Friday, June 30, 2006

Superman Returns

I saw the film yesterday. Didn't like it. My basic problem didn't have to do so much with the direction or the actors. It had to do with the source material and the script. Superman in 2006 to me doesn't work. He's this pretty much flawless character who spends two thirds of the movie solving everything with an ease that borders on arrogance. Even when threatened there is never any sense of danger because it is after all, Superman. As such, I found myself rooting more for the Lex Luthor character, as the sort of underdog in all this. Lois Lane is no more likeable, as a not particularly nice character, and dumb as a rock to not be able to tell the difference between Clark Kent and Superman. The Spider-Man films really worked for me, and it felt like Singer was trying to recreate that ethos with this film. The problem is Spider-Man's weaknesses don't really work for Superman. I imagine I would get a lot of heat from some circles for saying this, but to me the Superman story in 2006 is best re-told not with Superman as a weaker character, but rather with Superman as the villain: an arrogant hegemon bent on "saving" a world that would often times be better off dealing with its problems on its own.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the movie Wednesday. I did not enjoy the "Superman as Jesus, Jesus as Superman" underlying storyline.

It was far too blatant. The repeated references as "savior" and father-son was just so over-the-top that it made the movie hard to enjoy.

Denis Gorman

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I'm a big comic book fan myself, and this is exactly why I dont really like Superman. Superman has so many powers it just doesn't interest me. He's an iconic figure and everybody else seems to like him, but I hate these God like characters. I love Batman and X-Men though.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous josh Amendment said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say that Superman should be the villain, but I would have liked to see a film where the problems he faces are more existential. Do the people of earth need him? Is he a human, or a god? At one point he hears his father's voice in his head, telling him that he isn't one of them, but he never seems to really consider the issue.

I mean, the guy spent FIVE YEARS alone, flying in outer space. You'd think he'd have some difficulty readjusting to life on earth, but instead he jumps right back into pretending to be a nincompoop and foiling convenience store hold-ups.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Houston Mitchell said...

I enjoyed the movie, but there were some gaping plot holes. The whole Lois doesn't realize Clark is Superman bit is something you just have to live with going into the movie.

Here was my big problem: Superman is gone for five years. Clark is gone for five years. They both get back in Metropolis the same day. What a coincidence.


I thought Routh did a decent job, and Spacey was good as Luthor. I thought the weakest bit of casting was Kate Bosworth as Lois, and I think the kid is going to really hamstring any sequels.

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Not only that, but when Superman was dead in the hospital, where was Clark? Its just something you have to accept with Superman I guess.


Batman rules.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Charlie Kane said...

I thought the movie was okay, but you're all correct in saying that the source material, as it is, lets down any notion of a particularly 'engrossing' story. I always felt Superman was a dull 'hero', as his innate goodness and impenetrable weaknesses left very little room for even the basic reader sympathy,let alone the inability to 'identify with' the character (unless yer narcisissm is wholly unchecked, which I then would almost admire it, although you'd be fairly insufferable to be around.). Spider-Man's origins were specifically crafted towards the readerships sympathies, and as Batman is without any 'powers' what-so-ever, beyond being very smart and very rich ( which I do admire more than x-ray vision), he is completely at the mercy of his wits, which makes him a much more intriguing character. As one of these fellows mentioned, the whole 'Lois can't tell it's Clark' imbroglio is just a conceit which must be taken on good faith in these circles, along with the fact that nobody just shot James Bond in the head when given the chance. The movie was fine, if not a bit lukewarm, if only because there is just damn little one can do to make these tales involving. I had no qualms with the fellow playing the Big Red S, aside from the fact that he was really just playing Christopher Reeve playing Superman. Luthor was woefully underused, but it's clear that this film was intended as a general re-introduction of the characters, and I would assume that the next one will be more of a good guy/bad guy issue. I am in total agreement, however, that the need to bring this kid into the storylines is only going to lead to tears. What I found a unique approach to this film was that it so clearly, and intentionally, is meant to reference the first two Reeve-era movies, not only with the Brando grave-digging, the use of the same theme music, and the new fellow's intentional resemblance to Chris Reeve, it almost seems to give cachet to the originals as more than entertaining fluff; it takes a sort of meta-approach to make those films seem more important in the long run than they really were. Still, Singer gave it a good try, and seeing as how the whole 'comic book movie' empire is already on bald tires ( aside from Batman and Spider-Man) anything that, at least, affords the audience a reasonably intelligent interpretation of what are, after all, children's memories, gets a nod of appreciation from me. Not exactly killing time till the next one, however (and by the looks of the box office, neither is the public. Honestly, the Spider-Man franchise is the only one that is making any real bread. X-Men, too, I suppose, but Batman Begins, even though I found it to be excellent, was not the big financial success that WB expected.) I anticipate that these 'intelligent approaches' to these films will be abandoned for another go-round of Ashton Kutcher as Two-Face just to make sure the correct coffers are filled so, gents, don't look any gift horses in the mouths. It's only gonna get worse.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

I thought it was brillant. It did have flaws,Kate Bosworth was terribly miscast being the biggie.
The source material were the first two films,Todd and what wasn't there to like?

If you want a crappy comic film,X3 sure fit that bill.....

2:43 AM  

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