Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman Returns

Right off the bat, I want to say that Bryan Singer has achieved something really great - he didn't blow it. With years of rumors (some as awful as Nicolas Cage in the blue tights) which had Superman fans remembering how much they wanted to forget how badly the franchise had ended with the third and fourth sequels, it seemed like we'd never see another Superman movie, and if we did, it would end up being bloody awful.

"Superman Returns", while peppered with flaws (and I'd say the original motion picture had it's issues as well - Margot Kidder cast as Lois Lane being the first I'd cite) is overall, a great summer movie and a worthy addition to the Superman mythology. The special effects are fantastic, albeit utilizing the same technology every other effects movie has been, and unlike the original 1978 film, which pushed the boundaries of what the current technology of the day could do to make us believe a man could fly, carve no new territory out. That said, this time we really got to see what a flying man would look like -- just because "Superman Returns" doesn't tread new effects ground doesn't mean it doesn't tread old ground really well.

What Bryan Singer has done is create an excellent homage to the original films wrapped in a 21st century package, angst and all. The casting was flawless; every actor captures their character either perfectly or at the very least, capably. I've heard all the complaints about Kate Bosworth, and frankly, while she might not be the Lois Lane that Noel Neil was, she's much easier on the eyes than Kidder ever was, and handles her intrepid reporter side just fine. I loved Spacey as Luthor, and Brandon Routh fills a tough set of boots just fine. At times, he seems to be playing Christopher Reeve playing Superman, and at others, brings something new to the part. Luthor is no longer a bumbling man with a megolomaniac's mid-life crisis. He's more comfortable without his virile wigs, and a few years in prison have taught him that a kryptonite shiv might prevail where an easily removable chain once did not.

In this film, Superman does what Superman does - stop falling planes from crashing, avert massive catastrophes, and just for old time's sake, thwart a bank robbery in his spare time. Personally, the only two demerits I'd give this film are an encumberingly unecessary length combined with a paternity revelation that, while charming, felt out of place within the greater Superman mythology, whatever may have happened between the sheets in Superman II. But that's a narrative decision that Singer made, and while it's not mine, I'm impressed with the subtlety with which he handled it. I can only hope he sticks around to helm the next two films Routh is contractually obligated to, so we don't find ourselves seeing history repeat itself.

While, as he himself states, Superman is "always around" I'm really glad that he's back on the big screen. Gunnar's a little too young to appreciate this installment, but I'm thinking he'll mightily impressed in three years or so, when the sequels come out.

Welcome back Superman.

Rating: 8/10

5 comments:

  1. Loved Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor. I love Kevin in anything, though, so this was hardly going to be the exception. But he really does manage the near-impossible feat of combining hilarity with a real sinister aura. You laugh, but you know his threat is real. Brandon Routh didn't suck but he wasn't spectacular. Then again, I don't think Superman is spectacular - it's remarkably hard to portray a flawless, good-natured, always-truthful character who doesn't really have a dark side by design. He's alright, if a bit overtly Reeves-ish. Hated Kate Bosworth but I've always hated Lois Lane so this probably isn't a fair comparison. Loved Parker Posey's addition as Luthor's girlfriend. She's always a treat.

    Yeah, I wouldn't give it a nine but I have to say it entertained me, it looked good, and overall it was pretty well-acted. I disliked that his cape "flapped" whilst he was in space and I really dislike any and all questionable paternity love triangle stories but still... it was good fun. And that's the point.

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  2. I didn't like it the first time, but I loved it the second. I'm not a fan of Superman per-se, so I think that's why my first viewing frustrated me, but the second time I realized how well done and well acted the flick was and found my qualms are with Superman himself and not the movie :)

    There was this 5 year old behind me in the theater that couldn't handle the twists and turns, he would jump up and scream in disbelief at certain parts and flat out argue with the screen out of shock at others, it was awesome, he was watching it with eyes I wish I had :)

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  3. Parker Posey gives me the willies, so she definitely didn't make the movie for me, but she didn't ruin it either. I gave it a nine because I'm really biased and I gave X3 a 7...which really probably only deserved a 5. Comic book geekdom prevents me from sinking lower...

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  4. I have been a Superman fan ever since I saw Christopher Reeve sporting the blue, red, and yellow back in the late 70's. From there, comic books, TV, more movies. There is something about it I can't put my finger on, of course the flying, but there is something else. Anyway, loved the movie. Been twice, may see it IMAX style this weekend in Houston. Good stuff!

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  5. I wasn't nearly as fond of this movie as you, but your mom said you would rally like it. Obvioulsy she knows you.

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