The biggest astronomy nitpick I expected wasn't there! It's
the fault of the first Reeve movie primarily, but they compound
it here. In fact they replay that Brando quote about the 27 or
28 known galaxies, reinforcing that this incarnation of the
Superman story is intergalactic. I believe Reeve even had
a line in the original about Krypton being in another galaxy.
But anyone feel free to correct me because I kind of blocked
this whole "known galaxies" part of it out the many times I've
seen it :-)
There's absolutely no need to take the story intergalactic of
course, but if you do the idea that astronomers would detect
much of anything in terms of planetary debris becomes even
more ludicrous. I don't much care about that nitpick, but as
astronomy nitpicks go I think writing that throws up "galaxy"
scales without really understanding the distances involved,
and more importantly that our Milky Way backyard already
has a few hundred million stars to play with, is worth noting.
Stuff like that can get a lot worse. There was an online poster
who suggested the Smallville TV series might make Krypton
a comet. Fact is very few would pick up on it or care (my
guess is 5% of the viewership max), but there's obviously
a fundamental difference between a planet and a comet.
It's like when Sliders had a pack of pulsars hurtling towards
Earth in one episode. For some reason some writers seem
to think astronomical object words all mean the same thing,
and can be interchanged like colors. Maybe they heard that
quarks have different flavors and figured why not, but it
doesn't exactly further science literacy. :-)
In SR the bigger problem I had with astronomers-seeing-
the-planetary-debris is what Superman did as a result.
He buzzes off for five f$#*ing years, leaving Earth to the
wolves, his old mom worried sick, Lois Lane with another
guy and his kid, and Lex Luthor a get out of jail free card!
Great setup for audience empathy... Not.
Plus how stupid is Lex Luthor! I mean all he had to do
was buy off or threaten the same astronomers, getting
them to say to the big guy the minute he returned "Hey,
Superman, you're back! And we're so very, very sorry.
We pointed our telescopes off by exactly 2 degrees
because of a glitch in software and you really need to
go HERE. The debris is looking even more interesting
now than it did 5 years ago. We're even detecting a
buildup in Phantom Zone projector activity that we
estimate will reach critical levels within 2 1/2 years,
releasing more Kryptonian villains who will surely come
here to rule Earth if the projector source is not destroyed
before then! Quick! Fly on your own since you totaled
that ship of yours. If you leave again now, you may make
it there just in the nick of time!"
And off he'd go because we know he's a total sucker when
it comes to astronomers who peer through their telescopes
at things Kryptonian. Yes, Warner Bros. might have had to
chop the movie down to an hour and 15 minutes, but they
could have given us more of the Parker Posey character,
arguably the most compelling in the movie, and made it
more about Lex Luthor having more fun as he prepares
to REALLY come up with a plan to slap Superman silly
in time for the sequel, Superman Returns Again.
Opening line for that from a really ticked off Man of Steel:
"Fool me once, Luthor, shame on you..." They could go
with the same two leads because they're so young they'll
be good for at least 7 more sequels, and since Lois will
have had two more kids by then, with Richard this time,
they could just go ahead and put Supes with Wonder
Woman. She could at least accompany him if he ever
gets duped into leaving for another 5 years. Heck they
could leave for 50. Neither of them would age and it's
not like anyone on Earth would care by then.