Executive-produced by Superman Returns director Bryan Singer and narrated by star Kevin Spacey, Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman is an exhaustive, nearly two-hour documentary covering over 60 years of the Man of Steel.
It begins with the early work of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster leading to the 1938 Action Comics debut of Superman, then continues through the Max Fleischer cartoons, the Columbia serials, to the 1950s Adventures of Superman series and the tragic suicide of its star, George Reeves.
Then it’s on to the 1966 Broadway musical, the 1970s feature films (including screen tests of Stockard Channing and Lesley Anne Warren), the paralysis and death of star Christopher Reeve, the subsequent TV series Lois & Clark and Smallville, and the 2006 feature Superman Returns.
The documentary also discusses Superman’s transformations during World War II, the atomic age, and the 1960s; events in the comic books such as John Byrne’s reboot and The Death of Superman; and obscurities such as a pilot for The Adventures of Superpup and the TV-musical version of It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman.
Interview subjects range from two-production stars such as Noel Neill and Jack Larson (who were in both Adventures of Superman and Superman Returns), and Annette O’Toole (Superman III and Smallville) to producer Ilya Salkind, director Richard Donner, Margot Kidder, Stan Lee, Dean Cain, and Brandon Routh.
The animated series deserves more coverage, and some interviewees are conspicuously absent-no surprise Lois & Clark’s Teri Hatcher couldn’t find the time, but what about Smallville’s Tom Welling?-but overall it’s an impressive and engaging examination of the DC Comics icon.