I thought that Superman was a really good way to introduce the character of Superman in the movie world. It has three distinct sections as well with the first being set on the dying planet of Krypton, then the bits set in Smallville, and then finally in Metropolis when Clark arrives at the Daily Planet, all of which look very different indeed.
Krypton was very impressive, and was very white, almost harshly so. The Elders of Krytpon, who it appears wield all the power on the planet, are a bit stuffy and do not like the statements of one of their citizens (Jor-El) despite the fact that he is a noted scientist and would rather belive the opinion of another elder who is also a scientist.
Krypton is a very highly advanced race and one of their advances is the phantom zone a prison which traps people inside a structure for all eternity to which only their most heinous criminals are place.
Krypton soon started to fall apart as the scientist had predicted but, just before it happened, he sent his newborn son, Kal-El, to the Earth where it was felt would be the best place for him as he would be become virtually indestructible.
The elders of Krypton must have felt a bit stupid when the scientists predictions came true but that was their own fault for having their heads stuck up their own arses if you ask me.
Whilst the child is cocooned in the space module he is constantly being told information by the computer including different language of earth people, poetry etc. The child grows whilst in this craft, I assume, at a Kryptonian rate rather than an Earth rate, whatever that might, be learning as he grows as much as knowledge as he was able to retain.
When the craft eventually reaches the Earth it enters the atmosphere somewhere over the middle of the Unites States of America, but it could just as easily landed somewhere in Europe or in Africa, or anywhere else, which would have been a totally different story.
When it does crash land it manages to avoid people for the most part apart from a married couple (Jonathan and Martha Kent) who were driving by who ended up with a blown tyre. When they got to the crash site no-one else seems to be aware of it and they find a small child, of about three years, coming out of it.
Now luckly for the child the couple who had found him were good people and also people who were childless but always wanted children who decided to take him in, and pretend that he is the child of a relative of theirs, and name him Clark.
Jonathan is nearly crushed under his car when the jack gave way, but is saved by the child who catches the car and lifts it away from him much to their shock. This seems to make them even more keen to take him in, rather than not scared about what they were letting themselves in for.
We move forward in time to when the child is now in his teens and has learnt about where he came from, and then we see him do some of the things that only he can do such as run faster than a speeding train, kick a football for miles, but having to pretend that he can’t, so playing the role of the geeky kid complete with glasses who is so clumsy that he couldn’t each catch a cold.
On one of his runs alongside a train the entire train apart from one person fails to notice him doing this, the one person who does is a little girl, who we learn is called Lois Lane.
Then his father dies and the young man is awash with guilt that he might have been able to have used his powers to have saved his father but knows that his father wouldn’t want him to show off as he would then be taken away from them.
Not long after that he goes to the barn where the ship he arrived in had been kept all that time and he opens it up and takes a green crystal from it. He then knows that he has to leave his adopted family and discover his true self.
He goes far north to where there is little to be seen for miles and miles apart from snow and ice and throws the crystal as far as he can. Then quickly a crystalline structure is formed in the area where the crystal landed, one which looks a great deal like Krypton.
He then find out about where he came from and his true name Kal-El and a hologram of his father Jor-El appears. Jor-El talks to him and tells him that they will continue their education. The next time we see him he is a fully grown man in his early thirties and is wearing the standard blue superman constume with the red trunks and cape.
So about 12 years have passed in the intervening period and he has been in the fortress of soltitude with only a hologram of his dead dad for company. He then flies off.
The next time we see him is in the city of Metropolis heading towards the offices of the Daily Planet where he is soon to be a new reporter for the paper working alongside Lois Lane – the little girl who saw him run faster than a train years back now all grown up.
We also meet Lex Luthor for the first time who proclaims himself a criminal genius and who lives beneath the city in a palatial residence with Otis, his rather dim sidekick, and the beautiful Miss Tessmacher who is basically his gangsters moll.
Lois boards a helicopter on the roof of the Daily Planet en route to meet the president which then proceeds to crash and end up hanging off the edge of the building with Lois falling from it and almost dying if she hadn’t been caught by Superman, who announces himself to the world. He then ends up rescuing a plane from crashing, stops a group of would be burgulars and even rescues a cat from a tree.
Lois is instantly smitten with Superman, as Clark is with her, and arranges to interview him and then gets the ride of a lifetime when he offers to take her for a spin.
Lex gets to hear about Superman and decides that he needs to get rid of him so tries to find out what can stop him so that his evil plans couldn’t be thwarted. Being a genius it doesn’t take Lex long to work out what might stop Superman. Lex breaks into a secure facility and steals a piece of a meteorite which he knows comses from the planet Krytpon.
He then hijacks two nuclear missiles and changes their courses and tricks Superman into visiting his lair, telling him his plan,and then trapping him with Kryptonite so that his plan didn’t fail. However Miss Tessmacher rescues Superman after discovering that Lex is going to allow her mother to be collateral damage in his plans and not giving a shit and Superman is able to go after the bombs.
He is able to stop the first one but the second one causes damage which sees Lois killed. When Superman finds her, he is so distraught that he flies round and round the planet turning time back to just before the bomb hit, depositing Lex and Otis in prison, and leaving Lois safe and sound.
The ending was a bit meh to be honest as it was another reset switch and it was sort of Superman doing for Lois what we wanted to do for his adoptive father, so it sort of made sense, even if it was a bit of a deux et machina ending which just allowed everything that had happened to be undone as though it had never happened which is often an easy way out for these type of stories.
Apart from the ending which is a bit naff the rest of the film is excellent and still stands up today as an example of how to make a Superman film.