Fridge / Superman


Fridge Brilliance

  • Bizarro. He's an imperfect, backwards clone of Superman. He's also a metaphor for humanity on the whole. Think of it; Bizarro has all of Superman's powers (if reversed, in some continuities), and is strengthened by that little green gemstone that would turn Superman into a peanut-allergic kid at the Reese's factory. In the same vein, humanity has surpassed most if not all of its natural boundaries, defying the elements time and again at every turn. So given this, why isn't Bizarro the hero? Simple: despite his power, he's not mentally capable of bearing the responsibility that comes with saving and protecting the world. He's every bit as powerful as the Big Blue Boy Scout, but his twisted logic won't let him do the good and right thing despite how badly he wants to. Sounds about right.
    • Staying on the subject of Superman, Clark Kenting. When Clark takes Kara for a stroll in downtown Metropolis they come across the huge statue of Superman that once stood over his tomb (he got better). Kara sees this and says that it's no wonder he can just put on a pair of glasses and walk around; this is how the people of earth see him. They would never suspect he was the dorky kid from Kansas pounding a keyboard in the Daily Planet. —SD81
      • The entire idea of the supposed unrealism of Clark Kenting is exaggerated in the first place, based entirely on weak jokes that are vastly overplayed and were never funny to begin with. Consider it a bit of Real Life Fridge Brilliance if you must although it's more like common sense, but think about it: if you saw a guy who was the spitting image of Arnold Schwarzenegger behind the counter at a Starbucks, only he has that green apron around him and he's wearing glasses, would you go, "AHA!! So Arnold Schwarzenegger is really a guy who makes coffee at a Starbucks in Bristol, Tennessee! I can't BELIEVE you thought you had us fooled! What do you take us for??!!" Or would you say, "Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look like just Arnold Schwarzenegger? Nah, you probably get that all the time, I'm sorry." The only unrealistic thing is how seldom people seem to mention these fictional characters' resemblance to their alter egos, but that is to some degree justified by it being a bit of Lampshade Hanging that would get old very easily, appearing to be nothing more than an overly long Running Gag.
      • Very true. Besides, we already have a real-life example of what happens when people assume that two similar people are the same person - the Elvis sightings. For all we know, tabloids in the DC Universe regularly run stories like "Man sees Superman in a bar in Texas!" What would the average person call someone who insists that Clark Kent is really Superman? Deluded, if they felt like being polite.
      • For a real life example, consider that there are famous people who do look a bit like each other: Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman for instance (Knightly played Portman's double in The Phantom Menace specifically for this reason). "Hey, Clark Kent sorta looks like Superman... bet he gets hassled by it all the time" is probably a realistic response for most people. The other common argument is to point out that someone, especially writers, can be famous and still not be well-known faces. Stephen King can probably be safely anonymous much of the time.
      • And the single most-seen woman in the world, whose image has been displayed more times than any other person in all of history, who can be seen in any bookstore or supermarket anywhere in the English-speaking world and many outside of it, can walk down the street and never be recognized. So who is she? The woman who poses for the heroine on every single romance novel for the last fifteen years! Look at the covers some time.
      • And, of course, there are only a handful of people who would have cause to suspect Superman and Clark Kent have any kind of connection whatever beyond a physical resemblance. The old crack about Superman and Clark Kent never being in the same place at the same time takes on different meaning when you realize that 99% of the population of the Earth or even Metropolis has never and most likely will never be in the same place as Clark Kent or Superman either.
      • There's also the fact that Clark Kent is a ridiculously average-looking man. Six-foot-something, dark hair, dark suit, and glasses? Who's going to look at him twice in order to make the connection? Sure, Clark looks a bit like Superman. He also looks like Rivers Cuomo and that guy from the cell phone commercials.
      • Pointed out in the novel Last Son of Krypton when Clark is promoted to on-air talent on WGBS and the news anchor. He is described as "inoffensively handsome," the kind of person who you probably wouldn't mind being around, yet forget about soon after leaving him.
      • Another point is the difference in how Clark's wardrobe fits him. Superman's outfit is form-fitting, and so his physique is well-defined when he's in-costume. As Clark Kent, he typically wears loose-fitting common clothes that don't emphasize his body build.
  • A big one in the "Superman: Grounded" Story arc. When he is consoling a suicidal woman he telles her:
    "You're right when you say we all come out of high school thinking we're going to save the world. And sometimes we do. And sometimes ó sometimes we don't. So you don't think about saving the world. You think about saving just one person. Because sometimes, that's enough. All I know is that we have to try."
    • This statement could both reference people in general or it could also be a refernece to himself as by saving him and sending him to earth, his parents gave earth it's greatest champion.
  • Just got the significance of Superman's Asskicking Pose. Crossing his arms is not just the standard "I'm angry" expression - it's also his way of saying he could beat you at least five different ways without ever uncrossing his arms.
    • Um, Batgirl1 has her own ideas about Superman's pose. Note that In the older comics, when Superman was mainly Superman and Clark was just a disguise, his standard pose was arms-akimbo. In the post-reboot comics, where Superman is Clark, he defaults to arm-crossing. Arms-Akimbo is an aggressive posture; arms-crossed is defensive. It can be thought to symbolically represent his being brought down to more human levels from his prior Demi-god status, or something. Batgirl1 may have too much time on her hands.
    • Crossing his arms like that (especially if hovering so the bad guys have to look up at him) also makes him look like everyone's I'm-so-disappointed-in-you angry DAD!
      • I can picture Jonathan Kent doing precisely that (minus the hovering) while looking down at his little adopted son who can't gather eggs without crushing them all. I wonder if Superman even realizes he's copying his father?
      • I just had a moment of Fridge Brilliance while reading the above two posts. Perhaps Superman is intentionally copying his father? In every comic I've ever read, Superman is both extremely idealistic and looks up to his father (or specifically, foster-father). Batman, in contrast, tries to scare people into behaving better (hence the bat thing), but Superman genuinely wants people to BE better. Who made him who he is (a hero)? His foster-father. So who else would he try to emulate?
      • In one version of the origin story, Jonathan notices that as baby Clark stands still, he "folds his arms to keep his balance."
    • A Boring, but Practical explanation, at least from the movie and TV perspective, is that the arms crossed pose makes your biceps appear bigger than the arms akimbo pose.
  • This may seem painfully obvious to you guys, but I only now just realized that Superman's hair swirl/the highlights on it form an 'S' shape, mirroring his logo!
  • Superman's nickname "The Last Son of Krypton" isn't inaccurate even when you consider all of the other Kryptonians to have turned up over the years - They were born before Kal El, so he's still the Last Son.
    • Or, that the only two other Kryptonians that will endure, Supergirl and Power Girl, are both women, so he's always going to remain the Last Son.
      • Although that doesn't really work with Kandor around.
  • Superboy-Prime was revealed being magic-proof in Infinite Crisis, with no explanation why. But when you think about it, there's a good explanation: he's the last Superman from the Silver Age, when Superman's power set included New Powers as the Plot Demands. Of course he'd reveal or spontaneously develop a new power at exactly the moment he needs to, it's one of his powers.
    • Also, his universe is Real Life-a universe which would prevent magic of any but the illusionary kind from working. Full blasts from Shazam would be just as ineffective on some Earth-Prime yokel.
  • Supermanís farm background may have affected him in both a positive and negative manner:
    • Positively, he learnt to care for the earth and to nurture all living things, and to accept the natural consequences of life (ie he doesnít try to interfere, but simply lets things proceed as they should).
    • Negatively, he has a wide-eyed idealistic view of the world, and no real understanding of social compromises and concessions that ordinary people need to make to manage their lives, which means enemies can use underhanded tactics (turning others against Superman, etc) against him effectively.
  • Superman is attracted to Lois Lane because she doesnít adore him, but neither is she afraid of him.

Fridge Horror

  • When you think about it, the very idea of being Superman is utterly horrifying, and growing up as a young Superman in Smallville must have been even worse. Your entire species is mostly dead, and you've had to grow up terrified you will accidentally kill one of the squishy meat-bags that raised you. In addition, with your Super-senses, you can hear (and probably even see) literally everything for Rao knows how many miles - when you went off to school and your parents decided to take some "personal time," you could likely still hear it from there. Now, no disgusting bodily function is a secret to you; and, according to some comics, Superman is physically hurt by people dying. Which is always happening no matter what he does... Even while he was a kid. The fact that his powers didn't develop immediately makes all this worse; he didn't have his whole life to get used to them.
    • This may explain why Superman does his absolute best to not kill: he can see every micron of damage that his actions would cause, resulting in incredible levels of empathy and understanding.

Fridge Logic

  • How the hell is Superman vulnerable to his own planet?
    • We are also vulnerable to portions of our own planet that are radioactive.
      • Between Crisis on Infinite Earths and The New 52, it was established that part of the process of Krypton going BOOM was internal chemo-nuclear reactions resulting in the formation of Kryptonite. The natives called it the Green Plague. The New 52's take on it has yet to be revealed.
    • Kryptonite has been subject to so much Fridge Logic over the years (like how you can just about buy it on any street corner on Earth by now, etc..) that it's best to mutter Bellisario's Maxim and move on...
    • Symbolism-He's an immigrant to America, kryptonite is the old country.
    • Sometimes (most notably, its first Post-Crisis appearance), kryptonite very painfully drains the solar energy from Superman's cells, hence why it weakens him as well as hurts him, and also why it glows. Of course, how this works opens up a whole new can of Fridge Logic.
  • Every time Superman misses with his heat vision, it means he failed to look at the target.


Fridge Brilliance:

  • The first three Superman films comprise a single narrative arc that explores the theme of the Superman/Clark Kent duality through the characterís romantic relationships. In Superman: The Movie, reporter Lois Lane develops a crush on Superman, but otherwise looks down her nose at Clark Kent. In Superman II, Lois learns that Superman and Clark is the same person. She becomes his lover, but before their relationship can be consummated, Superman is required to renounce his powers. This means that Lois ends up being stuck with Clark, even though her true feelings were for Superman. This puts a great deal of strain on their relationship, as is evidenced by Loisí dismay when Clark is brutally beaten by a bully. Realizing that the relationship is unfeasible, Superman (after regaining his powers) erases Loisís memories of their relationship and moves on. In Superman III, Clark reconnects with his school friend Lana Lang. Unlike Lois, Lana seems to genuinely like Clark for who he is, respecting him for his honesty and gentleness. She does not seem to be particularly impressed by the idea of Superman, although her young son is a big fan. Indeed, Lana seems to intuit that Clark and Superman is the same person, but seems to go along with the pretense for the sake of her son. When Superman is exposed to the synthetic kryptonite created by Gus Gorman, it results in a change of behavior, which reveals that the Superman persona is his weaker half. Superman visits Lanaís house as a special treat for her son, but seems to spend most of his time hitting on Lana. He also drinks, destroys public property and engages in other petty anti-social behaviors. This behavior continues until Clark Kent extracts himself as a separate person and kills his Superman half, proving himself the stronger. In this sense, the struggle between Clark and Superman, which has persisted through the three films, is resolved with Clark becoming the ascendant persona.
  • Consider the scene where Clark first shows up at the Daily Planet and Lois takes note of his strange, folksy mannerisms. The easy assumption is that Clark (or at least the surface personality constructed for the secret identity) is just that wholesome and old fashioned. But consider that he has spent the last twelve years completely isolated in the Fortress of Solitude. It's possible that it isn't just a front — Clark Kent seems old fashioned because he's literally more than a decade behind the times.
    • When you take into account that the movie was scripted and filmed from 1977 till 1978 you realize that Kent went into seclusion by 1965-1966, before the summer of love and all the hippie crap came out, so it does help explain Clark Kent's quaintness.
  • When Henry Cavill was announced as the new Superman, a bit of a fuss was made over a British actor playing such an intrinsically American character. However, look at the film (and in most cases, TV) adaptations of other Kryptonians: in most cases, they speak with a British accent. Presumably, Kal-El would have grown up to be Krypton's version of British, but having been raised in Kansas, speaks with an American accent, (usually) champions American ideals, etc. So in a way, having a British actor for Supes makes a lot of sense. Time will tell how Kryptonians are portrayed in Man of Steel, however.
    • While there have been complaints about Superman having no one to punch in some movies, Superman is showing countering acts of nature, perhaps to establish that he operates at a level above the "common" superhero.
  • In Superman, Superman starts making the headlines everywhere in Metropolis, including the Daily Planet ("Caped Wonder Stuns City!"). Perry White, naturally, doesn't like that the Planet doesn't have anything the other papers don't, so he demands an exclusive. One or more of his reporters must interview Superman at once — it'll be "the single most important interview since... God talked to Moses!". I remembered the story of Moses was an influence on Superman's origins! - Premonition45
  • In Superman, many people believe that Superman was exerting force on the Earth, causing it to spin backwards and reverse time, but it was most likely the other way around. Superman achieved sufficient speed to time travel, and the Earth was spinning backwards because he reversed time.
    • The intent seems pretty clearly that the Earth's rotation is reversed. In your analysis, why would he need to stop and fly in the direction of normal rotation a few times? And, if simply going fast enough was the idea, it would have been better communicated if he went with the rotation, but the Earth started going backward anyway.
  • In the second film, it seems odd that a) Miss Teschmacher would still help Lex after he tried to kill her mother and b) Lex would still keep her around after she foiled his plan. But, there's a fairly obvious romantic undertone to their interactions. That's plain. What's less plain is what I only picked up from The Richard Donner Cut. There's a line in which Lexi implies he'll knock out her teeth for what he perceived as an insult. With this in mind, we can look back at some dialogue from the first movie, especially when he straight-up calls her an idiot on the level of Otis or pimps her out to further his plan. My conclusion: theirs was an abusive relationship, to which people are known to return despite every logical reason being against it.

Fridge Logic:

  • The line "It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Superman!" becomes very odd when you consider the fact that there's no reason for anyone to get that excited about a bird or a plane.
    • Because that's not what the line means, and the delivery tends to be off in imitations. If you listen to the original, the bird and plane bits aren't delivered with the emphasis that an exclamation point implies. The full line is, "Look, up in the sky!" then someone else says, "It's a bird," then someone else says, "It's a plane," then the first person says, "No, it's Superman!" They're not excited that it's a bird or a plane, the idea is they can't recognize that it's Superman right away and are guessing.
  • In the restored Superman II, Lois tricks Supes into dropping the mask by firing a blank at him. Wouldn't he at least have felt a bullet tap him?
    • Might have been too shocked by Lois' outrageous act to try to notice.
    • But shouldn't he have been able to see through the gun and know it's a blank?
      • He has to consciously use X-Ray vision, it's not always on.
      • Except she's using a revolver and blanks don't look like normal bullets. He should easily be able to see the difference by looking at the chambers, hell, you can see for yourself the damn thing isn't loaded if you watch carefully.
    • When an apologetic Superman takes Lois for a high-altitude "joyride" in Returns, she should (at least) be quite uncomfortably chilly, but he's got it covered:
      Lois: I had forgotten how warm you are.
    • If Krypton's sun really did go supernova (rather than Krypton itself exploding, as in the comics) wouldn't it have disintegrated all traces of the planet, leaving no kryptonite to wind up on Earth?
      • I'm no scientist, but aren't all heavy metals (presumably including Kryptonite) actually created by supernovas?
    • In the museum exhibit in Returns, there's a chemical makeup given for the Kryptonite meteorite. Would it really have been that hard for the genius Lex Luthor to synthesize his own?
      • To answer both questions: kryptonite is a product of nuclear fusion of what is left of Krypton. I doubt the extreme environment needed for its creation is commercially available.
      • One wonders if that list includes "tar".
    • In Superman Returns:
      • Kitty dumps out the extra crystals Lex had planned on using. He couldn't get them in time before the rock they were on fell into the water. Shouldn't they have repeated the "new continent" thing?
      • "All they need is water...Like sea-monkeys". I think they are just stuck in a crack in the continent and thrown into space with the rest.
      • It is never made clear (or even suggested) that all of Superman's crystals cause the "new continent" thing. The crystals Lex was carrying around were Superman's information crystals - like the hard drives for the fortress of solitude computer. It would make sense if the "new continent" crystal was a one of a kind crystal Lex had somehow made using the technology in the fortress.
      • Lex vaguely described how he was going to keep the world's governments off his back, but from what we see, there was little chance of that happening. It was him, his girl, and three goons. They didn't even have food and water, much less a reconstructed high-tech civilization. A single U.S. Army chopper with a single squad of soldiers could have dispatched them with ease.
      • Another righteous kill for SEAL Team 6!
      • That U.S. Army chopper — and its comrades — would, like most of the world's militaries, be a bit more pressed in dealing with the massive natural disasters and humanitarian crises that would result from a completely new continent restructuring the face of the planet and devouring most of the pre-existing continents, causing entire cities to collapse and entire nations to fall apart in the process to worry about five people on the new continent.
      • The kryptonian crystals have almost infinite possibilities and could do just about anything; I'm guessing Lex figured out a few functions other than growing continents.
      • Alternately—it was a stupid plan and Luthor hadn't really thought it through.
    • So, Superman wasn't fast enough to stop both rockets, yet he was fast enough to spin around the Earth a hundred times in a few minutes? Kinda negates even needing to turn back time in the first place.
      • When he is chasing the missiles, he's inside the atmosphere, when he travels back in time, he goes to outer space. It is possible if you want to theorize that way, that him reaching subluminal speeds inside the atmosphere might set it on fire; besides, he catches the first missile and DRIVES IT OUT TO SPACE; and he prevents a lot of damage in real time. He just fails to reach lois lane in time (he even manages to save jimmy) and that is what drives him to try the time travel gambit; he Is superman, he will set it right, all of it. By the way, even tough Metropolis is an expy of New York, it's not the same city so he wasn't anywhere near either missile, and he still managed to go from outer atmosphere to california; that is, the opposite side of the country in enough time to save everybody (including LIFTING the whole state).
  • This can be confusing, so stay with me. Both Superman IV and Superman Returns treat the theatrical version of Superman II (with the memory-erasing kiss) as canonical, despite not holding each other so. In IV, we see that simply seeing Clark switch over to his Superman persona can completely undo the effect of the kiss. Is it impossible that the way the kiss works crosses the divided continuity? In which case, Lois would remember everything upon seeing Jason use super-powers.
    • Also, there's been some contention over the implication that Lois knows his secret again upon bringing Clark the cape in IV. But she's a smart girl who recently had a sort of double-date scenario set up with Clark and Superman, both of whom disappeared, but only one offered an explanation. Surely she put the clues together and the kiss was negated.
  • In Superman III, what exactly is Superman's motivation while being "evil"? Almost immediately after being commended and praised by people, he neglects situations that could use his help, corrects one of humanity's "mistakes" (the Leaning Tower), and (here's the kicker) basically mocks the Olympics, where the world's greatest athletes all come together to compete. He's come to view himself as far above the measly humans he'd previously sworn to protect, to have an inflated ego. This explains why the evil half is represented by Superman, while the good is Clark. It is as an alien visitor with phenomonal powers that he became the selfish idol; it is as the small-town guy with good values that he became the hero.