These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alas, Poor Scrappy: Superboy-Prime's apparent demise in Blackest Night. Of course, it might not have happened. The Legion Threeboot featured a very creative storyteller who looked just like Superboy in one issue, and we now know the Threeboot took place on Earth-Prime.
It didn't happen. He showed up during the last couple of issues of Teen Titans alive and well, having apparently spent much time in the background putting together his own Legion of Doom. He was defeated and imprisoned on the Source Wall by Superboy and Supergirl in #100, just before the reboot occurred.
Pre-Crisis Superman was very much the dominant personality, with Clark Kent as mask he puts on in order to "hide." He noticeably wasn't very committed to it, as the Clark Kenting trope is quick to point out, and several times tried to just give up on the persona and be Superman 24/7
The idea that Superman was the dominant personality was theorized by Jules Feiffer, whose words were paraphrased by Bill the Snakecharmer in Kill Bill Vol. 2.
While that was the case in The Silver Age of Comic Books, several Bronze Age stories, most notably the "Mr. Xavier Saga" (no relation), came to the conclusion that he valued both identities equally, and felt miserable and stressed whenever he was forced to neglect either for an extended period of time. Without Clark, he had no way to ever relax; and without Superman, he couldn't help people in danger.note "I tried to decide whether Clark or Superman is more important... and realized that to do away with one would be to kill half of myself—whoever I really am! So... I'd decided meek, mild-mannered Clark Kent will still walk the streets of the city—while up in the sky... the world will still watch and thrill to the sight of—a job for Superman!".
One good story involved a pair of gambling aliens separating Clark and Superman. All that happened was that there was two Supermans, and that when one of them was Clark the other felt compelled to be Superman, and vice versa.
Michael Fleischer once suggested that if Krypton had not exploded and Kal-El had grown up there, he might have been so overshadowed by his brilliant father that he might have been more like shy, mild-mannered Clark.
Post-Crisis is the opposite, Clark is the dominant personality with no knowledge or memories of Krypton until well into his adult years and after he started operating as a super hero. This means that Clark comes off as a far more assertive and aggressive person than the Pre-Crisis "wimp." This makes Superman come off as stiff and artificial because, as Clark puts it, "Clark is who I am, Superman is what I can do."
To a certain extent this is how George Reeves played Clark. He was easygoing, but could be assertive if there was an emergency. There were times when Reeves' Clark seemed to forget he wasn't supposed to be Superman.
Modern writers now suggest that there are actually three personalities, the first is Clark at home, who is a decent, normal guy like any other. Then there is Clark at the Daily Planet, still a nice guy if occasionally clumsy and a little goofy, likes to play things safe but also an ace reporter and Deadpan Snarker par excellence. Finally there is Superman, who is every inch The Cape and honestly believes in Truth and Justice, almost to a fault. He sees Krypton as his birthright, but not his home and tries to bring the best of that society to Earth while trying to steer away from its shortcomings.
It has been implied that, similarly, there are three personalities; Clark Kent, the mild mannered, calm and somewhat geeky dude. Superman, the superhero, who fights for Justice and Freedom and wants to inspire the world to be good. And Kal-El, a merge of both personalities and who he really is for those who are closest to him.
Broken Base: After Superman Returns, the fans were deeply divided over whether the next film (if there was to be one) should be a sequel to said film or a reboot. This cumulated with Man of Steel which some fans viewed as a betrayal for going in a Darker and Edgier, while other fans thought the film was the modernization the hero needed.
Naturally this happened with the New 52 reboot as well. Some fans didn't like the body armor, the increased aggressiveness and rebelliousness, and of course the fact that he no longer wears his red undies on the outside. Other fans think of it as a modernization of the character.
Complaining about Shows You Don't Watch: Most haters of Superman argue that he is too powerful and boring, what they fail to realize is that Superman fights enemies that are just as powerful if not stronger, making the stories larger than life and is exactly what makes him so appealing.
Also, not all of his opponents can be defeated simply through brawn (such as his Arch-Enemy, Lex Luthor), and that his stories typically aren't about whether he wins or not.
A common complaint is that Superman's powers make him unrelatable, especially compared to Batman, whose lack of powers makes him clearly a better and more relatable hero. Yet, Clark Kent is a clumsy, snarky, Every Man who after the Bronze Age is as relatable as Peter Parker, the hero whose entire gimmick is being relatable, while Bruce Wayne is a rich multi-billionaire by day and an aggressive, stoic with no idea how to relate his emotions. Apparently some people think that the term 'relatable' means 'realistic'.
Brainiac has counted since his first appearances in the 1960s. When you force Silver Age Superman, perhaps DC's ultimate boy scout, to resort to lethal force, you know you are a monster. His crimes over the years have ranged from shrinking cities and planets for his private collection, coldly slaughtering thousands in a quest to destroy the "Master Programmer" and become God, and brainjacking Luthor, leading to the deaths of Lex, Lana Lang, and Jimmy Olsen in Whatever Happened to The Man of Tomorrow? And that's just Pre-Crisis. Since then, he has fed on human spinal fluid, possessed countless victims and destroyed their minds in the process, exploited the ImperiexWar in an attempt to rewrite the fabric of the universe, tried to destroy New Krypton, and, most recently, gone in for planetary destruction and city collection in a big way. He has never shown any remorse, his presence in a story inevitably signals that the bodycount is about to rise, and he has been a genuine physical threat to Superman since the early days when his Deflector Shields made him untouchable.
The Bronze Age incarnation of Galactic Conqueror Mongul was a deeply nasty piece of work, particularly given the time period. In his first appearance, he kidnapped Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Steve Lombard in order to blackmail Superman into giving him the keys to Warworld, then tries to kill both Superman and Supergirl with the weapon. He later travelled to Prince Gavyn (one of the Starmen)'s homeworld, murdered Gavyn's sister, and tried to force Gavyn's girlfriend into marrying him so that he might take over the planet. Beaten by Gavyn and Superman, he seized control of a Sun-Eater and unleashed it on Earth's solar system, seeking to wipe out all human life. It was in his last appearance, however, in the iconic For the Man Who Has Everything storyline that Mongul showed just how low he could sink. Ambushing Superman on his birthday, Mongul trapped him in a fantasy world, from which Superman could only escape by sacrificing his heart's desire; in Mongul's own words "It must have been like tearing off your own arm." While Superman is occupied with this, Mongul tries to beat Wonder Woman to death, while gloating about how women are too weak to stop him. Eventually trapped by the same weapon he had used on Superman, Mongul dreams of a galaxy awash in bloodshed, with himself seated on a throne, orchestrating it all. Also, to absolutely no one's surprise, his son turned out to be just as bad, but that's for a different day.
Of all the Evil Counterparts Superman has had over the years, Superboy-Prime is easily the most repulsive one. While the reader could at first sympathize with him a little, since he lost his homeworld, it quickly becomes clear that he is nothing more than a selfish, immoral and absolutely ruthless sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Throughout his numerous appearances, he has done nothing less than killing and crippling several Teen Titans (Superboy among them), massacring countless alternate Supermen and blowing up their Homeworlds, because he saw them as inferior to him, killing his own girlfriend because she was repulsed by him and much more. His most common excuse is that his victims brought it upon themselves. In Blackest Night, it seemed like he wanted to redeem himself, but he promptly threw his chance out of the window in his next appearance, when he tried to attack the Titans again.
And Pink Kryptonite. Lookin' pretty hot there, Jimmy.
Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Considering Superman's idealistic nature, he's prone to causing a whole lot... but let's face it, one of the biggest one has got to be the Kents' discovery and adoption of the infant Kal-El, regardless of the version of it.
Crowning Music of Awesome: Superman has inspired a lot of great music over the years. The original march in the Kirk Alyn serials count as this trope, as does the more famous John Williams theme from the Christopher Reeve movies. The song "Save Me" by Remy Zero ended up getting immortalized and remembered as this trope after it was chosen to be the theme song for Smallville. And perhaps the most famous use of this trope as applied to Superman is 3 Doors Down's career-making rock single "Kryptonite."
JMS' half-aborted run on the main title which involved Superman walking across America "to rediscover the country" was so critically derided that it was called the worst comic of the year. Chris Roberson was able to salvage it thankfully
Of course, Superman has been running so long as has so many versions that EVERY version has fans that consider it a Dork Age.
Fashion-Victim Villain: Both versions of the villainous Ultraman. The Pre-Crisis version wore a blue bodystocking with huge spiked shoulderpads, and the Post-Crisis version is wearing pajamas with weird circular bubbles on the belly.
Foe Yay: With guess who... and Lois. Doesn't help that he has the same initials as all of Clark's major love interests. Though technically he's Alexander Luthor.
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 New52'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.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In a letter at Superman: Man of Tomorrow #3 a couple of readers said that it would be cool, if Lex Luthor killed Superman and took over his titles, like Action Comics. What do you know, fifteen years later the second part of their wish came true. And it was awesome.
Ho Yay: His comments about how Jimmy looked in a bow-tie were not subtle. This is arguably a variation on Kissing Under the Influence since he had just been exposed to pink Kryptonite.
Lighter and Softer: Since the late Golden Age Of Comic Books, this is Superman's perceived personality and settings in relation to any mainstream superhero you may think of. It's also sort of a Base Breaker since Supes' detractors find him dorky and always lagging with the current comic book trends because of this, but on the other hand, his fans see this very trope as one of Superman's most endearing traits that also sets him apart from the rest of the DC Comics universe and even the company's competitors.
To this very day, there have been multiple attempts to make Superman Darker and Edgier, but the character has survived all of them relatively unchanged.
Love It or Hate It: It seems that the audience is divided between those who thinks Superman is an awesome superhero who represents the best side of humanity and those who thinks he's a boring and unrelatable Mary Sue.
General Zod achieves this status during New Krypton, going toe-to-toe with Luthor and Brainiac (who would qualify for this trope, were it not for his utter monstrousness) in the MB Olympics and matching them play for play. Every move that Alura, Superman, Luthor, General Lane, and Brainiac make only further cements Zod's position, and brings the two sides closer to war, and while that's what Luthor and Lane want, it ends up backfiring on them horribly when it turns out they cannot take Zod in open warfare.
Stane is an odd example; he predates Corporate Lex by a couple of years, but physically the comic book Stane is Lex's identical twin, the only difference being he is slightly taller and does'nt have green eyes. Just look.◊ Even more bizarelly, 80's corporate Lex was the spitting image of The Kingpin◊.
Siegel and Shuster's original proto-Superman character was a bald villain with Psychic Powers.
Nightmare Fuel: The Alternate Zod's genocide of the entire planet at the end of John Byrne's run. We only see bits of it in flashback, but it's just as horrific as one can imagine.
In universe example, Mr. Mxyzptlk, also The Unpronounceable. Even the other characters think he's an annoying little snit. In reality, he's one of Supe's most famous enemies.
Stoic Woobie: When Lois at one point breaks off their engagement and returns his ring (with fair cause; marrying Supes is a daunting prospect for a dozen reasons), a brokenhearted Superman flies out to the middle of the Atlantic to try to calm down. There he bumps into Lori Lemaris of Atlantis, his ex-girlfriend, and confides in her how frustrating it is that he's the only man in the world who can never allow himself to get angry. He chucks the ring miles over the horizon. Then Lori asks, "Wasn't that Ma Kent's engagement ring?" Supes realizes she's right and bolts off over the horizon to retrieve it.
Strawman Has a Point: Superman in the Action Comics comic Muscles For Money. Sure he was being a jerk, but his argument that he deserves a reward for all his good deeds does have merit.
Tear Jerker: The Death and Return of Superman arc. Especially having to do with his parents is almost hard to read.
Hell Is That Noise: Kryptonite made a pulsating noise when Supes opened the lead box. The original Dolby Surround mix (available in later pressings of the Theatrical Cut on DVD, as well as VHS and laserdisc) is louder.
The 5.1 mix uses all channels during the Sonic Warning scene (This is Lex Luthor. Only one thing alive of less than four legs can hear this frequency...)
Hilarious in Hindsight: The relavitely modern idea that Superman is something of an ersatz of Jesus Christ is quite ironic when you know that not only were Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster Jewish, Superman himself was partially inspired by the concept of Judaism! Specifically, by the story of Moses.
Moment of Awesome: Jor-El's amazing speech at the end of Kal's Fortress of Solitude education. There are people whose parents weren't even alive when this was made, who can quote the speech word for word.
Live as one of them, Kal-El. Discover where your strength and your power are needed. But always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, and they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.
Mostly Narmless: 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 Large Ham and dangerously understated almost at will, as his introductory scene shows.
Recycled Premise: The head villain plans to use nuclear devices to render something very large and valuable unusable, thereby making his own holdings much more valuable. This is the same basic plot as Goldfinger.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Although the first movie basically invented the modern superhero film, looks impressive even after 30 years, it is often dismissed as a museum piece with little appeal to modern audiences.
All those things I can do. All those powers. And I couldn't even save him.
Straight out of canon, causing even more tears among old fans of the comic.
Type Casting: Playing Superman in films or TV tends to get you this.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Many. One of the most striking visuals even today is the scene in the first film where Superman rebuilds the San Andreas Fault. Superman Returns has the whole sequence with the 777 jetliner rescue.
R/Greenberg, which previously specialized in TV advertising, created the opening credits. They later branched out into a visual effects firm, their other claim to fame being the invisibility effects in Predator.
What an Idiot: After Superman first makes his presence known in Metropolis by stopping many crimes in a single night, Lois deliberately asks about and prints for all to read one of his non-Kryptonite Factor weaknesses —his inability to see through lead. And unfortunately, Lex reads the next morning's edition of the paper (Supes naturally escapes though).