Superman

PLOT:

On the planet Krypton, using evidence provided by scientist Jor-El, the Ruling Council sentences three insurrectionists, General Zod, Ursa and Non, to “eternal living death” in the Phantom Zone for attempting a totalitarian rebellion. Although the Council widely respects him, Jor-El is unable to convince them of his belief that the Kryptonian sun will shortly explode and destroy their planet. As a result, Jor-El launches a spacecraft containing his infant son, Kal-El, towards Earth, a distant planet with a suitable atmosphere, and where Kal-El’s dense molecular structure will give him superhuman powers (since all Kryptonian life-forms gain superpowers from exposure to a yellow sun, such as Earth’s sun). Shortly after the ship launches, Krypton is destroyed.

The ship crashes near an American farming town, Smallville, Kansas, where Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as their own son, Clark. Immediately after his discovery by the Kents, the toddler Kal-El hoists the bumper of a pickup truck about to fall on Jonathan Kent. As a teenager, Clark exhibits other extraordinary powers, outrunning speeding trains, and punting a football into the stratosphere. Shortly thereafter, Jonathan Kent dies of a heart attack, and Clark can do nothing. Following the funeral, Clark hears a psychic “call”, discovering a glowing green crystal in the ship stored in the barn.

Compelled to travel north, Clark heads to the Arctic Circle, where the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude, resembling the architecture of Krypton. Activating a control panel inside the fortress, a vision of Jor-El appears, stating that he has been dead for “thousands of your years,” and explains Clark’s origins, educating him in his powers and responsibilities. After twelve years, with his powers fully developed, Clark leaves the Fortress and finds a job at The Daily Planet in Metropolis. He meets and develops a romantic attraction to reporter Lois Lane, but the feelings are not returned: she regards him as merely a friend. Lois becomes involved in a helicopter accident where conventional means of rescue are impossible, requiring Clark to use his powers in public for the first time in order to save her.

Later, he visits her at home, takes her for a flight over the city, and allows her to interview him for a newspaper article in which she dubs him “Superman.” Meanwhile, criminal genius Lex Luthor has developed a cunning plan to make a fortune in real estate by buying large amounts of “worthless” desert land and then diverting a nuclear rocket from a missile testing site to the San Andreas Fault. This will destroy California and leave Luthor’s desert as the new West Coast of the United States, greatly increasing its real estate value. After his incompetent henchman Otis accidentally redirects the first rocket to the wrong place, Luthor’s girlfriend, Eve Teschmacher, successfully changes the course of the second missile. Knowing Superman could stop his plan, Luthor lures him to his underground lair via a supersonic greeting and exposes him to Kryptonite. As Superman weakens, Luthor taunts him by revealing the first missile is headed to Hackensack, New Jersey, in the opposite direction, knowing Superman could not stop both impacts.

Teschmacher is horrified because her mother lives in Hackensack, but Luthor does not care and leaves Superman to a slow death. Teschmacher rescues Superman on the condition that he will deal with the New Jersey missile first. He is consequently too late to stop the second impact, causing a massive earthquake which he battles to correct. While he is busy saving others, Lois’ car falls into the ground as a result of an aftershock, and quickly begins to fill with dirt and debris, which suffocates her to death. Distraught at being unable to save Lois, Superman ignores Jor-El’s warning not to interfere with human history, preferring to remember Jonathan Kent’s advice that he must be here for “a reason”, and travels back in time in order to save Lois, altering the historical timeline so that her car is never caught in the aftershock. Superman then delivers Luthor and Otis to prison, where he knows they will be secure until they receive a fair trial.

REVIEW:

Superman is one of the first names many think of when you say superhero, often times he is the first name. This film was, for the longest time, the benchmark for superhero films and with good reason.

The film covers the basic origin of the Man of Steel, complete with a glimps at the villains of Superman II and appearances by Lana Lang and a young Lois Lane on the train. What is most impressive about the film for me was the fact that they handled the original similarly to the source material.

Sure those Krypton scenes seemed to drag on forever and a day, but as the film progresses, you start to realize how they fit into the Superman origin.

There are a few things that bothered me about this flick, though. First off, there is the rule that Superman cannot change human history. Now, even though he does change human history near the ned of the film, it seems as though he does so without consequences. My  issue is that it is never said why it is forbidden for him to do so. Sure, if was to go back and change the outcome of the Civil War or prevent something major from happening, then it would make sense that he isn’t meant to go back. He goes back to save Lois, but it seems like he undoes everything that he raced to do. It just makes no sense. Yes, I realize its just a movie and there needs to be some suspension of disbelief, but this just seems like a plothole that is never addressed.

The other issue I have deals with the fact that Superman doesn’t fight. Obviously Lex Luthor is not going to go toe to toe with Supes, but Kal-El’s only bit of action along those lines is when he knocks the door out of the way when he first meets Luthor. It just seems like they could have done more with the action part of the film, as opposed to the story…though the story is very well written and executed.

John Williams’ score captures the true essence of the characters. Aside from the main theme, the most impressive  pice has to be the fanfare that is played when we first see Krypton. It is Williams’ genius at its best.

The cast really makes their characters believable. I’d love to sit here and heave praise of Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman, but he takes a backseat to Gene Hackman’s over the top Lex Luthor. As Luthor, Hackman gives us a character who is not only evil and sadistic, as showing in his first appearance on screen where he knocks a cop onto the subway tracks, but also a flamboyant businessman with plans of world domination.

As good, and near perfect, s this film is, I cannot give it a full 5 star rating sue to the plotholes and lack of Superman action. However, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I’m just going to say that you should see it for yourself before making a decision. Rumors have it that they are trying to reboot this franchise and make it super dark, in a way they did with Batman. I have to vehemently object to this decision. Superman is a lighter superhero. He is, more or less, a boy scout, not a spoiled rich kid playing dress up. Having said that, it may be best if you watch this film before the it does indeed get rebooted (and bastardized).

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

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8 Responses to “Superman”

  1. […] I have to say this is one of the best sequels I’ve seen in my lifetime and a worthy sequel to Superman. Of course, this did come out in a time when sequels were made to improve upon the original and […]

  2. […] have to start by saying this film already has a negative mark for trying to blatantly rip off the Superman theme. It is one thing to quote such great music, but it is quite another to try to make your stuff […]

  3. […] to mention the music, briefly. Maybe it was just me, but I kept hearing inflection of the them to Superman here and there. Nothing wrong with that, it was just something my ears picked up. Perhaps that is […]

  4. […] to mention the music, briefly. Maybe it was just me, but I kept hearing inflection of the them to Superman here and there. Nothing wrong with that, it was just something my ears picked up. Perhaps that is […]

  5. […] story here is a bit like what you get from Superman. Alien is sent to Earth to be saved from destruction, only on his way there, he is knocked off […]

  6. […] story here is a bit like what you get from Superman. Alien is sent to Earth to be saved from destruction, only on his way there, he is knocked off […]

  7. […] fancy costume and learned you could fly, wouldn’t you be a little excited? In the original Superman, Christopher Reeve seems to fly like a seasoned pro, however, Henry Cavill’s flying scene is […]

  8. […] something in superhero films (and TV shows). A lack of fun! Think about how bright and vibrant Superman is and now think about what we were forced to sit through with Man of Steel. Somewhere along the […]

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