Superman is the original superhero, the one on which either directly or indirectly inspired all the others. He has appeared in numerous movies and television shows, both live action and animated, during his more than seventy years of existence.
The story of Superman has remained consistent. He was sent to earth from the dying planet of Krypton by a scientist and his wife. Once on Earth, Kal-El would have powers that would exceed any man on the planet. Kal-el could leap tall buildings with a single bound, run faster than a speeding bullet, was more powerful than a locomotive, and could fly at great speeds in the sky. Raised by the kind Jonathan and Martha Kent, these foster parents taught him to fight for truth, justice, and the American way. They gave him the name Superman. As an adult, Kal-el uses the name Clark Kent to disguise his superhero persona. He works at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. Superman was created by Jerry Sigel and Joe Shuster in mid-to-late June of 1938.
In the 1948 Superman serial was released, starring Kirk Alyn as the titular hero. Superman is trying to stop a masked criminal known as the Spider Lady. Two years later the serial Atom Man vs Superman was released. Superman had to battle Lex Luthor who was using a teleportation device for his crimes.
In 1978 the very first Superman movie hit theaters with Christopher Reeve playing the role and forever endowing Superman with a much more cemented "look". Directed by Richard Donner, Superman tells the origin story of Kal-El being sent from his doomed planet of Krypton and raised up in Smallville. Years later we rejoin Clark Kent, Superman's day to day persona, as he lives a normal life until Superman is needed to save the day but Lex Luthor, a wealthy business man, has other ideas.
Luthor plans to divert a nuclear missile to the San Andreas Fault causing the west coast of the United States to fall into the sea and making Luthor's desert real estate worth much, much more. Even with super powers, Superman is unable to save the day and his love Lois Lane. He ends up flying so fast, backwards, around the Earth that it reverses its rotation, thus reversing time, and giving Superman the chance to save Lois and the day.
Even the success of the first film and popularity of the Superman franchise in general couldn't save Superman 2's production. With Richard Donner back on to direct, he began having problems with Ilya Salkind who, with his father, has purchased the Superman rights and was responsible for the films. Their problems effected the film as it went over budget and eventually halted altogether. Donner refused to finish the film as the original shots were spliced into the first film's ending and the remaining used as apart of a Richard Lester directed film. Lester gave the film a much more comedic tone.
In spite of all the problems, including John Williams and Marlon Brando being cut out of the film, it was still a success. But in 2006, at the behest of fans, Richard Donner returned to Superman 2 and produced the "Richard Donner Cut". This version cut out a lot of the comedy of the original and filled in a few plot holes, overall the Donner Cut has become just as popular to fans and critics with some believing its the only way to watch Superman 2.
Salkind continued on the Superman gravy train with Superman 3 in 1984. Salkind's original idea was to introduce Brainiac as one of the main villains and Supergirl to join Superman as a possible romantic interest. Warner Bros. however didn't approve and came up with a new version with comedian Richard Pryor as a genius computer hacker, Gus Gorman, who is manipulated into creating a new type of Kryptonite that wouldn't kill Superman but rather turn him evil.
The third film was another success in the Superman franchise but overall a disappointment. Pryor's character was seen by many as too comedic for the usual tone of the films and evil Superman as equally disparaging. Despite this Reeve was complimented for his ability to play a darker tone in contrast to the noble Superman.
Reeve was also enticed to put the cape on one more time in Superman 4: The Quest for Peace mainly due to its story line pertaining to nuclear weapons. As the film was being made the new studio producing it, Cannon Films, began cutting the budget in half effecting the special effects which lead to re-editing of the film. This lead to the films ultimate downfall in both financial and critical success forcing Warner Bros. to put off more films from Superman altogther.
Superman didn't return to the movies until 2006 when Superman Returns came out. With long time fan of Superman, from both films and comic books, Bryan Singer directing the film franchise seemed in good hands. Brandon Roth played Superman, with come likeness to Reeve, and Kevin Spacey playing Lex Luthor. In this version, Superman has been gone from Earth for about five years looking for survivors on his home world. When he comes back he finds that Lois has given birth to a son and is engaged to be married.
Luthor though has a plan for Superman and for his own benefit. Lex plans to create a new landmass in the middle of the Atlantic ocean thinking people will pay to live on ocean front property as well as threaten countries with a crystal he has found, which he stole from Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Despite Lois and what Superman eventually learns is really his son being in danger and Lex having Kryptonite, Superman is able to defeat Lex and begins serving the people of Earth once again.
The film was met with mostly praise but the box office numbers weren't what Warner Bros. were expecting. A sequel was set despite these lower than expected numbers but were pushed repeatedly due to scheduling conflicts from Singer, the writers, writer strikes, and eventually Singer dropped out entirely. But Warner Bros. weren't out to the Superman game just yet and in 2008 began searching for a new story to help reboot the Superman film franchise altogether. With Zack Snyder directing and the first non-American Superman, Henry Cavill, playing the curly haired one. The film is scheduled to be released in late 2012.
A reboot of the franchise, this film is currently in production and is being directed by Zach Snyder. Superman will be played Henry Cavill and the villain shall be General Zod, who will be portrayed by Michael Shannon. Multiple changes have been made to the franchise, setting it apart from previous films as well as the comics they are based upon. Notable changes include Superman's costume, the non-existence of Superman's greatest weakness Kryptonite and the change of Jimmy Olsen's gender.
Adventures of Superman debuted in 1952 with George Reeves playing Superman. The show mainly followed Superman fighting crime and various Metropolis villains along with his daily life as Clark Clent, reporter for the Daily Planet. The series was best known for its special effects which were advanced for the time and shot itself into popularity and garnered a large audience. George Reeves even played Superman as a guest star in an episode of I Love Lucy in 1957.
Superman didn't return in his own live action television show until 1993 when Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman first aired. The show flipped the usual script of Superman merely acting like Clark Kent during the day and being more comfortable and confident in his Superman role while saving lives and protecting people. In this version the relationship between Lois and Clark is much more flushed out in a full on relationship and regulating Superman's adventures to only apart of the larger show plot. The show was very popular with Dean Cain as Kent and Teri Hatcher playing Lois Lane. Ratings were fairly high for the show until the fourth and final season
Smallville took an entirely new look at the life of Superman. The main focus of Smallville would be to follow Superman not in his adult life in Metropolis but rather following him learning to use and control his new powers as he survived high school. Tom Welling plays Superman as he just begins to share his secret of his powers as well as learning to use them for good rather than for greedy reasoning. Clark learns of his heritage, discovers crystals left by his father, builds the Fortress of Solitude, and even begins the foundations of the Justice League.
Superman's most seen form on television is in animated form. Superman was partnered with Aquaman and Batman for individual series showing the respective duo's adventures. Eventually the show Super Friends in a few different incarnations. The show followed a justice league like group of superheroes battling against evil, crime, and the organization of super-villians the Legion of Doom. Superman was the Super Friends leader with heroes like Batman and Wonder Woman along with him. Super Friends ran from 1973 to 1986 with Danny Dark voicing Superman throughout.
Finally in 1996, following in step with Spider-Man, Batman, and the X-Men, Superman: The Animated Series came out. With Tim Daly voicing Superman and a distinct animation style giving a reboot to the Superman franchise. While paying homage to the old with a newer take on Superman which included Superman's powers not being of infinite supply. About halfway through the series run The New Batman Adventures combined with the show becoming The New Batman/Superman Adventures which would eventually spawn off the Justice League animated television show.
Superman is not your typical comic book hero. Instead of being a normal person who fights crime as night after dawning a mask, Superman puts on his mask to be among normal people. This has caused a struggle sometimes for Clark as he strains to blend in with everyone else as well as connect to them.
Despite being from another world, Clark was taught at a young age by his adoptive parents to be virtuous and good. As Clark began to understand and develop his powers it was thanks to the Kents that Clark learned these lessons early on. Clark's real father even sent messages along with him to help Clark understand why he is the last of his species and what to do with his gifts.
Overall Superman is a typical hero above most others, portraying a keen sense of what is right and what is wrong as always wanting to protect the citizens of Earth and Metropolis. He is well known for championing the ideals of truth, justice and the American way.
|2016||Batman Vs. Superman (Working Title)||Henry Cavill|
|2014||The Lego Movie||Channing Tatum|
|2014||Justice League: War||Alan Tudyk|
|2014||JLA Adventures: Trapped In Time||Peter Jessop|
|2013||Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox||Sam Daly|
|2013||Man of Steel||Dylan Sprayberry|
|2013||Man of Steel||Cooper Timberline|
|2013||Man of Steel||Henry Cavill|
|2013||LEGO Batman the Movie DC Super Heroes Unite||Travis Willingham|
|2013||Superman: Unbound||Matt Bomer|
|2013||Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2||Mark Valley|
|2013||Movie 43||Bobby Cannavale|
|2012||Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special||Breckin Meyer|
|2012||Superman Vs. The Elite||George Newbern|
|2012||Justice League Doom||Tim Daly|
|2011||All Star Superman||James Denton|
|2010||Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam||George Newbern|
|2010||Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics||Bud Collyer|
|2010||Superman/Batman: Apocalypse||Tim Daly|
|2010||Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths||Mark Harmon|
|2009||Superman / Batman: Public Enemies||Tim Daly|
|2008||Justice League: The New Frontier||Kyle MacLachlan|
|2007||Superman: Doomsday||Adam Baldwin|
|2006||Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut||Christopher Reeve|
|2006||Superman Returns||Brandon Routh|
|2006||Superman: Brainiac Attacks||Tim Daly|
|2001||Justice League||George Newbern|
|2001||Justice League: Justice on Trial||George Newbern|
|1998||The Batman Superman Movie||Tim Daly|
|1987||Superman IV: The Quest for Peace||Christopher Reeve|
|1983||Superman III||Christopher Reeve|
|1981||Superman II||Christopher Reeve|
|1961||The Adventures of Superboy||John Rockwell|
|1956||Superman Flies Again||George Reeves|
|1954||Stamp Day for Superman||George Reeves|
|1951||Superman and the Mole Men||George Reeves|
|1950||Atom Man vs. Superman||Kirk Alyn|
|1942||Eleventh Hour||Bud Collyer|
|1941||The Mechanical Monsters||Bud Collyer|
|Batman: The Brave and the Bold||Roger Rose|
|Legion of Super Heroes||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Krypto the Superdog||Michael Daingerfield|
|The Batman||George Newbern|
|Justice League||George Newbern|
|Justice League||Shane Haboucha|
|Static Shock||George Newbern|
|Batman Beyond||Christopher McDonald|
|Superman: The Animated Series||Tim Daly|
|Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman||Dean Cain|
|The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians||Danny Dark|
|SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show||Danny Dark|
|Super Friends - The Lost Episodes||Danny Dark|
|Challenge of the SuperFriends||Danny Dark|
|The All-New Super Friends Hour||Danny Dark|
|Super Friends||Danny Dark|
|The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure||Bud Collyer|
|Adventures of Superman||George Reeves|
|I Love Lucy||George Reeves|
|news||Warner Bros. Finally Wins Superman Copyright Battle||FinalDasa|
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|blog||Animated Superhero Films||Stealthoneill|
|blog||Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-Ray Set Review||CrimsonAvenger|
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