Superman Color Symbolism: Seeing Red

This is just a list of Superman Color Symbolism seen throughout the Christopher Reeve Superman 1978-1987 movies and 2006 Superman Returns.

Red and Yellow 'S' shield used to represent superman in Superman Color Symbolism

Red and Yellow ‘S’ shield used to represent superman.

I found these when I reviewed the movies for these articles:

 

I noticed a lot of red, in fact most of the colors I found where red with some blue and yellow and I don’t mean Superman’s uniform. These colors are placed in view of the camera on purpose for a reason. As always, I will be posting any Superman Color Symbolism I have noticed no matter how obscure or bizarre it may seem.

Note:

We are using the following movies only for this write up:

  1. Superman (1978)
  2. Superman 2 (1980)
  3. Superman 3 (1983)
  4. Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (1987)
  5. Superman Returns (2006)

Superman Color Symbolism: Superman (1978):

26 (1978) Superman Color Symbolism group 1

26 (1978) Superman Color Symbolism most of them red.

  1. (1:58): Red ‘S’ and shield.
  2. (5:42): Krypton’s red sun.
  3. (13:56): Baby Kal-El is warped in a blue, red and yellow blanket with his mother.
  4. (23:28): The Kent’s are driving a red vehicle.
  5. (24:32): Boy Superman is shown in his crashed starship with a red cloth.
  6. (25:54): Boy Superman in shown wrapped in a red cloth lifting the Kent’s red vehicle.
  7. (26:23): A car with red interior.
  8. (26:30): Red and yellow uniforms are worn by a Smallville school football team and cheer leaders, and Clark in a red shirt.
  9. (26:51): Lana Lang is carrying red, yellow and white pompoms.
  10. (27:03): Lana Lang has red hair and is wearing bright red lip stick.
  11. (27:36): 2 red vehicles and 2 red doors in background.
  12. (27:11): Red grain elevators in background.
  13. (28:16): Red and yellow train engine and train cars with red strip.
  14. (30:05): A red tractor Jonathan Kent is standing behind, camera pans over to put the tractor into full frame.
  15. (32:10): Red wagon wheels in barn.
  16. (33:03): Martha Kent holds a book with red pages. The book is clearly shifted towards the camera to show the pages.
  17. (33:41): Clark gives his mother a red rose.
  18. (34:06): Clark is wearing red polka-dot pajamas.
  19. (37:03): Clark shown in a red plaid coat.
  20. (48:00): Superman’s blue, red and yellow uniform is revealed for the first time.
  21. (48:16): Mostly Red fruit and vegetables cut up on a vending cart. watermelons, tomatoes and some yellow bananas.
  22. (49:05): Jimmy Olsen is wearing a red shirt.
  23. (49:23): Perry White is wearing a red tie.
  24. (50:34): Two men walking around the Daily Planet office wearing bright red shirts. Seen again on 1:03:13, 1:43:24 and 1:45:35.
  25. (51:07): A red fan in Perry White’s office. This part of Perry White’s office will be shown again at 1:43:46 and the fan will be removed from filing cabinet.
  26. (53:43): Sign on door with the word “Optimo” in red letters with a red frame.
  27. (57:18): Red and white subway train.

    23 (1978) Superman Color Symbolism again most of them red.

    23 more (1978) Superman Color Symbolism again, most of them red.

  28. (1:03:21): Clark is wearing a red tie.
  29. (1:03:35): A woman is wearing a red sweater over her back like a cape.
  30. (1:05:12): Red helicopter and wind sock.
  31. (1:05:38): Red helicopter and Lois Lane is wearing yellow.
  32. (1:07:12): Red unmarked police car.
  33. (1:09:58): Purposely placed red light shining on the roof.
  34. (1:11:23): Red lower case letter “e” purposely placed in frame, you only see the top of it at this point, you can see it better once the cat burglar falls. What is its purpose?
  35. (1:13:35): Red overturned boat and a man in a red ski mask.
  36. (1:17:25): Lit red JVC sign.
  37. (1:19:15): Perry white in a yellow shirt with a tie that is yellow, blue and red.
  38. (1:32:58): Red flowers in Lois Lane’s apartment.
  39. (1:34:19): Otis is wearing a red shirt.
  40. (1:38:38): Otis is again wearing a red shirt this time flowered (Hawaii style).
  41. (1:38:48): Miss Teschmacher is lying on road in a red dress. Seen again at 1:42:05.
  42. (1:42:39): When Miss Teschmacher opens the nuke the numbers are red and she has a red light on her face.
  43. (1:42:48): Jimmy Olsen is in a red shirt again.
  44. (1:42:52): Lois lane is driving a red car. Seen again at 1:50:43, 1:57:50, 1:59:23, 2:00:00, 2:04:45, 2:12:11 last seen at 2:13:37.
  45. (1:43:38): Clark is wearing a red and blue tie.
  46. (1:46:07): A bus with red sets.
  47. (1:47:04): Lex Luthor is wearing a yellow shirt with a yellow flower.
  48. (1:59:30): A red gas pump.
  49. (2:00:32): Red car hits side rail on bridge.
  50. (2:00:34): Another red car on bridge.
  51. (2:01:15): Red car hits yellow school bus on bridge.

Superman Color Symbolism: Superman 2 (1980):

  1. (1:14): Red crystal and ‘S’ and shield.

    Superman Color Symbolism and yet again most of them red.

    Superman Color Symbolism and yet again most of them red.

  2. (3:09): Green crystal.
  3. (8:52): A picture of a woman with a red face on a tack board. Seen again at 20:20.
  4. (9:01): Two men walking around the Daily Planet office with bright red shirts on. Seen again on 1:30:09. these are the same 2 men from Superman (1978) number 24.
  5. (10:59): Clark touches a very wobbly red post.
  6. (11:18): Lois Lane is in a pink dress.
  7. (13:31): Lois Lane pulls a red English to French translation book out of her purse.
  8. (19:42): Mostly Red (cut up watermelons, tomatoes) and some yellow (bananas) fruit and vegetables are on a cart. It’s the exact cart from Superman (1978) number 21, even the same actors, signs and fruit and vegetables placement.
  9. (19:46): Red Car fills screen.
  10. (19:55): Red truck on right.
  11. (22:36): Person in a prison court-yard wearing a red shirt runs across the screen which draws your attention him.
  12. (33:40): Red square object on wall, Lois Lane in yellow dress again, complete with yellow flowers.
  13. (34:36): The “special souvenir album” is red.
  14. (37:29): Boy wearing a red and white striped shirt. Seen again at 39:17, 39:30, 40:23.
  15. (37:30): Another boy wearing a red shirt and blue hat.
  16. (38:21): The boy wearing the red and white striped shirt’s mother is wearing bright red pants.
  17. (38:32): Red and white striped hot dog stand, just like the boy’s shirt from number 15 (37:29). Seen again at 41:01.
  18. (39:21): Boy wearing the red and white striped shirt’s Mother is wearing a blue and red striped shirt and Father is wearing blue and red stripped tie.
  19. (39.59): 2 people in red shirts.
  20. (40:46): Man in red shirt with a blue jacket limps by screen.
  21. (42:03): Miss Teschmacher is in all red winter clothes. Seem better shot at 42:23.

    Even more Superman Color Symbolism and again most of them red.

    Even more Superman Color Symbolism and again most of them red.

  22. (42:23): Lex Luther wearing yellow goggles and shirt.
  23. (46:27): Red crafts or barrels people have gone over the Niagara Falls which are displayed.
  24. (50:05): Ursa had a red and white star and a blue NASA badge on her chest.
  25. (59:08): Boy in red shirt reading a comic book and 2 red cars, camera pans to a red truck 59:11. Boy in red shirt seen again at 1:00:38.
  26. (100:03): 2 men in red shirts, red windows coverings in bar.
  27. (1:04:53): Red tractor with the words “Massey Ferguson 124 MF”.
  28. (1:05:46): A man in red shirt jumps out of the burning building window.
  29. (1:12:38): Red light on superman face.
  30. (1:18:58): 2 men in red jackets and a red Mac truck.
  31. (1:18:40): Diner has a red and blue neon sign.
  32. (1:19:07): Clark/Superman has on a jacket with a red collar, the dinner has red menu display boards. Seen again at 2:01:05.
  33. (1:19:29): A man wearing a plaid red shirt and carrying a plaid red jacket. Seen again at 2:00:45.
  34. (1:23:57): Red MAC transport truck passes Clark on the highway.
  35. (1:29:20): Lois Lane is wearing red shoes and a red shirt.
  36. (1:30:06): Red books in the Daily Planet office.
  37. (1:30:27): More Red books and seen again a 1:30:37.
  38. (1:30:16): A women in red and white striped shirt and a red skirt.
  39. (1:31:08): More red books this time with a golden star on top.
  40. (1:32:27): A man in red hat and shirt.
  41. (1:32:33): Red car on left.
  42. (1:33:04): Red and blue neon lit up words “Mikes Bar”.
  43. (1:34:19): Red car on right.
  44. (1:35:36): Red Marlborough cargo truck. Seen again at 1:37:38, 1:40:04.
  45. (1:36:22): 3 baby carriages with red on them.
  46. (1:37:38): Tanker truck with a red “X”.
  47. (1:38:49): Red fire hose.
  48. (1:42:46): Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) cashier in red and of course the red KFC itself.
  49. (1:45:30): Boy in red.
  50. (1:45:50): Red fan in Perry White’s office. Same fan seen in Superman (1987) number 25.
  51. (1:52:02): Red light colors Superman’s “Fortress of Solitude”.

Superman Color Symbolism: Superman 3 (1983):

Superman Color Symbolism in Superman 3 (1983) and it's red.

Superman Color Symbolism in Superman 3 (1983) and it’s mostly red.

  1. (2:37): Lorelei Ambrosia in red strawberry dress and strawberry purse.
  2. (13:28): Large red cylinder to the side by Gus Gorman’s (Richard Pryor) desk.
  3. (14:33): Bus to Smallville is red with red seats on the inside and “Go Big Red” is written the back of the bus.
  4. (29:48): Lorelei Ambrosia is wearing a red shirt this time cherries with a white dress.
  5. (38:28): Another red bus.
  6. (38:40): Lana Lang is wearing a yellow dress, her car is yellow, she has red hair pins in her hair and she walks passed a red and yellow phone booth.
  7. (42:09): Three red combines.
  8. (45:49): Lana Lang’s ex-husband Brad (Gavan O’Herlihy) the security guard of the WheatKing office is wearing red shoes.
  9. (46:53): Red Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) bag on a closet door.
  10. (50:54 to 51:25): Red and yellow cars in intersection.
  11. (1:00:53): Lana Lang’s telephone is yellow.
  12. (1:00:57): Lorelei Ambrosia is wearing yellow now?
  13. (1:18:43): Lorelei Ambrosia is wearing a red dress on Statue of Liberty’s head.
  14. (1:22:09): A red and white helicopter.

Superman Color Symbolism: Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (1987):

Superman Color Symbolism in Superman 4 (1987) and it's all red.

Superman Color Symbolism in Superman 4 (1987) and it’s all red.

  1. (3:24): Russian astronauts in red space suits with red shoes.
  2. (14:15): A red subway train.
  3. (19:02): A boy in red shirt.
  4. (31:19): A hot dog vendor is in red.
  5. (31:41): Lois Lane and Lacy Warfield get out of a red car.
  6. (1:05:20): Superman’s red cape falls into the flame of the statue of liberty’s torch.
  7. (1:05:23): Daily Planet’s Publisher Lacy Warfield is wearing red.
  8. (1:08:20): A red light is blinking on Clark from his apartment window.

Superman Color Symbolism: Superman Returns (2006):

Superman Color Symbolism in Superman Returns (2006) not much to see here.

Superman Color Symbolism in Superman Returns (2006) not much to see here.

  1. (8:20): An old radio is displayed at 8:34 it is revealed to be red.
  2. (9:26): Martha Kent is driving a Red truck.
  3. (24:20): Lois is wearing red stripes in a picture Clark is holding.
  4. (36:09): Superman shown on a radar screen as a red triangle with a square around it.
  5. (2:14:39): Superman’s son draws a picture of Superman in the red sun.

Superman Color Symbolism Conclusion:

The color symbolism is used progressively less with each Superman movie made. Perhaps they abandoned the technique (it does give a cartoony kinda feel) or they went with a less color saturated approach. It does make more sense to carefully place the color where they can give the best impact. Saturating the entire movie with 3 simple colors causes movie watchers to go color blind and miss the important dramatic effect these colors can give when the time is right. The Superman color symbolism seems sloppy to begin with, as the movies sequels went on the color red was use in more appropriate scenes depicting anger, sacrifice or alerts. However red is the predominant color used throughout the Superman movies and how fitting it is. Kal-El’s home planet was destroyed taking nearly everyone with it, with his back story being so full of death, the color of blood couldn’t be more suiting.

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