Movie Cereal: Superman – Chapter 8: Superman to the Rescue

At the end of our last chapter, Jimmy Olsen had made the mistake of trying to take on the Spider Lady’s men with his fists and now finds himself lying unconscious on a conveyor belt headed for the mouth of a blazing furnace. Meanwhile, Clark Kent is in the next room, unaware of Jimmy’s impending doom. What will happen? Let’s find out in Chapter Eight – Superman to the Rescue.

Though we don’t get the zoom in on Clark Kent’s eyes to indicate he is using x-ray vision, we presume he uses his super specks and spots Jimmy in danger. Declaring, “this looks like a job for Superman,” he changes costume and rushes in to save Jimmy. Superman manages to stop the conveyor belt, but then is threatened by one of the goons who is holding a small box containing Kryptonite. He tosses it at Superman, but it ends up going into the furnace. This produces Kryptonite fumes which leave Superman gasping for air. Just at that moment, the crooks hear a police whistle outside and make a run for it. Superman then staggers out the door as Jimmy comes to. Suddenly, Lois Lane shows up and reveals that she was the one blowing a whistle. Then she and Jimmy go into the next room and discover Clark Kent, unscathed.

Later, Superman is summoned to Washington where he is informed that the reducer ray is due to be moved to Metropolis for study. Superman then suggests that they use this opportunity to try and draw out the Spider Lady. News of the move hits the papers and the villainess uses her network of informants to learn that the reducer ray will be moved from Washington via truck, guarded by Superman. Undaunted, she sends out a team to snatch the ray, accompanied by some goons with Dr. Hackett’s new Kryptonite weapons.

In reality, the ray is being moved by train, while the truck contains just the driver and mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent. Unfortunately, word of the decoy hits the Spider Lady. She attempts to contact her goons with the news, but they don’t hear her calling on the CB because they are listening to music on the radio too loud. When these crooks stop the truck, they pull out Clark Kent and use their fists to send him flying behind the bushes. This gives him the chance to change into Superman. He’s quickly spotted by the crooks manning Dr. Hackett’s Kryptonite weapon and they fire a missile right at the boy in blue. However, Supes catches it and throws it right back at them. Superman then goes after the other crooks who attempted to rob the empty truck.

All is not well, though. After the Spider Lady found out about the decoy, she dispatched another couple of goons to stop the train by blowing up the tracks. Now it’s a race against the clock as Superman heads off to save the doomed train. Will he make it in time? We won’t know until the next chapter.

Whereas the last few installments were pretty short on screen time for our title character, this chapter finally brings us more Superman. Not that he’s doing hero stuff all that time, mind you. There is a lot of standing around and talking this time, but at least he’s doing it in his cape and tights. When we do get some Superman action, though, it is not without a bit of awkwardness. In the opening cliffhanger resolution, for example, we are left to just assume that Clark uses x-ray vision to notice that Jimmy is in danger. There is no illustration of this with a close-up on the eyes like we’ve had in other chapters. Also, the bit with the Kryptonite fumes is a bit weird. I mean, does a space rock burn up so quickly that it produces crippling (at least for Superman) fumes in a matter of seconds? Apparently so.

There’s also a bit of clunkiness with the whole plotline with the reducer ray being moved. It’s never explained why Clark Kent is given the task of riding along in the decoy truck. I mean, if you were trying to lure out a master criminal like the Spider Lady, would your decoy vehicle be protected by just a hapless driver and some nerdy reporter? I don’t think so. This then leads into another troubling moment where the bad guys punch Clark and send him tumbling into the bushes. Again, the fact that he’s dressed as Clark doesn’t suddenly make him less strong. The crook’s wrist should have shattered when his fist made contact with Clark’s jaw! These awkward moments, though, are somewhat redeemed when we get a truly cool sequence a few seconds later. Superman catches a Kryptonite missile with his bare hands and then hurls it back at the enemy. Now, he probably should’ve collapsed due to making even brief contact with Kryptonite, but I’ll let it slide cuz it’s cool!

Now, before the episode ends, we get a short bit of dialogue from the narrator like we’ve gotten in all the other episodes, but this one is a bit strange. This time, he mentions things that didn’t happen in the episode. He says, “Will the vengeance of the Spider Lady again menace Lois Lane? Will her desperate call for help go unanswered?” This is accompanied by footage of Lois talking on the phone, but then having her mouth covered before being dragged away by some hood. This did not happen in the chapter we just watched!! Who is Lois calling? How would the Spider Lady’s goons know about this? What does this have to do with anything? Your guess is as good as mine. Hopefully, we’ll find out next time in chapter nine – Irresistible Force. Oh yeah, and maybe the train will get saved, too.

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