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Broccoli June 16 2009 03:52 AM

Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
I am probably opening up a can of worms here, but oh well. Also, sorry about the long post, but I needed to explain fully to make total sense.

I just watched Superman Returns for the first time in a few years. I love that movie. I know others don't, but I think it's great. However, something hit me for the first time that could really change one's perspective of the movie.

As we know, Jason is Superman's kid with Lois. Superman, of course, didn't know he was his kid (let alone knowing that Lois was pregnant before he left) until the very end of the movie.

On these forums (and I suspect elsewhere), there is a huge debate on whether or not that Lois knew that Jason was Superman's kid. Personally, I'm inclined to think that she did. For one, how could she not? And for two, when Lois and Jason are locked in the ship (after Jason throws the piano), Lois isn't very surprised that Jason threw the piano and Jason looks at Lois, says "I'm sorry" like any kid would if he did something he was told not to. Add that to the bit on how Lois reacts to Lex's questioning of Jason's father, I'm pretty sure she knew that Jason was Superman's kid.

This theory above: old news. Here is my new take: did Richard know that Jason was Superman's kid?

Here are the facts the movie gives us. Jason, Lois, and Richard refer to Jason and Richard's relationship being father and son. Very clearly, Richard helped raise Jason. This is pretty much stated in the movie.

I am inclined to believe that Richard knew that he is not Jason's biological dad. I believe this for two reasons. 1) I highly doubt Singer would intentionally want to pain Lois Lane, a classic and beloved character, in a bad light. 2) Just because Richard isn't biologically related to Jason, doesn't mean that he isn't his father. I have known people in very similar situations as Jason in the movie to refer to the man that raised them as their father (even if there was no biological connection).

Also, the movie shows Richard very willing for Lois to explore what she feels about Superman. They have that conversation on whether or not she loved him; and he willingly helps with the Superman article. However, more tellingly, he openly suggests and drives Lois down to the hospital to see Superman to the point that it he is encouraging her to see him ("You're Lois Lane. They'll let you in.").

Particularly on that last point, why would he do this? Lois has given no indication to Richard that she still desires to be with Superman. Even if she did, this would be an odd move for a finance to make.

Thus we come back to my main point: Did Richard know that Jason was Superman's kid? While Richard shows some mild jealousy (like how any guy would when his girlfriend's old flame returns), he never acts threatened by Superman's return. If Richard knew the truth behind Jason, that changes the perspective of how he and, to an extent, Lois act in the movie. I think Richard is open to let Lois deal with whatever feelings or issues she has with Superman because it is important for Jason. Also, for Superman's case, I think Richard would be open so Superman will learn he has a child.

Am I making sense here? Do you think I have a valid claim that Richard knows? Or am I way off base?

One thing I do ask is can we please refrain from the "Deadbeat Dad" issue. This is not what the post is about and I don't want to see it taken there.

wamdue June 16 2009 04:50 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
so you are suggesting that Richard was aware that the baby was not his, and was quite happy for Lois to spend time with the guy who was, there is a word for men like Richard.

Broccoli June 16 2009 05:16 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

wamdue wrote: (Post 3088385)
so you are suggesting that Richard was aware that the baby was not his, and was quite happy for Lois to spend time with the guy who was, there is a word for men like Richard.

I am not exactly sure what you are getting at, but no, not exactly.

I am suggesting that Richard knew that the Jason was Superman's son (ie. Lois told him somewhere along the lines). Because Richard, being Jason's father, wants the best for the kid, he wants Lois to deal with the issues she has with Superman.

Lois has a lot of emotional baggage in this situation. Her and Superman were in some sort of relationship and he left, presumably right around the time she learned she was pregnant. She became angry and rightfully so. But she moved on with her life and, from how I interpret the movie, simply doesn't have the same feelings for him anymore.

Superman comes back after several years. Those old angry feelings are going to come up again. But now, it is a little more complicated as there is a kid in the picture, one Superman doesn't know about.

Richard knows this is a touchy situation. Judging from the way his character is portrayed in the movie, he strikes me as a good father. Lois, as written, seems to be a good mom as well. I think they both realize that they will need Superman involved in Jason's life.

In order for that to happen, Lois is going to need either get over or learn to deal with issues towards Superman. My belief is that Richard realizes this and wants her to face those issues. For this to happen, she needs to "confront" (for lack of a better term) Superman.

Gryffindorian June 16 2009 05:29 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
I don't think Richard knew, nor did he care who the father was. He was in love with Lois and accepted her regardless of her past or current situation. He at least knew that Lois was romantically involved with Superman, but that doesn't mean Richard assumed Supe fathered a child with Lois.

hyzmarca June 16 2009 05:42 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
I don't think that either one of the knew that Jason was Superman's kid. Remember, Lois has no memory of having sex with Clark. She doesn't know that their relationship ever reached that level. All she knows is that she blacked out and ended up pregnant. The logical assumption there is that she was roofied and raped. Generally, that would preclude Superman, he doesn't need drugs to commit rape.


I think she'd have confided in Richard that she was pregnant and that she didn't have any memory of having sex with anyone around the appropriate time period. He'd also probably assume unknown rapist before even considering Superman.

At this point, I am wondering what the statute of limitations for rape is in Metropolis, and if they have a prison strong enough to hold him if Lois files a complaint.

JacksonArcher June 16 2009 06:06 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
I think Broccoli has made some excellent points.

I think Richard knew of Jason's, umm, "super" parentage by the end of the film or at the very least had a very strong clue. Think about it. Richard was Jason's father for five years , and you'd have think that in that time Lois would have told him... not doing so would have been maternally dishonest and seemingly out-of-character for this particular, more matured version of Lois. And judging by the events of the film, I think Lois knew that Jason was Superman's son far before he threw that piano, understated reaction or not. How could she have not?

I also think it is perfectly logical for Richard to assume the father role, much as he does in the film, in Superman's absence. I grew up in an almost identical situation to Jason (sans superpowers... so far as I know, at least), where my real biological father was absent for most of my formative years and the man my mother eventually fell in love with, who would become my stepfather, I came to know as my "Dad". To the point where to this day I appreciate and love my stepfather even more than my actual one. As a kid, I even called him "Papa".

My point is, it is perfectly logical to assume Richard knew and thinking about it does reform my thoughts on the film and makes me view it in an entirely new and more appreciative light (...and I loved the film to begin with...!). It just shows how deftly Singer handled the whole issue, and him being an orphan with adoptive parents himself, you know, it makes a lot of sense.

Autobot June 16 2009 06:17 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

hyzmarca wrote: (Post 3088549)
Remember, Lois has no memory of having sex with Clark.

Where is this from? I don't recall this in the movie.

hyzmarca June 16 2009 06:23 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Superman II. At the end, Clark erases Lois's memory of their relationship and his identity.

Broccoli June 16 2009 06:31 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
hyzmarca, I was thinking about the events in Superman II after I wrote my entry. Since Supes and Lois had sex when Supes was human, if Lois became pregnant, wouldn't that mean the kid would be human?

My theory kinda banks on the thought that Superman and Lois knocked boots some time after the events in Superman II.

Also, I don't think the whole "Superman: The Movie & Superman II took place before Superman Returns" really holds a lot of water other than "Hey, we didn't do an origin movie. You want one, go see the Donner films as we kinda pay homage to them." I remember Singer said the pervious two movies provide a vague background to SR. It is kinda hard to figure out what "happend" and what didn't.

JacksonArcher, you totally get what I am saying. It does put all of the characters in a better light and add more depth to the movie, if Lois told Richard Jason's father. Whether that was the intention or not, Singer never goes into the dynamics and spells it out for us. He doesn't have to, mind you. He probably wanted us as an audience for us to ponder about it (and he probably also planned to go into more detail in his now-not-going-to-happen sequel). However, leaving it deliberately ambiguous also gave the movie a lot of (admittingly, somewhat justified) negative criticism.

Another point I touched upon but didn't go into that gives some further evidence to my theory has to do with Jason saying "I'm sorry" to Lois after he pushes the piano.

hen Jason throws the pianio, Lois doesn't really give a "Oh my God; what the fuck?!!?!" reaction. Her reaction seems very mundane for what should have been a very surprising moment for her. Also a few moments later, she asks Jason to help get out of that room they were locked in (indicating that she very well knows of his strength.

The way Jason says "I'm sorry" and Lois's non-reaction to that leaves me to indicate that Jason was told not use what powers he has (strength, speed, whatever). Add that to earlier in the movie when Richard talks about Jason's report card where he got a "D" in gym class, it hints to Jason being told to not use his abilities. Richard, being the dad, would almost have to know about this. Jason is, what, four years old? For him to keep a big secret like that from his dad would be impossible. Also, the fact that Richard reports the "D" with almost no concern whatsoever, fuels my suspicions.

Sorry, if my paragraphs are worded strangely. I am very tired and probably should be sleeping. The joys of being a teacher - you get summers off where you can screw up your sleep schedule!

hyzmarca June 16 2009 06:42 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

Broccoli wrote: (Post 3088732)
hyzmarca, I was thinking about the events in Superman II after I wrote my entry. Since Supes and Lois had sex when Supes was human, if Lois became pregnant, wouldn't that mean the kid would be human?

Supers was never human. The red sunlight chamber just suppressed his powers, it didn't change his DNA.

Supes wouldn't have knocked boots with Lois after, because at that point he already made a commitment to be Superman first and Clark second, to give up on the possibility of simple human happiness for the sake of the world. That's the whole reason he erased her memories. And there's also the Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex problem, in which his orgasm is likely to kill her. There is a reason they didn't have sex until after his powers were suppressed.

Autobot June 16 2009 07:01 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

Autobot wrote: (Post 3088688)
Quote:

hyzmarca wrote: (Post 3088549)
Remember, Lois has no memory of having sex with Clark.

Where is this from? I don't recall this in the movie.

Ahh thx. I don't think this applies, however, because Supes and Lois's relationship when Jason was conceived must take place at some point after Superman: The Movie but not necessarily before the end of Superman II.

Broccoli June 16 2009 07:06 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

hyzmarca wrote: (Post 3088764)
Quote:

Broccoli wrote: (Post 3088732)
hyzmarca, I was thinking about the events in Superman II after I wrote my entry. Since Supes and Lois had sex when Supes was human, if Lois became pregnant, wouldn't that mean the kid would be human?

Supers was never human. The red sunlight chamber just suppressed his powers, it didn't change his DNA.

Supes wouldn't have knocked boots with Lois after, because at that point he already made a commitment to be Superman first and Clark second, to give up on the possibility of simple human happiness for the sake of the world. That's the whole reason he erased her memories. And there's also the Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex problem, in which his orgasm is likely to kill her. There is a reason they didn't have sex until after his powers were suppressed.

Fair enough, but the movie makes it 100% clear on what happened to Supes. Did it change his DNA? Or just get rid of his powers? Or is it simply the same thing? We don't know. The movie never went into this and, honestly, didn't really need to.

Also, we don't know how much time passed between Superman II and Superman leaving. The way Lois acts in SR (when talking to Clark while waiting for a cab) makes it sound like Lois and Supes were some sort of item. If Supes reasserted himself to being protector of the world, wouldn't he, logically, pull away from Lois (being Clark, notwithstanding)?

Also, we don't know what Singer and his writers actually "counted" from the previous two movies into their back story for SR. Supes decision to forget his happiness and be Earth's protector seems to be contradictory to how he acts at the beginning towards Lois (then again, old habits die hard, especially if you haven't had to oppertunity to expore them in five years).

Truth is, there is a lot of "we don't knows" when it comes to the background to Superman Returns. Sometimes I wonder if it was a disservice to the movie when Singer said that some elements from the first two movies make up the backstory for SR, but never explaining which elements he was referring to.

Interesting side note: in the Donner cut of Superman II, Superman and Lois do the deed before he loses his powers.

Another intersting side note: I still haven't gone to bed yet!

sojourner June 16 2009 08:16 AM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Wasn't there some kind of remark in the movie about keeping Jason out of sunlight? Also, Jason had to use an inhaler. You might almost get the impression that Lois was going a little "Munchhausen by proxy" on him. From my take on the movie I got the impression that Lois suspected in the back of her mind that Jason was Supes' son, but until the piano incident had no confirmation. Her lack of reaction read to me as being more in a state of shock (or just poor acting). Later, when she asks him to open the door, it seemed to me that he was just not up to it. Maybe he used up all his reserves on the piano.

Yep, still awake here too.

Broccoli June 16 2009 03:24 PM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

sojourner wrote: (Post 3088953)
Wasn't there some kind of remark in the movie about keeping Jason out of sunlight?

Not that I recall, unless they said it in some medical/fancy word that went over my head.

Quote:

Also, Jason had to use an inhaler. You might almost get the impression that Lois was going a little "Munchhausen by proxy" on him.
Ah...this is an important thing in the movie. Jason used an inhaler, and based on how the child actor played the role, he needed the inhaler until he pushed the piano. It seemed like once his various superpowers activate, a physical problem he might have disappears. This was foreshadowed at the beginning of the movie when we saw young Clark (with glasses) running around and when he started to levitate, he discovered he now had perfect vision. Maybe it is a moment of panic that can activate a power.

Quote:

From my take on the movie I got the impression that Lois suspected in the back of her mind that Jason was Supes' son, but until the piano incident had no confirmation. Her lack of reaction read to me as being more in a state of shock (or just poor acting).
See, that is one the big mysteries about the movie. If she didn't think Superman was the father, then who did she think it was? Richard (in which case, she met and slept with fast after Superman left in order to believe that he was the biological father)? Virgin birth? Rape? Or maybe Lois just slept around?

Again, there are a lot of unanswered questions with the backstory of the movie.

Quote:

Later, when she asks him to open the door, it seemed to me that he was just not up to it. Maybe he used up all his reserves on the piano.
Quite possible.

Alpha_Geek June 16 2009 03:28 PM

Re: Superman Returns: Did Richard Know?
 
Quote:

hyzmarca wrote: (Post 3088549)
Remember, Lois has no memory of having sex with Clark.

Maybe the Man of Steel should try and think about baseball?


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