Note: I watched and wrote this a while ago but never posted it because I’m lazy. Happy New Year!
First of all, Christopher Reeve is Superman and no one else has come close to portraying him that well (live-action at least, Tim Daly comes a close second to me).
I know a lot of people aren’t crazy about his Clark Kent but I think he might be my favourite Clark Kent too (Dean Cain (sigh) is second, Welling is somewhere in between because I liked his younger Clark, but as the character got older, he lost a lot of his charm (for the sake of the character arc, but I digress).
Anyway, I won’t go into an extensive recap: Clark figures out where he’s from, and the loss of his father inspires him to help people. He eventually becomes a reporter and moves to Metropolis and falls in love with Lois Lane. He saves Lois a few times, most notably on the roof of the Daily Planet and she coins the name Superman. Lex Luthor gets wind of this and decides to kill Superman and also blow up California? Superman manages to escape and stop it – but not in time to save Lois Lane (who happened to be there because why not?). He then speeds so fast he turns back time and prevents the whole thing from happening.
As silly as it sounds, there is a clear A to Z plot. The simplicity allows the audience to appreciate Superman for what he is – a hero, and also a man with feelings and emotions like everyone else. The end of the movie directly links to the beginning. He’s still so distraught over the loss of his father that he’s driven to do this crazy thing to bring Lois back. Even Lex Luthor, as crazy as he is in this, has a clear motive.
From what I’ve read, this is still considered the best Superman movie yet. Probably because it doesn’t treat Superman like an alien from Krypton desperate to fit in beyond his high school years. Nor does it do its best to run away from the fact that Superman is in red, yellow and blue Spandex and tights. I saw someone say they like the newer costumes because they muted the colours, but the whole point is that he’s in these bright colours. The cheesy costume with the cape is part of the hero – because it doesn’t matter what he wears. He’s still the most powerful man on the planet. The point is that he could do anything in the world and he’s chosen to save people.
Plus, the original costume is still all sorts of cool.
My favourite part of the movie is the sequence from when he first appears to his first meeting with Lois. Although, I still don’t understand why he allowed Lois to publish the information on how he couldn’t see through lead and specific details about how he came to Earth? It didn’t seem very smart, and it made Lex Luthor’s plan come off slightly…silly. Although, given that Lex was living underground, it wasn’t the most zany thing about the character.
It was interesting watching this after Man of Steel, a movie which never grasps what makes Superman so great. While, he always chooses to help people, he still sees himself as human. He still holds himself to that standard. Whereas in Man of Steel, we have a Superman who’s being told that he doesn’t owe anyone anything, and that it’s okay to let people die if the ends justify the means. It’s not like Superman is Batman, there are so many dark antiheroes out there. I wish they would just keep Superman the way he was intended to be – a ray of hope in a world that often seems devoid of it.
The movie still holds up pretty well. The special effects are dated, but the flying for me is quite special. I know they were on wires and whatnot, but I liked how it looked. The score is wonderful too. I was grinning every time the main theme played. Above all, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously making it a fun, easy watch.
Christopher Reeve is wonderful to watch as well, and I think his Clark to Superman transformation is the best we’ve seen on-screen so far. I loved Margot Kidder as Lois Lane too! Gene Hackman’s Lex was… interesting? The film lingers too much on Lex and his sidekicks and the exposition was excessive, still – some of it did make me laugh, so job done?
I watched the second film too but I can’t remember much of it because I accidentally watched the Donner Cut first and then–anyway. We’ll see if I ever feel like reviewing the other three movies, lol.