Superman I & II DVD Box Set. Free Postage!
Modern blockbuster cinema came of age with the release of three huge science fiction/fantasy extravaganzas in the late 1970s. In 1978 Superman was the last of these, a gigantic hit unfairly overshadowed by Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Christopher Reeve is completely convincing as both Superman and mild-mannered alter ego Clarke Kent, sparking real chemistry with Margot Kidder's fellow reporter Lois Lane. Though the tone becomes lighter and introduces comedy as Superman battles arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) the film succeeds because Donner plays the titular character straight. From Marlon Brando's heavyweight cameo to the surprisingly wrenching finale, Superman unfolds as an epic modern myth, a spiritual fable for a secular age and a fantastic entertainment for the young at heart. With breathtaking production design, special effects, gorgeous cinematography, thrilling set-pieces, wit, romance and John Williams' extraordinarily rich music score, Superman has the power to make you believe a man can fly.
Although Superman II is credited to director Richard Lester the film is largely the work of Richard Donner, who shot 70 per cent of the footage back-to-back with Superman at a staggering combined cost of $55 million. Indeed, while each film works perfectly well alone, together they form four-and-a-half hours of the finest fantasy in cinema history. Superman II sees the release of the three super-villains exiled at the beginning of Superman, then without the need to tell Superman's origins offers a full two hours of rip-roaring comic-book action. The villains, led by a marvellously menacing Terrance Stamp, prove stronger adversaries than Lex Luthor, while Clarke's romance with Lois Lane is developed through polished comedy and a serious subplot in which Superman must chose between love and duty. From an atom bomb on the Eiffel Tower to an epic battle amid the skyscrapers of Metropolis (New York) the action and special effects are superb, the characters portrayed with verve and the story delivered with just the right amount of seriousness. A rousing entertainment very nearly as fine as its predecessor, the wirework battles paved the way for Hong Kong's seminal Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain (1983) and ultimately The Matrix (1999).