Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tirades of Truth: Superman Returns

So Superman Returns was on the other night and I decided to review it. I will try to keep this review more focused than other ones.

Well the main story is that Lex Luthor wants to create an island to live on out of a crystal found in the Fortress of Solitude. I know it's pretty weak, but is it any weaker than the first Superman where Lex bought desert land and then wanted to trigger a massive earthquake so the desert land would be beach front property? Allowing him to sell it off and make millions?

This movie came out after Batman Begins, so I think people were expecting a more "mature/dark" storyline. But for me it works. Lex Luthor is about greed and power. And this was another way he tried to do it.

The subplot involves Superman, Lois, and Lois' fiance. It doesn't work at all. I think the entire idea of a super-kid killed this movie. This movie was in effect a sequel to Superman II. So the idea was that Lois got pregnant by Superman during the second movie when they got a little crazy in the Fortress of Solitude. I don't know why they went this route. It was pretty easy to see that he was Superman's kid from the first second it was mentioned.

It's like Anakin and Jar-Jar in The Phantom Menace. If you take them out, it's a pretty good movie. Try watching it without the super-kid and you will be impressed at the improvement.

Brandon Routh was made to play Superman. First off Christopher Reeve is Superman and the first still I saw of Routh, I thought it was a still from the first Superman movie. He does a good job of going from "mild mannered" Clark Kent to Superman. The first lines he has as Superman are funny too. After he saves the plane from crashing he tells everyone inside that flying is still the safest way to travel...classic.

They are rebooting the series again and I hear that Routh isn't going to be attached anymore. And that is a real shame. He did a great job with what he was given. He shouldn't be punished for a script like this one.

Kevin Spacey does a great job as Lex Luthor. Once again, I think people were expecting more. There are times that I feel like it is Gene Hackman up there. When he backs away when the crystal starts to destroy the basement...that's classic Lex. He is only looking out for himself.

He actually is a lot darker than Hackman's Luthor. He actually stabs Superman with a piece of Kryptonite to kill him. Hackman's Luthor put a Kryptonite necklace on him to kill it...which is more violent?

I guess I would compare it Nickolson's Joker and Ledger's Joker. They are both good, but one is just a little darker than the other.

Kate Bosworth is horrible as Lois Lane. I mean horrible. She looks like she should be on 90210 or some teen show. She is too young to be a believable reporter like Lane. Add on the fact, she is supposed to have a 5 year old son? When did she have the baby? When she was 15? She was a horrible choice. It was like DC didn't learn anything from the backlash of Katie Holmes being a DA in Batman Begins. In addition to that, she looks nothing like Kidder. This is supposed to take 5 years after Superman II and while Routh might pass off as being the same age, Bosworth looks just too young. If they wanted to go young, then start it as a new movie not a continuation.

She also comes off as annoying. When she starts asking questions on the plane, it was like shut up. Who cares only 1 network is covering the launch, what are you doing there then? She tries to be tough, but it comes off as annoying. Watching her get thrown around the plane was funny though.

The rest of the cast did a fairly nice job. The new Perry White was good, but not memorable. Actually, he gets screwed over by fans because he says the line "see if he (Superman) still stands for truth, justice, and all that other stuff." Now we all know he is supposed to say "the American way", but the studio didn't want Superman to be Americanized since we were seen as "the bad guys" in 2006.

Luthor's girlfriend, Kitty Kowalski, is great as a comical relief and does a great job. She is very reminiscent of Eve Teschmacher from the first film. She could have gotten some more screen time and it would have been ok with me.

Jimmy Olsen was ok. He was modeled after the old Jimmy and seemed a little out of place at times in this newer version.

Marlon Brando comes back from the dead as Jor-El. This just sort of cemented the fact that this was a sequel to Superman II. I can't really comment on his role because it was left overs from the original. Now it is a digital Marlon Brando and that is kind of cool to see.

There is only one costume that matters and that is Superman's. Let's look at a side by side of the new and the old.There are a few things I like on the new suit. The cape is longer and I actually like the Superman 's' on the belt. But that's where it stops. Why is the suit darker? Is this the gritty Superman? The colors in the original suit were perfect. Why was there a need to change it? The red definitely reminds me of the "evil drunk" Superman in Superman III. Need to explain the "evil drunk" Superman? Maybe later.

The 'S' is so much smaller now, why? That's the best part of the costume. And what's up with the 3-D 'S'? I know they did it for effects, but it isn't needed at all.

I still like it though. The longer cape does it for me. If they had a bigger 'S' I might say it is better than the original.

Good movie. It's a lot better than Superman III or Superman IV. If you go in expecting something like Batman Begins you aren't going to get it. If you go in with an open mind you are going to enjoy yourself. Skip the super-kid scenes and it's a lot better.

It could have used more action scenes, but the ones that were there were pretty good. The plane crashing was nicely done with some actual physics being used this time. And when that guy tries to shoot Superman in the eye...uncomfortable, but visually it was superb.

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