I don't usually take movies personally but I was worried about Lois Lane from the minute the credits started rolling.
I mean, from where I was sitting, this guy she got involved with was just another 1980s Everyman. Strip away the red cape and the blue tights, and he was a flying mass of role conflicts.
One day he was a man with weaknesses and feelings. The next day he was an honest-to-gawd Superman. One Monday he was happy at work with nary an aspiration, and on Tuesday, whammo, he felt compelled to go out there and save the world.
Someone as smart as Lois should have seen this guy coming around the corner. Sure, he was cute, but the morning after the night before, he was going to be out the door. It just wasn't going to work out.
But there it was, once again the fatal attraction of the Semi-Liberated Lady for the Traditional Man Who is Trying to Change. You see it all the time.
Aside from the X-ray vision and a few other eccentricities, Superman was a case study of traditional malehood. He grew up on the ultimate performance trip. He never rebelled. He never wracked-up the car. He was a regular duty-first doo-bee. It's for sure he never cried.
But, like a lot of other urban professionals, he tried to keep up with the times. This is, after all, an era of partnership marriages, meaningful relationships and open feelings. Sooner or later, he got the open feeling that he ought to get with it. When he decided to meaningfully relate to Lois, he wanted to change.
What could be more irresistible to a gal like Lois? We've all known a Lois or two, a lady struck between time zones with all the messages from the past and present.
One minute she wants to stand on her own two feet and the next she wants to be swept off them. She may be Ms. Independence on the job, but in her personal life she only falls for the guy who could take her up, up and away from it all.
The Semi-Liberated Female is a pushover for the He-Man Who Is Trying to Change. She thinks she knows who he really is. She thinks she can dig down to his core, bring out the softness in him.
So what happens to this couple? I could have predicted it. Superman gives up his dominant ways in order to live in equitable, earthly, bliss with Lois. Thus wooed up to his place, they spend the night in pre-nuptial PG-rated bliss.
But soon he finds that life as Mellow-Man has its problems. For one thing, he can no longer hide his true identity. He's no longer defended by the mysterious powers. He's just a regular guy. Maybe even a person.
Not-so-super men bleed. They get backaches. They lose fights. They trade in the awe of women for friendships and sharing. They exchange adventure for affection.
And while they are struggling to work it all out, the whole get nervous without its supermen. If the strong, good and brave get domesticated, then the strong, bad and villainous take over the world. That particular fantasy isn't just Hollywood property.
At the first alarm, faster than you can say kryptonite, Superman drops wall this trendie sex-role-changing business and gets back to the man's job of saving the world. And just as I figured, Semi-Liberated Lois accepts the guilt for ever having taken away her lover from his Important Work.
"It's sort of like being married to a doctor," she says with a sigh of depression.
The Man Who Wants to Change turns out to be just another male recidivist. He slips back to the days when Supermen were powerful and woman panting as if his old role were an old slipper. The Semi-Liberated Woman is easily tricked back to her bad old days, eternally pining for the flightly guy with the Big S.
I wonder if this is what they mean by conservative backlash in the movies?