Friday, July 07, 2006

Random Thoughts on Superman Returns

Potential mild spoilers--stop reading now if that worries you

I actually saw Superman Returns over a week ago, but as you may have noticed blogging has been a bit sparse here over the past week. So now I'm playing catch-up with the rest of the comics blog-o-sphere:

* I rather liked it. Didn't love it to pieces, but liked it. It's either a 3.5 or a 4 on the Dave rating scale.

* I nearly had a nerd-gasm when the opening titles swooshed by in that late-70s S:TM style.

* While it was positioned as a sequel to the Richard Donner Superman films, in many ways it was really a remake of S:TM, down to the story and plot structure. It was trying to have its cake and eat it too. While I appreciated some of the refer-backs and references, I'd have appreciated a bit more originality in the plot.

* I bought Kate Bosworth as a love interest, but not as a Pulitzer-level reporter. It was like they were casting for just half the role.

* Brandon Routh, however, pulled off both sides of his role. Three really, as Clark Kent on the farm was different from Clark Kent in Metropolis.

* Kevin Spacey was a great Lex Luthor. Through his delivery and eye and facial expressions he brought more to the role than was on the page.

* As I recall it, Luthor's plan wasn't to sell new real estate. It was to create a huge disaster while at the same time creating a motherload of Kryptonian technology that he alone would control. And it was clear that he was a bit insane. Of course it wasn't a logical plot--if Luthor thought about it logically, he'd make a killing with patents and IPOs.

* I rather liked the fact that Superman didn't throw a single punch and only used his powers defensively or in rescue mode. With all his power, Superman has to show restraint or risk becoming a dictator/ruler/evil overlord.

* Yes, the Christ-imagery was laid on thick in some places. But it has long been part of the Superman mythos, just not usually played up to this extent. Both Superman and Jesus come out of the Jewish savior/messiah theology/mythology; in a Campbellian way they both emerge from the same archetype. Neither Jesus nor Superman should solve our problems, even though they could with just a wave of their figurative hands; instead, they "show us the way" but we have to save ourselves.

* The special effects were spectacular. Seemlessly integrated, it was almost as if Superman really were flying around. I really liked how the take-offs and landings were done--no coming in off a trampoline or anything. This movie really raises the bar for how a super-hero movie will look in the future.

* I'm really scratching my head trying to figure out where the PG-13 rating came from. says "for some intense action violence", but except for the scene with Luthor's thugs beating the smack out of Supes, this was probably the least violent super-hero movie ever. Compare the level of violence in X-Men 3 to Superman Returns--both got the same rating. Just another example of how screwed up the CARA system is.

* There was apparently a lot of footage that ended up on the cutting room floor, a lot of it Smallville stuff. Hopefully it'll show up on the DVD.

* Were a fan of the movie to walk into a comic store looking for Superman comics, there would be a lot of good accessible stuff to hand him or her: The Superman Returns prequel comics; All Star Superman; and even the current story in Action Comics & Superman, with Supes returning after a year-long absence and fighting Lex Luthor in a plot involving Krytonian technology.

* Has anyone seen the IMAX version? If so, would it be worth seeing it again in that format?

I may have more thoughts later. It was a good movie. If you're inclined to go see it, do so.

1 comment:

Mickle said...

A co-worker of mine saw it in IMAX and said it was very, very cool.