“Superman Returns” is about Clark Kent/Superman returning to planet Earth from Krypton to a world that has changed. When returning to his job at the Daily Planet, Clark discovers that Lois Lane has a husband and child, and she has written an article in titled, "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman."
I bring this up, because some people have been asking the exact same question.
I would like to propose a question to everyone: why does the world need Superman?
There are many ways to answer that question. The first being, Superman is technically the first superhero, but not the first hero.
Yes, it is true; Superman was the first hero to have superpowers. In June of 1938, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel hit major success with the release of Action Comics #1. On the cover, it featured a man holding a car wearing a red cape and blue jumpsuit. However, as the decline in quality of the films with, “Superman III” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,” so did sales of comic books.
Writers at DC tried everything. Clark finally marrying Lois Lane after all these years. After some success with that, DC decided in a bold move to do something drastic to get back readers. They decided to kill the man of steel in seven issue series that would be known as, "The Death of Superman," published in 1992, followed by "The Reign of the Supermen." While being successful, people were mad at DC for killing Superman. So mad, in fact, they brought back Superman from the grave in “The Return of Superman.”
Yes, people got mad that a hero that once fought Muhammad Ali in a boxing match was now dead. It inspired Marvel to do the same thing after “Civil War” by killing off Captain America.
The second reason is that “Superman: The Movie” is the first big budgeted comic book movie. This 1978 movie directed by Richard Donner (“Lethal Weapon”) and written by Mario Puizo, the author of “The Godfather,” was given a budget of $55 million (which is the equivalent of a $200 million budget today). The movie would go on to be one of the highest grossing movies of 1978. This would be the highest grossing Superman movie adjusted for inflation.
The movie paved the way for films like, “Batman (1989),” “X-Men” and “Spider-Man," all Superhero movies that could be serious, but still have some fun.
Have you noticed the years I’ve highlighted? Why do I bring those up? I bring those up because they have been times, where America needed a symbol of hope. In times of fear and turmoil, America looked to the skies and saw Superman saving us from danger.
When Superman first appeared in 1938, America was three years out from entering World War II and The Great Depression was about to end. Suddenly, things didn’t seem that bad in the world for kids and teens. They could read Superman and escape the harshness of realities.
Jump to 1978? The Vietnam war had ended three years earlier, there was an energy crisis happening, and the threat of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union could happen any day. Americans flocked to the cinemas to see Superman fly on the screen for the first time. Suddenly, the thought of a nuclear winter is just a thing of the past. Superman could save us from the USSR.
Which leads me back to the question why does the world need Superman?
The world needs Superman because he changed the way we look at our heroes forever. Without Superman, characters like Batman and Captain America wouldn’t be as popular as they are now. Without “Superman: The Movie,” there would be no Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without Superman, there would be no hope.
While you may think Superman is boring and not interesting just remember this. Some kid who is feeling like an alien from Krypton is looking up to the sky and seeing the man of steel fly, so one day, the kid can strive to be like him.