December 20, 1978 [Superman]

The ad campaign promised, “You’ll believe a man can fly!” And that's good enough for Superman--despite the alien appearance of Marlon Brandon as his father, lurching around the dying Krypton like a Pharaoh still alive in his pyramid, perhaps the movie’s most startling special effect--and Gene Hackman somehow fooling everybody into thinking he’s the Lex Luthor we wanted--although Valerie Perrine is certainly the sidekick of the year; but they did not distract me, much, from Christopher Reeve--and the strange irony of his name, with poor George Reeves trapped in his suit in the ‘50s, having to deny invulnerability so he could tear out of it--not to mention Steve Reeves holding up his bearded chin in Italian Hercules pictures--where will this muscled fraternity end?

Anyway: I did believe a man could fly. Reeve captures Superman's charming blandness, with a little self-satisfied smile to let us know he’s enjoying the effects of a yellow sun, doling out the right measure of love for Lois Lane--Margot Kidder also getting it--the gag, that is: letting Lois be just tough enough to plunk herself into a rescue-ready situation. But again: the flying. Finally fun to watch, no squinting needed, the bizarre physics of up-up-and-away as nonchalant as making the whole planet time travel just for Lois’ sake--and go right ahead, pal, spin it like a top, because at the end he flies toward us, and looks right in our eyes, and gives us one of those amused, reassuring smiles all for ourselves--and OK, I smiled back at good old Superman easy in his own skin, devoid of the anguish of a Silver Surfer or puny Peter Parker, just happy to be here.


  1. Superman's mom has got it goin' on ... I love that Susannah York

  2. Down, boy--but you're right: There was something in the water during the '70s ... Wait'll we get to Dominique Sanda!


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