14/06/2013

Superman The Movie (1978)

Film: Superman: The Movie
Release: 1978, theatrical
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman
Directed by: Richard Donner
Next in the series: Superman II
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: His homeplanet Krypton on the verge of the destruction, the infant Kal-El is sent to safety on the far away planet Earth to live among humanity as one of their own.

Hans' thoughts:

Super. The word means excellence, perfection. Superman himself being called this because he is the closest thing to the complete man. An icon. This movie is not really all that different. Of course, it's a movie of it's time. It manages to update Superman for audiences of all ages while still keeping that glimmer in it's eye of it being based on a comic book. It is really hard to find anything wrong with this movie, from the fantastic John Williams score to the apparent love for the source material. All throughout this movie, Superman does what he does best. He saves the day both from big and small catastrophes. While yes, this movie does have a main plot and a main villain the movie doesn't forget the fact that Superman is known best as the guy who sees the big picture as well as the small one and does his best to make EVERYONE safe. At one point he even saves a cat from a tree - how many other Superhero movies does that? One. Pixar's The Incredibles. And that one was a parody.

Of course the movie does have it's dated points, the most apparent being the design of Krypton. It is deeply set in the New Age space religions of the 70's, some of the characters are also very camp (Luthor's henchmen being the most obvious). But then again, this is from before the era of the dark and brooding superhero. This movie was made before the release of such comics as The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, the success of both being given as the reason for the darker tones being implemented in comic books. A Batman movie without Robin would've been considered insane at this moment in time. This movie however, does not seem ashamed of it's roots.

Clark Kent is just as bumbling and awkward as he should be, giving us a nice nod to the Fleischer bros. cartoons by contemplating changing clothes in a telephone booth. Heck, the opening shot of the movie is a black and white shot of the comic books being narrated by a young boy, we know what we're in for right at the get-go. There is however a scene that seems very out of place, the very first scene in the movie may not have made very much sense to audiences of the time. Historically we can say that yes - this was all a precursor to the events of Superman II (which was filmed back-to-back with this one) but before the internet, only movie savvy audiences may have known that a sequel was already planned at the time of release. I'm not ashamed to say that by the end I got very invested in the characters, even getting kinda foggy eyed at a certain moment. It's not surprising that to many, today's superhero movies are still measured by the standards of this one. Even if you're not into superheroes, you should consider watching this movie. Maybe even you'll believe that a man can fly.
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