For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Superman.
Whether it was having the Kenner Superpowers action figure to going out as Superman for Halloween when I was 6, to my fridge being adorned in Superman 3 stickers, the son of Jor-El was cool with me.
I’ve seen all of the Superman movies from the first Christopher Reeve film to the latest featuring Henry Cavill, with some 90’s Lois and Clark in between. There have been some great films, well the first two Reeve films at least were great despite Superman 2 having its share of problems, to some absolute dog shit attempts at filmmaking (Hi, Man of Steel!). For today’s edition of Today’s Character Lurk, we’re looking at Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Now, there’s plenty in this film I could unpack from Lenny Luthor to Nuclear Man; who I may come back to another day.
But, for this exercise (see what I did there?), let’s talk about Clark Kent: Gym Bro. Clark is at the gym with Lacey Warfield played by Mariel Hemingway, and is being his generally lovable, dorky Clark self when she introduces him to everyday gym bro Paul. Paul’s a jerk in his own right upon seeing Clark’s glasses and store bought haircut.
Little does Paul know that Clark here can secretly squat the entire building this gym is an occupant of, so he takes every opportunity to embarrass Clark in front of Lacey, tossing Clark a barbell that puts Clark on his ass, all the while probably thinking “you need to increase your protein intake, bro!”. This barbell gag comes back into play just moments later, when Clark “Mr. Casual” Kent getting ready to leave, tosses an even heavier barbell onto Paul who’s laying on a bench ready to do some sweet reps, bro.
Now, Clark Kent’s secret identity is second only to maybe Prince Adam as the worst kept fucking secret in pop culture history, but dude do you really think flaunting your super strength in public like that is the best idea? Plus, for as much of a douche as old Paulie there may have been, couldn’t Superman who stands for truth and justice have handled things a little better? It’s almost like Kal-El didn’t completely exorcise his dick tendencies from Superman 3.
Or, maybe Clark could explain it away by saying he works out a lot more than he lets on. Remember at the end of Superman 2 when he handed the truck driver his ass, and casually told the patrons at the diner he had been working out? So, maybe he doesn’t want to come across as a liar here.
Because if there’s one thing Superman isn’t, it’s a lair. An asshole maybe, but not a liar.
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