In 1978 the world was offered an enticing prospect: You will believe a man can fly. 

'You will believe a film will change the future of Hollywood' may not have had the same ring about it, but it did affect 35 years of blockbusters; tread new ground in the entertainment world; spawn five follow-up films; several TV series… and all because of a hero who looked frankly ridiculous. 

In a single bound, Richard Donner's blockbuster Superman: The Movie created the template for most of today’s biggest films - The Dark Knight saga; Avengers Assemble; the Iron Man trilogy and, of course, Warner Bros' latest Superman reboot, Man Of Steel.  

Like a footprint in wet cement, Superman: The Movie was a potent, indelible force in the mind of this film-curious 10-year-old."

 

It being a Christopher Nolan production, you know Man Of Steel will be a super intelligent slice of fantasy adventure, heavy on the realism - or ‘verisimiltude’ as Donner used to insist on - while 300 director Zack Snyder ramps up the slo-mo stylings of someone who has seen The Matrix too many times. 

Like a footprint in wet cement, Superman: The Movie was a potent, indelible force in the mind of this film-curious 10-year-old.

 I once ploughed through a rather dull ‘making of’ book, and was transfixed by tales from my dad. He knew a bloke who knew a small stunt extra so light he could be thrown around the set. 

Superman: The Movie was a pioneering superhero flick surfing the wave of Star Wars-inspired fantasy. However, it was also a crime caper; a disaster epic with stylistic nods to His Girl Friday (snappy newsroom banter) and Bringing Up Baby (Clark Kent's look was pure Cary Grant).

It ticked many boxes, for many generations, but crucially it was fun, and in casting terms knocked the metaphorical baseball out of the stadium - years before a vertical 747 almost crashed into it for the yawnsome Superman Returns. 

Gene Hackman was cocky, charming and manic as Lex Luthor; Terence Stamp brought gruff London charm to General Zod (exploited more in the first sequel); Margot Kidder added gritty sex appeal as ace reporter and love interest Lois Lane, while Christopher Reeve remains perhaps the best Superman you will ever see on the big screen. 

Okay, new Superman Henry Cavill may do as good a job as the last son of Krypton, but judging by his work on Immortals, I'm not holding (my far from super) breath. 

The DNA of Superman: The Movie can be seen in Nolan's early Batman films - the all-star cast, the scale, the gravitas needed to keep a lightweight comic book epic grounded. So there's a feeling things have come full circle now he's been trusted with one of Warners’ biggest franchises in these post-Potter years. 

And like some of the best fantasy epics ever made, Donner’s was largely crafted in Blighty by a team of old school movie experts who used low-fi techniques to create cinema magic. (The Krypton sun was a burning paint can filmed overhead – that one’s for you, trivia fans). 

Get past the missing red pants of the revamped costume, and Clark Kent's alter ego is still the chisel-jawed, muscle bound hunk many of us grew up with."

 

Superman: The Movie was so visually memorable, especially with its crystalline Fortress of Solitude, Hollywood has had a hard time ignoring the aesthetics of that pioneering film, with the first three sequels adhering to its look. 

Now Nolan and Snyder have wiped the cinematic slate clean for their take on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's iconic hero… almost.

Get past the missing red pants of the revamped costume, and Clark Kent's alter ego is still the chisel-jawed, muscle bound hunk many of us grew up with. 

However, this fan hopes Nolan and Snyder have taken bigger risks than changing the costume.

In 2013 we’ve had decades of believing men could fly in the movies, many of us weaned on assorted super heroics, so the selling point of a lightning-fast protagonist clashing with scenery-chewing villains is admittedly old fashioned… which may be no bad thing for fans like me reflecting on the movies I grew up with.

If fashion does go in 30 year cycles, then I'm hoping this is more Superman II (thrilling small town smackdown) than the humdrum Richard Pryor vehicle that was 1983's Superman III.

The trailer suggests it is, and as a fan of both film-makers' works, Snyder’s stylistic flourishes alloyed with Nolan’s gritty realism makes it a potent prospect.

With their movie about to be tested in the white hot crucible of the global box office, it’ll be interesting to see whether Steel is stronger than Iron, as Superman chases Tony Stark’s $1.1billion haul.

For this fan, the box office returns are almost irrelevant.

I care that it makes enough cash to warrant a sequel, but if it can make me feel like that 10-year-old kid again, for a couple of hours at least, then I have no problem handing over my hard-earned cash several times over.

That's a far more impressive feat than making me believe a man can fly.

Roger Crow has spent 22 years writing film and TV features for the world's Press, and 34 years watching Superman films.