Thursday, June 29, 2006

Almost 24 hours later 

And I still think that while it did entertain, Superman Returns failed to impress.

It's been a busy day and, consequently, I haven't sought out the scuttlebutt on what people's opinions are of this movie. I did feel today, as I was discussing it with some co-workers (who also saw it last night), that it really sounds like I hated the movie. That's not the case. There's a lot to like here. It just happens to be, you know, a Superman movie. Only without a climax. It looks pretty, the performances were fine (yes, even the much-sullied Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane), some of the set-pieces (THE AIRPLANE SEQUENCE!) are just flat out awesome, but when Superman Returns is all said and done... not much actually happened. Opening credits (done in the same style as the Donner films -- pretty cool) roll, John Williams' score blares (also cool) and then two and half hours later -- wondering for the last fifteen minutes when this thing is going to wrap up -- we find out that Superman is not alone on this world.

Okay. That's fine, I suppose. But what kind of tension could I possibly have expected? It's Superman! While I enjoy the character, he has perhaps the deepest flaw in fiction which is that he is infallible, unstoppable. The bad guy never has a chance. Know why? 'Cause it's freaking Superman! No one is going to get crushed by a falling building, no petty crooks are going to rob a bank, the guy saves the day continuously to the point where you're tired of him saving the day.

Maybe there are spoilers from here on
Superman can't die, either. I guess some people thought that his fate could've gone either way once he was admitted to hospital. I don't see how anyone could think it was in doubt. You can't kill Superman. And even if you do plunge a kryptonite dagger deep into his back and he crashes down to Earth from space, all he needs to recover is a kiss on the forehead. He wasn't administered any treatment because, you know, he's Superman and all.

Cyclops! Hey, I thought Cyclops was fine in this movie. I just kept wondering where the hell his visor was. Also, during the scene where Clark meets Cyclops, I so very badly wanted Lois to say, "Clark, this is my fiance, Cyclops." But alas, the rift between the DC and Marvel universes made it impossible.

There is some fantastic iconography in this film. Like I said, it's pretty well-made (save for not having a climax) and seeing things like Superman step out onto a baseball field after saving the day in dramatic fashion... it just makes me want to cry, it's so beautiful. What could possibly be more emblamatic of America than Superman (the immigrant tale) and baseball? Superb. And there are a couple shout outs to the Superman of the Max Fleisher cartoons from the 40s. I say that in reference to the physical positioning and posing of Superman's body 1) when he's turning back the inertia of the wayward plane by digging his fists into the nose of the vessel and absorbing it's force and 2) advancing on the criminal with the gatling gun and bullets deflect off his chest, the sound of machine-gun fire (almost exactly like in the Fleisher cartoons) echoing. Those things made me really happy. I like to think that was intentional.

Some yahoo in the crowd at Mann's Chinese, last night, yelled, "DO IT, BRYAN SINGER!" just before the opening credits. It got a big laugh and it's obvious why. Singer showed with X2 that he can connect with the super-nerd by appreciating the full scope of his projects. There are so many winks and nudges to the die-hards during Returns that it felt as though the whole movie was done with one eye permantly shut. Not necessarily a bad thing. Mainly just catering to the people who will appreciate this movie the most while trying to make it decent. The credits, the score, the use of actors from Superman series gone by, the famous last shot of Superman patrolling from space -- it's all fun. Definitely helps to blind us from how relatively uninteresting the story really is.

Brandon Routh did a pretty good job. He did a great impression of Christopher Reeve playing Clark Kent. Backhanded as that may be, he was very enjoyable to watch.

Anyway, yeah, it's a Superman movie. Whaddya want? Besides a fight scene?

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?