Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Superman Returns in HD on HBO...
*does best Superman wielded powerless by Kryptonite voice*
Can't... look... away...
Like Ang Lee's Hulk, Superman Returns received some so-so press that I felt was undeserved at the time. Hulk was definitely a fumbled mess, but it was an ambitious fumbled mess, and that's something that most comic-book movies are not -- ambitious. And being a huge Ang Lee fan, I was willing to give him a benefit of the doubt with his film.
Plus I have a soft-spot for ambitious fumbled messes, which explains why Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula is one of my favorite films.
Superman Returns, however, had some bigger red boots to fill.
I grew up with these movies, as did millions of others like me, and Superman plain and simple, is the penultimate superhero. And after a 17 year hiatus, his return to the screen better be something special.
Unfortunately, Superman Returns is not very special in any way. However, that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate it for what it is. All too often, movie fans get caught up in black or white reviews of films. In their eyes it either sucked ass or was awesome.
Superman Returns was neither, but it was still a solid film.
Brandon Routh will never be able to fill out the tights like Christopher Reeve did, but let's face it. Anyone who filled out those tights was not going to surpass Reeve as Superman. Routh, however, did fill the red boots out nicely. I was worried he'd pull a Hayden Christiansen with the role, but other than a few wooden lines (Routh still doesn't seem too comfortable with "I'm always around), Routh does fine.
And can you imagine the oft-rumored Nicholas Cage or Josh Hartnett as Superman? I can't. Unless it's a comedy.
Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane was a misfire in the casting department. Bosworth is too young and too young-looking to fill in for Margot Kidder who looked old even in the original Superman film. I would have preferred Keri Russel (who was rumored for the part) in the role. Russel would have been better suited to portray the pissed-off-but-I-still-love-you emotions that Lois Lane was going through in the film after her role as the neurotic main character on Felicity.
Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor was an inspired bit of casting, but something still didn't feel right with the performance. Too much humor was missing from Spacey's Lex and he came off too mean. Gene Hackman will always be Lex Luthor in my mind, like Reeve will always be Superman. Spacey didn't do bad though, but he's still looking for that post-American Beauty comeback performance in my opinion.
The special effects are amazing, but even they are nothing we haven't seen a million times before. Plus Supes looks too cartoony at times. A minor qualm, I know, but it's a trend that unfortunately has taken over special-effect laden films -- cartoony-looking action scenes .
The plot was kinda trite as well. I enjoyed most of the Supes/Lois storyline, and I was confused as to why most people weren't understanding how Supes and Lois had a child together when the film first came out. Does anyone remember their romp in the Fortress of Solitude during Part II when Supes became human? That might also explain why the kid only has traces of Superman's strength.
The kryptonite continent was a nice idea, but I don't see how Superman could have lifted the thing out of the ocean. I know it almost killed him but still.... I ain't buying it. A small kryptonite necklace would have drowned him if it weren't for Miss TessMACHER(!) in Part I.
So overall, Superman Returns wasn't quite the return we all had hoped for, but it does give me hope for further sequels. And like sports, there's always next season.
Seems like it applies to popular film now too.
FILM SCORE: *** (out of ****)
BEST PART: Action packed airplane rescue.
STATUS: Superman does indeed return, just not as grand as you may have expected.