Saturday, July 01, 2006

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet Point Review of Superman Returns

Earth's yellow sun may be the source of Superman's powers, but the same sun has left me dehydrated just back from the Lincoln Square IMAX. So as not to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it, here is my bullet point review:

    Thumbs Up:

  • Brandon Routh. The costume, the effects, and Routh's demeanor as Superman all worked for me. I believed him as both Superman and Clark Kent.

  • Kate Bosworth. Lots of people said she was too young for the part, but she seemed fine to me, feisty and sweet.

  • Kevin Spacey. He played Luthor's sociopathic side very well. The concept of Luthor in this movie borrowed a lot from Gene Hackman's mix of criminal mastermind and comic relief, but I think Hackman played the comedy better.

  • The Reason. The big question, why did Superman leave Earth for five years, was answered adequately, in my opinion.


  • Jimmy Olsen. I just didn't buy someone not much younger than Clark calling him "Mr. Kent."

    Thumbs Down:

  • Not Enough Clark. Superman has a lot of disasters to avert in this movie, leaving almost no time for Clark to get reacclimated. I've always preferred the idea that Kal-El was essentially raised as Clark, learning human values and aspiring to the same things humans do—a fulfilling job, good friends, the chance to share everything with the right person—all things he can't have as the otherworldly Superman. He fell in love with Lois as Clark; he should want her to see him as Clark. I was baffled that Clark kept trying to have a heart-to-heart with Lois and yet undercut his own chances by swooping in as Superman and flying Lois around the city ala the 1978 movie.

  • Huh? I've long thought Superman traveling back in time to save Lois from an earthquake was the biggest stretch I'd ever seen. Despite promises that Superman Returns would be more sophisticated, it had its share of head-scratchers to crack my suspension of disbelief.

  • Borrowing Something Blue, and Red, and Yellow. Singer went to great lengths to connect his movie with Richard Donner's earlier two: same music, Marlon Brando, a photo of Glenn Ford... Like some critics, I'm not sure Singer put much of his own stamp on the movie. He probably figured viewers wouldn't want him to really mess with what they loved about Donner's version. But come on. This is your shot. Show me something.

  • Close... I give Singer credit for scenes of a Kryptonite-weakened Superman getting the beating of his life. I say if you're going to go that far, kill him. But of course, no one does.

Final Grade: C+


Flick Masters said...

Did you see the 3-D IMAX version? If so, were the 3-D effects any good?

Gerald So said...

The 3-D was good, especially a scene where a plane depressurizes and various objects float around.