Here he is! It's Superman -- in an amazing, thrill-packed story of the legendary hero through the years: from comic books to cartoons to TV to movies, including awesome see-it-first, see-it-now footage of 2006's Superman R... more »eturns. Discover the Man of Steel story that's never been told with the action and excitement you expect from the mightiest of all heroes. No matter if you're a super fan or just a movie fan, this is the adventure you've been waiting for.« less
EJ N. (FXANM8R) from CAMPBELL, MO Reviewed on 10/2/2009...
Excellant footage and story. A must for any Superman aficionado.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
You'll Believe A Man Could Fly
Barry | 06/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a life long fan of Superman and the series, all of the new interest and excitement in the world of the beloved superhero has got me pumped. I've been a huge fan of Smallville for the last 5 years, but this is Superman!. It's like getting back in touch with an old friend. I was so excited when I first heard that this documentary was happening, and even more excited when I learned that I don't have to wait to see it. It's going to be on A&E!. I watched it last night, and it was great. However, I heard from some web sites that the TV version last night had about 30 minutes of material cut, but will be on this DVD. As for the show itself, it was incredibly done. From 1938 to 2006, they pretty much touched upon everything. "Superman Returns" is coming, and I can't wait, and it was great that this was not one big plug for the movie. The new film gets it's little section at the end. What we have here is a very exclusive, in depth look at the history of The Man Of Steel. I learned some things here that I didn't know before. For instance, I had no idea Schuster/Siegal had a Superman that was supposed to be evil. Had no idea!. That is just one of a few splendid moments that shed light on this everlasting character that you just may not know. The film goes thru everything there is to know about Supes' life in the comic books, radio, TV, cartoons, and film. I would've liked to of seen a little more time spent on more of the individual movies, but I guess time was a factor. Maybe there is more on the DVD version. People along for the ride include such Superman regulars as Noel Neill, Jack Larson, Margot Kidder, Jackie Cooper, Richard Donner, Annette 'O' Toole, Dean Cain, and the cast of the new film. Comic book writers and historians give their two cents, as does Superman fans Mark Hamil and Gene Simmons. Seeing some of these people was a hoot. I don't know how old she is, but Noel Neill was adorable!. Seeing her and Larson together was great. Some sections were barely touched upon. They just gave a little thing here and there for "Lois And Clark" and the "Superboy" series from the 80's. Maybe there will be more of that on the DVD version. They also touch upon George Reeves' death, Christopher Reeve's horrible accident and unfortunate passing, and other things. This is the most in depth and detailed project I have ever seen on the character and history of the boy in blue. It really is a must have for all Superman fans. So, just what is it about Superman that endures nearly 70 years later?. Superman is just good. People look for and want that kind of hope. It is too surprising that Smallville became a huge hit right after 9/11. What is sad is that Christoper Reeve is not there to join in on the festivities. I still can't believe that he is gone. He will never be forgotten. And 70 years from now, neither will Superman. Welcome back, Supes."
In a word: SUPER!
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 06/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While it's true this excellent documentary would probably not have been made if there was no SUPERMAN RETURNS, it doesn't matter. Seventy years of Superman history PRIOR to the new movie certainly warrants this much attention.
Virtually no stone is left unturned in this feature-length exploration of Superman's history. From his first comic book appearance through all the t.v. and movie incarnations, this is the definitive visual guide to the Man of Steel. Even die-hard fans are likely to learn a few new things about their favorite hero. For example, did you know there was an attempt at a live-action kids' series in the late 50's called "Superpup"? The never-aired clip from the pilot episode has to be seen to be believed. There was also a never-seen live-action Superboy pilot, as well as a painfully bad musical version in the 70's. You'll marvel with disbelief as the Last Son of Krypton SINGS to bad guys as he's smacking them around, complete with 60's-era Batman-style "Pow!"'s, etc.
Of course, there's plenty of coverage of the successful screen variations, including the still-unsurpassed George Reeves series, some (but not quite all) the animated series, and Smallville. Director Kevin Burns enlists everyone he could find from those shows, as well as celebrity fans like Mark Hamill and Gene Simmons.
I think even a casual Superman fan will enjoy this lengthy, but thoroughly engaging documentary. I expect it is a show I will return to view many times in years to come. "
A great review
wallesq | Lexington, SC | 06/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What the other reviewers did not tell you is that this is a DVD of the 2 hour special that is running on A & E channel this month. I have watched it twice already and will probably buy the DVD since I absolutely love Superman and this is a great review of Superman from Action Comics #1 all the way up through the new movie, Superman Returns.
There is a great deal of depth to the discussions especially that of the 50s TV show and they discuss the death of George Reeves. The show also pays homage to Christopher Reeve and goes behind the scenes to discuss the making of Superman: the Movie.
There is discussion of Superman in every medium- tv shows, movies, cartoons, comics, merchandising and Broadway musical. We can see how the Man of Steel affected lives and see how his popularity rose and fell with the times. There are discussions with the stars of the shows, producers and directors.
This program is very comprehensive and enjoyable if you are a Superman fan. I would highly recommend it"
Super Collectible for Fans of the Man of Steel
Nelson Aspen | Los Angeles & NYC, USA | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A great Intro to the Big Red "S" if you're a newcomer, or a treasured DVD "scrapbook" for longtime diehard fans like myself. The rich, complex and touching story of Superman is lovingly, respectfully and most importantly ACCURATELY told in this 110 minute series of film clips, photographs and great interviews by the folks who "know" him best! My only regret was not seeing an interview with Marc McClure...as "Jimmy Olson," he appeared in all four Reeve SUPERMAN movies as well as the ill fated, but still fun, SUPERGIRL starring Helen Slater, Faye Dunaway and Brenda Vacarro.
All his incarnations, from all the many mediums, are brought together in this colorful and charismatic presentation you will be delighted to include in your library. Also a great gift idea for the Superman fan of any age!"
Has great promise, delivers some, but disappoints too
Nenah Sylver | sunny Arizona | 07/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Man of Steel is the most beloved modern mythic hero. Whether labeled "the man in blue," "Boy Scout in tights," "political propagandist for the US government," or "hero for truth, justice, and the American way," Superman's resiliency in the personal and collective consciousness has proven that, for many reasons, people need a hero.
Through old filmstrip footage, photos and interviews with comic writers and artists, actors, and historians, this film describes Superman's creation by high school pals Jerry Siegel and Joseph Schuster, and his many subsequent incarnations. The evolution and interpretations of the character depended on the mood and needs of the times. We are escorted through Superman comic strips, comic books, cartoons, TV shows, and movies from the late 40s to the present. Superman comics were translated into Italian, French, Spanish, Swedish, and other languages. Not to mention an amazing array of collectibles including Superman dolls; suitcases, lunchboxes and clothing emblazoned with the "S" logo; toys; patches.
Coverage is given to the TV shows that did well (for instance, Superman with George Reeves) and those that bombed (Superpup, which used animal puppets and thankfully never got on the air). There was also a Superman musical. Several actors appearing in the TV shows and films prior to the 1980s convey what it was like to work with George Reeves and Christopher Reeve. Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) discusses the unresolved death of George Reeves (probable murder publicized as suicide), and Margo Kidder (Lois Lane) praises the non-super heroics of Chris Reeve, who after his accident became a leading advocate for the needs of the paralyzed. We see some movie sets, learn the perils of flying above a sound stage in a harness, and more.
We are treated to many clips. A sample: Chris Reeve guest stars in Smallville. Dean Cain plays Clark Kent-Superman in the underappreciated Lois and Clark series. As a nice touch of continuity in the DC universe, Annette O'Toole plays Lana Lang to Chris Reeve's Superman, and later Clark Kent's mom Martha Kent in Smallville. Some of the older Superman buffs may remember George Reeves in rarely-seen roles as Superman on I Love Lucy, and as Clark Kent hawking breakfast cereal in a commercial.
Superman's cousin Supergirl is briefly mentioned, primarily as having failed at the box office. The writer and director wrongly assume that only men and boys want to be super-heroes (and hence, identify as Superman) and that women and girls always want to be rescued (and hence, identify as Lois Lane). Just as little boys have wrapped towels around their necks, wanting to fly, so have girls (including this author). Had the Supergirl comic books -- and later, film - been given quality writers and marketing savvy comparable to that accorded Superman, the outcome of this super-heroine might have been different. Apparently, it never occurred to the comic (and later movie) industry that girls can benefit from a female super-hero role model.
There are impressive glimpses of comics, from the famous first Action Comic of the 1930s to the present. However, the comic book segments are among the weakest parts of the film. The dizzying speed with which they catapult into view and dash away, hurts the eyes. A comic collector is interviewed, but the camera races through his memorabilia collection so that one cannot linger and enjoy these vital parts of Superman history. There is no excuse for underutilizing these rarely-seen resources. Not enough time? The scene with Kidder and Reeve in which he catches her, appears at least three times. Reduce it to one. And the ample historical footage of Nazi Germany and John Kennedy's assassination -- although helpful for understanding the ever-changing context of Superman's roles -- appear in many other venues. They could be shortened to make room for a more leisurely browse through the comics and memorabilia, interviews with the actors, and rare archival Superman footage. When you get to the memorabilia sections, a finger poised over the "pause" button is a good idea.
Overall, this is a good overview for Superman aficionados and especially newcomers. However, at the end, the too-long excerpt from the newest film Superman Returns makes one wonder if this is part infomercial disguised as a documentary. With a little re-editing, and the addition of more complete (and watchable) archival footage, this film will earn 5 stars."