Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978). Director: Richard Donner.

NOTE: This review is of the expanded "Richard Donner" cut.

Thirty-two years after its initial release, Superman still has its charms although it's also lost some of its lustre. The early sections of the film, meant to be stately, are so deliberately paced that they border on the tedious, and the film almost completely sinks with the introduction of the moronic trio of villains played by Gene Hackman, Valerie Perrine, and a shameful Ned Beatty. [With the rich history of the Superman character and all of his many foes, that was the best they could come up with?] At times Superman nearly sinks to the level of the sixties Batman TV show, but if it's saved by anything it's saved by those magical flying sequences when the movie itself really takes flight. Superman going out on patrol and his taking Lois Lane for a ride are probably the best sequences in the movie. The performances of Christopher Reeve [it's hard to think of his sad and ironic fate] and Margot Kidder are assets, as is the musical score by John Williams. The crystalline motif for Krypton is a little weird, as is the slightly ossified performance of Marlon Brando. The whole business with Jor-El's (Brando) ghost somehow mentoring his son doesn't really make sense, and the the time travel business at the end of the movie is too confusing. Still the movie overall is entertaining, and better than the more recent Superman Returns.

Verdict: You'll still believe a man can fly. ***.

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