As the planet Krypton faces doom, one of the planet's elders, Jor-El, places his baby son Ka-El in a small spacecraft and sends him to Earth before Krypton is destroyed. Arriving on Earth near the town of Smallville, Ka-El is found as a baby by the Kents, a middle-aged couple with no children of their own. They adopt the baby, calling him Clark, and as a teenager under the environmental conditions of Earth he finds he can run faster than a train, has super-strength and sight and is impervious to any weapon. As he grows up he realises he must protect his adopted planet and becomes the superhero Superman. Making a career in Metropolis and working as a reporter on The Daily Planet,
Clark / Superman has to deal with the determined but vulnerable fellow reporter Lois Lane as well as the megalomaniac Lex Luthor, determined to make a killing in real estate by planting stolen nuclear devices along the San Andreas Fault, intent on making the state of California fall into the sea. If ever Superman were needed, it is now.....
A genuine epic with heart, Superman
was the first film that showed that the screen adaptation of a comic-book hero needn't use a comic-book approach, treating the material seriously but with humour, and casting good actors to tackle the parts. A book could be written about both the film and its' aftermath, and the not always happy fates of the cast and crew are detailed in the excellent accompanying featurettes and extras, but director Richard Donner has to be complemented for turning Superman
into a truly terrific adventure story with perfect casting - one now cannot imagine anyone else but the tragic Christopher Reeve in the title role, and so much of the film, from production design to the visual effects and supporting cast, is totally spot-on. Donner's struggles to get what he wanted, and his struggles with the producers, are also detailed. A very fine way to celebrate a genuinely fantastic film. Although Superman II
has its' moments, the other two sequels are an insult.