STUDIO: Warner
MSRP: $14.99
RATED: not rated
RUNNING TIME: 110 min.
• Superman Returns trailer
• Mini-posters, bonus disc (Best Buy exclusive)

The Pitch

“Superman never made any money saving the world from Solomon Grundy.”

The Humans

Interviewees include: Forrest J. Ackerman, Dean Cain, Gerard Christopher, Jackie Cooper, Richard Donner, Mark Hammill, Margot Kidder, Jack Larson, Stan Lee, Tom Mankiewicz, Noel Neill, Dennis O’Neil, Annette O’Toole, Brandon Routh, Ilya Salkind, Gail Simone, Bryan Singer, Mark Waid, Lesley Ann Warren, Adam West. Narrated by Kevin Spacey.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to recommend Brick. It was really good.

The Nutshell

The world’s most iconic superhero™ is profiled, just as his new motion picture is coming out. Good timing, eh? The evolutions and permutations of that Amazing Stranger from the Planet Krypton are charted through comic books, comic strips, radio broadcasts, animated cartoons, matinee serials, TV series and feature films. Writers, artists, and celebrities discuss Superman and how he affected their lives.

You’re a mean drunk, Superman.

The Lowdown

Director Kevin Burns (not to be confused with Ken, the The Civil War guy) follows his excellent Star Wars documentary with a ramble through an even richer media archive.

As with Empire of Dreams, Burns gives fair play to the less sympathetic sides of his subject, and notes how certain aspects of the character have come and gone, reflecting the times in which they appeared. Racist WWII propaganda is not glossed over, and neither is ‘50s TV star George Reeves’s mysterious death. The evidently awful stage musical It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… is excerpted at length. We even hear producer Jon Peters admit he was completely off-base with his personal vision for the character, and get to see some of the ugly, unused concept art from the Burton/McG/Ratner years.

"I’m super. Thanks for asking."

Hopefully, this is an indication of the sort of content we can expect of the upcoming 14-disc box set. I guarantee there’s material here you’ve never seen before. The interviews, most of them brand-new, cover a great deal of ground. Surprisingly, KISS frontman Gene Simmons provides some of the best insights.

"Cough please."

The Package

16:9 anamorphic. Most of the archival clips have been blown up to fit the aspect ratio, but nothing looks too grainy or cropped, at least for documentary purposes. No extras aside from the Best Buy exclusive bonus disc, which compiles a selection of Bryan Singer’s Video Journals from the official website. The mini-poster cards are nice too.

7.5 out of 10