SUPERMANIA presents the concluding part of Dwight R. Decker’s exhaustive review of Superman: The Movie from the vintage pages of The Comics Journal.
Pulling no punches as established in Part 1, Decker’s continued observations are at once barbed as they are complimentary. Having passed judgement on the Krypton scenes through the eyes of a comic-book devotee, Decker notes that the Smallville scenes (short of the era represented by the established timeline) are equally strong.
A favourite quote from the late Tom Mankiewicz was “Bam! You get to Metropolis and you’re in the comic book” may be true but this is where Decker begins to take exception. Besides the obvious praise for newcomer Reeve (no mean feat for a die-hard comic fan) the casting choices of Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper and especially Gene Hackman in his view are at odds with the characters represented on the page. While a case could be made for the descent into camp of the Luthor scenes( being reminiscent of the Batman TV series) the commentary on Margot and Jackie is harsh and the romantic, whimsical themes portrayed in the picture are clearly wasted on him.
In his summing up Decker enforces a common myth by claiming Superman is several movies in one. As the narrative is clearly a play of three very different acts he manages to undo some of his sharper insights when he claims the movie commits ‘dramatic suicide’ with the Luthor plot and that Lois should’ve stayed dead…