WHAT IS IT?
Jeez, if you don't know what Superman: The Movie is then you must have been living in seclusion for a heck of a long time!
Released in 1978, Superman: The Movie is the granddaddy of all superhero movies and arguably the film that gave birth to superhero cinema as we know it today. Without Superman: The Movie there would be no Batman (1989), no Spider-man (2002), no The Dark Knight (2008) and no Avengers Assemble (2012). To put it in simple terms, Superman: The Movie is not only regarded as a classic of the genre, but also a milestone in the history of Hollywood.
Superman: The Movie tells the story of DC Comics' most famous superhero, starting with his final days on the doomed planet Krypton through to his status as the world's greatest hero. The film stars Christopher Reeve in the title role (a part that Reeve would become forever linked to), alongside Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Marlon Brando as Superman's dad, Jor-El.
Throughout the course of the film, Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent has to put his super powers to use in a variety of ways, from rescuing Air Force One to turning back time in order to save Lois Lane. Along the way Lex Luthor is on hand to be a thorn in his side, throwing out cracking one-liners as he works on his grand real estate scheme.
The tag line of Superman: The Movie was, 'you'll believe a man can fly' and audiences were not let down on this promise when they watched the film for the first time. Using wire work and blue screens (this was all produced prior to the digital age) Superman soared around Metropolis and the rest of the world, righting wrongs and saving the day.
Mixing humor, action, mythology and big star names, Superman: The Movie was released to positive reviews, taking over $300 million at the box office. The popularity of the picture led to the release of Superman II (1980) (which was partially shot alongside the first film) and the less-than-super sequels, Superman III (1983) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). A loose follow-up, Superman Returns (2006) (which starred Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel) was released 19 years after Superman IV.
Oh jeez... there's still more to tell you!!!
WHAT WAS GOOD?
From the opening scenes set on Krypton, through to Superman's adventures in Metropolis, Superman: The Movie has it all, fantastic special effects, an excellent cast and an epic story. In fact, the film can be easily broken down into three sections: sci-fi (Krypton), 1950s Americana (Smallville) and disaster movie (Metropolis) - giving audiences a sweeping tale that goes beyond a simple story.
Chief amongst Superman: The Movie's greatest attributes is the much-lauded performance of Christopher Reeve as Superman and Clark Kent. Creating two distinct personalities, Reeve brought both humility and strength to the dual role, defining Superman and Clark Kent for generations to come.
Although the Superman movies would become watered down popcorn fodder during the 1980s, Reeve's performance remained heartfelt and true and has yet to be bettered in any medium. Discussing his approach to the character in his book, Still Me, Reeve said: "When Lois Lane asks, 'Who are you?' Superman simply responds, 'A friend.'. I felt that was the key part: I tried to downplay being a hero and emphasise being a friend."
Reeve's performance was truly exceptional, but it wasn't the only strong performance in the film; Margot Kidder's Lois Lane was perfectly matched to Superman, Jackie Cooper's Perry White was spot on and Brando's short, but important role as Jor-El gave the film's opening scenes much needed gravitas.
With this being a Superman film and all, audiences flocked to theatres to watch the Man of Steel in action and were rewarded for their attendance with amazing scenes of spectacle. The helicopter rescue scene involving Lois; the earthquake; Air Force One; the dam... all were great moments in the movie, however the biggest feat of strength came during the final act - Superman turns back time. Some may argue it was a cop-out, as if Superman could turn back time whenever he wanted then there was no real challenge for him; but it was more of a 'one time only' kind of situation and it demonstrated the extent of his magnificent abilities.
Additional highlights of Superman: The Movie, include...
John Williams' iconic score/theme...
Ned Beatty's humorous performance as the bungling Otis...
Every scene set on Krypton...
Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor - the greatest criminal mastermind of our time (!)
And the introduction of the Kryptonian criminals - including the menacing General Zod - during the opening act.
WHAT WAS BAD?
As long as you were open to the concept of Superman, then there was surprisingly very little not to like in Superman: The Movie. If the film does have flaws, they are few and far between and can be dismissed in the overall scheme of things.
Take the introduction of the Kryptonian criminals (listed above as a positive point), who were only given a few minutes of screen time. The characters were introduced as part of a set-up for Superman II, so in some respects they seem out of place as they don't really contribute anything to the narrative for part one of Superman's story.
Oh... and if we are highlighting flaws, then it's probably worth mentioning Lois Lane's GOD DAMN AWFUL 'can you read my mind' poem, which she waffles on about during her night time flight with Superman.
WHY PUSH THE BUTTON?
Pushing the button on Superman: The Movie - and therefore erasing the film from existence - would be a STUPID IDEA!! Superman: The Movie is a bloody brilliant movie, which has become a timeless classic and has influenced many a superhero movie over the years. Along with Star Wars (1977) , Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Alien (1979), Superman: The Movie is one of the greatest science fiction movies of the '70s!
Christopher Reeves IS Superman - this is not up for discussion. Pushing the button and erasing Superman: The Movie from the history books would rob the world of the best superhero performance ever. Yes, this includes Robert Downey JR's Tony Stark and Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Why would you want to do that? Why?
No, seriously, why?
So... instead of pushing the button on Superman: The Movie, this time around I've removed the button. In its place I'm giving you two options, or rather two criminals to defeat. On the left is General Zod, whilst on the right is Lex Luthor. Choose to defeat the correct villain and you will save the day.
"I tried to downplay