13. Superman: The Movie

I am pretty sure I have never seen Superman: The Movie (atleast in its entirety) and if I have it was well over 20 years ago, so therefore it’s valid for my little project…

For the last ten years or so, movie goers have been force fed summers full of blockbuster sequels that are based on mutli-million dollar franchises that insure steady profits and audiences, and Superman: The Movie was the first big budget comic book hero film to set this eventual cycle in motion.

The film starts off on the planet Krypton, with Superman’s father Jor-El (Marlon Brando) warning the rest of the planet that it will soon be destroyed.  As the rest of the Kryptonians dismiss this bold claim, Krypton begins its own rapture, and Jor-El sends his newborn baby Kal-El (the future Superman) off into space, headed for a better life on Earth.

Superman crash lands on Earth as a toddler and is found by his eventual caretakers the Kents.  As a teenaged Clark Kent, he finds trouble fitting in with his peers and soon leaves on a personal quest, where he ultimately finds the spirit of his father who compels him to take a journey of self discovery.

After 12 years of exile learning about his powers and origin, Superman emerges back into the world as Clark Kent, a nerdy yet kind soul.  With his incredibly fast typing skills, he lands a job at the Daily Planet in Metropolis and immediately becomes enamored with his co-worker Lois Lane (Margot Kidder).

Almost immediately Clark begins using his super powers to rescue Lois from a helicopter accident, as well as save the President’s plane from crashing which finds him immediate stardom throughout the world.  While Superman rises to prominence, the evil criminal mastermind Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and his inept henchman Otis (Ned Beatty) plan to launch nuclear missiles at both American coasts.

Saddled with the obligation to explain Superman’s back story, the beginning of the movie was a little too slow for me, but picks up considerably once Clark Kent heads to Metropolis.  While many of the special effects could now be achieved on a new laptop, the film is still visually stimulating and full of heart.

While Lex Luthor’s nuclear attack/real estate plot is a completely ludicrous idea, it gives Superman’s powers a chance to shine.  Christopher Reeve may very well be the best casted super hero of all time as he is nerdy and lovable as Clark Kent and just as striking and bold as Superman.  Also bringing delightful chemistry to the film is Margot Kidder and Marc McClure as Jimmy Olsen.

Far from perfect but still an intriguing pre-cursor to what would come to drive the film industry, Superman: The Movie holds its own against most comic blockbusters more than 30 years later.

A solid 3 stars out of 5.


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Categories: 100 Films

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