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In 1938, two aspiring comic strip talents, Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster, published a character that would create a new genre of fantasy, Superman, the first superhero. This film explores the creation of the character and his subsequent evolution over the decades through various media. With various interviews of noted creative luminaries, the film shows how the character has adapted to the times and bounced back from times when he felt irrelevant to always regain his prominence as one of the great heroes of popular culture. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Documentaries detailing the histories of superheroes, particularly Superman or Batman pop up every few years examining the character, its impact on pop culture and the paths of comic books as a genre. This title doesn't really break a ton of new ground in that way but it does perform a well-crafted update of this chapter in Superman's story culminating with the 2006 release of Bryan Singer's excellent "Superman Returns".
Featuring interviews with the comic book's writers, artists and editors as well as some famous fans, we get some good insight into what makes Superman compelling. Lots of attention is given to the film productions featuring of course touching pieces on the late Christopher Reeve and his doomed 50's TV counterpart, George Reeves. Personal note: I thought it was especially nice that both Noel Neill and Jack Larson (Tv's Lois and Jimmy) were interviewed side by side as I have become accustomed to seeing them. (Singer also used both actors in "Superman Returns". Way to go, Bry.) Aside from the film productions, changes in the comic book and the attempts at radio and of course the classic TV versions including Smallville are covered featuring interviews with virtually every living contributor they could track down including the elusive Jackie Cooper, Ilya Salkind, Richard Donner, Margot Kidder and of course, Neill and Larson. Other perspectives are given by comic book smartypants Mark Waid, Tongue jockey Gene Simmons, Luke Skywalker, Sci-fi grandfather Forrest Ackerman and Superman's current golden girl Annette O'Toole. The entire thing is ably narrated by a virtual unknown named Kevin Spacey who gets to refer to himself in the third person right towards the end.
This is a lot of good stuff. It's a rather in-depth retrospective on the iconic superhero and for my money the producers did an excellent job.
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