Superman Movies in Order
The earliest known commercial use of the term “superman” was in 1895. It referred to a person who exhibited a certain set of characteristics including “greatness,” “strength,” and “goodness.” In the early 20th century, the term was used in the context of eugenics, a pseudo-science that sought to “improve” the human race through selective breeding.
The term was used again in 1938 to refer to the protagonist in a short story by American author and illustrator, Jerry Siegel. That character would go on to become the most famous superhero in the world – Superman. Siegel and his friend, Joseph Shuster, created the first version of Superman in June 1933. They eventually pitched their creation to all the major media outlets of the time. However, it was not until October 1940 that their work would appear in print, published by Detective Comics Inc.
This was the start of what would become one of the most popular and well-known characters in the world. Though there have been many different iterations of the Superman story over the years, there have been only 17 complete Superman movies. Siegel, Shuster, and others have been working on various versions of the story since the 1930s and 1940s, and their work has been adapted into multiple forms of media throughout the years.
Superman: The Movie (1978)
One of the earliest movies based on Superman was released in 1978. It was directed by Richard Donner and starred Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. This movie is often regarded as the greatest of all the Superman adaptations. It was a commercial success and was nominated for three Academy Awards.
The story of this movie begins when the planet Krypton is on the verge of destruction. A scientist, Jor-El, discovers that the planet’s core is unstable. He reports this to the high council who then dismisses his findings. Jor-El and his family manage to let Kal-El, his son (Superman) escape into a spaceship and head for a distant planet, which is Earth where he is raised by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent.
The movie is about Clark and his double life as a regular type of guy and being the world’s most powerful being saving the world from harm.
Superman II (1980)
The sequel to the original Superman movie was released in 1980. This movie is notable because it brought back the same cast as the first film. The sequel was also the first film to bring in more money than its predecessor.
This film was directed by Richard Lester. The story of Superman II begins when General Zod and his cronies escape from the Phantom Zone and head to earth to look for Superman. He goes to the city of Metropolis to get revenge on Superman. Meanwhile, Superman is taken by surprise seeing how the three Kryptonian fugitives are just as or even stronger than him. Fans loved this sequel for the intense battles that transpired between Superman and the Kryptonian trio.
Superman III (1983)
Superman III is a mixed bag. It was intended to be a “black comedy” and was largely panned by critics. However, it is notable for featuring the first cinematic appearance of the famous villain, Metallo. This was the first of the films to be directed by Richard Lester, but it was made without the input of the series’ original screenwriters.
It has very little in common with the original Superman II other than the basic premise of a villain using kryptonite to control Superman. The story of Superman III begins when an unscrupulous businessman named Ross attempts to create synthetic kryptonite to profit from the demand. He succeeds, but the synthetic kryptonite affects Superman rather than incapacitating him. This causes Superman to develop a new personality, a greedy, money-obsessed alter ego known as “Clark.”
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Superman IV is perhaps best known for being the final film in the original series of Superman films. However, this film is also notable for being a different type of story from its predecessors. This film was intended to be a satirical attack on the arms race between the Russian Federation and the United States.
Superman is approached by Lenny Luthor, Lex Luthor’s nephew, who asks him to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Superman agrees and travels to the White House, where he meets with President Ronald Reagan. Superman then uses his heat vision to destroy all the world’s nuclear missiles.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has created a new villain, Nuclear Man, who is powered by the sun. Nuclear Man is sent to attack Superman and the two battle across the globe. Superman eventually defeats Nuclear Man and returns to Metropolis.
Superman Returns (2006)
Superman Returns is a 2006 American superhero film directed by Bryan Singer and written by David S. Goyer. It is the sixth film in the DC Comics series of Superman films and stars Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Parker Posey, James Marshall, and Frank Langella.
The story takes place ten years after the events in Superman II (1980) and five years before those in Superman III (1983). Set primarily at the Daily Planet building in Metropolis, it follows the efforts of its publisher Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), who uses his influence to manipulate events behind the scenes so that he can sell more papers. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) tries to uncover this but is repeatedly thwarted by her editor-in-chief Perry White (James Marshall), who sees her as competition for his job and his affections for her.
Man of Steel (2013)
Superman is one of the most iconic heroes in pop culture, and he’s appeared on the big screen many times over the years. The Man of Steel is a reboot of the franchise that tells the story of Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) as he discovers his superhuman abilities and sets out to become a hero in Metropolis. This action-packed movie features many special effects and great fight scenes, so it’s sure to appeal to superhero fans.
The cast includes Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, and Michael Shannon as Zod. If you’re a fan of comic book movies, you won’t want to miss this one!
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a movie that is part of a larger cinematic universe called the DC Extended Universe. It is a sequel to the 2013 film Man of Steel. This film is notable for being the first time that the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight have appeared on the big screen together. It also features the first cinematic version of Wonder Woman.
The story of Batman v. Superman begins with Superman trying to implement a better method of monitoring the world for potential threats and keeping the peace. Meanwhile, Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham City for ten years. He has grown increasingly disturbed by Superman’s actions and fears that he may one day turn evil.
Justice League (2017)
The Justice League has appeared in many different forms over the years. The first incarnation of the team consisted of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg. The Justice League is a team of superheroes that band together to protect the world from global threats.
The story of Justice League begins when Batman and Wonder Woman investigates an attack on a remote military base. They find the base has been attacked by Steppenwolf and Darkseid, members of a race of intergalactic aliens called the New Gods. The New Gods have come to Earth to find three artifacts known as “Mother Boxes.”
Superman Movies in Order Christopher Reeves
- Superman I
- Superman II
- Superman III
- Superman IV
Superman Movies in Order Henry Cavill
- Man of Steel
- Batman vs Superman
- Justice League
- Man of Steel II
The history of Superman movies is a long one, and it shows no sign of ending anytime soon. There are several films planned for release in the coming years, and there are many more in the pipeline. In addition to the films, there are also several different TV shows in various stages of production. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of the superhero or simply want to explore one of the most famous fictional characters of all time, these films are well worth watching.