22 July 2009

Retrospective 1980

Superman II

Although Superman II was released in the summer of 1981 in these United States, it debuted overseas in 1980 and considering how sparse the rest of 1980 was, Supes it getting his highlight in this 1980 edition. The movie was a near disaster. Initially being filmed at the same time as Superman 1, the movie was put on the back burner to finish the first pic. In the meantime, in spite of the huge success of the original, the producers sought to cut costs. The director was replaced, and some of the actors ceased participation. Many scenes were reshot to legitimize the new director's title and the film was released.

General Zod and his crew were a viable threat for the Man of Steel. They easily stole the show from Lex Luthor and gave audiences a reason to cheer for dude that is practically perfect in every way. The movie had an interesting story as well with Superman deciding if he really wanted to be a the hero (a model for the also popular Spider-Man 2 perhaps?). The fight on the Streets of Metropolis was high stakes and my vote for the best Superhero fight on film. "Kneel Before Zod" is an all-time great movie line and seeing Zod bested is a delight every time. So in spite of some flaws, it really was great villains and action that made this movie. And let me restate, Superman threw actual punches! Sure he did in Superman 3 and 4 as well, but the problems in those films go far beyond anything salvageable. Imagine Superman Returns with a General Zod. Box office gold.

Although it wasn't as big a hit as Superman 1, this film earned $108 million equal to nearly $300 million in today's dollars. As it stands, Superman 2 is the best Superman film out there.

Hero at Large

Also in 1980 was a lighthearted little film called Hero at Large. Though this wasn't truly a superhero movie, it was about a made up superhero, Captain Avenger. The film is set in the real world, and essentially concerns Steve Nichols, a hard up for work actor disguised as Captain Avenger to promote the Captain Avenger movie, who foils a real life robbery. There is much public interest in this real life superhero which the New York Mayor's public relations team hopes to cash in on by staging crimes to be busted up by the "hero at large" to build public good will and earn the mayor a reelection.

They don't make feel good movies like this anymore, though I wouldn't be surprised in today's supersaturated comic book market to see a remake, maybe staring Steve Carell (not that I am lobbying for it).

Along with the continued airings of Super Friends and The Plastic Man Family and Baby Plas which began the year prior was what graced the screens in 1980.

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