Superman: The Movie (1978) - Watching It for the First Time

I probably shouldn’t admit this to you DC Comics fans nor to those of you who enjoy movies made during Travolta's Polyester Pelvis era, but I have never watched the original Superman movie. It's called -What else?- Superman: The Movie (1978). That's the title just in case the audience in a cinema forgets where they are and thinks they are watching Superman: The QVC Infomercial.

Already this film is ticking me off and I have only read the title.

Who stars in it? Marlon Brando. (Oh wait! He’s a classic.) Jackie Cooper. (Classic.) Glenn Ford. (This might actually be a good movie.) And Christopher Reeve as Superman.(Hmmm...)

I know Reeve more for his philanthropy than his acting, so I'm not sure what to think about this bit of casting. Some years ago, I saw him in the morbidly romantic movie Somewhere in Time, where he becomes so obsessed with a dead woman he travels to the past and gets all weepy and maudlin. Will he convince me that he is the man of steel who can whip a bad guy’s gluts? Or is he just a Ken doll in tights in this movie?

When you've grown up with the original TV Superman in reruns, your image of what the character live in the flesh should be becomes set in stone. TV Superman is aerodynamic in spite of his flabby gut. For him to leap tall buildings in a single bound takes strength, agility and a whole lot of sucking in for the camera. Clearly, he has wiped out more Metropolis buffets than he’s wiped out Metropolis criminals, but he is a force to reckon with.

TV Superman is like your grandpa who will brook no sass from the likes of you. The point is, the small screen version is stern enough to catch the bad guys in all of his doughy, black and white, receding hair line glory. This. Is. Superman!

Ok, Christopher Reeve (with your chiseled jawline and 4% body fat). What have you got?

Don't test me.
He has a lot, as it turns out.

This movie gets it. From the rainbow of color combinations in costumes and sets, to the fast-paced dialogue in the screwball comedy scenes, to the emphasis on character motivations, to a perfectly hilarious villain, this movie is an exciting adventure!

Even the beginning of the credits sequence is like a thrill ride and you haven’t moved an inch. It's only 90 seconds in and already they've got you champing at the bit to see the super man himself... now! Patience. This is an origin story and it is epic from start to finish.

Marlon Brando as an intergalactic scientist and father who must save his son from certain death by sending him to planet Earth?


An adopted farm boy who strives to use his innate super human powers for good and fulfill his purpose on Earth, whatever that is?


A superhero who discovers that exacting justice isn’t so cut and dried and that romance is even more complicated?

Super Epic!

It is not always that a legendary film lives up to its hype after 35 years, especially in Sci-Fi films, where technology can appear dated to modern audiences and distract them from the story. Superman: The Movie gets it right by making a timeless film that emphasizes people and their motivations.

Reeve handles both the drama and the comedy so well that I'll excuse him for choosing yet another movie to obsess over a dead person, travel to the past and get weepy. (Because in this movie it works!) You don’t have to be a comic book fan to love Superman, and you won’t be disappointed if you are. Highly recommended.


  1. I an happy that you enjoyed it. This movie is a childhood favorite of mine. I'm not sure if you noticed, but in Perry White's office there is a photo of Bill Cosby. I've always been curious about that; it's never explained in the movies. A small detail that adds to the mystery of the film. Also, did you catch the cameo of Rex Reed entering the Daily Planet?

  2. Tom, you really are a fan of this film! I did not notice the Cosby photo nor Reed's cameo. I'll have to watch it again just for fun bits of trivia like this.


    - JAVA

  3. I'm so glad you gave this movie a favourable review. It may not stand up to today's fare in terms of special effects, but it certainly is entertaining which is all anyone can really ask of a movie.


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