Superman The Movie

Published July 18, 2009

Superman The Movie

Film info

  • Title Superman The Movie
  • Director Richard Donner
  • Year 1978
  • Run time 2hrs 25m
  • Genres Science Fiction, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Tagline You'll believe a man can fly!

Superman: The Movie assembles a cast and creative contingent as only a big movie can. At its heart (just as in three sequels) is Christopher Reeve's intelligent, affectionate portrayal of a most human Man of Steel. Watching Superman again isn't just like being a kid again. It's better. The movie's legacy soared even higher when director Richard Donner revisited this beloved adventure 22 years later and integrated eight minutes into the film. Enjoy more footage of the Krypton Council, a glimpse of stars of prior Superman incarnations, more of Jor-El underscoring his son's purpose on Earth and an extended sequence inside Lex Luthor's gauntlet of doom. Reeve, Marlon Brando (Jor-El), Gene Hackman (Luthor) and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) give indelible performances that fuel the film's aura of legend. Looks like a swell night for flying. Why not come along?

Live blog

Time Comment
1:00  A newspaper that tells the truth and with clarity? This must be an alternate universe.
2:07  These are some quite dramatic titles.
3:31  And they go on a bit, too.
4:33  Am I accidentally watching the end?
5:19  Ooh, it actually started.
11:41  The white on planet Krypton is very, very bright. Did they have to hand out sunglasses when this first came out in the cinema?
18:42  It is also very jagged on this planet. I would be constantly injuring myself.
32:44  Of course it is sad that his father died, but didn’t he have a dodgy heart when they first found Superman? That must have been over ten years ago, which isn’t bad going.
38:29  Poor lady loses her husband and her son in a matter of minutes.
40:16  Wow. That is quite a long way north. The Pole!
47:09  Another film in which they learn a lot - all the secrets of the universe. At least this way it is taking Superman time, rather than just downloading the information into his head.
48:00  Yay! Actual Superman! Woah, he can’t fly in a straight line.
52:43  I heart Clark Kent. He’s like Henry from Ugly Betty, all bumbling and cuteness.
1:03:19  Seriously, Lois can’t spell at all. This is shattering all kinds of illusions.
1:19:13  So, this is back when people used to watch TV through the shop windows. We don’t really have anything like that nowadays. There isn’t much entertainment going on in shop fronts.
1:22:57  That is her house, and she isn’t saddled with a mortgage?
1:24:26  As it turns out, I’m not such a fan of Superman. He’s a bit of a lech. Bring back Clark!
1:38:09  I don’t understand why rock from his own planet would become harmful to him? Surely of all the people on Earth, Superman is the one who is most likely to be able to withstand radiation?
1:46:49  Ooh, the suit evaporated and turned into the blue outfit on the way out the window. I always thought he actually had to get changed, and that’s why he span round so fast, to cover it up.
2:03:18  These are some really quite good earthquake effects. Apart from the bits that are obviously a scale model.
2:05:38  The only problem with knowing how the film ends if I’m just thinking - this is silly, why doesn’t he just spin it backwards now?
2:08:21  It appears Ms Lane is even more prone to bad luck than I am!
2:07:50  I wonder if flying is tiring, like running.


After the fun and games of watching Ghostbusters, where Superman got a mention, I had a desire to watch the film. I have seen it before but like most films, although I remember the ending, I don’t quite know how it gets there.

This is, as always, a great film, something of a classic, even though the flying effects are rather awful looking back. Some of the lines made me laugh out loud, which is always a good sign, and the characters are really strong (even that smarmy Superman fella).

Revisited - September 2019

So! We’ve been wanting to watch the Superman series but as it was so long ago I saw this one, it made sense to rewatch and start from the beginning. I’m glad I did, actually, because I don’t know what I was thinking giving this a 4 out of 5. It’s definitely just a 1.

First off, those credits. Seriously, they are never-ending. I know that old films have long credits and that’s okay, but it feels like they just learned how to do the whooshy text and oh my god did they run with it. Mr C almost wanted to turn it off before we’d even got started.

We did stick with it but the next stuff isn’t that much better. Marlon Brando does not live up to his epic reputation here, it’s dull and it makes no sense. If these scientists are so far ahead of Earth, why don’t they know about orbits or believe the sun is going to swallow their planet? I’m also not sure why Brando and his wife didn’t also leave the planet along with their son. I know he promised but really, what could the others do about it? They would be left behind and very soon blown up anyway.

I feel like the film doesn’t really start until we get to New York, I mean Metropolis, and the real Clark Kent/Superman stuff gets going. From 50 minutes onwards, it’s a cracking movie and that stuff is worth a 4 out of 5, maybe even top marks.

Unfortunately, the end lets it down again. I have always remembered that Superman cops out a bit and just spins the world backwards to fix everything, which makes no sense, but I didn’t realise quite how nonsensical it actually is. Obviously, time doesn’t work like that, but let’s say you go with it and he did manage to reverse time like that. Why is it only Lois that is affected? Why doesn’t he have to repeat all the heroic things he did everywhere else? Why does the earthquake just stop, even though Jimmy and Lois and everyone are all still standing on the fault line? It’s just bizarre.

So, cut off the start and the end, and this is a great film. Unfortunately the bookends really let it down. Here’s hoping the next one takes a slightly more sensible approach.

Rating: 2 / 5

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