In 1978, there was one film in particular that set out to make audiences believe that man could fly. 40 years later, Superman: The Movie flies back in to the cinemas.
As a youngster, having watched the late Christopher Reeve portray this iconic character, I would be known to run in to a telephone booth and exit (queue the anthemic John Williams score ) wearing a homemade red cape, which gloriously danced in the wind behind me. I was Superman; I was also 8 (honest).
Prior to today’s myriad of superhero releases, director Richard Donner (The Goonies, The Omen, Lethal Weapon), blended comedy and drama to re-tell a story of what is perhaps the most iconic and most recognisable character. Superman.
Up, Up and Away…
Superman: The Movie, directed by Richard Donner, starring the late Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, is one of the most iconic films to be released in cinema. Prior to its release, Superman was seen in comic books, newspapers, TV series, animation and since Superman’s origin release in 1938, reached greater heights following the World War Two.
Following the war, superheroes and the genre fell out of fashion as crime, horror and mystery comics became the go to comic book. However, these were soon blamed for a number of society issues which resulted in the birth of the Silver Age comic book era. This was a camp, fun and cheesy era for most of the DC properties.
However, Superman: The Movie took the character in to a new, serious direction.
Superman: The Movie
After a small introduction of a comic book opening (a pre-CGI marvel-esque easter egg), we start the film with Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sentencing three kryptonion’s to the Phantom Zone (See Superman II). After pointlessly pleading with the planetary council, Jor-El and Lara are left with little choice but to send their infant son to Earth.
“His dense molecular structure will make him strong… He’ll be fast, virtually invulnerable.” Jor-El.
We follow Kal-El, who is known as Clark, being raised on Kent Farm, Smallville. When tragedy strikes, Clark must leave home, visit the Arctic and then to Metropolis, in order to fulfil his destiny of standing for the truth, justice and the American way as Superman.
We’re treated to the fiendishly charismatic Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), who prompted a cinematic trend of acting greats playing lead villain roles (Jack Nicholson, Willem Dafoe). Lex plots to buy up the land to the east of San Andreas fault, prior to nuking the east coast.
As a child of the 80’s, I never got the chance to see this film as it was intended. 40 years later, the film was fully remastered, overlooked by Donner, and hearing the John Williams score was one of the highlights of the experiences. This was an experience whereby I relived my childhood memories during this screening.
40 years later, Superman: The Movie still remains as iconic as ever and has heavily influenced the modern Superhero genre. Donner’s stylistic approach, paired with Tom Mankiewicz’s tongue-in-cheek writing flair results in a film that has held up against over four decades of film goers.
For the film’s 40th Anniversary, Park Circus put this classic back in to selected cinemas, including the Prince Charles cinema where I was lucky enough to attend.
From the first appearance of the red and blue, (spoiler!) the time altering climax, to the John Williams score, Superman: The Movie remains as awe-inspiring as it was on the day of release.
This post was written by noxford