Movie Cereal: Superman – Chapter 4: Man of Steel

I want to start by apologizing for there being no post last week. COVID finally got a hold of me, so much like Superman at the end of our last chapter, I was out of commission. If you remember last time, Clark Kent was lying unconscious, and presumably dead, on the floor of Dr. Leeds’ laboratory after having been exposed to a chunk of the planet Krypton that had just fallen to Earth in the form of a meteor. Will Clark survive? He better, I mean we’re only on chapter four! Let’s find out in this week’s episode, Man of Steel.

After calling the coroner’s office in a panic, Leeds puts the lid back on the box containing the meteor. Suddenly, Clark revives. He deduces that the meteor is a fragment of Krypton, but Leeds is confused as to how this would only impact Clark and nobody else. Clark then does something totally unexpected, he tells Leeds that he is actually Superman. Leeds even demands a demonstration of the blue boy’s x-ray vision to prove he’s not just a passionate cosplayer. Leeds then agrees to dump the meteor in the ocean so it will not be a danger to Superman.

Now, unknown to Leeds, the disgruntled employee from our last episode, Morgan, was lurking outside and heard everything about the “Kryptonite” and the effect it has a Superman. Next thing we know, an ad shows up in the papers talking about having a weakness for one’s enemies. This is spotted by the Spider-lady who correctly assumes this is a reference to Superman and dispatches her goons to get the goods. At the same time, Lois and Jimmy have also gotten a lead from one of their underworld snitches, so they end up being on the scene as Morgan is kidnapped. Of course, the crooks grab Lois for good measure. 

At the Spider-lady’s lair, Morgan is forced to reveal what he knows about the meteorite He is none-too-thrilled, though, when Spider-lady gives him a lousy dollar for his efforts. The villains don’t have much patience for complaints, though, as Morgan ends up getting electrocuted on a giant web. Of course, needing to make sure there are no loose threads, Lois Lane is next in line for the web. We see the sparks start to fly around her body just before the announcer tells us to come back next week.

Okay, I’m going to get really nerdy here for a moment, but I just can’t help it. This episode plays into a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to Superman, and that is how exactly is the name of the planet Krypton pronounced? Throughout this episode, different people pronounce it in different ways and that bugs the crap out of me. Dr. Leeds calls it “Krip-tun,” with kind of a short “u” sound on the second syllable. Morgan, on the other hand, calls it “Krip-taahn.” I know I’m being silly, but this is something that has always bugged me. It’s like how the folks that live in Louisville, Kentucky know to pronounce it “Lou-a-vil,” not “Lou-ee-ville.”  However, here in Colorado, we have a city with the same name but it’s pronounced “Lewis-ville.” So somebody at DC please give us the correct pronunciation of Krypton before I loose my mind.

Anyway, though there isn’t a ton of action in this chapter, we do get some elements of the Superman mythology added, once again. The Kryptonite meteor was briefly introduced last time, but this time we get a further explanation of how it is a piece of Krypton and what effect if has on Superman. The idea of Superman not being able to see through lead is also introduced in this chapter. Going against tradition, however, is that we get a moment where Clark Kent is very quick to reveal his Superhero identity to someone. I honestly was shocked that he seemed so anxious to tell Dr. Leeds that he was Superman. I have to say, however, that this does not bode well for Leeds. I mean one of the big gimmicks for Superman is always that nobody knows he and Clark Kent are one and the same. I’m going to step out on a limb here and predict that Dr. Leeds ends up being the proud recipient of an early demise before this serial is done.

We do get some silliness in this chapter. I mean the idea that Morgan puts an ad in the paper to try and sell his secret about Superman’s weakness is a bit dopey. Though, the sequence in the Spider-lady’s lair where he is given a dollar for his efforts is probably the highlight of the episode. Morgan’s demise on an electric web is also fun, with lightning bolts courtesy of the animation department.

Some of those animated lighting bolts are starting to work their way toward poor Lois Lane, now. Superman doesn’t seem to be anywhere nearby, so I don’t know how on Earth she’s going to get out of this one. Find out with us next time when we look at chapter five, A Job for Superman.

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