Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns?

Let me preface this reaction by saying that I have never seen a Christopher Reeve Superman film. I do not watch the show Smallville. And I never jumped on the Lois and Clark bandwagon in the mid-90s like my cousin Liza did. (I do love Dean Cain however. Rock and Jock b-ball yall!) So I didn't really go into the new Superman movie with great anticipation. The fact that I saw the very first showing of it at 10pm on Tuesday night is still surprising to me. But when I casually mentioned it to the brother, he said he was down and I should go pick up the tickets. So amongst the packed theater later that night, we sat down.

For the first frame it had everything: Action! Suspense! Great characters! And you left it feeling you wanted more. Oh, wait, that was the Spider-Man 3 Trailer.

Superman Returns however: sigh. Ehh. It was....ok? First of all, we all know the story of Superman. Aside from the previously mentioned incarnations, between the comics and other TV shows, we KNOW the story. There is nothing new here. So what we ended up getting was not a sequel or a reimagining, but a requel. Superman returned after leaving earth for 5 years. Did the earth miss him? Why was he gone for that long? How come everyone looks 22? None of these questions get answered.

Seriously, Kate Bosworth looks 22. The kid who plays Jimmy looks 19. You're telling me that they've been working at the Daily Planet for at least like, 8 years. Plus Lois has a kid? Not buying it. Not to mention that nobody puts two and two together that Clark Kent has also been gone for five years. Ehh, he was just visiting the Dalai Lama. Huh? One throwaway sentence and we're supposed to buy it. I say either play it campy like everyone is stupid or play it real and make some sense, or at least have someone figure out that Clark is the Man of Steel.

The other problem with this movie is the villain's plan. Apparently Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey, who never has a scene where his bald head isn't framed perfectly in the center) wants to destroy all the continents and make one big continent, which he rules. Except for the continent is a black, swampy piece of rock. What an evil genius!! And don't get me started as to why Parker Posey was in this movie. I mean, Parker Posey?? Is this a low budget indie? And then they completely misuse Kal Penn aka Kumar as the bad guy who stares at Lex a lot. I dont think Harold's bong buddy had one line.

Also, there was so much Christ imagery in this movie I felt I was watching the Recut of the Passion. Seriously, Superman gets the shit kicked out of him for a long time. When he's falling from the sky he has arms out in an obvious crucifixation pose. C'mon guys! Superman was created by two Jews. Give us some props. Have him part the Ocean at least. Give us somethin!

All in all, after seeing the X-Men movies, the first two Spider-Mans, and the completely original Batman Begins, Superman Returns falls flat. Either reinvent him or stay out of the way. If you're like me your first question when you leave the theater will be: Doesn't Pirates of the Caribbean open next week?


Blogger Adam said...


Your review has many valid points, but you never stopped to say anything about the good parts of the film. The iconic imagery that Bryan Singer provides is nothing short of amazing. If you had seen the original Richard Donner Superman, you would understand some of what Singer was trying to do, which if it WAS essentially to make a re-tread of the 1978 film, he did a great job.

Plus, how can you go wrong with that music?

I'll be interested to see what they bring to the table in the next installment. They should veer entirely from the tongue in cheek campiness of this film, and give it its own voice, rather than Routh doing a spot-on Christopher Reeve impression, as well as some badass effects.

It does have its flaws, but is much better than X Men 3 in my opinion.



Blogger Unky Rob said...

Hmm, I didn't say anything about the good parts of the film. Wonder why that was? Hey Singer, congrats on knowing how to work a camera. Ultraviolet was cool too. The music, like the vain of the film, was from the original.

Gus Van Sant did a remake of Psycho. Yet you're praising Singer for doing the same thing. Can't believe this is the same guy who did the first 2 X-Men movies.

As for the effects? Who cares? And besides, I think some of the stuff they do in Spider-Man is a lot cooler than throwing a big piece of rock or blowing fire out with your breath. If effects made a great movie, Phantom Menace would kick total ass!!

I say Singer, go original or go home. That's what they did in Batman Begins, and why the original Keaton Batman is still valid. They're not the same movie. Why should I watch this when I can just watch the Donner?


Blogger snell said...

A) X-Men 1 and (especially) 2 were over-rated. There, I said it.

B) This movie clearly suffered from some script deficiancies. Not only was Luthor's plan non-sensical and lame, but Luthor and Superman are never on-screen together!! They share one brief scene and about 2 lines of dialogue...not good for creating hero/villain tension. And Superman is not even responsible for catching Luthor...Mr. Super-genius ran out of gas!! These characters, their dialogue, their performances: they were from 2 different movies. I don't get the director's "vision" here...

C) Look, as much as I want to bop Rob on the head for saying Singer just re-did Donner when he admits to never having seen Donner, he's right. Instead of planning a catastrophe to make a bundle in real estate on the west coast, this time Luthor is planning to make a bundle in real estate from a catastrophe on the east coast. Instead of Valerine Perrine as the bubble-headed girlfriend who ultimately helps thwart Luthor's plan, this time we have Parker Posey as the bubble-headed girlfriend who ultimately helps thwart Luthor's plan. Instead of the climactic scene of Superman lifting up the whole San Andreas fault, this time we have the climactic scene of Superman lifting up the big smelly island. Etc. The whole movie had a sense of deja vu, when it really didn't have to.

D) Enough with the Lex Luthor already!!! This is the fifth "modern" Superman movie, and Lex has been in 4 of them. Are there no other villains out there? Please. Especially since Singer et. al. obviously had no notion of exactly what to do when pitting Superman vs. Lex. We've had 5 modern Batman movies, often with 2 villains, and no repeats yet. Why can't anybody involved with these movies get passed the damned Luthor thing?? (Before you ask, yes, I have the same complaint about Magneto in the X movies.)

E) Adam is right about the music.

F) The imagery was amazing, and the effects (especially in the plane crash sequence) were excellent. But was it just me, or did it look kinda dark and murky on screen?

G) Man, the Spider-Man 3 teaser was great.

H) Oh, yeah...SPOILER ALERT.



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