Headscratchers / Superman II

WHY did Superman have to give up his powers at all?
Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex
  • Except, except that scene happened before he gave up his powers. The real reason given seems to be that he wanted to live a normal life, and not have to have his attention divided between his love of Lois and having to jet off at a moment's notice to save the world. It also set up the "Prodigal Son" scene where Kal-El, having given up his birthright, goes back to beg forgiveness of his father, and is allowed to be Superman again.
  • The scene where they're in the tinfoil hammock in the Fortress of Solitude? No it didn't.
  • Relating to this, there's something I've wondered. Didn't Jor-El tell him in the first movie that if he helped out too much, then humanity becomes too dependent on him? That being the case, it would seem to me that having a relationship in his civilian life wouldn't hurt.
We're supposed to believe that it's because Superman isn't supposed to "put one above the rest," except that Jor-El and Lara had to assume Superman would be adopted by SOMEONE to whom he would hold some sort of loyalty. Besides, would they rather he have a girlfriend and have his powers, or just give them up and be with her?
  • For what it's worth, Superman and Lois married in the comics in 1996 'til reboot did them part in 20011.

Upon arriving on Earth, Ursa is bitten by a snake, which she then fries with her heat vision to prove their Superman-like powers. Must've been a Kryptonian snake to be able to bite her at all...
  • Going by the comics, the longer a Kryptonian spends under a yellow sun, the tougher they become and the stronger their other abilities are. Of course, immediately emerging from the Phantom Zone, the three of them are able to breathe and tear apart a Moon Lander, so.. *shrugs*
    • The snake didn't hurt her; her reaction was purely reflex. When she hits it with her heat vision, she was giving it a literal Death Glare and had no idea she had the heat vision power. Hence why she was so surprised after.

After he lost his powers at the fortress, how did Superman and Lois get back to America?
  • They didn't. The diner they stopped at on their way back was in Canada. <ducking and running>
  • Perhaps Clark had a teleporter or an escape pod or something standing ready. It's not as if he and the Fortress both can't pull whatever they need out of their respective holes at any time, in these movies.

Superman was told that if he gave up his powers, he'd have to do so permanently. So why does he get his powers back?
  • The Richard Donner cut answers this to some degree. Jor-El foresaw the possibility that Kal-El would want to give up his powers to be with an Earth woman. He also foresaw the possibility that Kal-El would change his mind. Since Jor-El was about to die on Krypton anyway, he imbued the green crystal with all his Kryptonian life essence, which Kal-El could use to regain any of his powers he'd given up ... once. "The son becomes the father, and the father the son."
  • The original theatrical cut alluded to the idea that Clark used the green crystal to restore his powers. The crystal glows, he picks it up, there's a close up and the next time we see Clark he's Superman again.

Why does everyone treat Superman's throwing chest symbol weapon as a power?
  • Because it's not specified to be a gadget, and because these movies have a bad habit of giving Superman completely ridiculous powers at seemingly random, so it fits with what else we've seen.

Why do many fans ignore that, in the film as released, Superman nonchalantly KILLED Zod?
  • A very common complaint about Man of Steel is that its Superman is a "darker, remorseless killer," contrasting it to the "brighter, more heroic" Superman of the Donner films, even though he kills Zod in BOTH films. A comparison of the two films will show that:
    • In one film, Superman depowers Zod, rendering him no threat. He reveals this by sadistically crushing Zod's hand, then throws him twenty feet or more into a wall where he falls at least five stories into an icy crevasse, never to be seen again. Superman does this all while smiling and quipping afterwards.
    • In the other film, Zod commits Suicide by Cop by forcing Superman to kill him to protect a family of civilians. Superman is desperate not to, and when he does kill Zod he gives a scream of anguish and collapses to his knees, unmoving until Lois hugs him.
    • The first Superman is the one fans keep calling "brighter, more heroic," and the second the Superman they complain about being a "darker, remorseless killer." What's the deal here? Is it the Nostalgia Filter coloring their perception of the older film from having seen it as children? Is it that because they didn't SEE Zod die in Superman II, it "doesn't count?" The Superman of Superman II is only "brighter" in that he is cheerful and triumphant while he cripples and executes a helpless foe, while the "darker" Superman of Man Of Steel is forced into it by a Death Seeker and is greatly traumatized by the experience.

Why does Clark go back to the diner in the Richard Donner Cut?
  • The Lester cut of Superman 2 has Clark kiss Lois so that she forgets his identity, in the Donner cut he turns back time all the way back to before Zod, Ursa, and Non escape from the Phantom Zone. Basically all of the things leading up to depowered Clark getting beaten up at the diner never happened and Clark going back to the diner so he can humiliate a man that never met Clark in that timeline seems very petty.