Saturday, July 08, 2006

Goodbye, Lois

I miss the true Lois Lane.

Do I really need to explain how Singer ruined the franchise with the birth of this “son” of Superman? Or that with the kiss at the end of SII, Lois couldn’t possibly remember consummating her love with him? Or that Superman gave up his powers before he made love to Lois?

More importantly, Lois would’ve never written that stupid article that supposedly earned her a Pulitzer Prize. I wanted to tell Kate Bosworth's Lois, “Did it ever occur to you that he has a lot of enemies and something bad could’ve happened to him? Or that he might’ve been doing something really important that took longer than expected?” The real Lois Lane, who may now be gone forever, was certainly tough and feisty and headstrong, but she was never the hardened bitch Singer & Company created. She would’ve never thrown the childish tantrum we saw in Kate because he “went away” and “didn’t say goodbye.”

Ugh, pardon me while I heave...

Imagine with me Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane. How do you think she would have reacted to Superman’s unexpected disappearance? She would’ve spent every single day of her life following every single lead she could get her hands on until she found him, would she not? She would have never ever EVER given up. Oh, she might've tried to move on, but she wouldn't be able to do it. And as the years went by, she might've looked up in the sky a little less frequently but she would've never stopped looking up. And all the while, she would’ve written article after article about him with headlines like:

“Where Are You, Superman?”

“Can you hear me?”

“Please Come Back.”

And she would’ve had one article tucked away in a drawer that she couldn't bring herself to show Perry that was titled:

“Goodbye, Superman.”

And when Superman finally reunited with her on the rooftop of the Daily Planet, she would’ve surprised him by already knowing about those reports on Krypton. “Of course I know,” she would’ve told him, “What did ya expect? I’m the best reporter in Metropolis. I notice things.”

Had that been the Lois Lane Singer offered us in his new movie, we would’ve fallen in love with her all over again. But we didn’t and that’s why the latest incarnation of Superman fails, because a Superman movie is only as good as Lois Lane.

Oh, and that’s not all that she would’ve said on that rooftop:

“I know you’re Clark Kent.”

If Richard Donner had been given the chance to finish
his version of SII, we would’ve seen a very different Lois. Oh, yes, Donner’s Lois was so much more true to her character. In his version, she was ahead of the game and had figured out the Clark Kent / Superman connection in the very beginning of the movie. In fact, Donner had already filmed his opening scenes before he was fired where, sitting in Perry’s office, Lois happily draws Clark’s glasses, hairstyle, and suit over a front page photo of Superman. Then Clark enters.

How are you, Lois?

Oh, just…
(sly wink)
Super, thanks.

Perry orders them to go to Niagara Falls to expose a newlywed racket.

Newlyweds? Us?

That's a great idea, Mr. White.

But I'm right in the middle of my series
on the City Council, and...

Oh, it won't take long, Clark. We can
(coy gesture)
fly right up there and then sort of...
zoom right back again.
(quick smile)
You know. Like Superman.

CLARK has caught her drift now, grows slightly alarmed.

Hey. If Superman could give you two a
ride we could save a couple of bucks...

Later, when Clark and Lois are alone…

Lois, as usual, I'm totally in the dark

Here, Clark. Let me turn on the lights
for you.

LOIS drops the paper down on PERRY'S desk, open to the page with her retouched picture of SUPERMAN.

Get the picture?

CLARK crosses, looks down at it, frowning.

You know, I never started to put it
together before. And that's funny,
because a good reporter isn't supposed
to let anything slip by her.

Lois? This is... very amusing
(nervous chuckle)
Yes, Sirree, amus...

Tall, broad shoulders, dark hair...
listen, I've got to give you credit.
I mean you fooled me...
(cool stare)
And I'm nobody's fool - Superman.

Su... Superman?
(total disbelief)
You think I'm Superman?

Think? I'd bet my life on it. Literally.

LOIS walks casually over to the window. CLARK pauses, then bursts into hysterical laughter.

Lois... you're priceless... you know
that? I mean, that's the single funniest

Lois swings one leg out the window.

(suddenly concerned)
Lois, what do you think you're doing?

I'm not worried, Superman. You won't let
me die...

LOIS smiles, swings the other leg out, jumps, disappears from view.


And in a series of flash cuts, Clark sneaks down to the street (super fast) and uses his breath to waft her “slightly upward like a leaf” and break her fall onto a fruit cart.

Later, when they are in Niagara Falls, she is the one who outsmarts him in their cheesy hotel room and proves, once and for all, that Clark really is Superman.

I’ll share it with you. Lois is sitting at a dressing table. Clark is pacing.

..and I'm sorry - but no matter
how hard I try, I'll never be - him.

(butter wouldn't melt)
Him? Who?

Who else? Superman. I can't help the
fact you seem to think you love him.
That's just something I've got to live
with. But darn it, Lois, it's enough
now. Maybe I just can't stand the
competition anymore.

LOIS puts down her make-up, looks at him in the mirror.

And maybe you've just been the
competition all along.

(serious stare)
Lois, I've never been particularly good
at riddles...

Then let me give you an easy one. Why,
with thousands of children falling off
something lethal somewhere else in the
world, why would Superman appear here –
at Niagara Falls - today? Why not the
Grand Canyon?

Why don't you ask the child's family?
I'm sure they'd...

And why is it always when I'm with you?
Right up to the moment, of course, when
Superman appears.
(CLARK stares)
You're never there, are you? You've
always just disappeared, somehow. And
somewhat conveniently, it's always
seemed to me.

I was getting us hot dogs, for Pete's
sake! You were the one who asked me to!

And when Superman arrived on the scene I
looked over at that hot dog stand. You
were gone, Clark. You were nowhere.

I was... I was... darn it, Lois, just
because I had to go to the...

LOIS levels a knowing stare at him in the mirror.

You are Superman. Aren't you?

Lois, we've been through this
hallucination of yours before. Don't you
remember what you almost did to
yourself, jumping out of a building
thirty stories up? Can't you see the
tragic mistake you almost made?

(thin smile)
You're right, Clark. I did make a tragic
mistake. What a fool I was...

LOIS opens a drawer in the dressing table, swivels in her seat, A LOADED REVOLVER now in her hand, leveled at CLARK.

I bet my life instead of yours.

CLARK backs up, eyes widening.

Lois... don't be insane... Lois, you're

She fires. The gunshot echoes across the room. CLARK remains standing. He stares at her resigned, but almost defiant, his voice becoming that of SUPERMAN. LOIS looks at him lovingly, but quietly triumphant.

I knew it. I guess I must really have
known it for the longest time...

You realize, of course, if you'd been
wrong... Clark Kent would have been

How? With a blank?

SUPERMAN closes his eyes in frustration. LOIS looks back at him with a soft smile.


Hehehe… I love that moment.

If Superman is supposed to be some weird allusion to Christ, then Lois Lane was his Mary Magdalene (and Donner inadvertently reinforced the theories of Dan Brown, oddly enough). No matter. Lois was the reformed dirty girl who became Superman’s most faithful follower. She was clever. She was witty. She was feisty. She was vulnerable. She had street smarts. She was one of us. She was all of us. She had to roll around in the muck and write about it while dreaming of a better life and winning the Pulitzer, which we all knew she would never get because her articles were the stuff of cheap scandal rags with tawdry titles like “I Spent the Night with Superman.” She was the girl who was fanatic about making freshly squeezed orange juice while smoking a cigarette. She was the girl who would go to Paris and crawl underneath an elevator inside the biggest phallic symbol in the world and be rescued right before the load was shot into space and exploded. She was the girl who could look Super-Jesus in the eye and ask him about his “bodily functions” and “what color underwear am I wearing?” She was innocence lost and reborn again because she believed in Superman. And she invited him to look at her, to really look at her intimately and dare to tell her that her underwear was “pink,” because… she loved him more than anyone else in the world.

In the comics, she had actually undergone training at Metropolis' S.C.U. and obtained a black belt in karate. She was born in Germany. West Germany, in fact. She had a younger sister named Lucy. Sam and Ellen Lane were their parents. Sam was an army man. While she was in high school, the Lane family moved near Metropolis after Sam got stationed at “Fort Bridwell.” She was impressed by the Daily Planet and then-reporter Perry White. She tried, unsuccessfully, to be hired by Perry. Then she obtained information on Lex Luthor, and Perry offered her a part-time job. After high-school, Lois worked full-time at the Daily Planet and took college classes at night. During that period, she also wrote a few mystery novels.

And then Lois met Superman when she was a passenger on a NASA space plane and had to be rescued.

She wrote about how she was “saved by a Superman.”

Goodbye, Lois.


Anonymous said...

I hear that Singer's pet project of the Logan's Run remake is back on. It has potential with the new technology of today?

Mystery Man said...

I've heard that, too, but the story never thrilled me. If asked, I doubt I would help him write it.


wcdixon said...

Hey MM --- some interesting posts, very in depth...keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I learned a lot about Lois (that I didn't learn in the movie, obviously) from this post. Makes me like the movie even less (and I didn't like it that much to begin with).

But thanks for your insights!

Anonymous said...

A man after my own heart. I love it, and whole heartedly agree. Thankfully we weren't alone in thinking Kate Bosworth screwed up royally along with most of the crew of Superman Returns.

Mystery Man said...

Thanks, man.

Athene said...

I agree with Kevin. I think I remember reading in an interview that she purposefully didn't watch any of the other versions of Lois' portrayals. I think that was MAJOR mistake because if she had at least watched margot's (at least from the first movie... maybe even the second) she might have been able to give a more nuanced performance than she did. At the same time that script (at least as we saw on the screen) really didn't make Lois someone to love.

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