Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns...To Star In A Chick Flick

I wish I knew how ta quit you

What if Jesus was a superhero? What if the devil, bald? What if you combined Superman with The Notebook?

Ok, there was a lot of things to love. The special effects were great. The reverence for Richard Donner's Superman and Superman II was appreciated. But there was just something...missing.

After I got over the feeling of a watching a new Superman movie in 2006 that didn't involve Richard Pryor (R.I.P.) or Nuclear Man, I felt very detached from the movie.

I enjoyed all the scenes of Superman being...well Superman. Saving people, cheering crowds. The plane crash scene was amazing and I can't wait to see that in IMAX 3D but then it lost it's way and became a chick flick.
  • Brandon Routh was Clark Kent. His Superman was okay. He wasn't bad but he lacked the earnest humor than Christopher Reeve brought to the role. Don't feel bad, Brandon. Reeve is an impossible act to follow - we're talking the best comic character brought to life ever. When there are enough comic book movies around that there are comic book movie awards and there is a lifetime achievement award, it will be called The Christopher Reeve Award of Excellence (or something like that). You know who would have made a great Superman...
  • So there's the scene where Clark is back at the Daily Planet and Lois introduces him to her boyfriend, Richard, who was played by James Marsden (For the guys, Cyclops from the X-Men films; for the women, the guy Rachel McAdams wrongfully cheats on in The Notebook). As the camera turns to him, I was like "Wow, he should have been Superman." The right build, he's tall, he looks like Christopher Reeve so it wouldn't have been a weird transition, and he's pretty good at playing morally uptight square guys. Major blunder to cast a guy who would be better suited to play Superman, Mr. Singer.
  • This is probably the best acting job I've ever seen Kate Bosworth do...but she still wasn't right as Lois Lane. I mean, she got the reporter thing down but she lacked Lois' spunk. If this is a direct sequel to the Richard Donner films, Lois was a "I don't take shit from anyone" woman and Margot Kidder played it perfectly. This is the same woman who hit the gun when her and Clark were being mugged, snuck into the Eiffel Tower to spy on terrorists by hanging on the bottom of a elevator and jumped into a river because she was so convinced that Clark was Superman. I didn't feel like Kate Bosworth's Lois would have done any of that.
  • Welcome back, Kevin Spacey. How I've missed you. These are the kind of roles that we fell in love with Kevin Spacey for. Not that The Shipping News/Pay It Forward crap. I want Spacey the mean funny sardonic asshole that blew my mind in Swimming With Sharks. I hope this is a good sign for the future and not a blip in the current spiraling of your career.
  • Frank Langella sucked as Perry White. He had some great lines but lacked the energy and fire an editor of the number one paper in Metropolis should have.
  • Why cast Kal Penn (Kumar from Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle) and give him one line and just have him be a nameless henchman? What a waste. Maybe he's friends with Bryan Singer.
  • The movie was way too long. I'm almost getting tired of saying this about movies. It was King Kong too long. It dragged like a busted muffler. Why is Hollywood afraid to make a 90-105 minute movie? Seriously. Is there some sort of research I missed that said America likes it's movies dragged out and as long as possible?
  • I don't like this Superman as Jesus shit that seemed to be implied in the movie. The term 'savior' got thrown around too much. Superman is not Jesus. Superman, at least in my opinion, is a alien who was raised as a human with a good moral code who is just doing "the right thing" because he has the ability to. He's not here to "save us", just here to help.
  • I don't think they can (or should) do a sequel. It's hard doing Superman stories (which is why the comic has sucked for quite some time). There's three types of successful Superman stories (all of which have been used in the movies): 1) Superman faces off against someone equal in strength to him (II, III, IV), 2) Superman faces off against Lex Luthor or a villain with Kryptonite (I, III, Returns) or 3) Superman is put to the limits of his power by trying to be in two places at once (I, Returns).
  • I find it hard to believe that Superman would just up and leave for five years. Sorry, someone with THAT strong a moral code would not do that. Of course, he also wouldn't make a move (however slight) on a woman with a boyfriend so what do I know?
  • Before I talk about the spoiler stuff, the whole Clark Kent works with a bunch of reporters and is in love with the best reporter in the city and no one can put together that Clark Kent and Superman returned on the exact same day (only Lois's kid kinda caught on). It would have been one thing if Clark came back and a couple of days later, Superman showed up or vice versa. But THE SAME DAY! C'mon.
Okay on to more spoiler-ish stuff.
  • Ok, at the end of the movie, Superman lifts the humogous crystal city that Lex Luthor created and threw it into space. Not into the sun but into space. Um, I'm not scientist but won't that huge landmass become a meteorite that will destroy one of our neighboring planets. Way to think it through, Kal-El.
  • Also, won't those remaining crystals be a problem?
  • By giving a Superman a kid, Bryan Singer has taken the mythology of Superman and Da Vinci Code-d it.
  • I'm not mad about the whole kid thing. It was a cool twist. I wish DC had the balls to do something like this in the comics. The Superman story is legendary. You have to create some twists and turns to keep it fresh. But still, Superman has x-ray vision & super hearing, he didn't know she was pregnant before he left.
  • How do you end a Superman movie without him bringing Lex Luthor to justice? That was just lame.


JRennoldz said...

I'm not going to lie but yeah, after reading your review I'm hesitant to see the movie. Why? I hate looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong films and love stories.

I'll cop the DVD though.

buckshot said...

I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with... well, pretty much everything.

First off... you seem to be saying that this movie being a 'chick flick' in and of itself is a bad thing. If I recall correctly, the first 2 Superman movies dealt heavily with the Superman-Lois-Clark love triangle and this picks up where those left off. Personally, I really dug the romantic ('chick flick') aspects of the movie. They were not only true to the Donner films, but just plain well executed. So I guess I disagree with this review on a pretty fundamental level. I didn't go in expecting or necessarily wanting a love story, but I got one, and I liked it. Let's face it- the premise of Superman coming back after 5 years is gonna have a lot of emotional ground to cover. If he were to swoop back into Earth and immediately resume saving kitties out of trees it would have been kind of an empty film. Maybe it would have been a fun film... but it would have been empty. Maybe the next one will be able to hit the ground running, now that the foundation has been laid.

As for the casting, I was pleased. I'll agree with you on the Lois-spunk issue, but you do have to consider how much has changed for her in the past 5 years. You can tell she's still very strong and independent. But with the responsibility of motherhood, she's not wildin' out like she used to. I didn't look at these changes as bad characterization, but rather character growth.

Also, if you think James Marsden looks more like Christopher Reeves then Routh, need glasses. Thick ones. I wish I could be more diplomatic about it Just, no.

And I'm not even gonna touch the 'how does nobody notice the Clark-is-Superman clues'. I mean really. Why don't we just ask how he's able to fly, why he wears his underoos on the outside, etc. I mean, if you can't get on board for these fundamental suspensions of disbelief, I don't see how you ever manage to enjoy any fiction whatsoever. It's silly, yeah, and it's fun to poke at... but seriously. Let's not get stuck on it.

Now all this said, the movie wasn't perfect. It had some pacing issues, some action issues, a plot hole or two, etc. etc. Most of my beefs are minor though. Overall I had positive feelings about Superman Returns. It's a solid film, a worthy sequel, and a promising reboot for a dormant film franchise.

Superman is back, bitches!!!

buckshot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melanism said...

"When in Rome..." - Ron Burgandy

Reel Fanatic said...

Great review ... I'm going to see this one tonight if I can get out of my damn workplace in time, and remain very geeked up about it despite the mixed word from fans

T. said...

I avoided the film because of the whole wishy-washiness about saying "American Way." The hollywood reporter comments just turned me off. Yeah, it's petty, sue me. But I just wonder, why can Superman lift a whole continent and throw it out into space but he has trouble stopping a plane? hm.

neo said...

I still haven't seen this movie just yet and God knows I don't want to waste $8-10 on this piece of crap...I knew from the get go Brandon Routh just couldn't fit the bill, he just never looked/seemed that engaging. I know comparing anyone else to Christopher Reeves (of fondest memory) is a mistake in itself but least put some more character into it..

I hope they don't make anymore remakes to this..