NOSTALGIA: JOANNE SAVAGE remembers Christopher Reeve’s Superman with a passionate nostalgia for the flying ubermensch in tights who saved us from Lex Luthor yet doubled as a kindly junior reporter for the Daily Planet
I am one of many hordes of women who fell desperately in love with Christopher Reeve’s Superman in the iconic 1978 film.
Statuesque, muscular, ripped, with slick slightly waved dark hair, facial features of perfect symmetry and ruggedness, a face such as only God could have designed, making everyone swoon even while wearing a blue leotard get-up with a red cape and the massive ‘S’ emblazoned on the front, he was out of this world.
Of course he was, I mean he came to earth on a spaceship before the destruction of his home planet Krypton under the supervision of his father Jor-El, played by Marlon Brando, and his real name was Kal-El before he settled in with a kindly farming family, discovered the full scale of his supernatural potency and moved to the Metropolis to fight evil as a flying ubermensch while also masquerading as a humble, novice reporter named Clark Kent at a newspaper named the Daily Planet, who simply wanted to woo his co-worker Lois Lane and even had the temerity to be a bit bashful about it, despite the reality that any woman on the planet with the gift of sight would have fallen gladly and ecstatically into those intensely muscular arms.
And he had supernatural strength, a staunch moral code, and could carry you through the air and save the planet from the evil of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), but while engaged in such apocalyptic battles by night could still turn up at the newsdesk with his glasses on to file copy the next morning as though he was just an average Joe.
He was a brilliant undercover supernatural hero of world-changing power and not a single one of his fellow reporters had the faintest clue about who he really was, apart from his beloved Lois.
OK, so there have been a few further Superman films since the first two, the latest with the dashing Henry Cavill in the titular role (incidentally Cavill is now the new 007), but for me there will only be one Superman and that is Christopher Reeve.
Superhero movies featuring seismic battles between the forces of good and evil have hardly gone out of fashion, and don’t look likely to anytime soon (is that because part of us yearns to believe certain things unexplained by physics are possible?), but it’s hard to recreate that first encounter with Christopher Reeve as the most super of men, no less than a flying god in tights.