Sunday, December 9, 2018
"Superman: The Movie" 40th Anniversary
Superman: The Movie premiered at the Uptown Theatre in Washington DC on December 10th, 1978.
I don't think I need to tell you guys I'm a bit of a fan of Superman, as both character and media staple. And, I imagine, it started with this film. After all, one of my earliest memories, writ-large, is my dad taking me to see Superman: The Movie in the theater and telling my mom how much I liked it when I got home. It was all in that era before you know our hero will be fine when Lex dumps them into a pool with kryptonite chained around their neck.
In the 40 years since, the movie has aged incredibly well - a few bits now dated, others pointing the way for superhero movies and beyond, and all part of an era of filmmaking of sweeping cinematography, cutting edge practical effects, classical scoring and sincerity and humor in spades. The performances have become classics upon which everything else is (rightly) judged, embedded in the (pop) cultural lexicon.
In the past ten years, Marvel has used the film far more as part of its playbook than DC has thought to as they've distanced themselves, for good or ill, from their storied cinematic past. You can see the beats and patterns set by the three part film in their origin films and in what they've done to never forget, people are watching the movie to have a good time, but also - to be inspired.
I've written more than enough over the years about Superman: The Movie, and I won't go in for a lengthy post here. Frankly, I wouldn't know where to stop or start. After all, I doubt I've read more about the making of any one movie, or spent more time thinking about or watching any other movie, so you'd all be in for something TL;DR.
In the years since the film's release, we've lost both our Superman and Lois Lane to tragedy, and Miss Tessmacher is currently ailing. Much of the talent behind the camera lives on, and I hope Director Richard Donner is celebrating the movie with friends and family. In the end, it's one of a handful from his filmography that will be his legacy.
At some point I'll get some folks together and we'll do a podcast on the movie. We'll see what everyone has to say. But I know what the movie has given me over the years, in some ways deeply personal and in others more public - not the least of which is what it looks like to be a decent person in a world that prides itself on cynicism, and to remember to help when I can - something that watching the film tells me I need to work at and do better. And to believe, when I look at the news, when I see the squabbling on social media - they can be a great people... try to see that in them.
And that, in the midst of it all, it's all worth it when you've found your Lois, and it's okay to turn the world backwards for her.
Here's to the first 40 years of what I know will be a legacy that will outlive me, and I hope people are still watching 40, 80, 120 years from now.