5/19/2016


How much does Superman really talk in the movies? There have been a lot of complaints mixed reviews about the treatment of Superman in the film Batman v Superman, but one of the biggest complaints is that Superman doesn’t act have much Superman.

First, the title to what was supposed to be a Man of Steel sequel was named Batman v Superman. Then, Zack Snyder said the movie isn’t a “direct” sequel to MoS. Finally, a rumor by Heroic Hollywood said that Warner Bros rewrote the film to put in more Batman and less Superman. Whether that rumor turned out to be true or not there is an awful lot of Batman in the flick.

One Reddit user wrote down all of Superman’s lines in the movie and came up with a surprisingly small number of lines. 43 lines of dialogue in all of Batman v Superman? Seems like a pretty small number for a two and a half-hour movie. Like a lot of people, I wondered how it compares with other Superman movies. If the average movie has 40 lines then WB actually improved on it. Did Zack Snyder give him more or fewer lines in Man of Steel? What about Christopher Reeve?

So I set out to find out. I went through every theatrical release of a Superman movie and counted the lines.

How I Counted the Lines

So it’s one thing to say “he has 100 lines of dialogue”, but what does that mean? Do you count all the sentences, words or what? I decided to use the typical screenplay format. Every time the character speaks uninterrupted that’s a line. So if Superman (or Clark Kent) says, “Hi!” or “Hello from the last Son of Krypton, champion of the oppressed and doer of good across the galaxy!” I count them the same. If he’s in the middle of a speech and someone interrupts him that counts as two lines.

What I didn’t count, and coolerthanabagofice did, is noises he makes. So if Superman only says “Hmmm” or screams I don’t count that. For consistency, I’ve dropped the number of lines from the Reddit list by one since it's just a scream.

How Often Does Superman Talk?

Something I thought about putting in, but left out, is the ratio of lines to minutes in the film. Sure Superman talks a lot in Superman II, but is it really more often than in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)? So here are the ratio of lines per minute of film.

Superman and the Mole Men (1951)
Lines: 90
58 minutes
0.6 minutes per line

Superman (1978)
Lines: 114
143 minutes
1.3 minutes per line

Superman II (1980)
Lines: 138
127 minutes
0.9 minutes per line

Superman III (1983)
Lines: 152
125 minutes
0.8 minutes per line

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Lines: 132
92 minutes
0.7 minutes per line

Superman Returns (2006)
Lines: 84
154 minutes
1.8 minutes per line

Man of Steel (2013)
Lines: 96
146 minutes
1.5 minutes per line

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Lines: 42
151 minutes
3.6 minutes per line

The main reason I didn't put it in the graphic is because all of the films except Batman v Superman give Superman about a line a minute.

What do you think of the infographic? Does it say anything about the Superman movies?

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