Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns

Here's everything you need to know about this new Superman adaptation: In the comics, his cape is red and made out of cloth. In this movie, his cape is burgandy and made out of leather. I'm sorry, but if they can't even get the cape right, how are they going to get anything right? That sounds like a harsh fan boy complaint, I know, but when you have a character as beloved and iconic as Superman, you're playing with fire when you start to mess around with his established cannon. And, all things considered, the cape was the least of this Superman's problems.

Minor spoilers to follow...

But I did enjoy it, for the most part. It was a really neat, mostly entertaining movie that did a lot very well. To begin with, Brandon Routh was a great Superman. I had my doubts from when he was first cast up until I actually sat down in the theatre, but he's now officially in my dawg pound. My boy was a good Superman. He's not quite as handsome or charming as Chris Reeve was, but he's still more handsome and charming than anybody I've ever met. He was a good Superman and an even better Clark Kent. Routh and company actually made the correct decision in letting Clark be a character, opposed to the bumbling caricature he was in the earlier films.

Just watching Routh fly around in his Superman costume (as miscolored and oddly cut as it was) never got old. Too bad there wasn't more of, you know, Superman doing stuff. I actually think Lois Lane may have had more screen time than Superman, or, at the very least, she had as much screen time. And that wouldn't be ok even if they had cast the character perfectly, but it's certainly not ok since they got Kate Bosworth. Why has Hollywood had such a hard time casting Lois Lane? At least Kate Bosworth is pretty, which is a lot more than I can say for Margot Kidder. That's a low blow, I'll admit, but it's still true. But at least Margot Kidder had spunk. Kate Bosworth was a dramatic black hole. It's not even that she's a bad actress (what do I know?), but that her character was given nothing to do beyond looking glum and forelorn. But, still, I'd hit it. And so would Superman. I'd take her to my fortress of Solid tube... if you know what I mean. I have no idea what I mean.

Kate Bosworth is a lovely girl and a likable actress, all I'm saying is she's unconvincing as a world famous reporter, let alone one who won the Pulitzer Prize. Oh yeah, and how trite was that Pulitzer subplot? She won for some article about why the world doesn't need Superman. Some journalist she is. Her boyfriend runs off on her and she writes an editorial about it? What's next, the Nobel people are going to give their literature prize to my exgirlfriend because of the entries she wrote about me in her diary? Puh-leaze.

But she's got a point. Superman is a huge dick for leaving without saying goodbye. I know goodbyes are tough and all, but he couldn't have said something like, "hey, they may have found my home planet. I'm gonna go check it out"? Who would argue with that? That sounds likea fairly reasonable request to me.

And then there's Lex Luthor.

And then there's Lex Luthor.

Lex Luthor sucks.

In the films, that is, not in the comics. Hackman and Spacey are two of my all time favorite actors, and they are both a lot of fun to watch in these movies, but imagine how much more fun they'd be if they had stuff to do! I'm sorry but Hackman's whole missile plot in the first film was ridiculous and made no sense, and Spacey's crystal-land-mass plot in this film is even dumber and makes less sense. This guy is supposed to be the greatest criminal mastermind the world has ever seen, not some bumbling fool hanging out with an obnoxious, moronic Ned Beatty, or, in this case, an obnoxious, moronic Parker Posey. I understand that Parkey Posey has become the go-to actress for directors who want to cast an artsy-fartsy actress in a really dumb role, but can't we all just admit that she sucks already? Hell, I'd rather have Otis back than that kid from Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. No shit. He was actually in this movie as one of Lex's henchmen.

And, come on, the Lex Luthor from the comics never had to sleep with some old widow to make some cash. What the fuck was that about?

And, come on, he was released from jail because Superman didn't show up in court? Don't they have videotape of him hanging out with General Zod in the Oval Office, slapping the president around? I guess Bush is right, we really do need the Patriot Act. Send that mother fucker to Guantanamo already.

But more important than that all... this movie was boring and had no story. It was two hours long and there were only two, maybe three, action set pieces that stick out in my mind. I'm not saying that a movie has to be all out, balls to the wall action, but how about just a little? No wait, this movie had just a little. How about all out, balls to the wall action? It's a fuckin' Superman movie. Beat some shit down, man. Other than the scene where he saves the plane in the beginning and goes up against the machine gun guy in the middle, he didn't really do much at all. Lois's boyfriend and their kid did just as much and were every bit as heroic.

And speaking of Lois's kid...

Major spoilers to follow...

Super baby. What the hell? After 60 odd years of Superman stories, Hollywood decides to add that little nugget into the mythos? Did we really need that? And forgetting all of the questions this raises (humans and Kryptonians can inter-breed? Didn't this kid ever visit a doctor and get a blood test? Forget not having James Marsden's character's DNA, the kid ain't even human! Nobody ever picked up on that?!), doesn't it take away from Superman's cachet that there's some kid running around with the same powers?

I just don't like the idea of Superman as a dead beat dad. It's kind of offensive, in my opinion. And, let's face it, if there's any guy who can pull out in time, it's Superman.

But, all in all, I liked the movie. Even though it had no story, even though the villain had nothing to do and wasn't much of a threat, even though it fell short of the comics in every respect... it was still Superman. I'm not one of those people who thinks Superman is the greatest comic character ever... but he is in the top five. So even a bad Superman story still has something going for it, considering how it's still a Superman story. If you loved the orignal Superman movies, it's a safe bet you'll like this one, since Singer and company did an incredible job remaining faithful to the look, tone, feel, and overall continuity of the film series. But I didn't really like the other Superman movies. The stories are dumb and the characters are nowhere near as good as they are in the comics. This was a really neat, entertaining movie, but it failed for me in the same three ways the original films. But everybody else loved those movies, so maybe everybody else will love this too.

1 comment:

Marshalsify said...

When Bryan Singer became interested in possibly hiring Brandon Routh, he arranged for them to meet in a coffee shop, when they met at their table, Routh stumbled and spilled hot coffee all over the table, although he panicked, thinking he had just lost the part, Singer laughed and said it actually helped him get the part, the incident convinced Singer that Routh could pull off the clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent.