Superman 1.95: Speak Truth to Power

Snap, crackle, pop. Apparently, there’s an electrical power station somewhere in the Western hemisphere that’s experiencing some kind of electricity related fiasco.

“Watch that cable!” someone cries, like it’s my job to watch cables. “Someone try to pull the lead!” Somebody else shouts, “It’s impossible, it’s red hot!” There doesn’t seem to be a protocol for this kind of situation.

But Superman flies in, and he flips a big switch, which turns everything off and saves everyone. Then he points at somebody and says, “Gentlemen, is that man all right?” And I’m like, what man?

I mean, I don’t even know this guy; I’ve never seen him before, I’m never going to see him again, and with the smoke filter, I’m not even sure that I’m seeing him right now.

You know, I’ve been pretty relentlessly positive about Superman so far, even the Krypton parts, but we have now arrived in the section of the movie that I basically have no use for: the six minutes that follow the missile hitting the San Andreas Fault.

I mean, the first fifty seconds are all right, because it’s Lois in peril, and the movie has spent the last hour training me to believe that Lois Lane is the most important person in the world, which she is.

But then I’m expected to care about a bunch of kids on a school bus going across the Golden Gate Bridge, which I do not,

except for the kid with an enormous afro, who you only see in a couple of shots. If that kid was the featured player in this sequence, then it might have had a chance, but instead what we get is

goats, for some reason? Which

I have to say do not loom large on my list of

things I give a shit about, alongside

train randos

and more non-afro bus kids. It’s just hard to

focus on who I’m supposed to care

about, from one moment to the

next. I mean, I get that they’re trying

to show that this is a huge, wide-ranging

crisis, and that Superman is trying to

help as many people as he can, but at this point we’re

a full five minutes into the sequence, and

all of a sudden, there’s a whole housing development that we’re supposed to be concerned about, and what even

happened to those goats? There’s also a moment where

you see the panicking people from the housing development, and someone shouts, “Come on, George! Come on!” like now I’m responsible for keeping track of how George is doing. It just doesn’t work for me at all.

Next, a special weekend post:
A Small Amount of the Exciting Original Story of Superman: Last Son of Krypton

Movie list

— Danny Horn

6 thoughts on “Superman 1.95: Speak Truth to Power

  1. One thing I will say in defense of this admittedly poor sequence is that it looks very different from what’s gone before. If we’re getting restless- and a two and a half hour movie aimed at eight year-olds has a lot of people in the audience getting restless- then these images might perk us up for a moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Another reason I love Danny. He doesn’t just tell us about the quick cuts, he shows us. Brilliant!

    You’re supposed to use shorter sentences in prose to show how time slows down, but the technique doesn’t always translate to the screen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NEVER let it be said that the Salkinds would waste film footage of goats. Especially if they paid for the goats. (Granted, given what we’ve heard so far about them, it seems unlikely; but there may have been a slip-up somewhere. Or the goats had a REALLY good agent.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great storyboarding!

    It’s the goats-to shot when you don’t have a better image. (Sorry.)

    The housing development now includes daylight basements.

    Is the dam burst reused from “Earthquake?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. While I find the disconnected shots in this part of the movie dizzying and confusing, and I think that lends itself to boring a modern audience which is already used to superhero special effects extravaganzas, I wonder if the 1978 audience felt the same way or if they were wowed by everything going on here.

    This is supposed to be Superman’s grand moment where he Super-fixes everything and Super-saves everyone, to show what he’s really capable of — followed by the despair of realizing he lost the one person that matters to him the most. It’s a larger version of the earlier dizzying montage where he saves people and stops crime, only to be confronted by Jor-El’s chiding lecture on what he did wrong. Both montages are an emotional high followed by a surprising or shocking scene which brings us down.

    The difference is that the first Super-montage started with saving Lois and led into a whirlwind of other heroic deeds, and this one starts with heroic deeds and ends with losing Lois. The only way to save her turns out to be disobeying his father and breaking through the conditioning that says he is not to alter Earth’s history. This is why it was a tragedy that the Fortress of Solitude scene with Jor-El was not in the theatrical cut. Those two minutes really expand our understanding of the whole struggle Superman is going through. See my lengthier comment on that scene under 1.95.


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