I’m a strange person.
Having gone on this “look back” so far, I have found myself tearing up at the strangest things. I don’t understand it, I don’t know why, and I’ll try to make sense of it as we go along, but I’m not sure.
When looking up a quote for this next movie, I started tearing up when I decided to pick this one. By all accounts it shouldn’t effect me in that way. In the movie, it is actually a pretty funny moment. The damsel finds herself hanging from a helicopter that has crashed into the side of a skyscraper. Not knowing what to do, she decides that the helicopter will not stay there forever and she will need to attempt to climb out from it back onto the building again before it crashes to the ground. She unbuckles her seat belt (the only thing guaranteeing any kind of safety at this point) and delicately attempts the climb. In the process, the unstable helicopter shifts and she falls back down, now hanging from the very buckle that had her safely latched in just moments ago. Continuing to clench the belt with all the strength left in her hands while panicking and crying for dear life, she releases as her strength fails her, plummeting to her sure death…when it happens.
From out of nowhere, a man (surely he is no hu-man) grasps her in his arms and calmly states, “Easy miss, I’ve got you,” as they are heading back up the way she fell. Looking around in utter confusion, Lois Lane states “You–you’ve got me? Who’s got you?” to which Kal-El replies with a smirk and a subtle giggle that the viewer really has to listen for.
Of course that helicopter crashes down now toward them and of course Kel-El grasps it in his free hand and takes Lois and the Chopper back to the top of the landing pad of the skyscraper.
I have some theories on my emotional reaction to remembering these scenes (some of my favorite in the film):
1. Nostalgia is a tricky thing and you never know how quick, slight little memories of viewing a movie for the first time with your family can bring back joyful visions of that experience. I can clearly hear my mother laughing for the first time when we watched that scene together after Margot Kidder (best Lois Lane ever) delivers that line perfectly. What else would a star reporter want to know in that moment? Remembering that moment and being able to hear my mom is joyful and painful as we won’t have that moment with that film for the first time ever again, but I am glad to have had it.
2. At 5 years old when I watched that movie for the first time, I wanted to be Kal-El and I knew deep down that I would NEVER be able to do that. That sounds silly today as I have had plenty of time to get over that simple fact, but when you revisit things again, I find all of those old emotions crawling back to the surface. Silly and strange. I know.
3. Knowing some years ago that not only could I never be Kal-El or Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Peter Venkman, or even Martin Riggs, I knew that I could be in or make movies about people like them. It is now a career path that I have not taken and it looks like I never will. Missed opportunities and different life choices have made that a possibility for my past as it always makes me wonder if I could’ve been good at that.
It honestly is a little part of all of these. I’d like to think that number “1” is the larger percentage of the three because that is a good story. All of these things combined can lead to these silly, strange feelings of inadequacy when I feel that crying is the necessary reaction.
At the end of the day, I bought into a man really flying and saving the day when I was 5 years old.
Definitely wouldn’t want to have missed believing in that, however fleeting it was.
I watched this movie with a friend years later after I found that she had never seen a “Superman” movie. We had just watched a remake, “Superman Returns.” I thought it was terrible (the remake).
My bright idea was to introduce her to the real Man of Steel, but that attempt failed. I’m afraid the pacing was not good enough for her and she fell asleep right around the time Superman encounters Lex Luthor for the first time.
For me, it is going to be hard for anyone to be as capable as Christopher Reeve was at playing two personalities (Kal-El and Clark Kent). There is a scene where Clark shows up at Lois’s apartment after she has just spent a night around the town/world with his alter-ego. While Lois is grabbing her coat in her room, Reeve displays an amazing visual switch between the two personalities when he is struggling with whether to tell her the truth or keep his identity secret. It is the most underrated acting scene that is never talked about because of its tie-in with a comic book movie. I included the link here and encourage you to watch it.
For those of you that did not know that “Kal-El” was “Superman” there is nothing to be done for you at this point. 😉
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