Superman (1978) is the 141st episode of Screen Junkies comedy series Honest Trailers. It was written by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr and Andy Signore. It parodies the 1978 superhero film Superman. It was narrated by Jon Bailey as Epic Voice Guy, and also features an appearance by Paige Ventimiglia as Epic Voice Guy's fictional daughter. It was published on March 22, 2016, to coincide with the theatrical release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This video was released at the same time as the Honest Trailer for Batman (1989) as part of a Batman vs Superman popularity contest. It is 6 minutes 13 seconds long. It has been viewed over 3.9 million times.
"The superhero film full of fun, optimism, bright colors, and camp." ~ Honest Trailers - Superman (1978)
Pimp: That's a bad outfit, woo!
Maybe a little too much camp.
(a man hits Superman with a crowbar, which causes the man to shake without affecting Superman)
Superman: Bad vibrations?
Okay, okay, we get it already. Superman: The Movie.
Suit up for the superhero classic that proved that even in 1978, Superman still couldn't get top billing in his own movie. Instead, he plays third banana to stars Gene Hackman, who refused to shave his head to play Lex Luthor; and Marlon Brando, who producers were too scared to tell that he was mispronouncing "Krypton". (shows clips of Marlon Brando, as Jor-El, mispronouncing "Krypton" as "KRYP-tun") Yeah, he got it wrong, but would you correct the Godfather?
Christopher Reeve is pitch-perfect as Superman, a flying Jesus metaphor who is sent to Earth in a Christmas tree ornament. He's a buff Boy Scout here to fight for truth, justice, and the American way...
Superman: I'm here to fight for truth and justice and the American way.
That's what I said...who is so fun to watch, you'll ignore the fact that he's kind of a dork, and a super buzzkill (Superman: You really shouldn't smoke, you know, Miss Lane.) who's so dumb, he gives away his origin and weaknesses in an interview. (Superman: I sort of have a problem seeing through lead./Miss Teschmacher: He can't see through lead!) But who cares, because he'll always be my Superman, okay?
Look up in the sky. It's love, as Superman meets his match in Lois Lane, a superstar writer struggling against her inability to spell.
Lois Lane: How many 't's in 'bloodletting'?...How do you spell 'massacre'?
Perry White: There's only one 'p' in 'rapist'.
What kind of story is she working on?
Lois Lane: It's got sex, it's got violence, it's got the ethnic angle.
Seriously, what the hell is she writing?
She's a perfectly sane person with a perfectly insane rhyming inner monologue (Lois Lane: You can fly. You belong in the sky.). Watch as she tries to bang the super-hot alien by trading thinly veiled dirty talk...
Lois Lane: Do you have a girlfriend?
Superman: If I did, Miss Lane, you'd be the first to know about it.
Lois Lane: I assume, then, that the...rest of your bodily functions are...normal?
Lois Lane: What color underwear am I wearing?
Superman (after looking down): Pink.
...in a conversation so steamy, Superman will turn back time to save her when she dies in an earthquake. (Superman yells out and flies off, circling the Earth multiple times) Uh, hey, Supes? I know she was your girlfriend, but a couple more spins could've undone the entire earthquake, saved a few lives, billions of dollars in property damage. But I get it, you're into pink. (Superman: I like pink very much, Lois.)
Strap in as Superman faces off with his nemesis, Lex Luthor, a criminal super-genius who dresses like Andre 3000. Watch as this infamous super criminal challenges the Man of Steel with an overly complicated plot that involves using missiles and earthquakes to destroy California so that he can turn a bunch of desert property he purchased into beachfront real estate. Dude, if I wanted to see an industrialist with a bad wig talk about real estate, I'd watch the presidential debates. (shows Donald Trump at a presidential debate) Heh heh heh, am I right? Zing! Ughhh.
So return to the movie that pioneered the tropes comic book movies have been following ever since, like setting up sequels, unnecessary origin stories for popular characters, shoehorning in comic book lingo (Jor-El: This Fortress of Solitude.), using time travel to fix your mistakes, destroying famous landmarks, and sky beams.
Child: Dad, are you still talking about that old Superman movie?
Jon Bailey: What are you doing down here? Go bother your mom.
Child: I think it's sooo boring. The new Superman has super cool fight scenes (shows clips of Superman fighting in Man of Steel).
Jon Bailey: This one has tons of action, too! Let's see, there's...(shows Superman and Lois Lane sitting down)...uh, well, what about...(shows Superman rescuing a cat from a tree)...holy crap. There aren't any fights in this whole movie.
Child: Also, it looks dumb when your Superman flies. New Superman looks totally awesome when he flies.
Jon Bailey: Look, in 1978, these special effects were awesome, okay? And, hey, at least my Superman didn't kill anyone. (shows Superman snapping Zod's neck in Man of Steel)
Child: Actually, I really appreciated Kal's value for life being something he has to earn by being forced to take one. As a pantheon of American pulp culture, Superman should evolve to reflect society for what it is, not what we wish it was.
Jon Bailey: Just get the f*ck out of my booth!
Starring Friendly Cavill (Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman), White Rashida Jones (Margot Kidder as Lois Lane), Jesse Eisenberg, Sr. (Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor), Peter Parker (Mark McClure as Jimmy Olsen), and The God's Father (Marlon Brando as Jor-El).
Fun Man of Steel
Was it necessary to see baby Superman's bait and tackle? (shows infant Kal-El naked)
- This Honest Trailer published on March 22, 2016, on the same date as the Honest Trailer for Batman (1989). This coincided with the theatrical release of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and formed a Batman vs. Superman contest. Screen Junkies announced that the two videos were in competition and whichever video got the most views would determine whether an Honest Trailer would be made for Batman Begins or Superman Returns, respectively. Superman Returns won the competition, but Batman Begins was eventually given the Honest Trailers treatment also.
- Honest Trailers have been produced for several other Superman movies, including Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Superman Returns, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Justice League. See list of Honest Trailers for more.
- An Honest Trailer Commentary for this episode was recorded and was available on the Screen Junkies Plus until the website/app was discontinued. Screen Junkies don't currently have any way of releasing the video.
Honest Trailers - Superman (1978) has a 95.9% approval rating from YouTube viewers. The Nerdist noted that the Honest Trailer was "not as kind" as the one for Batman (1989), but still relatively kind to the film. Geeks of Doom wrote that "the best part is when Bailey’s daughter interrupts and puts Donner’s film on blast for being boring and lacking in any real action, which of course Bailey argues until he realizes… there really aren’t any fights in the whole movie." Slash Film found the Honest Trailer notable for remarking that "Christopher Reeve didn’t even get top billing in the movie in which he plays the title character." IndieWire appreciated the Honest Trailer for discussing the cultural impact of Superman, agreeing with Screen Junkies that "Richard Donner‘s fun, optimistic, bright, and camp take on the Last Son of Krypton has not aged well, though it set up the template for the tropes of comic book movies that follow for the next few decades, including working in origin stories, cramming in lingo from the comics, and more."
Production credits Edit
Voiceover Narration by Jon Bailey
Epic Voice Kid - Paige Ventimiglia
Title design by Robert Holtby
Edited by Anthony Falleroni and Dan Murrell
- HONEST TRAILERS: BATMAN (1989) V SUPERMAN (1978) - Nerdist article
- Honest Trailer: Batman (1989) vs. Superman (1978) - Geeks of Doom article
- Honest Trailers: 1989’s ‘Batman’ and 1978’s ‘Superman’ Go Head-to-Head - Slash Film article
- Watch: Honest Trailers Pits 1989’s ‘Batman’ vs. 1978’s ‘Superman’ - The Playlist article
- Honest Trailers Sets Up Tim Burton's BATMAN vs. Richard Donner's SUPERMAN - Geek Tyrant article
- Watch: Honest Trailers Pits 1989’s ‘Batman’ vs. 1978’s ‘Superman’ - IndieWire article