By 1978—forty years after his creation—Superman had already been brought to life a number of times on the big screen (Max Fleischer’s classic animated shorts, movie serials of the 1940s) and the small (George Reeves’ The Adventures of Superman), but he had never lived the way he did as personified by Christopher Reeve in this classic of the superhero genre. Directed by Richard Donner, the film was broken into three distinct segments—his birth on and escape from the doomed planet of Krypton, his years growing up as Clark Kent in Smallville, Kansas, where he was raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent; and, finally, his arrival as the Man Of Steel in Metropolis. It is there, after taking a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet, that Clark meets and instantly falls in love with Lois Lane (Margot Kidder), and battles nemesis Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), who has stolen two nuclear weapons and comes damn close to sinking California into the ocean. Revolutionary effects, a genuine romance between Superman and Lois, John Williams’ amazing score which has resonance to this day, Marlon Brando as Supes’ Kryptonian father, Jor-El; and Reeve looking like he’s just stepped off the comic book page.
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