aka Superman Returns aka Turkish Superman
Written by Necdet Tok
Directed by Kunt Tulgar
Superman may have returned once again this past summer, but now he won’t leave, and he’s picking a fight with Batman! What a jerk! I guess we’ll just have to deal with his Turkish twin brother, who was more of a precursor to the most recent adaptation of Superman than we ever could have guessed! Be prepared for amazement, because Süpermen dönüyor is amazing. It’s pure pop culture reappropriation, done with less money that would buy a gallon of gas. And that is at 1979 gas prices! But enthusiasm for Superman is evident, and Superman fully fits in with Turkish pop cinema’s love of superior manly men who punch the crap out of dozens of evil doers without getting a scratch. You could argue that Superman is weaker, having gained his powers via his alien birthright. But the Turkish men are all awesome while being Turkish, and Superman’s ease of fit into the role shows that immigration and assimilation works just as well for Turkish Superman’s origins as it does for the American one. The subconscious parallel is strong, and speaks of Superman’s universal appeal across the globe.
Confession time, this review was originally written over 9 years ago, back before TarsTarkas.NET even used a CMS and I hand-coded every page in (awful) html. The review was terrible (even for then) and I never got around to fixing it fully, returning to it every two years or so, and rewatching Süpermen dönüyor in the process. I’ve seen it unsubtitled on VHS tape, unsubtitled on a DVDR I made of said tape, and subtitled on the amazing DVD from Omar Films. I watched it before there was an American film called Superman Returns, and I’ve watched it after Man of Steel came and left theaters. This review has been rewritten so much that none of the original version remains. The most interesting change was the reaction to Turkish Superman killing people in the wake of what happens in Man of Steel. I’m still against it, but now we know that Zach Snyder stole everything from Turkish Superman! It is time for this pigeon to take flight, time for the review to show the world that it is a super being! Time for Superman to return!
I told you this would happen if you didn’t stop wanking!
Superman is a member of the proud club of US properties that got their very own Turkish productions that were “inspired” by the originals. In this case, “inspired” means “directly copied”. Superman is among the most-copied foriegn properties by Turkey. While Turkey is not the only country to use Superman in unauthorized ways, it was the most prolific, with an impressive output of films both easily found and missing and presumed destroyed.
There was a series of “Superman” films where he is called Super Adam, and only occasionally wore a costume loosely (and I mean loosely!) based on the US costume. 1971′s Süper Adam, and 1972′s Süper Adam Kadınlar Arasında and Süper Adam İstanbul’da. The 1972 film Süpermen Geliyor (Superman Is Coming) and the 1976 film Süpermen Fantoma’ya Karsi (Superman vs. The Phantom) both appear to be lost, though lost Turkish films have resurfaced before.
These posters are all you’re going to get for Süpermen Fantoma’ya Karsi unless someone finds reels in their garage
Let us not forget 1979′s other Turkish Superman film, the softcore comedy Süper Selami
. But in non-smut Supermanish films, the Superman-inspired (and Three Fantastic Supermen
-inspired) Çılgın Kız ve Üç Süper Adam (3 Supermen and a Mad Girl)
also came from Turkey in 1973. Turkey producers (and Cüneyt Arkın for one entry!) were also involved in two of the Three Fantastic Supermen
films – Three Supermen vs The Godfather
and 3 Supermen at the Olympics
. The most recent Superman-ish Turkish film is 2012′s SuperTurk
This was the second film directed by Kunt Tulgar (the first was 1974′s Tarzan Korkusuz Adam – Tarzan the Mighty Man ) Another notable film in his resume is the Turkish martial arts flick Ejderin İntikamı (Revenge of the Dragon) Kunt Tulgar has gained fame in the West due to his name having an unfortunate other meaning in English.
Süpermen dönüyor is an amazing film, and while not being the best Turkish pop cinema entry (that would be Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam!), it is definitely top 5, and is essential viewing for cult cinema fans.
Until you get rebooted in 3 years…
||Tayfun (Tayfun Demir) – Tayfun Demir stars at Superman (and thus Clark Kent), he looks 7 feet tall and wears some of the goofiest glasses ever during his Clark Kent scenes. His character is named Tayfun (such originality!) but we’re just going to call him Clark Kent and Superman, as it’s much easier for all involved. Tayfun Demir seems to have been plucked out of obscurity to star as Clark Kenty and Superman, but then jumped right back in, as all we’ve been able to dig up was a date of death in 2003. Fun fact: his name translates to Typhoon Iron, which is a real superhero name if I’ve heard one!
||Süpermen (Tayfun Demir) – Superman came to Earth and is now Turkish. Turkish Superman powers: When he flies, he turns into a doll! Flying Superman can rear project backgrounds! Superman can use his mental powers to type at normal speed without touching the typewriter! Super x-ray vision that sees through clothes but not underwear! Guillotine-proof head! Superman can see back in time! Superman can see long distances, but not while he’s flying!
||Alev (Güngör Bayrak) - The Lois Lane character is played by Güngör Bayrak. She does the traditional roles of being the damsel in distress that Superman has to save, falling in love with Superman but not Clark, as well as constantly getting in the way of the villain. As seems to be the case with most Turkish actresses in the 60s and 70s, Güngör Bayrak posed for some risque pictures, thus equivilencing herself with Margot Kidder, who was in Playboy in 1975.
||Ekrem (Yildirim Gencer) – The Lex Luthor character wants kryptonite to use in a ray that will transform metal into other metals, so he can make lots of gold! Also, the ray will create a weapon against Superman, just for kicks. Ekrem is a reputable scientist, and you’d think he could easily get a hold of the formula from his friend without all sorts of evil schemes, but you’d be wrong! Ekrem is played by Yildirim Gencer, who starred in at least 197 films and died in 2005. We’ve seen him here before, but not his face. For he was…Kilink!!!
||Professor Çetinel (Esref Kolçak) – Professor Çetinel (Hetin in the subtitles) is that famous scientist who discovered the formula for Kryptonite after finding a meteor containing it, thus becoming a target of mysterious villains lead by his trusted scientific colleague, Ekrim. He wants to use Kryptonite as an unlimited power supply. Is the father of Alev.
||Haydar (Nejat Özbek) – Ekrem’s most prominent henchman, causes trouble for Alev and Superman on more than one occasion before he meets his untimely demise. Don’t be a henchman, folks!
Superman never should have supported the French royalists…