Superman (1978) directed by Richard Donner
The first blockbuster superhero movie came out in 1978, almost 40 years ago! It is the origin tale of Superman as told by director Richard Donner from a screen play that includes Mario Puzo (of Godfather fame) among its writers.
The story is interesting in how it delves more into Krypton's last days. Jor-El (Marlon Brando) argues with other Kryptonian elders that the planet has less than a month to live. They don't want to hear it so they silence him. He and his wife send their only son, Kal-El, to Earth. Krypton is destroyed almost immediately after the departure. The boy travels through space, learning a bit of science and history on the way. He crashes on Earth as a toddler and is adopted by Ma and Pa Kent, who raise him to be a good man. Clark Kent grows up hiding his amazing powers. He eventually leaves, heading to the Arctic where he uses a crystal left by his father to build the Fortress of Solitude. He learns more about his powers and history and purpose from recordings made by his Kryptonian father. That's basically the first hour (i.e. first half) of the movie. The pace is pretty slow but the story telling is well-done. J and L watched and never said they were bored (except during the opening credits, which do go on for a while).
The pace picks up when Clark moves to Metropolis. He takes a job as a reporter with the Daily Planet and begins his life as a super-heroic do-gooder by foiling crimes and saving cats from trees. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) is planning the crime of the century. Lex can't resist taunting Superman into a rivalry with some predictable if not unenjoyable results.
As I said, the movie's pace is very slow by modern standards but the special effects hold up (mostly) even 40 years later. Christopher Reeve is great as bumbling Clark Kent. As Superman, Reeve is a little flat mostly because Superman's character is a little flat as the heroic do-gooder. The other actors are all good though the script is hammy in some parts. The kids enjoyed it and are interested in seeing the next movie, which will definitely do. Thank goodness for some PG-rated superhero films that I can show them!