Suspension of Disbelief: Superman Edition

Disclaimer: Plot points from Superman (1978) will be revealed.

Until recently, I never understood how people could be so critical about the plot points of movies. There were always people on IMDb claiming how unrealistic certain elements of the story were. I always thought that it was a movie, not everything had to make perfect sense. After all, the only thing that you would need to do is to suspend your disbelief and realize that in Hollywood, anything could happen. As a fan of movies that involve superheroes and fantasy and insane action sequences, I thought I could accept anything that was thrown at me.

I was wrong. There is a point where your suspension of disbelief just crashes down due to the sheer absurdity of what just happened. I reached that point while watching Superman. In an effort to save Lois Lane’s life (he realized too late that she was in trouble), Superman shoots up into space and using his super strength and flying abilities changes the direction of Earth’s rotation. The result? He goes back in time and saves her life. As much as I can believe, or more actually suspend my disbelief of, not being recognized with glasses on, flying, super strength, X-ray vision, and being weakened by Kryptonite, being able to go back in time the way he did, makes absolutely no sense to me.

Time cannot be changed by altering how the Earth rotates. Are we to assume that if Earth just stopped rotating that everything would remain just as it is for all eternity? I do not think so. While we measure time by using the positioning of the Sun and Earth as guides, it by no means is dependent on where they are. Time passes regardless of whether Superman wanted to go back a few minutes by turning the Earth the other way. If anything, his actions would have postponed nightfall. Nothing else should have changed.

As crazy as it sounds or as common sense as this may be, apparently there are limits to how much can be accepted. Some things just do not make sense. For me, it was the messing with how time flows. For others, it might be how stupidly oblivious the people of Metropolis are. Regardless of where this line falls, I think everyone has a point where s/he realizes what is happening on screen just seems a bit crazy.