A Look Back: Superman The Movie
You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!
Superman The Movie is a 1978 superhero film based on the DC Comics character. Superman was Craeted by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1932. Richard Donner directs the film, which stars Christopher Reeve as Superman, as well as Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando as Jor El. Some could argue Superman is not a Franchise it's all about the original. Christopher Reeves shined as Superman he didn't protray Superman he was Superman. Superman also spawned numerous sequel's and Spin - off's none are here it's all about the Original.
The Superman theme was composed by the great John Williams and the opening credit's go well together..True Fan's will watch...Listen as you read..
The camera sped through space, coming upon another galaxy and solar system, with the reddish dot of a blazing hot sun, and then beyond it the planet Krypton,
and the white mountains of the futuristic city of Krypton the first scene unfolds, wher Jor-El reads the charges of the plot of General Zod, his companion Ursa and their evil associate Non, to orchestrate a military coup placing Zod as the absolute ruler of Krypton. Krypton had evolved to a near utopian society, and the thought of a "Supreme Ruler" was considered an act of insurrection. One by one, the council declares the trio guilty. Left as the only remaining council member to vote, Zod implores Jor-El to reconsider.
"The vote must be unanimous, Jor-El. You are a voice of reason in the council, as you would be in my regime, second only to me."
Turning his back on Zod, Jor-El illuminates a crystal, signifying his guilty vote, and walks away. Enraged, Zod curses Jor-El.
"You will bow down before me, Jor-El. Both you, and then one day, your heirs!"
In a flash of light, Zod, Ursa and Non are projected into the Phantom Zone, here a mirror-like prism that holds their bodily essences, which slowly heads out into cold, dark space. Only their screams of sorrow can be heard as the crystal disappears into the distance. hen warned the elders, including First Elder,
of their own suicidal fate as a planet - but his cautionary fears were discredited as a outlandish theory. He stressed We must evacuate this planet immediately. His theoretical belief was that their planet, with but also delivers a stern warning to the council that seismic disturbances and shifting in orbit dangerously close to the Kryptonian sun, would explode in 30 days or maybe even sooner. Joe El was warned not to spread fear and panic among the people, otherwise he would be accused of insurrection and join the others in the Phantom Zone. He vowed to remain silent, as Jor-El prepares an one-man spacecraft to transport his infant son Kal-El to a small planet in another galaxy called Earth, where the human's bear a close resemblance to the Kryptonians. The child will have a advantage on Earth since the planet's yellow sun and lighter gravity would give him extraordinary powers, making him completely invulnerable. After an emotional farewell speech
"You will travel far, my little Kal-El. But we will never leave you, even in the face of our deaths. The richness of our lives shall be yours. All that I have, all that I've learned, everything I feel .... all this and more I bequeath you, my son. You will carry me inside you all the days of your life ..You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son. This is all I can send you, Kal-El."
As Jor-El launches the spacecraft which safely leaves Krypton's galaxy. Shortly thereafter, Krypton is destroyed but fragment's of kryptonite float in space Superman's only weakness. During the spaceship's flight to Earth, the baby was wired to support survival, and a computer taught the baby, as it grew, about literature, mathematics, history and science from many worlds and galaxies. After entering Earth's atmosphere the spaceship crash-landed in a rural farming wheat-field near the US town of Smallville, Kansas, where two middle-aged adults Jonathan Kent and his wife Martha were driving by in a pickup truck when it had a flat rear tire. They noticed the path of charred wheat nearby and burned wreckage.
As they approach the wreckage they suddenly see a young naked boy exit the damaged spacecraft.
The child was an answer to the prayers of the childless couple, as John begins to repair the flat tire, Martha warns him not to over-exert himself and damage his already weak heart. In the same breath, she asks John if they might keep the young boy. Jonathan wanted to find the proper authorities and it was obvious he wasn't from around here. After witnessing the boy easily lift the rear of Jonathan's pick-up truck, after it nearly fell on him as he was repairing it. Saving Jonathan's life and decide to take the child home with them.
Some years later in the mid-1960s, teenaged high school aged son Clark, shy and reserved, was frustrated that he was demoted to Football team manager and couldn't show what he can really do other than getting embarassed by classmate's. In anger, he revealed his extraordinary powers -- he punted a football into space, and as he returned home, he outran a speeding freight train home. Sensing his son's frustration, Jonathan reveals that he believes Clark was sent to Earth "for a reason." And not to show off or to score touchdown's. On a short race up the road to the barn with Clark, Jonathan collapses and dies of a heart attack shortly after. Clark, who is helpless despite the powers he possesses, is devastated.
When Clark turns eighteen, the green crystal that was sent along by Jor-El to teach him calls Clark to make another journey, to learn who he is and why he is here on Earth. The next morning, Clark's mother unexpectedly found him standing motionless in a distant feild - the location of the spaceship crash. Clark trudged through frozen, snow coverd landscape with floating blocks of small icebergs, with only a backpack and a plaid winter coat. He took the crystal from the pack and tossed the crystal into the distance,
where it sank through the snow and ice into the icy water's. It began to produce bursts of energy. A massive crystalline Krypton-like structure rose up and was formed with angled and jutting columns - the Fortress of Solitude.
A projection of Jor-El takes Clark on a 12-yr quest, breaking the bonds of time and space. On this journey, Kal-El learns the facts of Kryptonian life, and Jor-El emphasizes that "It is forbidden to interfere with earth's history." Instead, he must serve as a beacon, a leader for humanity. Jor El explain's, They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason, I have sent them you: my only son. After the 12 yrs have passed, Kal El was told that it was time to rejoin your new world and serve it humaity, and determine where his strength and power were needed. He was sent by Jor-El, as his only son, to live among the Earth people as one of them, and to show them the way. Mature and wise, Superman emerged on an icy slope, wearing his classic red-blue-and yellow outfit. Originally it was supposed to be much darker blue but when the film came back the overall picture was much darker than it was supposed to be so they went back to a lighter blue.
The next scene was set in Metropolis, a busy new's room with as seen by young photographer Jimmy Olsen, fades in and out of focus, perhap's much like his attention span. Seated at a typewriter was spelling-challenged, brash brunette beat reporter Louis Lane,
to Editor-in-chief Perry White and finally to Clark Kent.
we get both blurry and crisp images of the Planet newsroom. Kent is introduced as the new reporter for the Planet who Perry describes as, a reporter that not only has a snappy prose style, but is the fastest typist I have ever seen. Editor Perry White in his office, where she was introduced to polite, mild-mannered Clark Kent with thick-rimmed glasses, who was newly-hired to work on the city beat. While Clark walks Lois home after his first day at the Planet, a mugger draw's a loaded gun on them and want's Lois's purse.
Clark tries to talk the mugger out of taking Lois' purse. When he refuses, Lois tries to outwit the robber, first dropping the purse then kicking him. As he falls, his gun goes off and Clark sweeps up the bullet, pretending to faint. Lois, of course, is amazed that Clark would faint in that situation. But, picking up his hat, Clark looks at the audience, smiles, and drops the bullet into the trash.
We are now introduced to Lex Luthor criminal mastermind
through his dimwitted henchmen, Otis.
Unaware that he is being fllowed, Otis leads two PD detectives through Grand Central Station, and down into the train tunnels and to Luthor's lair. He was planning the "crime of the century," and the headlines of the latest Daily Planet regarding the Us Government's Twin Nuclear Missles Test Confirmed, was part of Luthor's plan.
Superman performs his first public heroics the next night. Lois is taking a helicopter to Metropolis airport to meet Air Force One and interview the President. She has summarily dismissed Clark, who walks dejectedly out of the office. As the helicopter prepares to take off, gusty winds lift a ground cable, which becomes caught on one of the helicopter's skids.
Clark emerges from the building, notices people screaming and pointing at the roof. At his feet, Clark sees Lois' hat then looks up. Lois has tried to escape the helicopter by climbing over the unconcious pilot, but her movements have shifted the helicopter's precarious position. As the chopper teeters, the passenger door opens and Lois falls out, hanging only by the seat belt. Now Clark sees that Lois is in trouble and looks around for a place to change into Superman. Ripping open his shirt,
for the first time revealing the family crest, the S in a pentagram that Jor-El wore on Krypton, he races into a revolving door emerging as Superman, and leaps up, up and away to save Lois who has just lost her grip and falls as spectators point and scream. A blue streak catches her in mid-air. her in mid-air. "I've got you, miss," says the polite superhero. "You've got me!" screams Lois. "But who's got you?" Here is the actual scene..
During the course of the evening, Superman catches a cat-burglar trying to scale the side of a building, captures three robbers that had eluded a police chase, saves the President aboard Air Force One when lightening strikes the wing, and rescues a scared kitten stuck in a tree for a small girl. Quite a first night, all the while making references to writers and artists that had worked on the comics: Officer Mooney - Jim Mooney, Desk Sergeant Giordano - Dick Giordano, Murphy's Bar - Murphy Anderson, Gil in the newsroom - Gil Kane. Here is your easter egg galore.
Superman had to answer for all his heroic exploits to his displeased father, back within the Fortress of Solitude.
He admitted that he "enjoyed it" now, Jor-El's son had been revealed to the world -- but he was cautioned to keep his secret identity for two reasons. He couldn't serve humanity 24 hours a day, and because his enemies would discover that the only way to hurt him would be by hurting the people you care for. Jor-El also advised: Simply learn to control your feeling's for them. It is an affliction common to all, even on Krypton. Our destruction could have been avoided but for the vanity of some who considered us indestructable."
The next day he was everywhere on tv, and he granted Louis Lane a interview which she would dub ..
Superman tells Lois where he is from, what powers he has, and that lead can block his x-ray vision. These facts are good copy, and later become useful ammunition for the ever-plotting Luthor. Back in Luthor's lair, all have read Lois's interview and each is impressed with different parts of the story. While Eve Tessmacher
is taken with Superman's size, and honesty, Luthor has already calculated Krypton's position and predicted that radioactive fragments of the planet - Kryptonite - might have landed on earth. Luthor hatches his most daring plot yet. He will direct two military missiles to strike a stress-point in the San Andreas Fault sending much of California into the sea. To accomplish this, he hijacks an Army missile on its way to a secret testing ground. Faking a car crash, a scantily clad Miss Tessmacher.
While the soldiers are trying to revitalize her, Otis climbs onto the missile trailer and reprograms the launch code, but he enters the wrong launch vectors. Luthor manages to stop a second Navy missile convoy over a bridge by blocking its way with an 18-wheeler.
While he and Otis are arguing with the naval commander, Miss Tessmacher sneaks onto the trailer and reprograms the missile's launch codes. Meanwhile, Lois has been sent to interview the head of an Indian nation that has just sold a a large portion of desert land at incredible prices, and Jimmy has been sent out to get pictures.
Perry calls Clark into his office to give him a pep talk. As Clark listens to Perry ramble on about his career and how to pursue a story, a sharp, piercing whistle audible to only one person standing on two legs cuts the air. On the carrier wave, Luthor begins to taunt Superman telling him This is Lex Luthor. Only one thing alive with less than four legs can hear this frequency, Superman, and that's you. Also that a canister of propane-lithium compound and will release it into the water of Metropolis. With Perry still lecturing, Clark backs out of the office, edges over to an open window and eases himself out of the window changing into Superman.
From this point on, the special effects are exemplary. Superman circles the city following the sound wave to Luthor. Landing on the street above Luthor'lair, Superman starts spinning at super-speed and bores through the street. As Superman makes his way towards Luthor's hideout, he is put through a number of indurance tests.... bullets, fire and ice.
Superman passes with flying colors. As we see the steel door buckle, then fall into the office. Luthor feels that Superman is one of the few that could appreciate the scope of his plan and shows how he plans to use two nuclear missiles to strike a stress point on the San Andreas Fault resulting in the western coast of California sinking into the ocean.
That would turn the desert land he had just purchased into coastal property, making Luthor a very wealthy man. Asked if this is another plot in the back of his mind, Luthor says, "No, it's happening now," and the two missiles launch, quickly veering onto their programmed course. Superman is enraged by Luthor's bravado and acts to destroy the missiles. Using his x-ray vision, Superman scans the rooms and sees that Luthor is sitting on a lead box. Assuming that is where Luthor has hidden the missile destruct device, Superman throws Luthor aside.
The box does not hold a destruct device, but contains Kryptonite Luthor stole in Addis Ababa. The Kryptonite immediately weakens Superman. Luthor casually walks over to Superman and wraps the Kryptonite-necklace around his neck. Giving him a shove into the swimming pool.
Superman calls to Miss Tessmacher for help. She tells Superman that she'll help him only if he saves her mother first. Tessmacher jumps into the water, pulling Superman to the side of the pool. She looks at the Kryptonite necklace, ponders a second, kisses Superman, then lifts off the Kryptonite managing to throw it directly into the lead piped sewer of Metropolis. Superman races at supersonic speed
to the Army missile headed eastward, finally caught up to it, tilted it upward, and sent it off-course into the stratosphere.
However, the Navy missile has reached its target. The nuclear blast on the San Andreas Fault produces the huge earthquake Luthor had anticipated, and within seconds bridges sway, train tracks collapse and large dams crack. One-by-one, Superman resolves each catastrophe: he stops a school bus from falling, allows a train to pass over his back, and prevents a flood when a dam breaks. On her return, an earthquake hits, exploding a gas station. Just when she thinks the worst is over, a sinkhole opens engulfing Lois' car and burying her. After Superman saves Jimmy from falling from the ruptured dam, he hears Lois muffled screams and speeds to her. When he arrives, he finds the buried car,
pulls it from the sinkhole and finds Lois's dead, suffocated body. He is too late. Once again, with all of his powers and all of his abilities, someone close to him has died.
Her body lays at his feet. With a primal scream,
Superman takes off flying high above the earth. The voice of Jor-El booms out, "It is forbidden to interfere in the history of mankind." "Son, you were put here for a reason" speaks Jonathan Kent. Then Clark's own voice, "I had all of these powers and couldn't do anything". There is a pause, as if wrestling with these words, and then he acts. Superman begins spinning around the earth in a east to west direction turning back time.
I know the ending had it's flaw's it was still good,superman makes sure Louis is fine then he takes off to complete one final task. Among a jumble of spotlights, Superman lands in the courtyard of Metropolis prison, carrying Luthor and Otis by the scruff of their jackets. Luthor, promises that there is no jail that can hold him, while the police lead him to an awaiting jail cell. The warden thanks Superman - The Man of Steel.
Above the clouds, Superman flies over the earth keeping watch. In a graceful sweep, he flies into our line of sight. Like the infant Kal-El, this Superman simply looks at us and gives a warm smile. We may not see him, but we know that he will always be there.
Watch it on Blu - Ray additional 8 min's is included..
The Richard Donner Cut of Superman II is the best cut to watch..The Way it was intended..If you have not seen this version you have not seen Superman II yet..
Donner rescued Superman The Movie from Ilya Salkind and his campy script, the one man that destroyed Superman and it was him..No matter how awful the sequel's were Reeves shined everytime. Even in Superman 3 I still think he pulled of Bizzaro perfectly.
A Christopher Reeves Tribute....