As the original superhero, Superman is one of the most recognizable and beloved characters ever created. Not only does Superman have some visually stunning moments in his films, but he also some of the most poetic and thought provoking. Moments that make the little kid in all of us giddy with excitement anytime we see our hero fly across the screen. We will cover some of the most memorable moments from Supermans live action appearances and what are considered some of the best performances from Christopher Reeve, Brandon Routh, Tom Welling and Henry Cavill as their portrayal of the Man of Steel.
Also Read: 10 Batman Villain Moments in Film
“Keep testing your limits” (Man of Steel, 2013)
Our first look at Henry Cavill as the new Superman was one for the books. As Clark Kent finds his way to an old Kryptonian ship that has the subconscious of his father Jor-El installed in the ships mainframe. From here Clark is able to learn about his Kyrptonian heritage and is given his red and blue outfit. Jor-El explains to him the source of his abilities and that he must test him limits to see how just how powerful he can be. Superman begins trying to get a hold of his ability to fly, making tall leaps in a single bound he finally manages to get a hold of himself in the air and begin to fly for his very first time.
“Live as one of them” (Superman, 1978)
The page that Man of Steel took from, this is another coming of age moment for Superman. But rather than finding a ship, he uses the crystal he was given and hurls it out into the arctic land before him. It creates a massive fortress for him to explore as he finds most crystals that activate the subconscious of his father Jor-El. Jor-El speaks to Clark about the events that lead to their planets destruction and what his purpose is on earth. At this moment, we cut to Christopher Reeve in the classic red and blue, as he flies off a pillar and towards the screen. Stunning audiences that a man could actually fly while John Williams’s incredible score overtakes us in this amazing moment of wonder.
“The safest way to travel” (Superman Returns, 2006)
Another introduction to the screen, while Lois Lane is an airplane that is set to be the launch pad for a new space shuttle. Things soon take a turn for the worst as the plane cannot disengage the shuttle attached to it, the shuttle ignites and begins ascending into space. Just as Superman flies onto the scene to remove the shuttle from the plane, just as Superman manages to get the plane out of the atmosphere, the plane is still plummeting towards the earth. Superman quickly flies towards the plane. He manages to get to the head of the plane and land it safely in the middle of a baseball stadium. Soon after, Lois Lane meets with Superman once again and encourages the rest of the passengers to not put off flying, since statistically speaking… it is still the safest way to travel.
“Evolution Always Wins” (Man of Steel, 2013)
One thing we learned from this scene… don’t ever threaten Supermans mother. After Zod and his followers make their presence on earth and begin questioning Martha Kent about the whereabouts of Kal-El, he shows up grabbing Zod and beating him senselessly. However, Zod has not yet learned to control his abilities the way Superman has. So instead he sends two of his strongest soldiers against the Man of Steel, Nam-Ek and Faora. What comes next is the near destruction of Smallville as the three kryptonians engage in battle followed by the attack of the US military. What we witness is one of most impressive and entertaining fight scenes in a Superman movie. Previous Superman movies never showed off Supermans true power in a combat situation (His battle with Nuclear Man doesn’t count), compared to the awesome battle that ensues in Man of Steel.
“You Really Shouldn’t Smoke Miss. Lane” (Superman, 1978)
Every superhero has some sort of love interest, a significant other that becomes a definitive part of a hero’s journey and who are a more memorable comic book couple than Superman and Lois Lane. Lois Lane sets up a time to meet with Superman for an interview to publish at the Daily Planet, as they stroll through the interview Miss. Lane becomes more and more impressed with Superman by the minute culminating to a romantic flight over Metropolis. Not only is this scene pivotal to the essence of Superman, but it’s also an opportunity to learn things about Superman that we may not have ever known. Almost as if we are there on that rooftop conducting the interview as well.
“Tell the minister, I’ll be a few minutes late” (Smallville, Season 10, Episode 21 Finale)
Although much can be said about Smallville’s run between 2001 and 2011. But no matter what the ups and downs are of the series, this moment is by far the most satisfying. As the build up to Tom Wellings Clark Kent finally comes to a head. Referencing the comic books, Lex Luthor is declared President of the United States while Clark and Lois are preparing to get married. Working at the Daily Planet together, they attempt to keep up appearances as Lois bumps into a clumsy Clark Kent. Secretly he reveals their wedding rings just as someone announces that there is a bomb in an elevator uptown. Clark tells Lois to tell the minister, he will be a few minutes. At that moment he runs to the roof with the Superman theme music playing in the background. He removes his glasses and starts running towards the camera as he opens his shirt to give us that classic Superman look that we have been waiting for the last ten years.
“This is my world” (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)
A testament to what Superman is willing to do for earth, despite him not being from this planet. He still claims it as his own, even after everyone told him he was a false god he was still willing to make the sacrifice to save them. Lex Luthor manages to create the monster Doomsday and sends on a reign of havoc. The only people standing between Doomsday and the destruction of Metropolis is Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. As they fight hard against the creature, Superman realizes what he has to be done in order to defeat it. Taking the kryptonite spear Batman made earlier, he uses all the power he has left to plunge the spear into Doomsday. But in turn also brings the death of Superman. Showing the world and audiences just what a being from another planet is willing to ensure their safety and survival.
“I sent them you, my only son” (Superman Returns, 2005)
Although this line was originally said in the 1978 Superman film, the reuse of it in the follow up Superman Returns was used in such a breathtaking way. Showing us just how godly and heroic the Man of Tomorrow is. As he flies pass the earth’s atmosphere, he sits there floating in space and uses his super hearing to listen to all of the people of earth. All of the beauty, madness and content below him, showing us a representation of Superman’s world and his place as a god and savior. As he floats in space he suddenly hears an alarm ringing at a bank and a heist that is taking place. Suddenly everything goes silent and Superman rushes down towards the planet, being the hero he is too save the day.
“I’m also a big fan of justice” (Justice League, 2016)
One of the campier and cheesy scenes from the Man of Steel, I find this scene so memorable and fun to watch because it reminds me of the golden age of Superman. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came off as darker and grittier versions of Superman, which fit the realism to Superman and who he is as an alien from another planet. This scene gave us back that classic heroic style of Superman that many fans have longed for. Superman bursts into the battle between the Justice League and Steppenwolf, to respond to Steppenwolf with his line “Well, I believe in truth. But I’m also a big fan of justice” and deliver a devastating blow to the villain, sending him flying and leveling the odds of the battle.
“Don’t worry miss, I’ve got you” (Superman, 1978)
I really wanted to save the best for last, one of the best scenes from Superman comes from Christopher Reeve in his first outing as Superman. When Lois Lane takes a trip on helicopter that suddenly goes wrong, the copter starts to come back down. Mild mannered reporter Clark Kent sees Lois dangling from the helicopter and springs into action, he runs into a revolving causing it to spin quickly and changing from his suit to his red and blue tights. After he changes he flies up to the helicopter as Lois starts to fall just in time to catch her and the helicopter. Supermans first words are “Don’t worry miss, I’ve got you” with a shocked Lois Lane responding “You’ve got me, whose got you” giving us the classic look at Superman that has made him one of the most beloved heroes to grace comic pages.