Saturday, July 22, 2006

Superman Returns

The current Superman is a good one and Christopher Reeve is a legend, of course. For Superboys the ones on Smallville and Superboy hold their own and, if you always thought the Man of Steel should resemble a linebacker, Lois and Clark was enjoyable -- and made Teri Hatcher a star the first time.

Today though we watched Superman as he was meant to be, as he should be: A grown up surrounded by grown ups, powerful but not almighty, smart but not brilliant, an action hero, not a messiah. Today we watched the first season of the epoch making, legendary 1952 Adventures of Superman -- currently on sale at WalMart for $14.95.

I'm not even going to mention the special effects (other than to say the flying scene with him streaking through the clouds at 30,000 feet was sufficient years ago to make me believe a man could fly) because in the post-Star Wars, post-Matrix 21st century that's everybody's reference point. What I am mentioning is that each episode launches the moment the intro finishes into a whirling slam-bang 1950's adventure film crammed into a half hour that happens to feature the strange visitor from another planet.

This Superman doesn't have time for rich, bald, half-insane, super-geniuses; he's too busy busting the heads of thugs, spies, and murders together. And Lois Lane is tough as nails, especially for those days. The only reason she ever needs to be saved is because she's always the first one to the danger zone.

Everyday after kindergarten and first grade I'd put my red and blue Sears Halloween costume on and sit entranced before this version of the Man of Steel. Sometimes I'd wear it to school under my clothes -- cape included -- just to see what Clark Kent had to go through.

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