Superman (1978)

1978, Warner Bros. Directed by Richard Donner. Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Margot Kidder, Valerie Perrine, Phyllis Thaxter, Susannah York.

Decent Films Ratings

Overall
Recommendability
?A-
Artistic/
Entertainment Value
?
Moral/Spiritual
Value (+4/-4)
? +0
Age
Appropriateness
?Teens & Up

External Ratings

MPAA ?PG USCCB ?A-II

Content advisory: Recurring peril and action violence; disaster mayhem; minor profanity and suggestive dialogue.

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Superman (1978) (DVD, Blu-ray)

From a National Catholic Register review

By Steven D. Greydanus

A classic tribute to an American pop-culture icon, Superman is the first great comic-book movie and a nostalgic ode to the ideals of a more innocent time. Combining epic, portentous 2001-style sci‑fi mythmaking and Adam West "Batman"-style camp, the Mario Puzo-scripted movie embraces both the Christological resonances implicit in the Superman myth and the over-the-top cartoon villainy of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor and his buffoonish henchman Otis.

Originally intended to be filmed back-to-back with Superman II, which would provide more formidable villains and super-powered action, this first film is largely concerned with establishing the fundamental constants of the Superman mythos: his escape as an infant from the doomed planet Krypton; his all-American upbringing by a Kansas farm couple; his move to the big city and a great metropolitan newspaper; the dual relationship that develops between Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and Clark Kent / Superman (Christopher Reeve); his vulnerability to krytonite.

Superman’s debut in Metropolis is handled with whimsy, excitement, and nostalgia; a simple sight gag — Clark looking bemused at a kiosk-style payphone — suggests how much has changed since stories of Superman were first told. Dialogue and storytelling choices emphasize the echoes of the Christian story — a father in the heavens sends his only son to earth; the son’s earthly father dies; the son leaves home to do the work he was meant to do, to become a savior — while John William’s swashbuckling score completes the grand experience.

Tags: DC Comics, Superheroes & Comic Book Movies, Superman, Top 5 Superhero Movies, Action, Adventure

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