Netflix February 2017_day.03 – Superman II (1980)

_The Super Bowl is this weekend, but Fantasy Football was been over for a few weeks. In one league…I had the best record, and finished the playoffs in 3rd. In another…dead last. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Fantasy Football is a lot like playing poker. Individually, your results can be skewed by good and bad luck. It’s less about single hands, or single seasons, and more about your results over time. A good poker player and a good fantasy football player tend to have strong results over time. If you play…you have to accept the bad luck that inevitably happens sometimes, and try to play solid over time. You gotta accept it.


In this hit sequel, fugitives from the planet Krypton take control of the White House and team with Lex Luthor to destroy Superman and rule the world.

People of Houston, let us watch Superman II.

_True story: I’ve never watched the original release of Superman II and the Richard Donner Cut in a close enough time frame to really spot the differences besides “Scenes of Brando are in it.” And Superman II isn’t like Back to the Future. I haven’t watched it 100 times over my lifetime and are not familiar enough with it to know scenes by heart. So…I probably won’t end up talking about the Donner cut in this. Other than this paragraph.

_Christopher Reeve takes a step up and gets…second billing! Margot Kidder moves from 8th billing all the way up to SIXTH! Way to go!

_Is there any other comic book character with a bigger difference in popularity and memorability between the comics and other media than Zod? For a guy who literally has all the powers of Superman, comics Zod is a C-list villain. Every once in a while, someone tries to make Comic Zod a thing, and the only reason they try to make it a thing is because of Movie Zod. You could probably make an argument for Black Widow.

_Luthor’s prison escape plan really just shows what a different time the 80’s were. I mean, unless walking out to the yard at night and hot air balloon’ing out was a viable method of prison break back then, that plan was absolutely ludicrous. How did he figure out about the Fortress of Solitude and that it was in the north pole? Did people back then nitpick these things like I’m doing now, and the way audiences now would? Do we do that because we’re smarter, or that we’re just anal assholes, hung up on little details. Maybe Richard Donner and Richard Lester thought about these things, and said to themselves “You know, these scenes where Lex sits around and logics all of this stuff out like Superman’s kryptonite weakness and stuff…they explain a lot…but they’re boring and eat into the run time. Fuck this shit.”

_”Three rebel elements! They’ll need a contact here on Earth, someone with the same wonderful contempt for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!” Never stop being hilariously knowingly evil, old movies Lex.

_So Superman goes around, pretending to be Clark Kent, country bumpkin, stumbling around like a clumsy oaf, getting walked all over by co-workers and strangers so no one catches on. Then Lois figures out he’s Superman when he’s not scalded after he trips over a throw rug and falls onto an open flame. Well done, Supes. Nice to know that the Clark Kent persona isn’t all acting.

_Watching these first two Superman movies just makes me think that modern superhero movies don’t have enough villains whose motivation is just “I’m a giant dickhead.” Lex is nothing like comics Lex. He doesn’t try to kill Superman because he thinks he’s a potential threat to mankind. He just knows that he’ll get in the way of his unending greed. Zod, Ursa and Non show up and Earth and basically go “We’re strong. Let’s rule the planet cause we’re giant shits. We’ve been on the planet for 15 minutes, we don’t know the significance of Mount Rushmore, but we figure if it was a big enough deal to carve faces into stone, it’s a big enough deal for us to fuck it up and eye laser our own faces over them.” The beginning of Superman 1 and 2 show us their backstory: On Krypton, they wanted to rule the planet. Just cuz they’re assholes. That’s it. They’re assholes. Sometimes, that’s all you need a villain to be. Huge assholes~ <3

_Zod throwing Superman into a truck full of Marlboro cigarettes? You’ll never see that anymore.

superman-marl

Superman throwing Zod into a giant neon “Enjoy Coca-Cola” sign? That’s the kind of product placement that never goes out of style.

superman-coke

_There are two ways to think of the end of Superman II. One of them is to say that the smoke filled pits in the Fortress of Solitude are bottomless, that they feed into some kind of infinitesimal, looping space of emptiness, where Zod, Ursa and Non plummet forever in an inescapable void, mirroring their imprisonment in the Phantom Zone.

The other one is to say Superman turned them into humans and tossed Zod to his death, let Non fall to his death, and then grinned as Lois punched Ursa in the face, sending her down a pit to her death. Take your pick.

_As one final tip of the cap to Superman II…

supermanthrow


_Tomorrow, we see Jet Li do what he was born to do. Born to Defense. See you then~

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