Ruminations of Superman Returns

[[image:supes00.jpg:Superman Returns:center:0]]I went in to watch Superman Returns with high expectations and I got what I deserved, I guess. It was quite a decent movie, but it isn’t as epic as i thought it would be.

First the non-spoilerific thoughts:

[[image:supes02.jpg:Transorbital Rescue:left:0]]The stills I saw prior to seeing this movie did not do justice to Brandon Routh. He doesn’t only make a terrific Superman, but he does a fantastic iteration of Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent. The VFX of Superman flying are perfect, and make us believe a man can fly much more than Superman the Movie. Any scene with him flying for any reason is visually satisfying. There could be a scene of him trying to pick his teeth while floating and it would look great I believe. The space shuttle and Boeing 777 simultaneous rescue is everything I wanted to see in a Superman movie.

[[image:supes03.jpg:Keyser Luthor:right:0]]Lots of people seem to think Kevin Spacey made a good Lex Luthor, but I thought he wasn’t given enough to do in the movie to show us a truly menacing and brilliant Luthor. This is not the Luthor of the comics and of the Timmverse animated series (voiced by Clancy Brown, still the best screen Luthor ever in my humble opinion), who’s more of a megalomaniac and technological genius. This, of course, is the continuation of Gene Hackman’s version of Luthor who seems to be more of an evil land baron.

And who still keeps the company of dumb minions.

Spoilerific thoughts follow:

[[image:supes01.jpg:Up and Away:left:0]]The movie didn’t seem to flow well, especially during the final climactic scenes. When the crystal starts to grow underwater, creating undersea rifts which spead towards Metropolis, it seems to be building towards something big. The payoff would naturally be its eventual removal from the planet by Superman. However, there seemed to be so many things that happens in between which take too much time and this causes the lack of dramatic release for the payoff. And why doesn’t Superman even prepare himself for a kryptonite attack on him? He should have suspected the green rocks would come into the picture, especially with Luthor around. I saw no reason he couldn’t have taken Luthor immediately away from the new continent before he started suffering the radiation effects of kryptonite.

Another thing that felt lacking is the obligatory scenes showing Superman at work, foiling big crimes and helping citizens with small problems earlier in the story, like in the first movie. Showing new reports of him at work isn’t quite the same. I thought that really help the character connect with the people, and would also help the audience root for him more when he saves Metropolis in the end.

The other major point about the story not flowing well is the kid Jason’s role in the movie. First it seemed that when Luthor tried exposing him to kryptonite nothing happened. Then he squished like a bug Luthor’s minion Brutus with a piano, which leads us to believe he’s Superman’s offspring. Then in the following scenes nothing else visible or tangible was offered to us confirming Jason’s parentage except for Superman making googly eyes at the kid for spotting him unconscious in the sea. Not even when Jason, Lois Lane and Richard White were trapped in the sinking half of the ship did the kid show any sign of super powers.

I noticed this seemed to be a problem for Bryan Singer. X-Men 2 had a similar flow problem in the final act of the movie, where the dam is shown about to break and two dozen other things are shown over fifteen minutes it seemed before the dam actually breaks.

[[image:supes04.jpg:Look there, chief. It’s a bird?:center:0]]All in all, I was happy with the movie except for the points mentioned above. I’m happy with any superhero movies that don’t generally suck. I hope in the sequel, they give Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth something other than them making googly eyes at each other like lovesick teenagers.

And if I were Cyclops I’d feel it was worth it getting stiffed in the third X-Men movie for taking a substantial role in this movie as Richard White.

And if Luthor was such a genius he’d have known turbine-engined helicopters consume kerosene rather than gasoline.

And the opening credits really, really does rock, especially with John William’s Superman theme blaring as it went.

And Brainiac, Metallo and Luthor in the next movie please. As well as Kon-El @ Connor Kent fresh from the Cadmus Project.

And I used googly eyes twice (excluding this one) in this entry.

Posted in Movie Review and tagged , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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