Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman Returns Review

I just wanted to offer a quick review of Superman Returns. I saw the flick opening day with my wife. This is the first opening I've seen of a movie since the Kill Bills. We were supposed to go see the film in the city with our good friend the WoodMan but he was unexpectedly called away on business.

I held off on a review in case people hadn't yet seen the film but feel I've waited enough now. The film was good. Brian Singer clearly gets what needs to be present in a super hero film. (See X-Men and X-2) The set pieces were great, and as I said to a friend of mine, a good Superman flick has events that are very large... thus the environmental shenanigans initiated by Lex Luthor.

Lex Was good, (or rather Kevin Spacey was good as him). It wasn't the fully darkened Lex I prefer, but Spacey clearly communicated his anger towards Superman.

My complaints didn't detract from my enjoyment, but there are some issues that prevent this movie from being a top tier comic book movie.

Firstly, the idea that Superman has left the planet for 5 years, without saying goodbye to anyone. I am a reader of comics for 30 years now (literally, I have read comics for 30 years.) I haven't allowed this membership in an admittedly insulated culture to ruin my opinion of comic book movies, and I am a believer in the creative teams in both comics and films be given some latitude in the depiciton of the characters. However, there are some issues in which the characters actions are glaringly out of the base of that character. A hypothetical example of this would be Batman cold bloodedly shooting a criminal in cold blood. This wouldn't be anywhere near consistent with the character of Batman. So the thought that Superman would spend many years on Earth, grow to appreciate human beings (and even love humans, such as his parents and Lois), recognize his impact on the nature of the world, and then split for 5 years to basically get his head together. I just don't buy it. If he had returned to earth and admitted his mistake, realizing that "With great power comes great responsibility" ala Spider-Man, I could buy it.

Lois has a child that is the result of a tryst between herself and super-man. the child possesses some super powers but lacks the ability to use them at will. THis opens the possibility of some future cool storylines in the sequels, but will need to
be handled delicately.

Finally, the fact that both Superman and Clark Kent have been missing for 5 years, then both miraculously reappear in the lives of the Daily Planet workers, and no one makes any connection?

I would place this film around the range of X-Men and possibly the Spider-Man films. It doesn't rise to the level of Batman Begins, the original Batman, X-2, or the non-spandex comic based films like V for Vendetta or Sin City.


Nikolai94 said...

In the original Christopher Reeves Superman, he also leaves the planet to perfect his Superman persona and learn about his true background. He is guided by the image of his father, played by Marlon Brando. This is prior to him moving to the city and becoming the Daily Planet reporter and Superman. As another aside, wasn't Batman cold-blooded in the Dark Knight comics? He even used the .45 handgun that his parents were killed with.

Katester said...

The flick rocked. Kevin Spacey was dark and creepy as Lex (albeit not as creepy as you'd like), Parker Posey was fab as his dame-sidekick, and the story was entertaining and captivating. My only complaint was that Brandon is so freaking perfect-looking that he almost seemed CGI'd in some moments. If I want a computer movie I'll go see Cars.

savvy said...

Nikolai, you are correct. In the very early issues of Batman he does use a gun. I'm not sure if he uses the handgun his parents were killed with or not. I do know he was much darker in the classic Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller fronm the mid 80's... a must read for anyone who thinks comics aren't ever for grown-ups!

Da Old Man said...

Finally, the fact that both Superman and Clark Kent have been missing for 5 years, then both miraculously reappear in the lives of the Daily Planet workers, and no one makes any connection? These are the same people fooled because Supes put on a pair of simple eyeglasses, and they had no idea who he was. I'm not surprised by the stupidity of the residents of Metropolis. That said, I don't like Superman, the movies or the character. I'll wait for the movie to come to cable. Now, when the new Spiderman movie comes out, I'm there.

Cryde said...

Well. I don't know much about comics, and I haven't seen the Superman film, but a few comments. I never liked the Gene Hackman Luthor and from what I have read in many reviews Spacey channels this performance. I have always thought of Luthor as old and calculating, not cheesy and over the top. So Supes had some extramarital sex-kudos to the Super-er-well never mind. I have never liked the original Batman. It dragged on and I thought the Joker was Nicholson's worst performance. Too over the top and nearly dominates the flick. Although I like Prince, I don;t like the music and I especially hated the parade scene towards the end. I very much liked Keaton, the cinematography and lighting. I still believe the best super hero flick was the Incredibles. Some things don;t translate well into live-action (Ghost Rider) and maybe some of these producers should consider a top-notch CGI and serious super hero flick in the future (what about The Ultimates or Kingdom Come in this manner? Ross doing the story boards?). What the hell happened to Justice League Unlimited? I'm trying to find complete series.
Sopranos season 6 has blown so far. I have only watched the first 2 episodes; thought the first one too choppy and focused on an extraneous character too much for a season opener to set the tone for the season (I know-the ending did). Some good stuff in episode two with some intense acting, but the dream stuff is too drawn out-hope it gets better. Even with this mild disappointment, still better than most of the shit on tv. Deadwood is awesome and intense-just in the middle of season two.
Fuckin' Yanks (can I curse here?). Old and creaky players with injured players on top. Where's Kevin Brown?
Kudos to the Sox. They seem to have a nicely knit group. Kazmir owns them, though (had to rub it in for the Mets fans).