam, who then travels back in time to rescue Lois.  Yes, it's weak, but if you watch the movie this way it makes a bit more sense.

A bit.


That's a good theory. I like it. But wouldn't that mean that there should be 2 Supermen?

Quote

Quote

- When did Supes switch the crystals around so that the others would be the ones to have their powers removed? And why would he kill General Zod and let the other 2 die! Supes would never do this! He could of easily put them in jail!


If you watch the extended version of Superman II, you'll discover that this is exactly what happens.  The "Arctic Police" come to haul the three phantom zone criminals away.  This is a scene that should not have been cut, because it creates the mistaken impression that Superman killed Zod.  He didn't.

They also cut the scene where Clark goes back to pay for the hotdog he got at Niagra Falls.

Quote

- And how did Clark erase Lois's memory by just kissing her?


He only thought he did.  Lois went along with it. Cool


Huh? Are you joking?
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valdemar
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2003, 05:00:09 AM »

Quote from: "Super Fan"

That's a good theory. I like it. But wouldn't that mean that there should be 2 Supermen?

Yes, exactly.  We just don't ever see it.  We only see the time travelled Superman, but not the earlier one.  He's off doing all those rescues that we already saw the first time around.

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- And how did Clark erase Lois's memory by just kissing her?


He only thought he did.  Lois went along with it. Cool


Huh? Are you joking?

Well, this one is a bit more off the wall.  But it works for me - try watching II and then IV with this in mind.
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nightwing
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2003, 04:16:40 PM »

Quote
- How is Superman able to turn back time by flying around the world? How did he know he had this power and why did he never use it before?


Short answer...he can't!  Ever since I first saw this film in the theater, I have never understood why flying around the Earth, no matter how fast you did it, would cause it to change rotation at all.  At most, a super-being zipping around in opposition to the directon of rotation might be able to suck away the atmosphere or even some surface dwellers and structures, but reverse the rotation of the Earth itself?  Not a chance.  In the comics, he probably would have achieved the same goal by pushing against the Earth.  But even there you have the problem of basic physics.  With no foothold to push from, how could he push at all?

Second, even assuming you could reverse the direction of the Earth's rotation, or even slow it significantly (in the film, it nearly stops momentarily), in theory everyone on the planet would fly off into space.

And third, why should reversing the Earth physically also cause a temporal reversal.  Especially since time is not a local phenomenon unique to Earth, but rather one that applies to the entire Universe.  By this logic, I should be able to undo today's mistakes by simply walking backwards to "yesterday."

In short, this scene makes no sense and never has.  But you add another twist I'd never thought of...what gives Superman the notion this would work in the first place?  Did he think, "Hey, I know! I'll use my time-reversal power!"  This is a recurring problem in the films, as we will later see with Superman's "memory-wiping kiss power," his "rebuild the Great Wall with his eye-beams" power, and of course his "make a giant cellophane net out of a chest emblem" power.

In fairness to the movie-makers, though, Superman did time-travel in the early comics by flying around in circles until he disappeared into the time stream (!!).  But even then, two rules applied:  one, only Superman himself moved through time and two, Superman learned repeatedly that the past cannot be changed, period.

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If he could turn back time why didn't he just go back enough to stop Lex from launching the missiles in the first place?


A very good question.  This is the problem that plagues many time-travel films, of course, including Star Trek: Generations.  


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- If Supes went to save Lois after turning back time, what happened to the bus on the Golden Gate Bridge, the train, and the exploding dam?


More good questions.  Notice that Jimmy runs up to yell at Superman for leaving him on the side of the road.  Which he does after saving him from the dam, which wouldn't have busted without the missile having exploded.  Something is obviously missing here.  Note that we don't see Superman picking Lois' car out of the crevice a second time (but with her alive now instead of dead).  Rather it appears that in the second go-round she was never threatened by the fissure at all. And while I applaud Valdemar's efforts to explain this away with a "present Superman" and "past Superman," your follow-up question is a good one: why are there not now two Supermen?  What would make the "past self" simply disappear?

This segment is what keeps the movie from being truly great, in my book.  At least it took the comics several decades to start inventing powers to get Superman out of every jam.  It only takes the movie an hour and a half.

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-And why did Lois get mad at Supes after he rescued her! That woman is just rude! He should of let her die!


Well, he shouldn't let anyone die, of course, even Lois.  But I agree whole-heartedly that there have been very few incarnations of Lois Lane, inside or outside the comics, who were worthy of Superman's love.  He could do so much better.

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- Why the heck would Lois jump off Niagra Falls to try to prove a suspicion she had the Clark might be Superman?!? That is insane! Isn't she an ivestigative reporter? Why didn't she start investigating Clark? You know, like following him around and such until she could find hard prove that he is Superman?


Well, I can't count this one as a plot hole or mistake. It's entirely consistent with Lois' character in the films. After all, it wasn't too bright to sneak up the Eiffel Tower either, was it?  Lois Lane is a nitwit and a constant irritant, plain and simple.  In Margot Kidder's version, she's dumber than usual...Perry may call her his "best reporter," but she can't type very well and needs help spelling even the simplest words.

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- How did Clark and Lois get a car and drive back to that diner from the North Pole after Clark lost his powers?


Santa Claus runs a Hertz franchise in the off-months between Christmases. :-)

Quote
- And for that matter, how did Clark get his powers back?


As the Tootsie Pop commercial says, the world may never know.  This is the biggest cheat in a film full of cheats.  "After this I can never, never, never get my powers back.....Okay, I've got my powers back!"  Considering this dilemma is at the very heart of the film's plot, it's unforgiveable that the writers were too lazy to even try to explain its resolution.

My dream re-make of this film involves a plot lifted from the old Phantom Zone mini-series (and the Supergirl film).  Instead of the unbelievable (even offensive) "love story" with Lois, the way to get Superman out of the picture should have been to stick him in the Phantom Zone in place of the villains.  Then we could have had two plots going: Superman's struggles to escape the Zone and the villains' evil acts on Earth.  And Margot Kidder could have gone off to do an add for super-Polygrip or something.

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- How did the Phantom Zone guys(forgot their names) get so strong so fast? Clark powers came from spending years under the yellow sun!


Actually, I think this is an element of the legends that came later.  In the pre-Crisis continuity (when this film was made), I think Kryptonians got Superman-level powers pretty much as soon as they showed up under a yellow sun.  Notice in the first film that baby Kal-El can lift a truck over his head on day one.  I think the movie Clark grows up with super-powers but, unlike the comics version, he keeps them under wraps until adulthood.  (In contrast, Byrne's version doesn't really even have great powers until his late teens)

If Clark was weaker earlier on, it was because he was a boy, but if an adult Kryptonian came to Earth, he'd be immediately near to Superman's levels.  Then the thing that would keep Supes on top would be experience and his good physical condition (in the same way that if we all suddenly became super-powerful, Super-Mike Tyson would still be able to beat Super-Roger Ebert!).  A line of dialog bears this out: one onlooker says, "the big one's as strong as Superman!"  I take this to mean that Zod (a thinker) and Ursa (a girl) are not as powerful as Supes, but Non (a muscleman) is.

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- And aliens from another planet speak English?(I only find this a slip-up because General Zod and his friends could speak english. I believe that when we hear the people of Krypton talknig to each other, they are actually speaking in their own language. And whenever somebody hears the Jar-El or Lara in the crystals, I believe that anybody would understand it in any language because there is a physic link)


Well, this is a convention of Sci-Fi from way back.  Aliens always understand what we say.  Unlikely I grant you, but think of it like Cinderella's glass slipper or Clark Kent's glasses: it may not make sense, but without it, there's no story.

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- And how did Clark erase Lois's memory by just kissing her?



Oxygen deprivation.   Cheesy   As stupid as she is, I'm wondering if he hasn't been kissing her a lot!

 
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And why the heck would Clark go back to that Diner and beat that guy up!


Because bullies need to get their just desserts.  What's that? A bully is a powerful guy beating up on a less powerful guy?  Oh, then I guess Clark is the bully now, isn't he?  Well, he got his just desserts later.  He had to come back for Superman III.
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KaraReeve
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2003, 07:20:55 AM »

I really love some of these responses!    :rotfl:  It is fun hearing (reading) other people come up with some of the same questions and answers I have had.   Whether it is a tv show, comic or movie, when it comes to Superman flaws and inconsitancies I generally just try to let things go and enjoy my favorite hero.  If I stopped to question every little thing then I would never have been able to get through Superman III or IV.  Superman fighing himself, Street signs fighting eachother, and Nuclear Man to top it all off  :9: --- where would you begin?  There is a phrase that is used among theater people that I feel sums it up: "Suspension of disbelief".   :wink:
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2003, 10:01:27 PM »

Quote
There is a phrase that is used among theater people that I feel sums it up: "Suspension of disbelief".


When it comes to Superman III and IV, there's an even better phrase: "Save Your Money!"

Suspension of disbelief is certainly a handy skill to have when it comes to watching any superhero movie, or reading a comic book, but I believe the story-teller enters into a sort of unspoken agreement with the viewer/reader.  The viewer agrees to accept certain impossibilities in order for the story to be told, and in turn the storyteller agrees to keep the foolishness to an acceptable level.  

For example, in watching Star Trek I will accept faster-than-light travel even if scientists tell me it can't be done, for the simple reason that without it the story cannot be told.  On the other hand, if an episode has Spock repeatedly acting out of character, or suddenly showing new super-powers, or if Kirk goes outside the ship without a spacesuit and is none the worse for wear, well then I'm jarred out of the story and everything falls apart.

Similarly, while I'm willing to  "believe a man can fly," there are some things that are not only outlandish, but actually work against the story.  For example, turning the world back to reverse time is, besides impossible, also a storytelling "cheat." Once you've done it, you can never create suspense again, because everyone will know, "hey if Superman doesn't make it in time, so what?  He can always reverse time and fix things later."

The "super-power for every situation" problem is just as bad.  Superman never has the ability to create "super-cellophane" except for that one time he does it.  In the same fight scene, I'm willing to accept what looks like teleportation and even replication on his part, on the assumption that it's really super-speed movement (ala The Flash).  But how does he manage to create a breathing simalacrum of himself that turns to plaster when Ursa kicks it?  And where do the villains get the power to shoot blue rays out of their finger-tips?  In Superman IV, what's with the power to rebuild things using eye beams?  The fun part of writing Superman, I would think, would be finding ways for him to use the (already considerable) powers he has to solve problems, not "grow" a handy new power for every crisis.  Heck, look how many millions of uses the Flash found for a power you'd think would be relatively useless: super-speed.

Lord knows movie scripts don't have to be 100 percent logical, but if they do deviate from logic, it should be to help the film.  For instance, the sound of ships exploding in Star Wars makes the battle scenes much better, even though we all know there is no sound in space.  In that case, breaking the rules enhances our experience rather than detracting from it.

Some other little things in Superman II bugged me even as a relatively uncritical teenager way back in '81.  Remember at the beginning of the film Clark is blind-sided by a Taxi cab (so much for super-reflexes!) and the car is demolished while Clark doesn't even lose his footing.  But later in the film Superman is hit by a flying manhole cover and it sends him hurtling backwards.  If a two-ton car crumpled against his body, why wouldn't a much smaller and lighter disc of iron?  Same with the light pole that sends Non "out of the park." Shouldn't it have merely wrapped around his head like a licorice stick?

And I don't know how many of you have been to Niagara Falls, but trust me if you fell over the rail there's no way the fall would last as long as it takes Superman to save that kid.  It's just not that high up.

I think the big question is, having suspended your disbelief, was the pay-off really worth it?  In the case of Superman films, for me the answer is YES for parts 1 (almost always) and 2 (by a nose), but NO for parts III and IV.
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2003, 12:48:03 AM »

I didn't mean to make it sound like I think writers can do whatever they want because it is a fictional subject.  It drives me crazy that they have done so many ridiculous, nonsensical things, and nightwing made some excellent points.  It is because I am the kind of person who will nit pick at every tiny thing that I have to let go.  I love Superman.  If I don't let go I won't be able to enjoy the various stories about him.  
  The one thing I have to draw the line at is when they loose the sense of who the character is at heart and what drives him.  I am really afraid of that happening with the new movie.  I don't want it to turn out like the last Batman movie.  From the choices they have been making so far (remember Nickolas Cage? :l: ) it seems like no one there knows anything about Superman except that he is a guy who flies in a cape.  I can tolerate goofball powers and a few plotholes, but ruining the essence of Superman will infuriate me. S!
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