Thursday, June 29, 2006

Look! Up in the sky!

Yes folks, Superman is back! I saw Superman Returns Tuesday night, and I have to tell you, I really enjoyed it. Sure, Roger Ebert didn't really like it, but what does he know? As a comic book fan, I can say that the film was very enjoyable, and I had a great time watching it - it didn't even feel like I'd been watching a movie for 2 and a half hours (more, with trailers and credits). So I would encourage you to do what I did, go see it for yourself. If you're a Superman fan, I think you'll like it. If you are a big-budget blockbuster movie fan, you'll like it. If you love movies with cutting-edge special effects, you'll like it.

That said, it isn't a perfect movie. Although I thought Brandon Routh did a fine job as Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, I wasn't impressed with Kate Bosworth at all. I think she's too young to play Lois Lane as written in this film - she's supposed to have a five year old kid, and an existing relationship with Superman that started a few years before he left. So, what, they started their relationship when she was 16? And then she got pregnant at 18? I also had a problem with some of the supporting roles - like Lex Luthor's (Kevin Spacey) henchmen. Most of them don't even say a word in the film - like Kal Penn's character Stanford. Geez, he's named in the opening credits, but he never says anything!

Overall these are small complaints, and are, I think, forgivable in the long run. The story was well plotted and well written to explore the idea of a Superman returning to a world that is getting along without him. The screenwriters also tap into the idea of Superman as the ultimate 'stranger in a strange land' - separated from the people of Earth because he is not from Earth, and has abilities that set him far above humanity. But he has human feelings and desires because he was brought up to be one of us by his foster parents the Kents. And since Mr. Spacey chose to play Lex Luthor as a much darker character than he had been in the previous films (bringing the character of Lex closer to the comic book character in my opinion), that performance also adds more depth and nuance to the movie. I thought he was great in the role, really got the idea across that Lex is evil, and has a unrelenting hatred of Superman.

There were also nice little touches, like the opening titles in the same 3-D font as the first movie, and the inclusion of the 50's TV series Lois Lane (Noel Niell) and Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larsen) in small roles. The composer used John Williams original Superman Main Title theme, and also used snippets of other themes from the original movie in appropriate spots.

So, to sum it up, although not 'perfect' (and what really is perfect these days), I had a great time and will be seeing this movie again - and again. Can't wait for the next Superman movie!

P.S. - A&E broadcast a great Superman special recently called "Look, Up In The Sky!: The Amazing Story Of Superman" that is available on DVD now. You can get it from Amazon here.
I would highly recommend it for any Superman fan you know, it was excellent!

No comments: