Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Superman Returns

I caught this on Sunday and was quite underwhelmed. I admit that my hopes weren't really high: Superman is a pretty boring superhero in that his powers are seemingly unlimited and the greatest problem of his personal life is that his glasses might slip and he'll lose his job as a reporter when people learn he's also Clark Kent. The only other hero with unlimited powers is Jesus and his story has the drama in sacrificing himself for everybody's souls. Supes never suffers very much and he's always seemed to be the Yankees of heroes, a guy who people root for because he's the most powerful. I've also come to accept that DC villians are more interesting than the heroes while the Marvel heroes are more interesting than their villians. Ok, Batman's cool when you take him to be the revenge-crazed freak he is, but that gets old after a while and before long he's just another convienent gadget hero with weirdo enemies, not a normal guy type like Spider-Man who most can relate to.

Back to Superman Returns. I did enjoy lots of the movie; I actually sensed all of the parallels they made w/ the original two and began to have flashbacks to when I first saw them (I think it was on a plane ride to Hawaii in the late 70s). Yes, the boyish wonder of a man who can fly.... but the movie has lots of problems: we have a female lead who looks way too young for the role (just like in Batman Begins), his power is too overwhelming at the end to make his previous troubles seem realistic ('why didn't he save the day that way 20 minutes earlier?') and the characters don't really spark interest. Moriarty's review makes some great points about what the child character does to future movies and how the theme of adoption figures in the movie.

Molino astutely points out that Superman is a clever guy who does rely on his wits in most situations. This may be why I can stand to read the comic book more than see him on screen: movies don't have thought-balloons. In fact, I'll try to read my trade paperback of The Man of Steel sometime soon; that was decent in that it scaled back his powers some and had a full characterization of the title character.

Bonus: Roger Ebert's review mentions a goat.

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