|Superman (Christopher Reeve)|
Superman is the hero of Metropolis. He is a being of immense power, strength and invulnerability who after realizing his destiny to serve mankind uses his powers to protect and save others. He was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton, as the son of Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van. When his father realized that his planet was doomed, he and his wife Lara sent Kal-El to Earth, where he would be found by Jonathan and Martha Kent and given the name Clark Kent. When he grew up, Clark discovered he had superhuman powers and decided to use them for good.
Superman (The Movie)
Kal-El was born the son of Jor-El, a member of the Science Council on the planet Krypton, who had trouble convincing them that Krypton and its sun are on the verge of destruction. Undaunted by their ignorance, Jor-El develops a star ship in which he will send his son to a primitive planet called Earth. Both Jor-El and his wife Lara bid their son a sad goodbye as the star ship is launched from Krypton minutes before the planet and its sun explodes.
The star ship carrying Kal-El travels through space, causing the child to age a few years while also educating him. It burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere and crash-lands in a nearby Smallville field, causing Jonathan and Martha Kent to pull over and investigate. They see a young three-year-old child emerge from the wreckage unharmed. The Kents discuss what they wish to do with the child when the truck falls off the jack, almost crushing Jonathan who was working underneath it to change a flat tire. Kal-El easily lifts up the truck, making the Kents wonder if the child really came from outer space somewhere. ("Superman: The Movie")
At age 18, Kal-El, who is now Clark Kent, is busy putting away equipment for the Smallville High's football team when his friend Lana Lang invites him over to listen to records. Clark accepts the offer, but realizes that he has so much work to do and so watches Lana drive off with her friends. Frustrated, Clark kicks a football high into the air and then races back home at super-speed, amazingly outracing an approaching locomotive. His adopted father Jonathan Kent tells him that he was brought here to Earth with the powers he has for a purpose, and it wasn't for showing off in front of his friends. As Clark tries to get his father to race him to the house, Jonathan suffers a fatal stroke and dies, making Clark feel ashamed that with all his powers, he couldn't save his father.
After a few months pass, Clark hears the call of a mysterious green crystal hidden in his parents' barn. He realizes that it is time to discover his purpose, and bids an emotional farewell to his Earth mother. He soon departs on a journey to the Arctic and uses the crystal to build the Fortress of Solitude, a majestic crystal palace in the architectural style of his home planet, Krypton. Inside, Kal-El learns the reason he was transported to Earth and his future role on the planet from holographic recordings of his father. After 12 years of education and training within the Fortress of Solitude, he emerges garbed in a red cape and blue body suit with the El family symbol on the chest and flies off.
Clark returns to civilization, arriving in the city of Metropolis. He's hired as a reporter for The Daily Planet newspaper by its editor-in-chief, Perry White. While there, he meets teenage photographer Jimmy Olsen and the paper's star journalist, Lois Lane. Clark becomes immediately infatuated with Lois, but is unable to properly gain her affection while in the bumbling guise of Clark Kent. It isn't long before Clark's true nature is unveiled when, in his blue suit and red cape, he publicly rescues Lois from a helicopter accident atop the Daily Planet building.
Following a series of incidents in which Clark in his yet-unnamed guise comes to the rescue and saves the day, Perry White issues to all his reporters to find out as much information as possible about this mysterious hero. Lois receives an invitation to meet someone at her place, signed only "a friend." Following a perfunctory interview with the Man of Steel, Lois joins him on a flight over Metropolis, ostensibly to see how fast he can go. After their romantic flight, the costumed hero flies off and Lois says to herself, "What a super man", then pauses, and says "Superman!" thus giving the mysterious man his name.
Meanwhile, super criminal Lex Luthor is intent on committing "the greatest real-estate swindle of all time", with the unwitting aid of the U.S. government and the test launching of two ICBMs. To accomplish this, Luthor hopes to cause a major earthquake in California by using the missiles, one of which he has programmed to hit the San Andreas Fault (the other has been programmed to head east to detonate in Hackensack, New Jersey, providing a diversion for the westbound rocket). The quake will cause most of California to slide into the ocean, killing millions of people while simultaneously making the vast tracts of worthless desert land that he had quietly purchased skyrocket in value when it becomes the new West Coast of the United States.
With Superman's fame rapidly spreading, Luthor perceives him to be a serious problem, luring to his lair with a phony threat to gas the population of Metropolis. Having succeeded in attracting his attention, he traps the superhero with a nodule of kryptonite — the only thing to which he is vulnerable. However, Superman effects an escape with the help of Luthor's assistant, Eve Teschmacher, who is both attracted to Superman and frightened for the fate of her mother, who happens to live in Hackensack.
Superman keeps his promise and diverts the path of the Hackensack missile first, forcing it into space. In the meantime, the California missile hits the San Andreas Fault, triggering the massive earthquake Luthor had intended. The length of the fault is devastated by the initial quake, but Superman prevents the catastrophic landslide Luthor intended by plunging deep into the earth to shore up the fault line. However, the quake's violent aftershocks still cause massive damage that creates multiple disasters. As he builds a natural dam from rocks and boulders to stop the flooding caused by the breaching of the Hoover Dam, Superman realizes that he has forgotten about Lois. He discovers her car, fallen into a crevasse that opened up behind it and closed again, trapping her inside and crushing her to death.
Overcome with grief and fury, Superman flies into the upper atmosphere of Earth, where he hears Jor El's voice forbidding him to interfere in human history. Disobeying his father, Superman flies around the Earth until he is moving faster than the speed of light, thus travelling back in time. This is visually represented by the Earth appearing to spin backwards.
By reversing time, he prevents the Hoover Dam burst, and fixes the fault line in such a way that the crevasse doesn’t reach Lois’ car. The reversal stops at the point where the earthquake began. He then flies back to Lois, who is alive and well. Superman bids farewell and flies off, with a task to finish. Jimmy Olsen then mentions that it is unfortunate Clark is never here to see Superman, and it is this moment only that Lois suspects that Superman and Clark may be the same person, only to dismiss it as "the silliest idea". Superman captures Luthor and Otis and delivers them to prison. The prison warden thanks Superman for his efforts, while Superman modestly demurs, insisting that "we're all part of the same team" before flying off.
Richard Donner Version
The film begins with a prologue in which General Zod and his co-conspirators, Ursa and Non, are banished to the Phantom Zone by the Kryptonian elders as punishment for their crimes. The story then moves forward in time. Clark learns from Perry White that Lois is in France, where terrorists who have seized the Eiffel Tower and threatened to level the city with a hydrogen bomb. While in the course of rescuing Lois, the bomb is activated and Superman throws the elevator out of the atmosphere and into deep space, where it explodes. The shockwaves shatter the crystalline conduit into the Phantom Zone, now floating near Earth and Zod, Non, and Ursa are released. Lex Luthor, meanwhile, finally breaks out of jail with the help of Ms. Teschmacher using a hot air balloon, but leaves Otis behind as bait so he can escape. Using the black box device, he goes north to the Fortress of Solitude. Luthor, activating the Fortress control panel, then learns from hologram recordings of Jor-El about the three Kryptonian villains who have escaped. He decides that he will collaborate with the Kryptonian villains to defeat Superman and take over the world.
Superman and Lois Lane at the Fortress of Solitude. Clark and Lois are on assignment in Niagara Falls, Ontario, investigating what Perry calls a "honeymoon racket." Superman rescues a boy who falls over the railing, and Lois suddenly decides it is far too convenient that Clark disappears every time Superman makes an appearance. She tries to prove it by jumping into the Niagara River, screaming for Superman to save her. Clark never changes identities but, unbeknownst to Lois, uses his heat vision to break off a tree branch for Lois to use to stay afloat. However, later in their hotel room, Clark's powers are revealed when he quickly retrieves his fallen glasses from the fireplace with his bare hands. Realizing that he wasn't burned, Lois realizes the truth. After some hesitation, Clark admits the truth and takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude, showing her the crystals which created and control the operations; Lois leaves the primary green crystal under her purse, outside the control panel. Kal-El speaks to his father through hologram about his desire to give up his responsibilities as Superman so he can live a normal life with Lois. Jor-El criticizes Kal-El for his decision, but nonetheless offers him a choice. In order for him to relinquish being Superman, he must enter a crystal chamber and be exposed to harnessed rays from the Krypton red sun. He will, therefore, lose his powers permanently and no longer be invulnerable as he has been before. Despite his father’s pleas to reconsider, Kal-El, without hesitance, enters the chamber and undergoes the de-powering process, which culminates in the destruction of the crystal control panel. The two retire to his bedchamber and sleep together.
Meanwhile, the three Kryptonian criminals have devastated a joint NASA-Soviet moon expedition, killing three astronauts. They fly to Earth, which they believe to be a planet called "Houston" (having overheard radio transmissions with Mission Control in Houston, Texas). They wreak havoc on a small town, easily defeating the U.S. military. After defacing Mount Rushmore, the trio attack the White House, where Zod forces the President of the United States to kneel before him. Returning from the Fortress of Solitude, Clark is beaten up in a diner by a bullying truck driver. His despondent mood worsens when, in horror, he watches the President announcing the surrender of Earth to General Zod. The President suddenly pleads for Superman's help and Zod issues a challenge to Superman to face him. Realizing the danger posed to the world and the terrible mistake he made, Clark heads back to the Fortress, now a darkened sanctum, and calls out to his father for help. Dreading that there may be no hope left, he then notices the green crystal glowing where Lois accidentally left it– the same crystal that has called out to him in the first movie. He uses the crystal to activate the panel, and once more, Jor-El emerges in hologram. He tells Kal-El about his terrible mistake and offers him one last resort to regain his powers – he will channel all of his remaining energy to his son, thereupon dying. Jor-El bids farewell and emerges in full body and spirit; upon touching Kal-El, he restores his son’s powers and dies by fading away. Kal-El emerges once again as Superman. He sees the green crystal glowing where Lois accidentally left it.
Lex Luthor visits a bored Zod at the White House and negotiates a means to lure Superman to the villains by holding Lois hostage. He also reveals that Superman is the son of Jor-El, their imprisoner. They arrive at the Daily Planet offices and seize Lois, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Superman, his powers fully restored. A destructive battle ensues among the four Kryptonians as Superman struggles with the new experience of battling multiple enemies of his power level. During the battle, Ursa and Zod discover Superman's weakness, his concern for human life, and use this against him. Finally, Superman flees, seemingly in defeat. Luthor convinces the villains that they must pursue Superman to his Fortress.
At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman attempts to distract the villains with a hologram that creates multiple images of himself. However, after grappling with Zod, Ursa and Non threaten to tear Lois limb from limb, and Superman agrees to release Zod and capitulate to them to spare her life. Superman manipulates Luthor into tricking the criminals, counting on Luthor to double-cross him. Superman is forced into the same depowering chamber he used before, and the red light that drains super-powers is actually set loose on the Fortress while Superman is safe inside the chamber. Superman feigns weakness and then crushes Zod's hand after seemingly accepting it in submission. Lois easily dispatches the now-powerless Ursa, and Non leaps towards Superman, only to find he can no longer fly. All three villains fall into the depths of Superman's fortress, apparently to their dooms. Superman and Lois, leaving Luthor stranded in the Fortress and fly away. Superman then uses his heat vision to destroy the Fortress. He then turns back to Lois, who realizes and agrees that Superman must continue to serve humanity, conforming to his father's wishes. After Superman flies her home, Lois begins to break down in despair. Although life would never be the same, she heartbreakingly assures Superman that she can be trusted to keep his secret identity, which Superman acknowledges consolingly, and he flies off. Superman, realizing that life with Lois can never be, decides to turn back time, flying around the Earth at tremendous speed and reversing events that have occurred throughout, such as the destruction and mayhem done to Metropolis during Superman's battle with the villains and the shattering of the Phantom Zone that releases the Kryptonian villains, as well as Lois' knowledge of his secret identity. The status quo is finally changed back to normal, although both Lois and Perry White seem to experience a sense of déjà vu.
Clark, now with his powers restored as Superman, goes to the diner and confronts Rocky, who is more than willing to pick a fight with him. Much to everyone's surprise, this strange, young man handles the bullying customer like a little child, eventually felling him across the counter and sending him crashing into the pinball machine, knocking him unconscious. Clark then offers to pay the owners of the diner for the damage. With those around wondering how the stranger was able to beat the bully, Clark simply replies: "Oh, I’ve been... working out."
The film closes with Superman restoring the American flag atop the White House and assuring the President that he'll always rescue the Earth. ("Superman II")
In this third installment, Gus Gorman, an unemployed ne'er-do-well, discovers a knack for computer programming. After embezzling large amounts of money from his most recent employer's company payroll (through a technique known as salami slicing), Gorman is brought to the attention of the company CEO, Ross Webster. Webster, a wealthy man who runs a large conglomerate called Webscoe Industries, is obsessed with the computer's potential in aiding him in his schemes to rule the world, financially. Joined by his sister Vera and his "psychic nutritionist" Lorelei Ambrosia, Webster blackmails Gorman into helping him.
Meanwhile, Clark Kent has convinced his newspaper to allow him to return to Smallville for his high school reunion. En route, he extinguishes a fire in a chemical plant containing numerous vials of unstable Beltric acid, which, in gaseous form, would obliterate the entire population of the Eastern seaboard. During the fire, intrepid photographer Jimmy Olsen is injured with a broken fibula; Superman saves the plant (while neutralizing the acid threat) by freezing the surface of a nearby lake and dropping the enormous icy mass onto the plant.
In Smallville, Clark is reunited with childhood friend Lana Lang. Lana is now a divorcee with a young son named Ricky. Clark and Lana begin to share affection for each other, though Lana's former boyfriend Brad, Clark's childhood bully and now an alcoholic security guard, is still vying for her attention.
In Metropolis, Webster attempts to monopolize the world's coffee crop. Infuriated by Colombia's refusal to do business with him, he orders Gorman to command an American weather satellite, Vulcan, to create a hurricane to decimate the nation's entire coffee crop. Webster's scheme is thwarted when Superman flies into the eye of the hurricane, neutralizing it and saving the year's harvest. Perceiving Superman as a threat to his plans, Webster then orders Gorman to use his computer knowledge to create synthetic Kryptonite, remembering Lois Lane's Daily Planet interview from Superman, during which Superman identified it as his only weakness. Gus attempts to create a synthetic version of Kryptonite, but, after the computer fails to analyze an "unknown" element in Kryptonite, he improvises by replacing the unidentified element with tar (not an actual element on the periodic table), garnered from a pack of cigarettes.
Lana convinces Superman to make a personal appearance at her son's birthday party, but Smallville turns it into a hometown celebration for Superman. Gus and Vera, disguised as an Army general and a WAC officer, give Superman the chunk of kryptonite as a gift, and are dismayed to see that it appears to have no effect on him. However, the compound begins to produce symptoms: Superman becomes selfish, focusing on his lust for Lana, which causes him to delay in rescuing a truck driver from his jackknifed rig. Superman begins to question his own self-worth, and, as the Kryptonite takes effect, Superman becomes depressed, angry, and casually destructive, committing petty acts of vandalism such as blowing out the Olympic torch and straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Ross, seeing this, creates new plans and orders a supercomputer to be built.
Superman sullenly assuages his depression with a drinking binge, but is overcome by guilt and undergoes a nervous breakdown. After nearly crash-landing in a junkyard, he splits into two personas: the evil, selfish Superman and the moral, righteous Clark Kent. The evil Superman and Clark Kent, the embodiment of Superman's remaining good qualities, engage in an epic battle. Although Clark is initially overpowered by his alter ego, he eventually takes the upper hand, feverishly strangling his evil identity until it fades from sight. Thereafter, he is restored to his benevolent former self.
After defending himself from an MX missile, he does battle with Gorman's supercomputer, which, after attempting to suffocate him, severely weakens the Man of Steel with a ray of real Kryptonite. Gorman, guilt-ridden and horrified by the prospect of "going down in history as the man who killed Superman", manages to destroy the deadly weapon with a firefighter's axe, whereupon Superman flees. The computer begins to malfunction by becoming self-aware, defending itself against Gus and draining power from nearby electrical towers, causing massive blackouts. Ross and Lorelei are able to escape from the control room, but Vera is pulled into the main entrance of the computer and transformed into a cyborg. Empowered by the supercomputer, Vera attacks her brother and Lorelei with beams of energy, which weaken and immobilize them.
Superman returns with a small vial of acid derived from the chemical plant he saved earlier in the film; the intense heat emitted by the supercomputer causes the acid to turn volatile, destroying the machine and turning Vera back to normal. Superman flies away with Gus, leaving Webster and his cronies to face the authorities. After dropping Gus off at a West Virginia coal mine, where he gives him a job reference, Superman returns to Metropolis and reunites with Lana Lang, who has decided to relocate to the big city and finds employment as Perry White's new secretary. Flying away into outer space, he smiles to indicate that all is well.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Superman begins the movie saving Russian astronauts in Space when the ship loses oxygen. His alter ego, Clark Kent, later goes to his hometown of Smallville to check on his family's farm. He takes a crystal, the last one, actually. Its power can only be used one time, and that will be his last link with Krypton. When he returns to Metropolis, he learns that the Daily Planet has been taken over by a tabloid tycoon who fires Perry White and hires his sexy daughter Lacy (Mariel Hemingway) as the new editor. Lacy very soon takes a liking to Clark, and tries to seduce him by asking him to come to her office while she is sitting on her desk showing off her long, smooth legs. Clark tries to rebuff her advances, but she tricks him into going on a date with her.
Everyone soon learns that the United States and the Soviet Union may soon engage in nuclear war, threatening the survival of the planet. Before taking action, he departs to the North Pole to seek advice from the spirits of his Kryptonian ancestors at the Fortress of Solitude, who warn him to not interfere, but rather flee to other worlds where war is long forgotten. At a meeting of the United Nations, he tells the assembly that he is going to rid the Earth of all nuclear weapons. Over the next several days, Superman takes all the nuclear weapons and gathers them into a gigantic net in orbit above the planet. When he has almost all the weapons, he closes the net and tosses it into the sun.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor's nephew Lenny helps break Luthor out of prison. The pair steal a strand of hair that Superman had donated to a museum, whereupon Luthor creates a genetic matrix from the strand of hair, and attaches it to the final American nuclear missile. After the missile is fired off into the air, Superman grabs the missile and throws it into the sun. A few moments after the missile explodes on the sun's surface, a ball of energy is discharged from the sun, which rapidly develops into a "Nuclear Man" (Mark Pillow). This Nuclear Man then finds his way to his "father" Luthor, who establishes that while he is indeed powerful, he will deactivate if isolated from the sun's rays or suitably bright artificial light. This resembles the Greek legend of Antaeus, a wrestler whose strength came solely from his bodily contact with the Earth.
A worldwide battle soon follows between Luthor's creation and the Man of Steel. While successfully saving the Statue of Liberty, Superman is injured by the radioactive nails of Nuclear Man. To Lois' disgust, The Daily Planet, which has been turned into a tabloid newspaper, blares the headline that Superman is dead. Lois indicates a desire to quit, and seizes Superman's cape for herself. Lacy begins to understand Lois' point, and tries to follow her. Lacy also reveals that she actually cares about Clark. Lois ventures to Clark's apartment. Felled by radiation sickness, Clark staggers weakly to the terrace of his apartment, where he retrieves the last benevolent Kryptonian crystal and uses it to heal himself.
Nuclear Man develops a crush on Lacy, and threatens mayhem if he is not introduced to her. Superman therefore agrees to take Nuclear Man to Lacy. In an attempt to disable the villain, Superman lures Nuclear Man into an elevator in the building, traps Nuclear Man in it, and pulls the elevator out of the building and flies to the dark side of the moon, heaving the elevator onto the ground there, not realizing that its doors are slightly open. As the sun rises, Nuclear Man breaks out of his makeshift prison and the two resume battle on the moon's surface. At the end of the battle, Superman is driven into the ground by his opponent.
Nuclear Man then returns to Earth. Meanwhile, Lacy begins to understand Lois' point, and warns her father that they've got to quit being so recklessly sensationalistic and irresponsible with the paper and it's media power. He tries to tell her more of his usual that the business of newspapers is business, but she angrily counters that "No, Daddy! The business of newspapers is journalism!" If they don't, she warns, a disaster is sure to follow. Mister Warfield scoffs at this, until Nuclear Man bursts in and abducts Lacy. He flies her into outer space (where she, strangely enough, is unaffected by the lack of breathable atmosphere and air pressure). Meanwhile, Superman pushes the moon out of its normal orbit, casting Earth into a solar eclipse which terminates Nuclear Man's powers. He then rescues Lacy from the arms of Nuclear Man, of whom he disposes by returning him to Earth and sealing him into the core of a nuclear power plant. Superman thwarts Lex and Lenny, returning Lex Luthor to prison while Lenny is taken to Boys Town.
Mister White comes in then, restoring the old decorations, to Mister Warfield's disgust. It is revealed that Mister White has been to the banks, gathering help in securing a loan to buy back the controlling shares of the Daily Planet, to protect it from any further abuse by making Mister Warfield a mere minority shareholder. Now that Mister White is the practical owner, the Daily Planet can return to being a serious paper, to the relief of Lois and Jimmy.
Later, in a press conference, Superman declares only partial victory in his peace campaign, saying "There will be peace when the people of the world want it so badly, that their governments will have no choice but to give it to them." He then flies into space, smiling optimistically.
|Versions of the character Superman|
|Historical Versions||William Dunn • The Superman • Kal-El|
|Alternate Universes||Earth-One • Earth-Two • Earth-31 • Red Son • Tangent • Calvin Ellis • Ultraman|
|Future Versions||Kingdom Come • Superman X • Willigig • Kaleb • Superman of the 30th Century • Superman of the 67th Century • Superman XII • Superstar • Superego • Kal Kent • Supercilia • Titano • Kan • Layna • Superman of Xudar|
|In Other Media||Films Continuity • DCAU Continuity • Lois & Clark Continuity • Smallville Continuity • Superman of Tokyo • Man of Steel Continuity|