The 1970s. A golden age of cinema. And then Star Wars happened.
No sooner had the most damaging product in the history of the American cinema become the massive hit that it was, than Alexander Salkind had his name burst out from 4:3 (You Will Believe His Dick is Massive) to launch an exhausting space-set credits sequence and his somewhat expensive superhero epic. It screamed “Spectacle! Spectacle” and reads now: “All Show”. One imagines it would be easy to be taken in by the bombardment of special effects lying in wait when the film itself is a male fantasy of phallic superiority. And then there’s the names on the poster (for the poster). Brando! Hackman! And The Godfather‘s Mario Puzo ostensibly behind the screenplay… The childish mind, knowing that bigger equals better, could only anticipate what was surely the best film of all time.
Opening the bloated, disjointed spectacular is a 15 minute Krypton sequence segueing sequel-forshadowing Zod and Kal-El’s unexplained warnings of the planet’s imminent doom. He’s Brando, therefore he’s right. He sends Moses-El downstream and the evil icebergs from Titanic attack or something. So the kid arrives on Earth, gets adopted, and wait, he’s grown up now? The causal approach of this movie is appalling – an origin story that depends on existing knowledge or else an acceptance of shit happening. His adoptive father dies, for some reason. Clark buggers off to the North Pole, for some reason. Now he’s a reporter, now he’s mild-mannered, because he is. But Lois Lane gets his dick hard and he becomes… wait, no, not yet – first we have to watch some cops watching Ned Beatty, for some reason.
Superman: The Movie is a structural disaster, reliant on excess special effects almost as dated as its ideology. It’s the credits that tell the reel story. Too many cocaine-fuelled cooks try to take control of a directionless extravaganza, which is just the way Salkind wanted it.