Superman ★★★★★

“You will see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son.”

The opening sequence of Superman: The Movie gives me chills. The comic coming to life, the titles of biblical epicness and the slow swelling and reveal of the planet Krypton. It is phenomenal work and I get giddy, without fail, every single time. Superman: The Movie is one of my favourite films of all time. While it certainly is not perfect (though it comes pretty damn close), I cannot really imagine greeting any aspect of this production with less than complete respect and admiration for what it is accomplishing and attempting. 

Visually speaking, this film is a marvel. 43 years on, it floors me how well the visual effects and production of Superman truly hold up. All of the in-camera shots of flying and feats of super strength look just as good now as they did at the time. The most flimsy looking shots are those in green screens and rear projection which look great for the time guy are definitely the scenes that have aged the most. 

The cast are perfect. Everybody involved brings their A-game and realises their characters in both a believable and respectful manner. Margot Kidder and Gene Hackman are both particularly underrated but it is hard to see past Christopher Reeve who is genuinely the best cast actor in superhero history. At least in my opinion. Both visually and in performance, the man perfectly embodies the softness, authority, charm and virtuosity of the world’s most famous comic book hero. 

Told effectively in five acts, I do really like this script. I enjoy the themes of fatherhood and responsibility, the commentary on real estate and contemporary monopolisation and the lessons Clark has to learn to become Superman. His character is so perfectly drawn here. A particular detail I like is that it is very much his own nativity that even gets his life in danger during the film. Everything about this script works effortlessly for me until the climatic moments. It is such a narrative problem that it almost actively goes against every other idea in this script thematically. I have no idea what they think they are trying to say with it and it has absolutely never worked for me (despite it being a cool visual). 

Superman: The Movie is the quintessential superhero film. It is the seed that has allowed so many later projects to blossom and bloom and still holds up today, to my reckoning, as the greatest and most definitive silver screen outing for the man of steel.