I’m going to list off my rating of the Superman films from best to worst. Although none of the Superman films released so far are all that good, a few are definitely worth a watch. Hold on to your butts.
1. Superman II. This is the best Superman film that has come out so far in my opinion. This is such a classic Superman story that Man of Steel ripped it off heavily. Terence Stamp plays a wonderful, cold and calculating Zod. Reeve returns for his second run as Superman, doing well with the confident and authoritative Kryptonian and contradicting it with the award, nerdy Clark Kent. Reeve did a much, much better job shifting between the hero and alter-ego than any of the Batman actors and any of the Superman actors that have come after him. The plot gets kind of weird, with Superman giving up his powers to sleep with Lois, and a lot of the flying and fighting scenes are absurdly campy, but the scenes on Krypton are awesome and overall, it’s just a fun movie to watch.
2. Superman. This is the original. The first in Reeve’s run on the character. It’s a fun movie, but Hackman’s goofy take on Lex Luthor is tiring, especially in comparison to the common comic portrayal. The movie also gets a little off base when Superman flies so fast around the Earth that time moved backward, just so he could save Lois. Once again, however, it’s a fun film to watch and a fun first take on Supes.
3. Superman III. Generally this film is considered awful by most critic standards, but I liked it. The story is weird and makes no sense, with Richard Pryor making some fake Kryptonite that turns Superman evil. The movie is interesting in that it shows more of Smallville and introduces Lana Lang. While the plot is convoluted and Pryor’s inclusion is weird and unnecessary, the gem is Reeve’s dual portrayal of Superman and evil Superman. Reeve is quite impressive playing the split personality, with the evil Superman appearing legitimately intimidating at times. It gets kind of ruined by one Superman trapping the other in tires and such, but it’s still a fun movie, whether it’s good overall or not.
4. Superman Returns. Here is another Superman film that critics hated. Brandon Routh’s similar physical appearance to Reeve is amazing, but his acting is nowhere near that level. Routh is cold and aloof, his separation of Superman and Clark Kent is nearly nonexistent as he acts with the same mopey indifference in both roles. Kevin Spacey finally plays a more sinister Luthor than Gene Hackman had, but still does reach the depth of that character. Nothing really happens in this movie, or at least nothing important. At one point, after being wounded with Kryptonite, lifts an island of Kryptonite. It’s not a very enjoyable movie, but it was nice to see the first Superman film in our new age of film technology.
5. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. I don’t even know what to say about this one. It’s the final in the ’70s series, and it is widely considered one of the worst with Superman Returns. Luthor makes a nuclear powered Superman clone and he fights Supes on the Moon. It’s just awful, campy enough to watch though, unlike…
6. Man of Steel. This was the shittiest piece of shit in my opinion. I’ll start with the positives though. Henry Cavill made a great Superman. He was everything I would have envisioned Superman being, however, they didn’t really give him much of anything to work with. I’m pretty sure he had the least lines in the whole film, and we really didn’t get to see him as Clark hardly at all. Michael Shannon did a pretty good job as Zod, however, we once again don’t get to see much of him. There was so much wrong with this movie that I don’t think I could get into it all. One major issue was the change in Superman’s entire character. The change in Jonathan Kent’s character was terrible too, and his death scene was absurd. Not to mention the overwhelming destruction of a major U.S. city that no one seems to care about. However, the worst part of it all was that it just wasn’t fun to watch. It was a horrible and depressing film that wasn’t fun to watch, even as a popcorn flick. Thanks for that Zach Snyder and David S. Goyer.