You know, they say most accidents happen in the home, and that’s even more true for Superman, because his house is a slippery Arendelle ice castle with huge holes in the floor that act as an unwanted houseguest disposal feature. It’s a nice place to visit, but you have to watch your step or else you’ll tumble into an eternal abyss. Also, there’s no place to sit down.
So it’s kind of a shame that the Fortress of Solitude in the movies doesn’t have any of the amenities of the comic book Fortress, like an interplanetary zoo or a business center. Superman has revealed himself to the woman that he loves, and now he’s brought her to his awesome secret Arctic hideaway, and she doesn’t really know what to interact with.
The only thing that you can touch in this enormous lobby area is the big crystal contraption up on the platform, and if you mess with that, you’re likely to summon a bald guy who reads poetry at you. On the other hand, depending on the random unlabeled crystal you choose, you might learn something about life on other planets, or scientific concepts beyond our current imaginings.
But the only person who would be interested in that would be a reporter, and Lois Lane isn’t a reporter. At least, not anymore.
The scene goes like this:
Superman: You see, when my father died — my Earth father, I mean — I found this crystal.
Superman: Uh… this is kind of hard to explain, but you see, it, um… it called to me.
Superman: Yeah. And it brought me here. It helped me to build this place. Well… actually, it built it, really.
Superman: But, um… that’s when I found out who I really was, and what I had to do.
Now, call me judgmental if you want, but I don’t think Lois comes off very well during that little exchange of ideas. I know that telepathic alien crystal architecture is outside her usual beat, but you’d think that a top-notch reporter like Lois Lane would take her notebook out of her purse and write some of this intel down, maybe ask a question or two.
I mean, even on their first date, when she was absolutely starry-eyed and flirting like her life depended on it, she got excited when he told her a new piece of information. To be fair, that was officially supposed to be an interview, and currently she’s off-duty, but I don’t see even a flicker of resemblance between these two Loises.
Lois in the first movie could process information, and come up with follow-up questions. She was always peeking around corners, and looking for a story. Now she’s got the biggest exclusive in human history, and Superman is feeding her utterly preposterous straight lines, and she has literally nothing to say.
Now, these scenes were the first to be shot when shooting resumed on Superman II with Richard Lester as the director, and I have heard people say that Margot Kidder is giving a bad performance here because she was upset about Dick Donner and Tom Mankiewicz being taken off the project.
But honestly, Kidder is not the problem here; it’s the new script by David and Leslie Newman. They’ve given Superman all of this as a monologue, and Lois doesn’t get any lines. So Lester keeps cutting to her for reaction shots, and she’s not allowed to do anything but nod.
Then when they finally give her something to say, it’s this:
Superman: So what do you think? Do you like it?
Lois: Like it? It’s incredible! I mean, not that it couldn’t use a woman’s touch, you know? Especially around dinner time.
which doesn’t mean anything.
Then it gets worse.
Superman: Dinner! Oh… I’m sorry. You see, I don’t usually do too much about… Listen. Tonight, the sky’s the limit! Anything you want!
And then he immediately turns and flies away, without asking what she wants.
Now, this one is definitely on Lester. The script says “Anything you want, Lois,” and there’s a close-up on Lois, smiling. Then the scene cuts to Superman arriving on a tropical island to gather flowers.
That cut allows some time compression, where Lois gets to say something before he flies off. But the way it’s staged, he says the line and then leaps away with a whoosh sound effect, leaving her to sit down on an icy step and wait for him to come back.
So it’s just bad filmmaking, really; there’s no excuse for it. Bad character development, under-written script, an actress left to fend for herself with no material. And now she’s just sitting there in the cold, and she can’t even explore the Fortress and find the room with the tiny bottle city in it, because there aren’t any safety railings and the insurance would go through the roof. Still, it’s better than East Houston.
2.30: The King of Chickens
The shot of Superman picking tropical flowers by a waterfall was filmed on location in Saint Lucia, in the West Indies. The production sent Reeve and a small unit to film the brief sequence, which I think is very effective. The opening shot shows the Jalousie Plantation, and the waterfall is called Diamond Falls, near the town of Soufriere. Tourists now know it as the Superman Waterfall, and you can visit it, if you make reservations in advance.
2.30: The King of Chickens
— Danny Horn