Superman

In the age of limitless special effects, Richard Donner’s superhero flick could teach youngsters a thing or two about character.

Richard Donner’s original Superman is paced less like an action movie and more like a biography, with a story everyone knows presented in lush Hollywood hues. In what’s arguably the first modern superhero movie, Donner seems to savor every bit of the Superman story, detailing the character’s origins for over 60 minutes before we see the cape and tights. After Marlon Brando’s famed 15-minute performance as Superman’s father, Jor-El, the film takes us to the Kansas farm where the Kents raise the alien infant into a man before he becomes super.

The adult life of Superman (Christopher Reeve, whose transition from an unknown stage actor into a leading cinematic star is transmuted into Clark Kent’s coming-of-age as a sci-fi savior figure) seems less centered around beating bad guy Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) and more on wooing the jaded urbanite Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). The film can get a bit mushy, but studios that too often toss superheroes into a video game-like fight sequence or add an incomprehensible plot twist would do well to look back at Donner’s gentle approach. The Alamo Drafthouse screens this classic today for its Rolling Roadshow to celebrate the Man of Steel’s 70th birthday. 8 p.m. 531 South Mason Road, Katy. For tickets and information, call 281-492-6900 or visit www.drafthouse.com. Free.
Sat., June 14, 8 p.m., 2008

 
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