Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Superman Returns (2006)

(I wrote this review back in 2006. Since then, I've seen Superman II: The Donner Cut, which actually changed my opinion of a few things. See the end of this post for those reflections.)

Ok, so I liked it. I keep making the same mistake of reading reviews before I go see it so all I can think about is "Is this too long? Is Kate Bosworth that bad?" and I don't focus on having a good time at a movie. Oh yeah, and there were about 5 nerds behind us in the theater impressing each other every 10 seconds with Superman trivia and MST3K comments. I shushed them, I told them "Save it for the internet!", my roommate shushed them, but they wouldn't shut up. Go to your friend's house and download it if you want to talk during the whole flippin' movie. Then you can eat your Cheetos and Mtn. Dew and cast Magic Missile all you want. I love nerds as much as the next guy, and God knows I was remembering all the Superman trivia as I watched it ("OOooh! I know why he's doing that! He gets his powers from the SUN!") but I didn't whisper it to my friend next to me hoping he'd be impressed and make out with me. FEH.

Back to the movie. Brandon Routh did a great job as Superman. Had the right amount of confidence and charisma. I thought he was fine as Clark as well, though I'd like to hear why Curtis wasn't as satisfied with him in that regard. Perhaps it's because I haven't seen any of the original Superman movies in a long-butt time, and don't have Christopher Reeves' performance to compare to, I dunno.

Lex was great. Crazy ol' Lex. Not as vicious as I would have imagined him. I kept thinking, "Oh man, Kitty's gonna get slizzapped!" but she never did. Why does a maniacal super-villian willing to kill billions not smack around an annoying lackey? I guess I'm used to Bond villians who always demonstrate their ruthlessness by killing an incompetent underling. Lex, by contrast, surrounded himself with imcompetent henchmen and even paused for two seconds when they got squished. Geh wheh? Is that in keeping with the Lex from previous movies? Anyhow, Kevin Spacey is good. I loved when he met Lois on the boat in his bathrobe with toothbrush in his mouth.

Speaking of Lois, who watched Blue Crush and thought, "Eff yeah, Kate Bosworth! She's totally Lois!" She actually wasn't as bad as I thought she was going to be (she's a decent actress), but as Curtis pointed out, she didn't have much of a personality beyond "I'm a bitter independent woman who is still in love with Superman." She was almost feisty, but not in any really entertaining ways.

Why did Kal Penn get cast as a henchman? That was weird. "Hey, remember that funny guy from those funny movies? Yeah, we got him to play a henchman! ... I dunno, he stands around mostly. Why?"

Oh yeah, and Superman has a kid? He and Lois got it on? Disregarding any Mallrats-like discussions of the mechanics of such a feat, isn't that against the all-American mid-west ideals he was raised with? Now we really know why he left for Krypton for five years: he could hear Lois conceiving! Also, where in his morals is it cool for him to try and steal Lois back from uber-nice-guy Cyclops? That is contrary to his morality as well.

Superman never super-punched anything! I guess he didn't have any nigh-invulnerable super-villians to knock around, but I think that's the only "move" of his they didn't feature in the movie.

That wasn't anything like a review. Those were my nerdy observations that had nothing to do with story. I thought the story was pretty good, actually. A good plot for Luthor, as Curtis noted.

**end original 2006 review**

Having seen a Christopher Reeve Superman movie (the second one) more recently now, I can understand Curtis' objections to Routh. I had forgotten how great Reeve was. He was charming and affable, really felt like a kid out of Kansas, and brought great character to his performance, especially as Clark, where Routh was lacking. I dismissed all the Reeve love that went on for a while after his accident and death as mere pity, but now I know what they were on about: he truly was great in that role. Comparing the two performance, Routh's Clark didn't feel like a real guy with real history. He felt like a guy who showed up and played a part for two hours.

Margot Kidder also brought a lot more to the table than Kate Bosworth did. The rapport between her and Reeve felt more believable.

Of course, I also had forgotten that Superman and Lois knocked boots in number two, and that they had explained how that was possible.

No comments: