Pulled In Many Directions

Not-so-daily rambings about my life and my thoughts

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mini Movie Review: Superman Returns

It's my summer vacation now and I have nothing to do after three these days. So instead of fighting off a nap -- getting up for seven a.m. after 6 hours of interrupted sleep is nothing fun -- I decided Wednesday to see Superman Returns, after a month of hemming and hawing over whether I would actually spend the bucks to see it in the theater.

Like everyone else my age, I grew up with the Christopher Reeve versions of the movies, and for me, and many others, Christopher Reeve *is* Superman. If someone was to try to make another Superman movie, then they would really have to do a damn good casting job.

It makes me wince to hear who they were considering. Ashton Kutcher. Brendan Fraser. Josh Hartnett. And ages ago, Nicolas Cage. OH MY GOD! I am *so* glad that never happened, even though the one criticism I have with the movie is that it is just weird that 5 years supposedly have passed between what happened in Superman 2 and Superman Returns, and yet it seems like Superman Returns should have taken place back in time as Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder look heaps older than Kate Bosworth and Brandon Routh. (Even though yes, I know Christopher Reeve was also about 25 years old when making the first of his Superman movies.) But I am eternally grateful no one thought of that too hard and then said, "Yeah, he needs to be a super hero in his forties now and so we should go with Nicolas Cage."

The writing was really good in the movie, too. I think comic book movies have to have some kind of humor in them. While most super heroes have troubled pasts, filled with murdered relatives, botched scientific experiments, shattered planets, I think comic book artists and writers realized with the limited amount of space they had to convey a story, they had to go larger than life at some points, a bit crazy, with the art work and the story line. There were a lot of funny moments in the movie and some throwbacks to the legacy of Superman: The Jimmy Olsen in the 1950s TV show appears as a bartender in this movie. The woman who played Lois Lane in the same show now plays an old dying woman who has just been swindled out of her fortune by her new husband Lex Luthor. There's a moment where a shot of Superman in the sky Jimmy Olsen captured on camera is so small that they throw in the well-known "It's a bird, It's a plane, No, it's..." dialogue before being interrupted.

In one scene, where Lois and her son are trapped on Lex Luthor's ship, Lois asks her son to play on the piano in a ship to keep him occupied and he does, only to have one of Lex Luthor's henchmen join him on a duet of "Heart and Soul." God.

I loved Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, though I kept thinking of his cameo as Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movie in the Goldmember movie. Parker Posey also did a great job, playing his screwball companion. I loved the scene where she is careening through the streets in her car, gets saved by Superman, and then just can't seem to let go of him. And then there was the nutty plot of how Lex Luthor was going to sink half the world under water save for one piece where he would make a killing on real estate. Again, it reminded me of something Dr. Evil would do, but that's what makes those movies fun and what Mike Myers was celebrating in the first place.

In any case, I don't mean it as a criticism, but I think Brandon Routh basically played and updated Christopher Reeve's version of Superman/Clark Kent, but why try to reinvent the wheel when something has worked so well in the past?

And somewhere during the course of the movie, I found I had leapt onto the Brandon Routh bandwagon. He's...(as Superman)...wow. Just...wow. Ha ha...I promise to stop here so I am in no danger of regressing to my 11 year old self.

The next movie won't be until 2009 and I'll be really looking forward to it.