You'll Believe a Man Can Fly!
Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth's yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet...and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world's greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest evil plan of all time. Can even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme?
Richard Donner's 1978 epic about the Man of Steel showed how a film about a superhero could be a moving and romantic experience even for people who long ago gave up comic books. Beginning on the icy planet Krypton, the story follows the baby Kal-El, whose rocket ship lands in Smallville, Kansas. He is found there by a childless couple and raised as the shy Clark Kent (the young Kent is played by Jeff East). The film is perhaps most touching in these sequences, with expanses of wheat fields blowing in the wind and with a young man who can't figure out what part in destiny his great powers are meant to play. The second half, with Reeve taking over as Clark/Superman, is bustling, enchanting (the scene in which Superman flies girlfriend Lois Lane--played by Margot Kidder--through the night sky is great date material), and funny, thanks largely to Gene Hackman's sardonic portrayal of nemesis Lex Luthor. --Tom Keogh