Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Watching Movies In Suits [Superman]


Suits is a show on the USA Network that one of my good friends had been trying to get me to watch for the longest time. Long story short, I finally bit the bullet. I fell in love almost instantly with the drama, humor and story being top notch. Also the sly movie references was the icing on the cake for me. They are littered in every episode and gave me this idea for a weekly blog series. Suits in short follows the story of a successful law firm in New York. Their top lawyer hires a kid who is basically a genius, but never went to law school. The kid must learn the ins and outs of working at a law firm, alongside higher ups and with arguably the best paralegal in the city. The longer this charade goes the harder it seems that his dirty little secret will stay one. We're continuing this series, and what I'd like to call "Superhero Month" with, Superman!

Suits Superman Reference #1
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Suits Superman Reference #2
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Suits Superman Reference #3
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Suits Superman Reference #4
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Suits Superman Reference #5
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Superman is easily one of the most recognizable superheros of all time. Until the Marvel boom of movies in the early 2000s, the first couple of Superman films (as well as the Batman ones) done in the 1970s and 1980s, stood as the best superhero films to date. With Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, this all star cast made Superman what it is today. It's on the forefront of great superhero movies and we may never see an ensemble cast like this in a superhero film ever again.

Superman follows the story of Clark Kent/Superman (Christopher Reeve) as he is sent to earth from Krypton as a baby. Jor-El (Marlon Brando), a scientist from Krypton, is providing evidence to the Ruling Council that three men: General Zod, Ursa and Non (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran), should be sentenced to eternal living death. Jor-El, however, is unable to convince the elders that Krypon is about explode. So he puts his son Kal-El in a spaceship and sends it to earth. Three years later the spaceship finally reaches earth and crashes into farmland near Smallville. It is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter), who raise Kal-El (they name Clark) as if he was their own. At the age of 18, Jonathan passes away, and not long after Clark is contacted telepathically. He finds his ship stowed under the barn and a green crystal and is told to go to the arctic. Once there, Clark throws the green crystal into the waters and it creates The Fortress of Solitude. Inside a vision of Jor-El explains to Clark about his planet, powers and his responsibilities. After 12 years, Clark has mastered his powers and in spiffy new costume, begins work at The Daily Planet. There he meets Lois Lane (Margot Kidder) and is attracted to her. He also learns that Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman), his girlfriend Eve Teschmacher (Valerie Perrine) and his moronic henchman Otis (Ned Beatty), have hatched a plan to send California plunging into the ocean. The city is just finding out who Superman really is and in order to save California [and as it turns out Lois Lane] Superman must overcome the evil mind of Lex Luthor.

This movie was well before it's time I think. This movie was done in 1978 and while there are parts that you could tell were very "70s", as a whole, the look and feel of this movie was better than most stuff made in the 80s itself. This is essentially an origins story for the lore of Superman. Jor-El sends his son to earth because their planet Krypton is in peril. Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha who raise the boy (now Clark) till he's 18. As an adult he becomes Clark Kent, reporter, and when need be, earth's savior, Superman. I know that's just a condensed version of what I wrote above, but it's such a simple story that started the original comic craze of Superman. I've never been a huge Superman fan. The big guy overflowing with powers, who never loses and get's the girl. Always seemed so, simplistic. But this movie casts it all in a different light. You see that he's sort of an outcast growing up. You see the pain he feels when Jonathan Kent, the only father he knew, dies. You see that he in fact doesn't even get noticed by Lois outside of "Superman". It humanizes him in a way, and makes him relateable on personal level. This is what makes me love the characters in the movie. With the simplistic story, the characters and how they were portrayed was amazing. Marlon Brando, is well Marlon Brando. Christopher Reeve plays both sides of his role greatly, as mild-mannered Kent and superhero Superman. Gene Hackman is deliciously dubious as the evil archenemy Lex Luthor. While Margot Kidder is great as Lois Lane, the reporter Clark Kent falls for sent to investigate Superman. The story, coupled with the good writing, good characters and great acting by the main cast made this a pleasure to watch. This movie was a bit over two hours, but it was done so well you want it to keep going. While the music and score is almost iconic.

I'm gushing at this point and I feel I'm rambling. My love for these now classic comic book movies are ever growing as I'm continuing to watch them (and re-watch them) each week. As I said above Superman isn't one of my favorite heroes, but this is a fantastic movie. Humor, action, emotion, storytelling and great acting, make the first installment in the Superman franchise a mega hit. I'm hard pressed to find superhero movies before Spider-Man 2 that I truly enjoy for being more than just comic book adaptations. But this rendition of Superman from 1978, hits the nail on the head.


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