The Pitch

The story of the all-American superhero.

Content Advisories

Rated PG for peril, some mild sensuality and language. Clark’s dad dies suddenly of a heart attack. Some parents on Common Sense have a problem seeing a naked three-year-old boy. The peril at the end may seem fairly intense to children, especially as Lois is buried alive. (Superman turns back the clock to save her, but not before she’s dead.) Superman uses his x-ray vision to discern the color of Lois’ underwear. Lois mentions a story she wrote about “sex and orgies in the senior citizens hall.” We hear a kid being slapped offscreen by her mother. Attention is drawn to Miss Teschmacher’s bosoms. An army major asserts he will perform a chest massage and mouth-to-mouth on an unconscious Miss Teschmacher, and orders his men to look away. During Lois and Superman’s flight, we hear Margot Kidder speaking the lyrics to “Can You Read My Mind” in voiceover. I had forgotten about that.

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Your Kids’ First Marlon Brando Movie

Television has had better luck with the story of Superman, from Lois & Clark to Smallville to Superman: The Animated Series. Through four movies (two of which people would rather forget) Christopher Reeve demonstrated himself a casting marvel, bringing a wide-eyed boy-scout earnestness to the iconic superhero (and a light, bumbling comedic touch to Clark Kent). This is actually not the best introduction to the character; the film assumes the audience already knows about Kryptonite, and Superman’s x-ray vision, and the fact that in the old TV show he would change clothes in a phone booth. You may have to work to keep kids awake for the first hour (especially during the prologue on Krypton), before Clark changes into his costume and begins to fight crime in Metropolis. From there the story keeps moving quickly, if unevenly. (It’s more of a mess than you remember.) Gene Hackman makes for a less-than-menacing Lex Luthor, aided only by his crony Otis and girlfriend (beard?) Miss Teschmacher, but the spectacle and effects and one of John Williams’ most memorable scores eventually save the day. —Chris Ereneta

Edited & designed by Chris Ereneta. Suggestions, feedback, and rants welcome at, @WatchWithKids, or on Facebook. More about this site.