Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flashback Review: 'Superman: The Movie' (1978)

I bet you are wondering why I'm reviewing a movie that came out almost 40 years ago or maybe you are not. Superman is making his much deserved return into theaters this friday in 'Man of Steel' and I think its a perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane. Let's take a look how to the man in tights made his big movie debut in 1978 up to 2013.

Superman: The Movie was what I would consider the first superhero movie to be taken seriously and not campy with some big serious actors. They took a big chance on this film. The process of how this film came around his a whole post in itself, so lets skip all that and get to the movie itself.

I grew up watching this movie in the 90s on VHS. Oh good ol' VHS.., and now recently watching it on glorious Blu-ray, it only gets better and more fantastical. Superman was more of a hero that everyone just loved but wasn't really known to be adult orientated enough to be taken seriously to become a big star studded movie. Those people were greatly proven wrong by director Richard Donner. He made Superman, a great character already, a icon to all.

Superman was given a proper origin story that moved at a brisk pace that worked great on film. We were able to see Krypton dying with the great Marlon Brando. Then Kal-El getting found by Jon and Martha Kent. It was filmed perfectly to lay out the tone of the film with great special effects that can hold up today. We skip the Smallville years for the most part (just watch CW's Smallville to get gist of it), but we see some very important scenes that makes Superman, well, Superman.

The Daily Planet scenes just feel right. We finally get to see Christopher Reeve bring Clark Kent to life. He was hands down a dead on cast! If you were Growing up, through the 70's til now, Reeve is Clark Kent/Superman to you. He looks exactly like he came out of the pages of the comic. He put heart in the role and gave everyone a person to look up to that has lasted til today.

Superman wasn't the only great one cast either. The regulars in comics Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Oslen, and especially arch-nemisis Lex Luthor, were fantastic! Margot Kidder as Lois Lane did a marvelous job at playing the hard headed reporter.

Lex Luthor on the other hand was possibly the second best casting in the film. Serious actor Gene Hackman took a character that was used so often in the comics and made him fresh. He was slightly funny and suave while completely evil. You hated to hate him but loved to hate him at same time. Luthor's plan to sink half of California for retail property is menacing and bat@#$% crazy at same time it might just work. Great job on bringing that character to the screen.

The director, Richard Donner, has an eye for great special effects throughout while maintaing a film about larger than life characters you can relate to. The subtle ways we see Superman save a person or fly through the air gives a smile on your face no matter the age. A superhero masterpiece to start off a generation of serious taken hero flicks.


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