Superman Movie Minute #27 – If I Could Turn Back Time

SUPERMAN MOVIE MINUTE #27 - If I Could Turn Back Time

Fire and Water Network All-Stars Chris Franklin and Rob Kelly bring you SUPERMAN MOVIE MINUTE, where they analyze, scrutinize, and you'll-believe-a-man-can-fly-ize the classic 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, and Marlon Brando, five minutes at a time!

In minutes 131:00 - 135:00, Superman ignores his fathers' advice and takes a bunch of trips around the world.  Special Guest: Andy Leyland!

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16 responses to “Superman Movie Minute #27 – If I Could Turn Back Time

  1. As a kid, I understood time travel. But I always wondered if going back in time and saving Lois meant the town got destroyed. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the ‘being in two places at once’ ending. But … hey, comics!

    I hope there will be another feedback episode!

  2. Rob’s “mind-blowing” comment regarding time-travel and souls relies on at least two assumptions that I imagine most people do not accept as given (I sure don’t). I’m not even sure there’s enough there to argue with. I simply don’t accept the assumptions that time is a wholly human construct (I’ll grant that how we perceive and/or measure it is a human creation) nor that souls are a distinct entity apart from the physical body (believe it or not, I’m actually pretty religiously motivated, with a wife who’s a priest and an MDiv of my own. For more on what’s technically called “non-reductive physicalism,” I would direct those curious to the writings of Nancey Murphy of Fuller Theological Seminary). Without either of those assumptions in place, what’s left to say other than “I disagree”?

    1. I’ll say this of Robert DeForest Kelly – “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human.” That beautiful bald bastard is fantastic.
      Personally, I appreciated Rob’s unique take on this. I’ve seen this movie dozens of times, so the introduction of anything is most welcome.

    2. Honestly, it’s less that I disagree with his take (I do, but that’s not the point) so much as I’m at a loss for how to engage it, coming as it does from the assumptions I’ve cited. I feel all I can really do is point out that those assumptions are in place, and leave it at that.

      Hopefully, that’s what I’ve done here (and all I’ve done). I fear I sound more contentious than I intend. If so, please accept my apologies.

  3. Andy stole every defense I ever had for the time travel events of the ’78 movie. This was a story that you could have read in any Silver Age or Bronze Age Superman story, scripted by Binder, Shooter, Bates, Pasko or Maggin. The impossible was what the Superman of that era was about. I also defend Gene Hackman. The only imprint we had for a comic book villain on film was Gorshin, Romero and Meredith, and in fact, Hackman, as Rob and Chris have noted in this podcast series as we’ve gone on – there is an incredibly psychopathic edge to Luthor beyond the peel of Hackman’s so-called scene-chewing. He makes us laugh, but let’s face it-this guy is ready to kill millions. It’s just that Donner has more taste than to make us watch every death graphically (excuse me, have to cough – a-Zack!).

    Congratulations, on reaching the end of this, gentlemen. Nerds truly would not be the armchair filmmakers, and there would be no cinematic superheroes without this film. It’s place in history is secure.

  4. Interesting assessment by the hosts and, curator of my favorite internet laugh, Andy Leyland.

    I started thinking about the time travel thing after the 19th viewing of this movie. I wondered if there would be two Supermen running around. I wondered if the one that went back in time would then fastfoward to a “safe” point in time where could exist. I wondered if Superman accidentally created another reality where Lois lived, but left behind one where she died, thus leaving a world without a Superman and one where Luthor reigned supreme.

    And then in 1991, another time travel theory landed in my lap. I’m talking about the genius theory used in 1991’s The Flash “Fast Forward” episode. In it, the Flash ends up in an alternate future and must race back in time to stop himself from triggering an event in his past. Of course he succeeds, but then realizes there are two Flashes simultaneously existing. The two Flashes then merge into a single Flash. Problem solved!

    Where’s my Flash minute?

    1. I love that moment, from one of my favorite episode. I can buy that the two Superman merge right before Supes lands delicately by Lois’ car.

      Last year at a con, I got to tell John Wesley Shipp that as much as I loved his show, I actually stopped watching that episode to receive a call from my future wife. Cue up Van Halen’s “How Do You Know When Its Love”.


      1. I asked the writers Gail Hickman and the terribly missed Paul DeMeo about that moment (the merging, not CFrank’s phone call). Neither could recall after 20 years how they came upon that solution. But it works – especially when someone can vibrate their molecules at a high speed (seen on-screen in the episode “Child’s Play”).

        Dammit, I miss that show. And Paul.

  5. Just before I listened to this episode, I listened to Andy talking with Mike on their Overlooked Dark Knight podcast, where Mike said that Andy was in a hurry to catch a bus. Apparently it was the us to Fire & Water Podcast HQ!
    BTW, Andy, I am one of those comics nerds who were complaining about this sequence, and other aspects of the film, in 1978.
    Look, time travel I can accept. Reversing the rotation of the planet, and causing time to go backward is something else. I am sure that would not have happened in a Julius Schwartz edited story, and I’m doubtful that it would have happened in a Mort Weisinger book. Imagine you were on Earth at the moment just before time started to go backward. Now imagine you were giving birth. Then everything goes backward. I don’t think we need Dr. Anj to explain.
    SO, Rob, if THAT can go backward, why can’t a soul?
    You all can talk me into a “two Supermans” solution, but comics always said that one person couldn’t exist at the same time as his future or past self. But you’d think ONE of them would give Jimmy and Lois a lift out of the desert!

  6. I have to admit: the time travel aspects of this movie give me a severe headache, and that’s coming from someone who completely understood Doc Brown’s explanation for time travel the first time I saw it. Based off of Doc Brown’s theory (and supported by multiple episodes of THE FLASH), Superman went back in time and created a divergent timeline which he and (a now very much alive) Lois are together but he left behind a timeline where Lois is dead and Superman disappeared after saving California. Right?


    All this talk about the original Flash show reminds me of how I keep hoping that Superman shows up in the next DC CW crossover event. I’d like Superman and Flash have a moment where they discuss their adventures where they mess with the time stream.
    “Yeah, I learned some lessons when I went back in time to keep my girlfriend from dying.”
    “You too?”
    “Whoo, yeah…”
    Then a long pause as they make eye contact and realize there’s very few people who can understand what that’s like…

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