Superman – How 40 years later it still is the beacon for superhero movies ?7 min read

 June 1939.

In the decade of the 1930s, even the great city of Metropolis was not spared the ravages of the worldwide depression. In the times of fear and confusion the job of informing the public was the responsibility of the Daily Planet. A great metropolitan newspaper, whose reputation for clarity and truth had become a symbol of hope for the city of Metropolis.

Superman – The movie was released 40 years ago today and it would not be exaggeration at all to remark it as a colossal milestone in the superhero movie community. 40 years later , Superman is a completely different person in both comicbooks and movies. But every time someone brings in even a far fetched connection to the iconic Richard Donner movie , everyone seems to enjoy it.

Why it is so ? What was so special in that movie that Superman movies nowadays fail to incorporate ? Lets rewind back the clock to the fall of 1978 , and how it still inspire comic book movies irrespective of the house which produces it. Yes , ladies and gentleman , this is something beyond the DC vs Marvel that is prevalent in our community today . 


Classic Superman 

The reason why the movie is celebrated even today is for the manner it treated the iconic superhero. And more so , how it dealt with the intrinsic thought process of Clark Kent. Many people nowadays believe it’s extremely hard to make a Superman movie , well it is for how simple the character is. 

The movie didn’t feared Superman to show himself as who he is. A contrast to Man of Steel ( which without a doubt is a beautiful looking movie ) ,  Superman 1978 showed the transition of just another boy from Kansas to the greatest superhero on the planet without pretension. There were vices back then , there were vices even today – what was remarkable back then is how Superman chose to handle the evil of the society.

And lets not forget Clark Kent. Christopher Reeve did a proper justification to that as well.Glasses and a under the radar character to hide what resides underneath. Too corny for modern times ? Absolutely not ! If serving Truth and Justice the american way is too sweet for human taste nowadays , I don’t know what isn’t anymore.

A little bit of inspiration in everything

From the TDK trilogy to DCEU to Superman Animated Series to Alex Ross’s drawing to Marvel Cinematic Universe’s President Kevin Fiege , the perimeter of Richard Donner’s Superman movie is immeasurable . It has expanded Superman’s virtues into several regional and national superheroes across the globe and is thus no less than a cultural milestone.

So when we are jumping on our seats watching an Avengers movie , believe it or not , somehow the Richard Donner directed flick is responsible. And why not ? In those days , the blend of seriousness and comedy in that movie was on point. Most importantly , it knew it was fiction from the start but never ignored the possibilities.

Romance – like it should be.

CGI , Motion Cap , Virtual Camera – there are so many techniques available to the film-makers and cinematographers nowadays to have a frame which was previously even impossible to dream about. But has it come at the cost of something ? Of course. But here since we are talking only about superhero movies , we will limit the conversation to such.

You might have noticed the use of unforgettable romance in modern day comic book movies. Yes , over the modern day shared universe model , the character interaction goes more comfortable , but we are talking about a romance which used to sweetly enchant audience’s mind for the time being. 

Christopher Reeve and Margot Kiddler was successful in portraying the relationship between Clark/Superman and Lois Lane in the accurately uncanny way which makes it special. Lois has always been a special element in Superman’s life and their romance in Superman 1978 is easily one of the most memorable one among comic book movies.

Unforgettable Music

If 40 years later , people still define an iconic superhero by the theme , there is definately something astounding in the track. And yes , it was. Not only in our list of top superhero themes of all time , the John Williams composed track has been (and probably will continue to be) the most celebrated superhero theme in the industry.

Its heroic , its honorable , its melodic and its american. Everything that one needs to characterize Superman is there. A lot of today’s themes are based on that theme or have taken inspiration from it. 

Of course , there are tons of other factors which makes Superman – The Movie great even in our times but the upper facts hold the best for me. Representing the man of steel in his most basic form is the simplest approach to making Superman. I stand by the theory that Superman need not be a muscular good looking guy , he just has to be another guy from Kansas with the heart for limitless good for others.

Superman is like the DNA of super heroism and there’s a reason he is regarded as the best among the heroes. Fighting for those who can’t , lightening hope in those who need them and standing for what’s right : there you have Superman. 

Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.              – Kill Bill

The Knight

A superhero enthusiast who has a sweet tooth for classical film-making. Thus The Dark Knight and Logan remains his all time favorite CBMs. Also tries to write content which is not only good in its own respect but also brings out the best in his readers.

You may also like...

Leave a comment

Please Login to comment
Notify of
Left Menu Icon