Critics Consensus

Superman deftly blends humor and gravitas, taking advantage of the perfectly cast Christopher Reeve to craft a loving, nostalgic tribute to an American pop culture icon.



Total Count: 67


Audience Score

User Ratings: 285,819
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Movie Info

Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel in a big-budget epic with Oscar-winning effects. Marlon Brando, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perrine, Jackie Cooper, Susannah York, Glenn Ford. Richard Donner directed.

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News & Interviews for Superman

Critic Reviews for Superman

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (4)

  • Reeve died in 2004, but his Man of Steel was manlier and steelier than recent portrayals by Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill.

    May 10, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Between its extravagant fancies and extravagant success Superman can only help to enhance the prestige of large-scale fantasy filmmaking.

    Apr 23, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It is this year's answer to "Star Wars," a movie that is pure escape and good, clean, unadulterated fun.

    Dec 10, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Superman doesn't have enough conviction or courage to be solidly square and dumb; it keeps pushing smarmy big emotions at us -- but half-heartedly.

    Jan 15, 2013 | Full Review…
  • It's the simple, earth-bound quality of the film that makes this comic-book fantasy soar.

    Jul 14, 2010 | Full Review…
  • The film is best when it takes itself seriously, worst when it takes the easy way out in giggly camp -- as it does, finally and fatally, when Lex Luthor enters the action.

    Apr 17, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Superman

  • Sep 22, 2017
    Superman in his first film still stands the test of time in many ways, It has a great story that's well put together, There's not much action but it really didn't need much, The light tone worked better than I thought but there was allot of camp humour that was more eye rolling than funny, All the cast were great and Christopher Reeve was great as Superman but too corny as Clark Kent, Ok the ending didn't really make much sense but it was a pretty fun and intense, The effects were great for its year too, This just proves DC had the upper hand in cinema way before Marvel ever controlled the box office.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 21, 2016
    The film that made us believe a man could fly. This is a classic film. The effects (for the time) were great and words can't describe the cast assembled for this film. Marlon Brando as Jor-El was absolutely brilliant and Christopher Reeve proved that he simply is Superman. Excellent script and very effective origin story/first film of the franchise. Hackman also provides a great performance as Lex Luthor, Superman's nemesis. Also excellent is John Williams' (now famous) score for this film.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2016
    Super is still the word for The Movie that started it all. Imagine making a film about an all-powerful do-gooder who stands for truth justice, and the American way in the post-9/11 U.S. of A. Crazy, right? Okay, so it doesn't age exceedingly well given our terminally cynical minds but film history's love of the comic book movie begins here. Thankfully packing as much visual panache as white bread hokiness, this take on Supes truly soars as a loving tribute to a pop culture phenomenon. Superman: The Movie knows what it is and who the man in tights is meant to inspire. Aimed at families with a broad appeal, the film combines humor, (then) cutting edge SFX, and brilliant casting to achieve a portrait ripped right from the funny pages...literally, too, as the film smartly begins with a child reading from a Superman comic book. In this PG-rated adaptation of the classic DC Comics character, an alien orphan gets sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero (Reeve). Everything, from the letter-perfect casting of Reeve to John Williams's unforgettable score to the awe-inspiring scenes set on Krypton to the marketability of Hackman, makes for a ridiculously entertaining film for general audiences. As the jaw-droppingly cornball ending reminds us, however, this Superman is not without its Kryptonite. People debate the best iteration of the Caped Crusader, but there's no argument on who makes the best Man of Steel. Christopher Reeve rounds out both sides of this character so perfectly - godly hero and mild mannered reporter - that you wish they gave Oscars for Best Casting. Under Richard Donner's (The Omen) spectacular - and spectacle making - direction, you truly believe that a man can fly because you're soaring right alongside him. Bottom line: Still More Powerful than a Locomotive
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 10, 2016
    'Superman' is in my opinion, an amazing superhero movie with a good cast (especially with Christopher Reeve as the title character). The action scenes took my breath away when I first saw this, the acting took my breath away, everything about this film took my breath away. Good for the family to watch and adrenaline pumping action that anybody who is a fan of 'Superman' will be thrilled and just get more excitement and this will remain to be a classic film that was (and still is) enjoyed by film buffs (myself included) and critics alike!
    David T Super Reviewer

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