A baby from the planet Krypton develops superhuman powers under Earth's yellow sun. As an adult (Christopher Reeve) he dons red cape and pants, and flies across the world doing good deeds, whilst also hiding behind the alias of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent. Fellow journalist Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) falls for the muscleman in tights without realising he and her bumbling colleague are one and the same. This special-effects laden adaptation of the DC Comics character also features Marlon Brando in a highly-paid cameo and Gene Hackman as evil mastermind criminal Lex Luthor.
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
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