* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: After losing his powers and getting sucker punched by a red neck trucker thug, a powerless Clark laments that he and Lois need to hire a bodyguard, causing Lois to remark "I don't want a bodyguard, I want the man I fell in love with." What exactly does that say about Lois? That she only loved the superhero with god like powers but not the NiceGuy behind them?
*** Well, if she did, she would walk away as soon as he gave up his powers.
** What side of the "Who is the real persona?" does this Superman fall on? Lois asks Superman if it's hard being Clark Kent, and he remarks that it's not hard at all and he even enjoys it despite the foolishness he must sometimes indulge in. Normally Reeve's Superman fell on the GodModeSue version from the Silver Age, but this evokes the Bronze Age interpretation that both identities are important to him.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The overlong scene of the villains using their super-breath to blow away the Metropolis civilians is meant to be both funny and horrifying, but even among the sight gags there's a very weird shot of a balding man wearing a red sparkly jacket being blown away on roller skates. It especially stands out in the Donner Cut, which otherwise removed the goofy slapstick moments from this scene.
* BrokenBase: Over which version is better - the original Lester Cut or the 2006 Donner Cut.
** Superman's revenge on the trucker who beat him up while he was powerless is quite a controversial scene. Lots of people love it, while lots of others say it's completely out of character (even though the trucker had it coming). It arguably looks worse in the Donner cut where Superman changed time at the end, essentially undoing the beating.
* DesignatedHero: Superman for some viewers. He gives up powers that will save millions of lives to be with someone who is TooDumbToLive, and after being re-powered and rendering Zod helpless he sadistically crushes his hand before casually executing him by [[DisneyVillainDeath throwing him to his death in an icy crevasse]], uses his regained powers to injure a human in an act of petty revenge (granted the guy was a {{Jerkass}}), and than gives Lois LaserGuidedAmnesia for his own convenience. [[SarcasmMode What a hero!]]
* DeusExMachina: The process to make Superman mortal that his Mother insists is irreversible and there is no going back? Yeah, about that...
* EnsembleDarkhorse: General Zod. Like Khan in ''Franchise/StarTrek'', he has cast a ''very'' long shadow over the franchise ever since, as a high-profile bad guy who is a match for Superman.
* FridgeHorror: In the Creator/RichardDonner cut Superman destroys his Fortress of Solitude... with Lex Luthor apparently still inside it! Granted Luthor was a jerk at best and a PsychopathicManchild at worst but still... harsh. Of course, the Arctic Police had probably carried off the villains by that point.
* HarsherInHindsight: In the Creator/RichardDonner cut, the actions that Lois takes to prove Clark is Superman could be seen as insane -- jumping out a window so that Superman will save her, pointing a gun (albeit loaded with blanks) to elicit a reaction from Clark, essentially actions that no sane or rational person would attempt (sadly Lois actually ''did'' do stuff like this in the older comics during her StalkerWithACrush days). This becomes tear-jerking, when Margot Kidder, the actress who portrayed Lois, would be diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a severe psychotic episode.
** Throwing herself into the river in the original Lester cut to make Clark out himself as Superman isn't much better.
** The sight of a powerless Clark Kent being beaten up by a roughneck trucker and left barely able to move, along with a shot of him laying unconscious in the Donner cut, becomes harder to watch knowing what happened to Christopher Reeve later in life.
** In-unverse example, as Supes apparently didn't remember what happened when he went away for ''two weeks'' and promising ''never'' to leave again - and than goes on a pointless five year trip to Krypton to determine that the planet really ''did'' explode (what?) in ''Film/SupermanReturns''.
** Superman realized that having three superpowered villains fighting him in the middle of Metropolis might get a little out of hand, and decided to draw them back to the Fortress where no innocents would get hurt. In the ContinuityReboot ''Film/ManOfSteel'', Superman's relative inexperience and General Zod's unhinged RoaringRampageOfRevenge ended up causing massive destruction and loads of innocents getting hurt or killed in Metropolis (and Smallville), which serves as the catalyst for many citizens, including Bruce Wayne, to hate him in the [[Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice next installment]].
* [[Main/HilariousInHindsight Hilarious in Hindsight]]: The trucker in the diner already made [[Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice Superman bleed]].
* InkStainAdaptation: For Zod and his followers. It worked so well that the comics eventually [[RetCanon changed there depictions of them to match.]]
* MemeticMutation: All together, "KneelBeforeZod!"
* {{Narm}}: Reeve's facial expression as he delivered the line "No! Don't do it! The people!" (Notice how in the preceding shot he looked appropriately horrified at the sight of the bus being lifted, than it looks like he's trying not to ''laugh'' and smile as he delivers his lines, than in the third and fourth close up shots he's back to looking suitably horrified.)
** And the British boy going, "Please, Mr. General! Please let my daddy down!"
** In the Donner Cut of #2 the speech Superman gives to the ghost of his father Jor-El about how Lois is the one thing he truly desires in life, above all else, and you can see Reeve giving it his all, and it's almost touching and poignant and heart-breaking... until you remember that Lois is an illiterate, chain smoking scatter brain who in the Donner Cut threw herself out of the Daily Planet building in an attempt to bluff Clark into admitting he's Superman and than successfully outed him with a fake gun and fake bullets.
*** Well, some viewers can actually see (an remember) said scene as [[HeartwarmingMoments touching and poignant and heart-breaking]]; as Lois not being perfect is part of her charm.
* NarmCharm: General Zod is made of this. He's a titanic ham with lots of dialogue that could have been very painful, but he tends to come of as genuinely deranged and dangerous rather than goofy considering he has the godlike power to back up his threats. It also helps that he can bounce back and forth between LargeHam and dangerously understated almost at will, as his introductory scene shows.
* NightmareFuel: General Zod and his cohoots in this movie show just how terrifying it can be to have three practically invincible evil Kryptonians wrecking havoc on Earth.
* OlderThanTheyThink: As far back as the [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] Superman comics, Superman had psychic hypnotism powers that he occasionally used on Lois to erase (or prevent) her memories of his secret identity. The "kiss of amnesia" from the Lester Cut isn't anything new.
* OnlyTheCreatorDoesItRight: The Donner cut is generally considered superior to the original theatrical cut; note that Donner directed the first ''Superman'' movie.
* RomanticPlotTumor: No matter which version you watch the romantic subplot between Lois and Superman is very iffy - arguably even more iffy in the Donner cut if that's at all possible.
*** It's true that modern audiences often dislike this subplot for "not being action packed enough" on comparison of nowadays superheroes movies. But, if you like superheroes stories that not only revolve around action, you can find this pretty enjoyable-and quite clear.
* WhatAnIdiot: If Lex had any sense of foresight, he would have carried Kryptonite on him. Based on it's deadly effect on Superman, you would think Lex would carry around some more in case Zod, Non, or Ursa ever tried to kill him. However, based on his lust for power (he wanted Australia in the first place), it's clear that killing them was not on his priority list. He had good reason to want to destroy Superman in the first film, but in this film, all he wants is control of Australia. While Kryptonite could momentarily take out Zod and his gang, Lex would no longer have any short cut way of gaining his goal, making Kryptonite more of a nuisance than a good thing. Still, it'd be smart to at least carry some in a lead pocket...in the good chance Zod would have tried to get rid of him.
** ''Movie/SupermanIII'' states that there's no more Kryptonite left on Earth, so that may have been true for ''Superman II'' as well.
** Superman giving up his powers to be with Lois Lane. Even if he didn't have to worry about three super villains from Krypton or roughneck trucker thugs this is just incredibly stupid on his part - and may make his suffering during his loss of powers UnintentionallyUnsympathetic.