We all think of Superman: The Movie as the gold-standard of comic book film adaptations – but the question is, it it? The release of – and backlash aimed at – Man of Steel has inspired me to analyze Superman’s first movie to find the answer, and AP2HYC has been gracious enough to allow me to share it with you.
At the time of its release, Superman: The Movie deviated heavily from the comic books source material. Not only did it present its own original ideas, but it also contradicted the comics published at the time.
6. Krypton and Jor-El
In the comics, Krypton was a futuristic utopia, like the sort seen in the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930’s. Conversely, the movie depicted it as an ice world with a dome as the only visible structure on its surface. Also, at the time of the movies release, Jor-El was always drawn having dark hair and wearing a green outfit with a sun on his chest, a red bandana on his head, and, sometimes, a red cape. In the movie, he wore black and white outfits that had the Superman S-shield on the chest and he had a full head of white hair.
While Zod wasn’t the main villain in Superman’s first appearance on the silver screen, he and his two followers did appear in one scene early in the film. However, Faora and Jax-Ur, were replaced by Ursa and Non. Additionally the movie altered their outfits from the ones in the comics to ones made entirely of leather.
4. Clark’s Childhood
In the comic books, Kal-El’s ship was a large red and blue cylinder, while in the movie it was a white star (probably to follow with the Kryptonian crystal technology). The movie also neglected Clark’s time as Superboy when he was a teenager (although many versions since, including some comic continuities, have ignored this part of Clark’s life as well). Additionally, Jonathan and Martha Kent, died from a rare tropical illness in the original comics, but in the movie, only Jonathan died (from a heart attack), while Martha remained alive well into Clark’s adulthood.