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Superman Movie Moments That Outraged Fans

Superman's latest big-screen ventures have been met with mixed reactions from fans, but what younger filmgoers may not realize is that this love/hate relationship with the Man of Steel's movies has been going on for years. Here are just a few times Superman flicks prompted outrage.

Casting Ben Affleck as Batman

No Superman movie has drawn more controversy than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it wasn't just because of that mouthful of a title. Fan ire set in even before production started, when Ben Affleck was announced as the latest actor to play the Dark Knight. Celebrity fan Wil Wheaton spoke for many when he sarcastically tweeted, "Really looking forward to seeing Affleck bring the depth and gravitas to Batman that he brought to Daredevil and Gigli." Ultimately, it turned out that casting Affleck was one of Dawn of Justice's better moves, but that doesn't mean the movie was without its flaws.

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

Jesse Eisenberg's filmography is pretty solid, including acclaimed performances in Zombieland, Adventureland, and his Oscar-nominated turn as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. His nebbishy nervous energy made him an odd-seeming choice for Man of Steel's number one nemesis Lex Luthor, but many fans were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt—at least until they watched his performance, which drew parallels to Star Wars scapegoat Jar Jar Binks. Eisenberg has tried to defend his performance, saying he only read his parts of the script and attempted to play Luthor as a hero. Still, it's safe to say more than a few fans unfriended him after this.

Jimmy Olsen's death

One staple of any Superman comic, television show, or film is an appearance by Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen. Since his introduction in 1938, he's become an important part of the character's mythos—which is why many fans loathed his brief appearance in Dawn of Justice, during which he isn't even mentioned by name and is unceremoniously killed. For many fans, callously dispatching Olsen was yet another sign of director Zack Snyder's fundamental misunderstanding of the franchise. It would've been better if Olsen had been left out altogether.

Breaking Zod's neck

Dawn of Justice isn't the first Snyder film to draw Superman fans' ire—the director first drew controversy with its predecessor, Man of Steel. Of all its deficiencies, this movie errs most egregiously when Supes snaps his nemesis General Zod's neck. Longtime fans were quick to point out that one of Superman's fundamental characteristics in the comics has always been his refusal to kill—in an age full of antiheroes and flexible morality, he's stood apart by standing by his code. In two seconds of celluloid, Snyder killed a lot of fan interest in the last son of Krypton.

Richard Pryor in Superman III

Even the highly-regarded Superman movies starring the late Christopher Reeve aren't without their faults. Superman III, for example, took the franchise into an ill-advised comedic detour by answering the question no one asked: what happens when the Man of Steel meets Richard Pryor? It made for a strange combination, to say the least. Pryor is remembered as one of the greatest comedians ever, but he wasn't known for his family-friendly humor, and neither he nor Reeve were particularly well-served by the script, which centered around a plot involving computer hacking and Colombian coffee monopolization. Young kids of the era still enjoyed it, but it was a steep comedown from its predecessors— and it really hasn't aged well, as Huffington Post writer Mike Ryan discovered when he rewatched it in 2013.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

It's difficult singling out a single moment of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as the worst. That's because the whole movie is a disaster, and that's coming from co-star Jon Cryer. An admitted Superman fan, Cryer was excited to be cast in what was supposed to be a comeback for the franchise. Instead, he (and his fellow Superfans) ended up with a doomed effort that got caught in the studio's budget woes and ultimately did "no justice to the script at all" while being "physically" painful to watch. And that's coming from a guy who went on to star in Two and a Half Men.

Stalker Superman Returns

You're Superman. You've been away for five years, and you return to find your lady love Lois Lane has moved on to another man. You have two options. One, you respect her choice and let her live happily with her new family, or two, you do something, well, super to win her back—which, while cheesy, is probably better than what Superman actually did in Superman Returns. Instead, he flies by Lane's home at night and peeks in her windows to see what she's doing, which one fan calls "very out of character," not to mention just plain creepy. (But surprisingly, it's probably the only time he's not "irritating, boring, and tiresome to watch.") His next step should've been to use his heat vision to burn an S into her lawn.

And a deadbeat dad

So you return from your five-year Super-exile and find out the object of your affection has a kid old enough to have been conceived before you left. You've got an alien supercomputer at your disposal to see if he's your son, probably using only a sample of hair. What do you do? You ask Lois who the father is, once, and never question her answer. Then you just move on with your life like any deadbeat dad. Only once the kid reveals he has superpowers do you accept him as your son, as he has now killed, and you have to make sure he doesn't kill again.

Lex Luthor: Land Ho!

Kevin Spacey, one of the greatest actors ever, cast as Lex Luthor, one of the greatest villains ever. It sounds like a no-brainer, except that it wasn't. Rather than a truly unique take on this nearly century-old villain, Spacey's Superman Returns performance delivered what one fan described as "a one dimensional villain" and just truly "terrible." What made it all even worse was Luthor's cartoonish plot to take over the world through a land-buying scheme. Land, really? Lex Luthor isn't just one of the greatest scientists, but one of the greatest businessmen in the world. And all he can think of is a convoluted real-estate plot—which, by the way, borrowed from the first Superman film?

Varying effects of kryptonite

We all know the deadly effects of kryptonite on Superman. But as one fan pointed out, Superman Returns doesn't give any clear indication of its lethal power. When Supes first lands on Lex Luthor's new continent, which contains the aforementioned ghastly green rock, Superman is rendered no stronger than the average human within moments of touching down. But a short while later, Supes is able to lift the entire continent, kryptonite and all, and carry it into space, which requires a much longer period of contact. Talk about a continuity error. Fortunately for unhappy fans, Bryan Singer's first foray into Superman films was also his swan song.