This review is super biased. Because I’ve been a Superman fan from way back in the day. i’m talking “in the womb”
The opening used in Richard Donner’s Superman is fantastic nearly 40 years later. It starts out with a child narrating the circumstances of Superman’s stomping ground of Metropolis before he showed up. It really serves as a metaphor for our world before Superman leaped into through the pages of Action Comics #1 in April of 1938. According to the kid Metropolis was ravaged by the “Worldwide Depression” much like our world at the time. And that the Daily Planet, place of employment for mild mannered news reporter Clark Kent, served as a beacon of hope for the failed city. And then we leap into the iconic John Williams score. Everyone knows it. It’s the Opening Song. The only opening scores that can touch it in terms of recognizability might be Star Wars, The James Bond Theme from Dr. No, or maybe Danny Elfman’s Batman. It’s just really, really great.
Then we pan over the landscape of the icy, barren land that is Kal-El’s homeworld of Krypton. And we enter the Kryptonian council in the middle of the trial of General Zod, his man-hating accomplice, Ursula and their mindless mound of muscle, Non. The council is nearly unanimous in their decision to banish the nefarious trio to the Phantom Zone, Krypton’s prison dimension, but the deciding vote belongs to Jor-El, Superman’s pops. Played here by Marlon Brando, acting icon extrodinaire and a notriously difficult to work with kind of guy. Word has it he didn’t even the script throughout filming he had his own card guy. Jor-El decides to send them to the Phantom Zone causing General Zod to shout the iconic “YOU WILL KNEEL BEFORE ME!” Line. In reality this isn’t touched upon as the Kryptonian criminals are conspicuously absent throughout the remainder of this film. After this Krypton starts self-destructing as usual and Kal-El is sent to Earth. And thus concludes the nearly 20 minutes opening sequence. And what an opening sequence it was.