Summer Series Project – Edition 6

Superman logo

SUPERMAN

As I sit here thinking about what to write, I find it very hard to be non-biased in my review. I’m an avid Superman fan; I grew up reading comics, watching the Black and White series, reading my Man of Steel Encyclopedia, and my “I love me room” full of Superman paraphernalia. In fact, I am listening to Hans Zimmer’s The Man of Steel soundtrack and John Williams’ Superman soundtrack on shuffle right now. I grew up wanting to be Superman and believing in what he stood for. I have even depicted him or Clark Kent at many Halloween parties. With that said, if you’re unfamiliar with Superman then as they say in Star Wars, “Move along” or Miss Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Some fun facts about Superman

  • He was originally a bald villain with plans to take over the world. I believe these ideas returns in other characters such as Zod and Lex Luthor.
  • Clark Kent and Lois Lane were graphically modeled after famous actors of the era.
  • Superman’s concept came from both Biblical and Greek mythology.
  • Superman’s story has been re-written several times and there are “multiverses of stories”.
  • Superman’s character has been in comics, radio broadcasts, movies, video games, and more TV series than any other comic character (live and animated).

For the purpose of this review, I will only cover the 1978 on up versions of Superman. I will not delve too much into the plot of the movies as I am sure everyone here has seen them.

In 1978 Richard Donner (director) and Warner Bros released Superman, staring Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. The movie was considered a huge success costing about $55 million to make and earning over 5 times that amount during its theatrical release. John Williams’ music score for Superman is still a great buy as well. In all my years of Superman (movies), I find they have yet to find a Lois Lane worthy of the comics. Margot Kidder was not the attractive woman I was used to reading about in the comics and throughout the Christopher Reeve series she looked worse and worse and appeared as if she was suffering from either a drug addiction or eating disorder. She looked like she could be Superman’s mom versus love interest.

1981 showed us the release of Superman II, which had a huge director controversy between Richard Donner, Richard Lester and the Warner Bros studio that ousted Donner. He and Warner Bros began their distain for one another during the first filming and Donner was eventually dropped during Superman II, having Lester complete the movie. This would later cause a 2006 re-release on DVD of Superman II “The Richard Donner Cut”. Again the movie was a large success.

The follow-up of the two blockbusters; Superman III (1983 Directed by Richard Lester) and Superman IV (1987 Directed by Sidney J Furie). Both of these movies were highly criticized and in my opinion, absolute flops. They did nothing to follow the comic lore or the feel of Superman. GARBAGE! GARBAGE! GARBAGE! This is where Warner Bros got spanked for dropping Donner. Christopher Reeves was the constant here, with his perfect role as Superman; in fact, this role defined him so much that it was hard for anyone else to see him in any other role.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

Nearly 2 decades later in 2006, we see a reboot of the series in Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh and directed by Bryan Singer. This movie did not do as well as anticipated. Brandon Rough appeared more as a hipster version of Superman than a “Strong Man” figure. In my opinion, the reason this movie failed is because it was a mirror of Superman I. Fans are already familiar with the love sequences between Lois, and again having to swallow the jagged pill here. The storyline made Superman Returns old and redundant, with lack of originality. At least Lois Lane, played by Kate Bosworth, was the HOTTEST Lois in all of the movies. Current comics to movie that largely focus on the love interest rather than the action do not fare as well. A prime example is The Dark Knight; the love interest is there but it’s not the main focus and thus was highly successful. Overall, this is still a worthier Superman than III and IV.  The litmus test for me was my nephews, who did not know Christopher Reeves’s versions of Superman. The both really liked him and it showed their respect of the Caped Man of Steel, like mine was done in the late 70’s.

In 2013, Zack Snyder directed the Man of Steel, starring Henry Cavill. The first thing Snyder did right here was not to call it Superman. This movie completely rebooted the franchise (again). The action sequences were far superior to Superman Returns and more entertaining. Not as much a love story with Lois like the other films, which was great, but still too much for me. Again Lois, played by Amy Adams, does not look attractive and looks too old to be Superman’s love. I’m not saying Amy Adams is unattractive at all, just not in Man of Steel. To the dismay of some diehard fans there were some issues for them in this movie. (SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT CONTINUE TO READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE)

I WARNED YOU.

Superman and his fight sequences involve a lot of structural damage of towns and metropolitan areas. Some fans question as to why Superman didn’t just fly off to some remote location to conduct his battles there. This is my explanation though I may be inaccurate, I have had my share of school yard, military, and work brawls. When you are in the middle of a fight you just don’t think about that type of stuff.  Your brain goes into survival and training mode. You stand your ground and defend the areas you can. The Man of Steel has up to this point not had to fight anyone so he has zero training in the area and thus he kicks into instinct and survival mode. Superman has just come into his understanding of who he is and of his origins, he ultimately would rather convince his fellow Kryptonians to assimilate with humans. In the battle at Smallville even if he left, the other Kryptonians would probably have decimated the town and the military’s feeble attempts to defeat them.

The Man of Steel ends up killing Zod. It has been said that Superman does not kill; it does depend on what era, universe, and set of comics you read. The truth of the matter though is he has killed in other movies, TV-series, and comics.

So the verdict: Should you buy the boxed set?

NOOOOOOO!!

Buy Superman I,  II The Donner Cut, Superman Returns, and the Man of Steel separately and make your own Box Set. Not only is it less than half the cost of the Box Set, it saves you from the worst two Superman movies ever.

Movies and Shows you might like:

Smallville Series, Spider-Man Movies (Starring Tobey Maguire), Christopher Nolan’s Batman Set, X-men (all of them and the side movies).

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