Archive for July, 2006

No, not me, you nitwits. (But thanks for the compliment.) B-)

Anne and I went to see SUPERMAN RETURNS earlier in the week. Overall, a decent effort — certainly better than the last two Superman films, although that isn’t too high a bar to clear. I’m pleased to be able to relegate SUPERMAN III and SUPERMAN IV to the trashbin of ‘movie sequels that never existed’, tucked neatly behind HIGHLANDER 2.

Bryan Singer knows his source material, both from earlier films (“Do you know what my father used to say to me?”) and from the comics (“These pictures are iconic.”). (Am I correct in thinking that those two photos are reproductions of famous panels from Superman #1? I’m pretty sure I recognized the shot of Superman lifting the tail end of the car. But I digress…) Starting with the opening credits, and carrying through to the final shot, this movie sends the message that the Superman movie franchise has ‘come home’, back on track.

That said, the movie does have some flaws. Other commentors have made a big deal out of Perry White’s “Truth, Justice… all that stuff” line, wondering what happened to the American Way, but I find it difficult to get lathered up about that. The people who think this is a sign of Hollywood corrupting the ultimate American hero need to go pick up a copy of “Superman: Red Son”. It’ll either give them a sense of perspective or make their heads explode.

I thought the film suffered somewhat from pacing issues, being too slow at times and too quick at others. Lex Luthor’s evil plan didn’t make much sense to me either — surely there would be better ways to make a quick buck using Kryptonian technology than building a new and unappetizing mini-continent in the Atlantic Ocean? This guy is supposed to be a genius, and this is the best he can come up with? I’m neither impressed nor convinced. Perhaps it’s time for the Superman franchise to move on to another villain. Superman has plenty, and Luthor is starting to (literally) repeat himself. How about Brainiac?

John Ottman’s score also left something to be desired; the only memorable parts were those that reused parts of John Williams’ original theme. Wisely, Ottman reused it a lot, but still…

There’s one other gaping plot hole that bugs me, but since it’s a honking great spoiler I’ll push it into the extended entry.

Net conclusion: it’s definitely worth the nine bucks for admission, assuming you like superhero films. This isn’t a top-flight example of the genre, but it’s a cut above generic efforts like FANTASTIC FOUR and several cuts above the bottom-feeders like CATWOMAN. I look forward to the next installment.