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 2011.

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.
      • (The scene deleted from Superman II of the "Arctic Patrol" arrest is just that, a DELETED scene. The film has to stand as it was released, not as it might have been released. And the released film clearly shows the Kryptonians suffering the recognized Disney Villain Death of falling to their deaths off-screeen. See Death of the Author.)
      • The "Artic Patrol" sequence isn't just a deleted scene. It appears in the Expanded International Cut, released in 1983.
      • "Arctic Patrol" is nowhere to be found in the Richard Donner Cut. And even in the cuts where it does exist... really? Not only do Zod and the gang survive plummeting to the bottom of that pit, but there just happens to be a law enforcement agency there to arrest them?
      • Superman does not kill Zod and the others. He pushes them into a crevice inside the fortress of solitude, and their fate is unrevealed. Nothing more can be determined because the movie does not choose to show us what happens. Maybe they were put into suspended animation. Maybe they fell a few feet to the snow and were picked up later. Maybe the pit is full of foam rubber. Who knows? I never interpreted this as Superman and Lois killed them, but rather the movie conveniently forgetting about them. This is different from Man of Steel, which explicitly makes a big point about Superman killing Zod (although I'd hardly say it makes him out to be a remorseless killer, just a pragmatist).
      • They aren't even dead in the Richard Donner cut either. Remember, in the end, Superman turns back time basically resetting everything (i.e, repairing the Fortress of Solitude, bringing Jor-El's essence back to life,repairing Metropolis, and it shows the prisoners being returned to the Phantom Zone. So while he temporarily "killed" them, in the end they survived, unlike in Man of Steel.

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.
    • Superdickery.
    • In universe answer: it was apparent from the reactions to the trucker's arrival in the earlier scene, the trucker was obviously bullying the customers for some time prior to Lois and Clark's arrival. Remembering that, Clark returned after he regained his powers to (admittedly in a slight out of character moment) help the people in the diner by kicking out the trucker. In the end, he was doing what he usually does: saving people.
    • Out of universe answer: Richard Donner (if he directed the "return to diner" scene instead of Lester) probably had an explanation in his original script for Superman's return, but due to the fact the Richard Donner cut was cobbled together as well as they could with existing footage, he couldn't film an appropriate reason for Clark's return, but wanted to put it in there to show the trucker ended up getting punished for his attitude. If Lester directed the footage, then Donner probably just put it in there for the same reason as I stated plus just trying to pad out the run time of the movie.
    • So what if that guy didn't recall beating up Clark? If I commit a crime, then develop amnesia and forget that I did, does that absolve me? No it doesn't. He was still the same dick as in the original timeline, and would still have beaten up Clark if given the opportunity again. Would you complain if in the first movie, Superman had gone back in time to before Luthor set his plans in motion and had him arrested?
    • Clark was (to the people of the diner) a newcomer at the diner. He saw a trucker rudely demanding food and insulting their cuisine. Clark, in the staff's defence, throws a cannibalism insult at the trucker. The trucker, though never seeing this supposed wimp with glasses before, doesn't take the insult lightly, and, thinking Clark as easy prey, eggs him on. As for the owner's protests, he was probably talking about an earlier unseen fight the trucker got into.

Why don't the owners of the diner bar Rocky?
  • Obviously, Rocky is a regular customer, but he is also abusive and aggresive. The owners don't like him much. So why don't they just bar him.
    • Simple capatalistic pragmatism, maybe. I once worked in a retail facility which had customers behaving badly, and I tried to throw them out only for my supervisor to tell me I couldn't really do that. Presumably because whatever their very real and evident faults, they're still paying customers.

Why does that depowering machine permanently remove a Kryptonian's powers?
  • From what we saw, all it does is bathe Kryptonians in red light. Going by the comic canon, this should merely remove their powers temporarily; all they would have to do to get them back is absorb yellow light again. Even in this universe, it doesn't make sense. The Kryptonians should already have been exposed to red light when they were in Krypton, yet it didn't take away their ability to gain super powers from yellow sunlight.
    • Since Zod and his partners-in-crime have the same powers as Superman, wouldn't that mean that they would also be subject to the same Kryptonite weakness as Superman?
    • If you go with the commonly (but by no means universally) held stance that Superman did not in fact execute Zod and his cohorts when he flung them into those pits at the climax of the movie, it is not too much of a stretch to presume he made sure they landed (safely) in an area in the Fortress that would not only contain them, but either continuously bathe them in red sun radiation, or at the very least, cut them off from direct yellow sunlight. Superman had plenty of time to prepare traps and containment before Zod and co. arrived. Perhaps he even re-shunted them to the Phantom Zone.
      • What about Superman's depowering via the same method earlier in the film? That took his powers away permanently, and it took a sacrifice from Jor-El/Lara to restore them.

  • What was the point of renaming Faora to Ursa in this continuity?

Why didn't the supervillains feel weak?
  • When Superman was depowered earlier, you could see the pain on his face as the powers left him. Later, when he switched the depowering mechanism, why didn't Zod, Ursa and Non not feel any depowering?