Christopher Reeve's As Superman

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like the Reeve Superman and I really can’t fathom liking him. I get that he’s meant to be hopeful but I don’t think that resonated well due to the writing being more centric on campiness than anything. None of what he does feels earned or is developed by character interactions. A great example is when he steps out of the fortress and is suddenly Superman with no motives beyond a montage. You can’t relate with his prior “struggles” once he gets over it like you can with the DCEU, DCAU, Smallville, and comic versions who’ve done a far better job of crafting and defining Superman’s identity as a “human” and an everyman. He’s not someone who is overly perfect and flies above us with ease in the manner that I think Reeve’s version did for the most part. He is someone who has doubts, concerns, and very mortal struggles like humans would but he never lets them keep him down. He gets up, he fights, and flies with us against impossible odds to save people who may or may not like him. That’s a powerful lesson that I took away from every version but Reeve’s. That’s how MoS, BvS, Superman Earth One, Smallville, Peace on Earth, Man of Steel by Dan Jurgens, and such are proof that these characters teach us how to be good people.

There’s nothing wrong with liking that version but I don’t feel any connection to him that actually has him suffice as Superman. Just my thoughts.


You should post that in the “Unpopular Onions” thread in the General Discussions section


My favorite version of Superman is Superman The Animated Series. Tim Daly is my second favorite Superman. Christopher Reeve is my favorite Superman. Superman III and IV were not very good, but Reeve made the movies better in my opinion. That’s why I like watching all 4 movies. Christopher Reeve always took the character seriously, and his compassion for Superman really shows through all the bad story telling and slap stick campiness of the last 2 films.

I’m with @ANerdWonder on this one. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I dislike the Chris Reeve version, but I doesn’t have anything to do with what I love about Superman as a character and franchise. It has always been about action and adventure on an epic level that only Superman’s power-set can afford.
For me, the Reeve Superman is a compromised version of the character changed to meet the standards of the movie going public at the time. The audience had to be sold on Superman: the movie. George Reeves was synonymous with the character for most movie-goers, and that show was considered by most to be children’s programming. This all led to the studio marketing the film with “you’ll believe a man can fly”, essentially selling the movie as a special effects feature with an ensemble cast of Hollywood legends. It was very well recieved because it transcended the expectations of the audience, but expectations were never that big to begin with.
Donner succeeded in finding the relatable element, the love story between Lois and Clark. I consider Superman: the movie to be a “good movie” but a lame take on Superman. Superman 2 is flat-out a bad movie. It is so full of bs script conveniences like: the phantom zone is just outside of Earth’s atmosphere, fortress of solitude has a machine that removes Supes powers PERMANENTLY, 30 minutes later the same machine gives Clark his powers back, ect. Is probably the 1st series anybody ever said “just turn your brain off and enjoy it for what it is”. It might also be the part of the reason “fun” is considered generosity when describing mindless movies.
I think Ashley V. Robinson put it best in a recent Jawiin video: "the general perception of the Donner films has cinematically arrested Superman in 1978 to the detriment of plot and character development ". I’m paraphrasing, but I think it is a perfect summary.
WB is well aware of all this too, if you make a hopeful Superman film without corn and cheese you end up with the boring and abysmal “Superman Returns” and low box office profits (if any) . If you double down on cheese you get Superman 3 and 4. If you try to do the comics justice you get “not muh Superman” criticism. WB’s solution seems to be “no more Superman movies”


Also, it always irritates me when people start caterwauling that “Superman is supposed to be about hope!” Why? The house of El meaning hope is a fairly recent addition to the mythos, 2006. Hope is a fine tone for any Superman tale, but to reject any version that doesnt use hope as its primary tone is just dumb and stifling from a writing perspective. It’s a recipe for stagnation, the insistence on a particular tone or outlook.

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I know what you mean.

If you think about it, Christopher Reeve as Clark/Superman almost never got to be himself in those movies. Not only was his goofy bumbling Clark persona an act, but his goody-two shoes Superman persona was also an act. He was playing the role of the smiling, happy, perfect hero, Superman, but that’s not his real personality.

We really primarily only saw his real personality when he was a kid on the Kent farm: quiet, introspective, and wondering about his place in the world.

That’s why I love Man of Steel for dropping both the unnecessary bumbling Clark & fake Superman acts and allowing him to be himself the whole time.