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HBO's Superman still sets the benchmark for the Man of Steel

HBO's Superman still sets the benchmark for the Man of Steel

Christopher Reeves is and always will be my favorite superman.

Sure, Henry Cavill has made a valiant effort in the role in his appearances, but having only one solo superman film does do him any favors in my all-time ranking.

When I saw that HBO Max added the four Reeve “Superman” films, I jumped at the opportunity to binge watch all of them.

Growing up, my mom would show me these movies and I always remembered trying to do an absurd amount of push-ups to be strong like Superman.

Although it takes nearly an hour before the audience sees Reeves suit up as the titular superhero, the parts preceding that costume change are absolutely necessary to make the audience care about Clark’s transition to a superhero.

“Superman” plot is a classic one but I’ll include it anyways just in case one of the four people who have not seen this move stumble upon this review.

Just before the destruction of the planet Krypton, scientist Jor-El (Marlon Brando) sends his infant son Kal-El on a spaceship to Earth. Raised by kindly farmers Jonathan (Glenn Ford) and Martha Kent (Phyllis Thaxter), young Clark (Christopher Reeve) discovers the source of his superhuman powers and moves to Metropolis to fight evil. As Superman, he battles the villainous Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), while, as novice reporter Clark Kent, he attempts to woo co-worker Lois Lane (Margot Kidder).

The cast list alone set up this move for near perfection. From Lois Lane to Lex Luthor, every role was perfectly cast.

The special effects obviously would not hold up compared to today’s movies but at the time of this film’s release in 1978, they were revolutionary. The effects were so convincing they made the world look up to the sky to see a bird or was it a plane? No, it was Superman.

“Superman” was nominated for three Academy Awards and received a Special Achievement Oscar for Visual Effects.

The reason why this film resonates with me and so many other is Reeves’ portrayal of both Superman and Clark Kent. I always wondered how people could not tell that Clark and superman were one in the same but Reeves does a masterful job giving each character own unique personality trait and quirks.

His depiction of Clark isn’t just glasses and speaking in a higher register. He’s his own distinct person, with mannerisms, speech patterns and a change in posture.

For an adaptation of a character born in Action Comics, “Superman” isn’t an action-packed film. He saves people, but fighting others would come later in “Superman II (1980)”.

I would say “Superman” is more of a love story than an action as the relationship between Reeves’ superman and Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane sets the standard for future iterations of the characters.

I will say the most ridiculous part of the movie comes when Superman flies so fast against the Earth’s rotation that he turns back time.

This narrative decision essentially takes any chance for the character to suffer any real loss.

All in all the film is a near masterpiece when it comes to being an origin story for a character.

Movies that are reviewed by me will be on a scale of one bucket of popcorn to five buckets of popcorn. “Superman” earns a five out of five buckets of popcorn, and stills stands as the benchmark all future actors portraying the comic book superhero.

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