DIR: Richard ‘The Goonies, The Omen, Lethal Weapon’ Donner
CAST: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, pre mental breakdown Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Terence Stamp, Coach from Cheers.
PLOT: We begin in Planet Krypton with General Zod (Stamp) and his two cohorts being surrounded by a giant spinning hula hoop while Jarel (Brando) and the rest of the very large faced council convict them of being guilty of trying to stage an uprising or something. This leads them into becoming encased in what looks like a flying LP cover which sends them flying around looking rather squashed.
Back to Krypton, Jorel is telling the council that their planet is about to be destroyed by the sun or something and their all like “you’re wrong and if you tell everyone we’ll hold you in contempt and send you off in an LP cover too!”. Sure enough the flames come closer, Krypton begins to fall the fuck apart and everyone’s about to die, well everyone apart from Jorel’s baby who is sent off in some spiky space capsule thing in which he is wrapped in what can only be described as a Colombian flag which has been made out of sweet wrappers.
The spiky capsule thing crash lands in the town of Smallville and the little Krypton boy lifts up a broken down truck owned by an old couple called the Kents. Oh yeah, in the time it took for him to travel from Krypton to Earth, he kind of got a lot bigger, and clearly stronger. Clark (which is what they call little Krypton boy) is adopted by them and they all live happily until daddy Kent dies of a heart attack. Oh my!
On what looks like the night of the funeral, Clark randomly wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to his shed where he finds his ship and a luminous glowing green stick. Deciding that it’s not from a pop festival or a nightclub, Clark leaves town, takes the glow stick to somewhere very icy and throws it on the floor. From this, reverberations occur and an icy building (which looks like a 3D criss cross chip) grows out of the ground. Clark enters the palace, talks to an image of his dad (his real one), finds out that his name is Kalel and then goes on a space journey with his hologramic dead dad while finding out about his existence, history, how he got his powers, what his purpose is, you know, shit like that.
Fast forward to Metropolis (New York but never called New York) and Clark is working as a journalist for The Daily Planet with awesome reporter Lois Lane who clearly has the super hots for but can’t be cool as that will give away his character (and that wouldn’t be cool) so he acts all bashful and stupid. This makes him the “aw bless him” type, you know, the type that everyone thinks is really sweet but never fancy-able, not at all. Think about it, we all knew one.
Lex Luthor (the bad guy) meanwhile lives underground in a really swanky place deep within the Metropolis subway system, which incidentally would be where he presumably concocts all of his evil genius chicanery shit.
Cut to Lois who falls out of a helicopter but doesn’t die as ‘Superman’ appears (for the first time) out of nowhere to save her. Bless him. Cue a number of Superman saves the day set pieces involving a jewellery robber, a getaway (or at least a failed one) on a yacht and an aeroplane engine failure. All done may I add with classic panache and a host of awful puns. Oh and he also saves a cat out of a tree which goes to show that no crisis is too small blah blah blah.
Afterwards, Clark disguised as Superman, or should I say Kalel dispenses with his Clark character to visit Lois, give her an interview and do some serious flirting. Not before long, he whisks her away for a fly by over Metropolis and we now have a love angle.
Luthor meanwhile reads Lois’s interview with Superman (which for the record is now his official title), does a bit of further reading and devises a theory of how the Supe would be adversely affected by the fragments of particles that came off his ship and voila’, Superman’s kryptonite crutch is discovered.
So it’s super villain big plan time and with this one Luthor (or at least his bumbling sidekick Otis) changes the co-ordinates of a military rocket and warns the man of superness that he’s going to you know, like, do something really bad. Incidentally he does this by talking to Superman via supersonic airwaves that only he and dogs will hear. How he does this I don’t exactly know but he does often claim to be a genius so there you go. Anyway he entices Superman to his lair where he fires bullets and flames at him which essentially does fuck all. So Kalel busts in to Lex’s swanky pad which is where Lex tells him that the rockets (oh yeah, there’s two of them) are going to devastate California. Not cool.
Superman’s not impressed and gets heavy with Lex demanding to know where the detonator for the rockets are. Lex glances towards a chest which makes Superman think ‘aha there it is’, he opens the chest and BOOM, kryptonite on a chain! So Supe is instantly up shit creek which allows Luthor to hang the krypto necklace around his neck and drop him into his (pretty damn awesome) self-made swimming pool.
So Superman’s about to die but god bless him gets saved by Luthor’s kind of missus/mole/accomplice (I believe her name is Miss Teschmacher). She saves him because Lex decided that the other rocket is destined for her mother’s home town which, being fair seems a bit harsh and if I’m being honest rather stupid. Think about it, he could have decided anywhere else, any other town in the whole country would have no doubt been fine but he had to plump for her mothers, the evil sadistic bastard. Of course it could have merely been a coincidence and he might not have down etc but that’s giving a superb criminal genius a little too much credit don’t you think? But I digress.
Anyway, Miss Teschmacher takes the necklace of death off Superman and lets him fly through the numerous subway ceilings in order for him to save the world, well Southern California at least. After grabbing one rocket and chucking it into space, he fixes the gigantic split in the ground (caused by the first rocket, oh yeah the first rocket had an impact), saves a school bus from falling off the Golden Gate bridge, acts as a train track and fills a busted damn. Meanwhile, a further ground split happens to suck down Lois Lane’s car (she’s coincidentally in California covering a story on something completely unimportant and irrelevant) in which Superman arrives too late to only find a buried car and a dead
Lois. This seriously upsets the big S, and while listening to past voices of his (real) dad telling him not to interfere with human history etc, he thinks ‘fuck it, I’m going to fly around the Earth in a clockwise (or was it anti-clockwise? No I’m sure it was clockwise) direction shitloads in order to reverse time, because I’m sure that’s scientifically feasible.
So he does this, finds Lois by her car safe and sound (good times), flies off and gently lands in a prison (high security you’d hope) with Lex and Otis in hand. Job done and happy days.
There’s a beautiful moment in ‘Superman’ where the man himself visits Lois, has a brief interview and takes her for a flying trip around the city. This is where they start to fall in love, and this is where Lois decides that she will always be safe around this guy!
And how does she come to this conclusion? Well, when she is holding Superman’s hand while flying around the skies of Metropolis, she’s beginning to get more confident with the fact that she’s God knows how many feet in the air while being kept up by nothing but someone’s bloody hand. So at the point where it couldn’t get any more romantic, Superman only goes and bloody drops her doesn’t he? So, after a cheeky grin and a little eye roll, Supe zooms down and catches her which Prompts Lois to gaze up him with relief and absolute longing. Seriously? He drops you from God knows how many feet in the air and you’re bloody grateful? Swooping down to catch you is the least he can pissing well do! Instead of a gaze which says “wowee you’re my hero” what you should be saying is “You fucking prick! What the fuck was that? Of course, I’m grateful that you caught me and all but why did you need to drop me in the first place? I mean you can lift cars and buildings and you can’t even hold me up? You sadistic prick!”
What’s more on this subject, Superman takes Lois way high up in the air, like seriously high which begs the question, wouldn’t Lois suffer from a lack of oxygen being up that high? Superman should know better, just because he’s an alien who handle it doesn’t mean that he should treat a human being’s safety with such little regard. He’s meant to be a man of the people for Christ sake! And just one more point, does anyone notice that Lois has perfect hair once Superman returns to her balcony? Now, anyone who has once stuck their head out of the window of a moving car will testify, that kind of speed and velocity will leave your hair tangled to shit, and hers is perfect, it makes no sense. Either that or she uses some super awesome tangle free shampoo and conditioner, but I think it’s a little far-fetched considering this is the late 1970s.
Just one more thing in regards to this subject, and I promise that this will be the last. While flying, Superman flies Lois over the statue of Liberty which, is clearly is based in New York. Now this got me thinking, what is Metropolis exactly? Is it an entirely fictional city based on somewhere like New York or is it just a name that DC decided to use for said city? If it’s the former, did the powers that be in Metropolis like the Statue of Liberty so much that they decided that they were going to pilfer the idea and build their own statue? If that’s the case, then they are clearly very, very odd. Now of course, this could well be explained in the comic books and all I would need to do is do some research, find the comic with the info and there you go. The only trick is, I’m not a big reader of comic books and let’s be honest, research requires effort doesn’t it?
Now, on to Lex Luthor. The man’s a criminal genius, he says so himself. He can intercept rockets in order to blow up half the country, he can infiltrate the New York sorry, Metropolis subway to create himself a swanky pad and he has eyes everywhere, so much so that he can spot a cop following his sidekick from bloody miles away. Yet for some inexplicable reason he doesn’t seem to realise (or care) that Miss Teschmacher didn’t go with him when he chucked Superman into his pool for him to die. I mean he would have cameras everywhere and you’re telling me that he wouldn’t be keeping tabs on Superman’s slow and painful death? What the fuck id he thinking? Did he believe that she had just gone to the loo or something? “Oh she’ll be back in a minute. Why would she be doing anything different than coming to follow me? She wouldn’t possibly help Superman, even if I am going to essentially blow up her mother. Moron!
On a similar note, the climax of the film shows Lex and Otis being lowered to a prison by Mr Super himself with, may I say little resistance. Now, you would presume that Lex had realised that Kalel was going to save the day so he grabbed Otis and they went on the run. It makes sense! However, considering that we don’t see this in the film, one can only presume that Superman finished his job and promptly whooshed to Lex’s layer to pick them up. Now, what the fuck were they thinking? This is Lex Luthor, criminal mastermind, a man who can organise a hijacking of warheads (pretty much) by himself yet he can’t figure a way to get away from the man of steel?
Well of course not, Luthor is a human being and Superman is well… Superman. However, when the Supe-meister escaped Lex’s layer to save Lois and the world, he (clearly) left that bastard great kryptonite necklace (which if we remember was killing him) in Luthor’s pool. So with that in mind, when the shit was hitting the fan and his evil plan was not coming to fruition, why the bloody hell did Lex not put it around his neck? Superman would turn up afterwards and say something like ‘haha Luthor, I’ve foiled your evil deed, now you’re coming with me’. And Lex would then be like ‘don’t think so dick head, lok what I’ve got around my neck!’, and the Superman would go ‘dang it’.
INSPIRED BY: The comics perhaps?
INSPIRED: A whole host of awful superhero adaptations, and not to mention 3 sequels which in order are good, not very good and damn awful!
MORAL: Always be careful when it comes to having two identities. It can lead to a whole heap of trouble! If you don’t believe me, just watch Mrs Doubtfire, Tootsie, Big Momma’s House, it’s all there!
VERDICT: Well it’s the best Superman movie that’s ever been made, which to be fair is probably not the hardest thing to achieve. Superman II was also pretty damn good (but alas not better), Superman III was nothing short of stupid and was essentially just a platform for Richard Pryor’s stand-up routine. Superman IV was, let’s face it complete and utter shite, Superman Returns had its moments but too convoluted and confusing (Superman has a child?) and Man of Steel? Well, you don’t have to be from another planet to fight through a thunderstorm, especially when it comes to saving your dad. Just saying.