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Every SUPERMAN Movie Reviewed!

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice about to hit cinemas, we take an in-depth look at the previous 10 cinematic offerings from the Superman universe.



Reviews by Eric Hillis


Superman (1948)
Directed by: Spencer Gordon Bennet, Thomas Carr
Starring: Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Tommy Bond, Carol Forman, Pierre Watkin

He may have previously appeared in animated form in the Fleischer Studios cartoons but this serial is the man of steel's first live action screen outing.

Back in the days before a television set adorned every American living room, parents would drop their kids off at the local movie theater on a Saturday morning. There, wide-eyed brats would be held entranced by various action serials. These were usually about 20 minutes in length and invariably ended with a ridiculous cliffhanger, ensuring the kids would return in a week's time. The most popular of these was Flash Gordon, something of a phenomenon in the serial world. By 1948, Superman was already a cultural icon, thanks to his appearance in comics, cartoons and a successful radio show. If ever a character was deserving of its own Saturday morning serial, it was this one.

I have to confess I'm a sucker for the sort of trashy fun that pervades '40s cinema. I love the classic Universal horrors of the '30s but equally enjoy their black sheep cousins, the '40s knockoffs that cashed in on the characters of Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolfman and their ilk. These films might be brain dead but they're thoroughly enjoyable and always have a heart. You invariably come out the other end with a smile on your face, and that's the case with this fun serial.

The characters here are all portrayed by likeable, if not entirely convincing, actors. Kirk Alyn is thoroughly charming as Superman and particularly as his alias Clark Kent, schlubby and loveable with his winks and smiles behind the backs of unsuspecting colleagues. Noel Neill is feisty as Lois Lane and plays the role like a B-movie Katherine Hepburn, constantly berating Kent for his seeming cowardice. She was so impressive she would later repeat the role in the '50s TV version. Journalists apparently weren't paid very well back in the '40s, as she wears the same outfit through the entire series. As Jimmy Olsen, Tommy Bond is frankly terrible, yet still manages to be an affable presence.

The biggest challenge to the production of the '70s Superman movie was how to make the audience believe a man could fly. In 1948 it was obviously a lot more difficult to pull off. This issue was skirted by basically turning Alyn into an animated version of the character whenever he needed to take flight. It takes you aback the first time you witness the technique but after a couple of episodes you won't even think twice about it.

Modern cynics should probably avoid this but if you're a fan of the innocent charm of the '40s I highly recommend it. The total running time of all 15 episodes is roughly four hours so I wouldn't attempt to watch it in one sitting, but an episode or two a night is a good way to approach it. I guarantee you'll fall for those crazy cliffhangers.


Atom Man Vs Superman (1950)
Directed by: Spencer Gordon Bennet
Starring: Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Lyle Talbot, Tommy Bond, Pierre Watkin

By the early '50s, the Saturday morning serial format was on its knees. Television had swept across American homes and parents were more likely to plonk little Johnny in front of the gogglebox rather than pay for a cinema ticket. The producers of this second Superman serial obviously bore a grudge as they made the character of Lex Luthor, the very definition of evil, the head of a TV network. Of course Luthor, or "Loothorr" as everyone seems to call him here, has other tricks up his sleeve and poses as the masked villain Atom Man to unleash terror on Metropolis. At his disposal is a variety of ultimately useless weapons, such as a Space Transporter, Disintegration Machine and (no laughing at the back) Sonic Vibrator. This means we get much more lavish set-pieces than the first serial, although they rely heavily on a liberal amount of stock footage. One sequence is hilarious in its incorporation of clips from a flood that obviously occurred a good 30 years prior, given the dress styles on display. Luthor seems to have a very slow way of raising funds for all this, as at one point his henchmen are sent to hold up a Payday Checks Cashed outlet. I guess global terror has to start somewhere.

The main cast are all back and seem to be having a whale of a time. There are several shots where Noel Neill seems on the verge of a laughing fit, and given the dialogue she has to work with, you can't blame her. Another reason for her giddiness may be that she gets to wear more than one outfit in this series. Kirk Alyn is just as likeable as in the previous series but sadly gets less time in the role of Clark Kent. Coming on board as Luthor is Lyle Talbot, who fans of bad '50s cinema will know as the bald-headed star of many an Ed Wood production. He's actually quite restrained here compared to his later work and the writers have a lot of fun with his character. Here, Luthor has a jet black sense of humour, sending his cronies adrift in space for a few minutes before bringing them back to earth to "teach them a lesson".

The series is fun throughout, which is more than can be said for most of today's superhero outings. It also seems to have been quite influential. A plot-line involving Superman's loss of powers would be repeated in the ultimate comic book movie Superman II. At one point he saves metropolis by flying out across the ocean with a nuclear bomb on the verge of detonation. Now where have we seen that recently?


Superman & the Mole Men (1951)
Directed by: Lee Sholem
Starring: George Reeves, Phyllis Coates, Jeff Corey

When the world's deepest oil well unleashes a race of peaceful Mole Men, Superman must save the creatures from angry locals, who see the aliens as a threat.

After the two serials this was the first regular feature film to showcase the Man of Steel. It was actually a theatrically released pilot for what would become the successful TV series The Adventures of Superman, and would later be aired as a two-parter on the small screen. This certainly feels more like a TV episode than a movie, with a lack of action throughout. Superman only takes flight once and just as with the serials, this sequence is animated. A dull chase scene is drawn out to bum-numbing length, presumably just to fill the running time for a theatrical release.

As Clark Kent and Lois Lane, George Reeves and Phyllis Coates are a much blander pairing than Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill, the charismatic stars of the earlier serials. Reeves is more convincing than Alyn when playing Superman but as Kent he's not very beleivable, resembling a bespectacled jock, and lacks the bumbling charm Alyn had in spades. The story goes that Alyn demanded too much money, and so the role was given to Reeves. Coates makes for a rather abrasive and unlikeable Lois Lane. She would actually go on to be replaced by the more energetic Neill in the second season of the TV show.

The Mole Men themselves are just a couple of little people wearing cheesy bald caps. They don't speak and spend most of the movie being hunted by redneck stereotypes. Compared to the serial this has a much darker tone, with Superman and the Mole Men actually being shot at and a generally violent atmosphere throughout. It all ends with our hero giving a lecture on tolerance for those who appear different to us. Tolerance is always a good attribute to possess, especially if you plan on making it through this turkey.


Superman: The Movie (1978)
Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Glenn Ford, Trevor Howard, Valerie Perrine, Terence Stamp, Phyllis Thaxter, Susannah York

The Man of Steel had been vacant from the big screen for close to 30 years when the father/son producing team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind decided it was time to bring him back.

They had tasted success in the mid-'70s with The Three Musketeers and its sequel The Four Musketeers. The two movies had been shot simultaneously and the Salkinds decided to apply the same method to Superman: The Movie and its follow-up. Hot off the success of The Omen, Richard Donner was hired to direct both movies but ended up being kicked off the second film (more on that later). Donner and the five screen-writers on the whole do a good job of making this an engrossing tale, but it's really just a primer for the far superior sequel.

The movie is at its best in the opening third, in which we get to see the origin of our hero. We see three criminals (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran) cast into outer space by Jor-El (Marlon Brando), one of the leaders of the planet Krypton. This sets up the plot-line of the second movie and is the last we see of the trio here. Jor-El is a sort of intergalactic Al Gore who fails to convince the rest of Krypton's leaders of the planet's impending doom. To save his infant son, he places the child in a craft and sends him to the one planet where he believes he stands the greatest chance: Earth. The infant crash-lands in Smallville, a midwest town where he is adopted by the Kents, played by Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter, who name him Clark. The following scenes are great, detailing Clark's struggle to fit in as a teen, and are shot superbly by Geoffrey Unsworth, evoking an Edward Hopper look for the fictional all-American town. Unsworth sadly passed away before the film was released and the movie is dedicated to his memory.

Following his adoptive Father's death, Clark travels to the North Pole where he discovers the Fortress of Solitude, a temple of sorts where he communicates with the spirit of Jor-El and spends over a decade developing his powers and learning of Earth culture. When he leaves as an adult he heads to the city of Metropolis, gets a job at The Daily Planet newspaper and meets Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). The middle section of the movie is great fun, showing Superman thwarting various catastrophes around the city and developing his relationship with Lane.

Unfortunately the movie suffers in the final act when a plot is shoe-horned in involving a plan by evil genius Lex Luthor (Hackman) to send California into the sea, thus elevating the price of his property in Nevada. Hackman is great, but his sidekick Beatty is incredibly annoying and the slapstick humor feels in stark contrast to the rest of the film. Compared to elsewhere in the movie, the effects on display in this climax are particularly poor and resemble a Gerry Anderson puppet production.

Today, comic book movies seem afraid to actually be seen as comic book movies but this revels in the idea. The movie even opens with a boy leafing through a Superman comic. The panels on display tell us of the importance of The Daily Planet to the city of Metropolis. In this post News of the World era it's hard to think of a newspaper as a force for truth and justice, but this movie was made in the aftermath of Watergate and journalists were seen as crusaders against corruption. Despite its light tone, the movie brings up some topical issues such as environmentalism and immigration, but most of all adoption. Superman is faced with the adoptee's dilemma, does he identify with his birth parents or those who raised him?

It may lose course towards the end but this is still a lot of fun and one of the all-time great blockbusters. Of course, it really just whets the appetite, as the main course was to follow two summers later.


Superman II (1980)
Directed by: Richard Lester / Richard Donner
Starring: Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty, Jackie Cooper, Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas, Jack O'Halloran, Valerie Perrine, Marc McClure, EG Marshall

Superman II had been shooting simultaneously with the first movie before the Salkinds decided to sack Richard Donner, replacing him with Richard Lester, with whom they had worked on The Three Musketeers. Because of this, the movie now exists in two distinct versions; the original theatrical cut and one reassembled recently by Donner himself. I grew up with Lester's cut and always enjoyed it, but having seen Donner's far superior edit it's impossible to go back. Clearly the Salkinds cut their noses off to spite their faces as the subtle differences in how Donner chose to tell the story make for a much better film.

The movie consists of two main plot-lines; the arrival of General Zod (Stamp) and his two companions (Douglas and O'Halloran), and Lois Lane's discovery that Clark Kent is actually Superman. It's the handling of the latter that makes for the biggest distinction between the two directors' cuts. In Lester's version it comes across as awkward and heavy-handed, Lane cottoning on to the theory while she and Kent are covering a story at Niagra Falls. Willing to bet her life that Kent is the Man of Steel, she throws herself into a river, falsely presuming Kent will change into his cape and rescue her. Instead he uses his power slyly to give her a branch to hold onto. Back at their hotel room, Kent clumsily puts his hand in an open fire, giving away his secret. I always thought this was a pretty undramatic way to convey such a major plot point. Donner gives us this plotline right from the outset in his cut with Lane jumping out a window of the skyscraper which houses The Daily Planet. Again, Kent rescues her in a way that keeps his identity secret. The reveal once more comes in the Niagra Falls hotel room, but this time in far more dramatic fashion. Here, Lane tells Kent she is willing to bet his life and pulls a pistol out, shooting him in the chest. When the bullet has no effect, Kent confesses, only for Lane to reveal the gun was firing blanks. It's one of the best scenes in the movie but ironically it was never actually shot for the film. Donner used footage from a screen test between the two actors but their performances are so convincing it doesn't feel out of place whatsoever. Even the makeshift set looks more realistic than the rather bizarre one used in Lester's version (what hotel room has an open fire in the center of the room?)

Donner's cut is actually shorter, mainly due to completely cutting out a set-piece at the start involving terrorists on the Eiffel Tower. Apart from that the cuts are subtle, mostly with the purpose of removing the more slapstick moments of Lester's version. Footage of Brando replaces that of Susannah York, a bummer for the actress but far more effective for the film.

No matter which version you account for, this is hands down the greatest superhero movie ever made. What makes it stand out from most efforts in the comic book sub-genre is how simple the plot is. Superman takes Lane to the Fortress of Solitude, where he intends to seek Jor-El's approval of the relationship. The news isn't received as well as he had hoped however, Jor-El informing him he must revoke his powers if wants to be with the earth-woman. Superman agrees, unaware that Zod is in the process of taking over the White House. His first taste of life as a mortal comes when a redneck dishes out a beating to him in a road-side diner. On a TV screen he sees the news of Zod's campaign and realises he must return to the Fortress to plead for his powers back. Jor-El agrees, but with a catch. Restoring Superman's powers will extinguish his father's spirit. With a heavy heart, Superman agrees and heads to Metropolis to kick Zod's ass. What results is one of the greatest action set-pieces in cinema as Superman and the three villains destroy half of Metropolis in an extended intergalactic wrestling match.

This came in the middle of a run of great Hollywood blockbusters from the mid-'70s to mid-'80s, a streak that began with Jaws and ended with Back To The Future. We'll probably never see such quality from Hollywood tentpole releases again, but we can savour the treats Tinseltown once bestowed upon us.


Superman III (1983)
Directed by: Richard Lester
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Robert Vaughan, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Annette O'Toole, Gavan O'Herlihy, Jackie Cooper, Margot Kidder, Marc McClure

If you've ever seen the producing team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind interviewed it's obvious why they chose to resurrect Superman as a movie property. They knew the series would be a cash cow with its widespread appeal. Of course, they would have to make a quality movie for audiences to get on board and they did just that; in fact they made two quality films. By the time of the third installment however they clearly didn't care too much about quality. Superman was now simply an excuse to print money.

Released the very same year as the awful third Jaws movie, Superman III is up there with The Phantom Menace in terms of major cinematic disappointments. The tone takes a turn towards comedy of the broadest nature with the introduction of Richard Pryor as a bum who discovers overnight he's actually the world's most talented computer whiz. He takes a job at a large corporation run by Robert Vaughn, and uses his skill to pull off a scam that sees half a cent of each employee's weekly wage transferred into his account. When Vaughn discovers this, he takes him under his wing to develop a computer that will follow his every whim.

The script is terribly written and confusing at times. Superman is turned into an evil version of himself yet somehow fights with Clark Kent. It's never made clear exactly what's occurring here. Did he split into two people? Why is one dressed as Kent and one Superman? Best not to think about it as no-one connected with the film seems to have given it much thought. The idea of Superman turning bad sounds in theory like a winner but it's just used as an excuse for cheap gags like straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa and blowing out the Olympic flame. Imagine what Richard Donner and Mario Puzo could have done with this scenario.

There are a few nice moments near the start when Kent returns to Smallville for his high school reunion. He reconnects with Lana Lang (Annette O'Toole), who we glimpsed briefly as a teenager in the first movie. These scenes are closer in tone to the previous two films but the subplot is brushed aside so time can be devoted to the irritating Pryor plot.

If you think this movie was made for any reason other than to make a quick buck then check out the hilariously blatant product placement for Kentucky Fried Chicken, back when the Colonel could actually get away with using the word "chicken". Pryor opens a door for no reason other than to reveal a bright red KFC bag, which remains prominently onscreen for the following scene. Oh well, surely things would improve with Superman IV right? Er...


Supergirl (1984)
Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc
Starring: Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway, Peter O'Toole, Peter Cook, Marc McClure, Hart Bochner, Mia Farrow, Brenda Vaccaro, Maureen Teefy

Superman's cousin Kara (Helen Slater) travels to earth to retrieve a mystical orb that has fallen into the hands of a witch (Faye Dunaway).

Yes, it really is as daft as that summary suggests, and just as bad. Unbearably bad. There's a certain level of bad cinema that came to prominence in the '80s. Movies were seen as a way to make a quick buck by producers like Dino De Laurentis, Golan & Globus, and the Salkinds, owners of the Superman franchise. They're a similar breed to the sort of billionaires who buy football clubs today; in fact De Laurentis is currently the owner of Napoli's football team.

The script is written by David Odell, who went on to write the big screen adaptation of Masters of the Universe, and it really is garbage. Slater does her best and Dunaway enjoys camping it up but they can't save this movie from cinema hell. The effects are shockingly poor, with Slater flying in front of some of the worst bluescreen backdrops ever filmed. The comic approach of Superman III is carried over here and the attempts to generate laughs are punishingly unfunny.

How can Superman have a living cousin? Wasn't Krypton destroyed in Superman: The Movie? Well conveniently a piece of the planet was cast into space following its destruction. Peter O'Toole has kept it thriving, thanks to an orb that provides the energy to keep it sustainable. Kara loses the orb and follows it, leading her to earth. Peter Cook and Dunaway are members of a witches' coven and when Dunaway finds the orb she sets about using it to fulfill her wicked desires. Even writing this is giving me a headache.

So does Supergirl enlist the aid of the Man of Steel? Nope, he's away rescuing another planet, inconveniently for Supergirl but conveniently for Christopher Reeve, who refused to appear in this turkey. He was saving himself for Superman IV. Whoops.


Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman and Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, Mariel Hemingway, Mark Pillow, Jim Broadbent

Cannon films were notorious for unleashing troubled productions on the '80s cinema-going public, responsible for such turkeys as Death Wish 4, The Delta Force and the Tobe Hooper remake of Invaders From Mars. Oh and let's not forget Lifeforce, the movie that pushed myself and my school friends through an early puberty thanks to the presence of a naked Matilda May. Cannon's biggest crime was in building up hype for their productions and promising directors elaborate budgets, which suddenly shrank dramatically as soon as production began. A whopping $17 million was sliced off this film's budget, forcing location shooting to switch from New York to the provincial English city Milton Keynes. Presumably a large chunk of the remaining finances went into Gene Hackman's bank account. He certainly didn't sign on for artistic reasons.

Reeve was disinterested in returning to the role but was persuaded by the offer of script input. Thus we get the nuclear disarmament plot-line, a cause close to Reeve's heart. It may not have turned out how he had envisioned. Superman's method of disposing of the planet's entire nuclear arsenal is to collect all the warheads in a giant onion bag which he then hurtles into the sun. I'm no scientist but I'm pretty sure this would destroy our entire universe. Way to go Superman!

Kidder's psychological problems are well documented and by the time she returned for this film the crazy eyes were well in effect. I kept expecting her to go all Piano Teacher at any given moment. Jackie Cooper returns as Perry White and wears a constant frown, as though he knew exactly what he was caught up in. Attempting to capture the youth audience, Jon Cryer is cast as Lex Luthor's supremely annoying nephew. Jim Broadbent is cast but never gets one line of dialogue, just standing around the background looking deeply confused. The only cast member to come out with any dignity is Reeve, doing his best in vain to hold it all together. What a trooper!

As a kid I thought this was the worst movie my young eyes had ever witnessed. They've been scarred by worse over the years but Superman IV deserves its infamous reputation. If you want to see how it could have been even worse then check out the deleted scenes on the Blu-Ray. That's right; footage was shot that was actually considered too bad for Superman IV!


Superman Returns (2006)
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Sam Huntington

By the time Bryan Singer rebooted the stagnant Man of Steel franchise, Superman had become something of a cinematic joke. The horrific third and fourth installments of the series had caused major damage to what had once been a property beloved by audiences and respected by critics. Had the original films stopped after the excellent second movie perhaps audiences in 2006 would have been more eager for a big screen return. The movie wasn't quite a flop, but received a lukewarm reaction from audiences and critics alike.

In a move similar to Halloween: H20, Singer sets his action after the second film. Earth has been without Superman for five years and the awe he was once held in has waned. Lois Lane, played here rather blandly by Kate Bosworth, even received a Pulitzer prize for an article titled "Why the world doesn't need Superman". His return coincides with yet another fiendish plot by Lex Luthor, Kevin Spacey proving an adequate Gene Hackman substitute.

While the movie is problematic, Singer gets more things right than wrong. First off he recognises how iconic and irreplaceable John Williams' original score is. The soundtrack is actually provided by John Ottman but essentially is just a cover version of Williams'. You can't help but be moved by nostalgia during the opening credits, a faithful recreation of those seen in the earlier films. The light but substantial tone of Richard Donner's movie is carried over and this could be the reason for the film's failure to impress a modern audience. Today's cinema-goer seems to crave either darkness or dumbness from their comic book adaptations.

Brandon Routh has unfairly become the whipping boy of the film, accused of being no more than a Christopher Reeve lookalike. This is certainly not the case, as he gives a fine performance, particularly impressive when portraying Clark Kent. More troublesome is the casting of Bosworth, who lacks the charisma of Margot Kidder. Because of this there's a sever lack of chemistry between Kent and Lane.

I wouldn't consider Singer any kind of auteur but, like Richard Donner, he knows how to tell a story without confusing his audience. This might seem trivial but it's a rarity in the age of Snyder, Bay and Bekmambetov. There's no yawn inducing slo-mo, no "what the hell am I looking at?" moments of incomprehensibly quick cutting. Singer also possesses a human touch. The best moment in the movie has Kent using his X-Ray vision to watch Lane exit the Daily Planet through several walls.

The film's first half is thrilling, especially for those of us who grew up with Reeve's character. The second half sadly becomes problematic when the main plot takes over, an unimaginative rehash of what we've seen before from the Luthor character. It lacks the spectacle of the first two movies and feels poorly paced. A sub-plot involving Lane's son slows things down and would have been better left on the cutting room floor.

Still, if you're a child of the '80s this will give you a warm glow, but most of all it will make you pine for the golden age of Summer blockbusters.


Man of Steel (2013)
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Laurence Fishburne, Richard Schiff, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer

Due to an abuse of the planet's resources, the far off world of Krypton is on the verge of destruction. Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) save their newborn son, (the planet's first natural birth), by launching him towards a distant planet in a pod, just before General Zod (Michael Shannon) attempts a failed coup. Zod and his rebels are cast into space just before the planet explodes. The child, Kal-El, crashes in Kansas where he is adopted by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane). As he grows, it becomes apparent the child, now named Clark, possesses a range of unique powers, which he struggles to control. As an adult, Clark (Henry Cavill) sets off towards the North Pole to seek answers, but Lois Lane (Amy Adams), a reporter for The Daily Planet, begins to smell a story, jeopardising his secret identity.

With the superhero movie now the default setting for unimaginative Hollywood bean-counters, it was inevitable that the most famous hero of them all would fly across our screens once again. The problem, of course, is that, as recently as 2006, Bryan Singer attempted to reboot the Superman franchise and was (unfairly) met with derision. Audiences recoiled from Singer's vision, essentially a homage to Richard Donner's two Superman movies. The success of Christopher Nolan's Batman reinvention told us that the modern cinema-goer had become cynical, willing only to accept brooding, 'dark' superheroes. But then, to serve as contradiction, came The Avengers, which couldn't be further away from the dark tone of Nolan's films. Hollywood now seems confused as to how to portray superheroes, and this dilemma is all too evident in Snyder's reboot.

The opening, set on Krypton, is high camp, reminiscent of '80s sci-fi flops like Dune and Flash Gordon. This, of course, isn't a bad thing. When the story hits Earth, however, Clark Kent is portrayed as an angry young man. This first hour is actually the film's highpoint however, cleverly utilising a flashback structure to avoid the monotony of retreading an old story we're all familiar with. The scenes involving Clark and the Kents have a genuine sweetness to them, and remind us why Costner really needs to make more movies. Of course, to achieve the 'darker' tone, Kansas is constantly covered in a grey mist; gone is the Norman Rockwell sun-glow of Donner and Singer's films.

Everything falls apart as soon as Kal-El actually becomes Superman. Those involved seem somewhat embarrassed by the character; the name 'Superman' is only mentioned once, and as an 'ironic' joke. Gone are the character building vignettes of Supey saving cats from trees or melting muggers pistols with his heat-rays. Instead it's straight into the action, a bum and brain achingly long sequence which resembles one of those SyFy channel disaster movies, all bad dialogue and even worse CG. We're left watching characters we haven't become invested in wrestle through a serious of video game set-pieces.

Perhaps modern audiences are too cynical to believe a man can fly? If so, it's their loss, and the gain of a Hollywood unwilling to take a chance on original concepts.

Read our review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice here.


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