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The Superman phenomenon

Shruti Goyal takes a quick look at what the earlier Superman films were about.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 12:21 IST

Out of the four Superman films that were released till the late 80s, only the first two followed a set sequence. The last two appeared more as separate episodes in the life of Superman.

Superman (1978)

Warner Brothers released the first Superman film in 1978. Starring Christopher Reeve as Superman/Clark Kent, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, the film was directed by Richard Donner.
Jor-El (Marlon Brando), a famous scientist of the planet Krypton finds out that his planet will explode shortly. To keep his baby son safe, he places the infant in a space capsule, along with a green crystal, and sends it to Earth. The infant was adopted by elderly parents who named him Clark Kent. Clark realises his super powers and decides to fight crime as Superman. He accepts the job of a reporter in the Daily Planet newspaper and works with Lois Lane, with whom he falls in love. Meanwhile, the villain Lex Luthor makes plans to destroy the Earth, but is foiled by Superman.


Superman II (1981)

After the huge success of Superman, director Richard Lester decided to make a second film on Superman. The cast for the sequel was the same, except for three new villains.
Three Kryptonian criminals – General Zod, Ursa and Non land on earth and attempt to achieve world domination. One way to ensure that is by killing off Superman. Meanwhile, Lois Lane discovers that Superman and Clark are the same person, causing Clark to give up his super powers so he could be with Lois.


Superman III (1983)

Initially titled Superman vs. Superman, the third film in the Superman series was directed by Richard Lester again. In this film, Lester followed a different storyline. Richard Pryor plays Gus Gorman, a mischievous scientist who developed a weapon with which the mineral Kryptonite – though already harmful to Superman – affects the Man of Steel in a bizarre way: by splitting him into two different people, one good and one evil.

 

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
In Superman’s fourth adventure, he saves the Statue of Liberty from destruction, prevents the volcanic eruption of Mount Etna and rebuilds the demolished Great Wall of China.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie, the movie deals with the Man of steel's crusade for nuclear disarmament and Lex Luthor's latest creation – Nuclear Man – whom Luthor creates from a stolen hair of Superman's.