Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns

*I wouldn't recommend reading this if you haven't seen the movie*

I went with my friend last night to the 10 pm preview showing of Superman Returns. It was a good film. Fun, entertaining, and exciting. Is it really good? Yeah I would say so. Is it great? Well that's a little harder to answer but in the end I would have to say no. Its doesn't reach the levels of greatness that Batman Begins and Spider-Man 2 did for me. I'll explain why in bit but for now I will focus on what worked in the film for me. The story overall was pretty good. Interesting character development. Good characterization and acting. The character of Lex Luthor's female sidekick Kitty Kowalski, played by Parker Posey, was great. The visual effects in general were outstanding. I loved that the titles had the retro look that the original film did (they weren't retro at the time but you now what I mean). Also I was really happy that they utilized John Williams' iconic Superman theme. In addition it was pretty cool that they brought Marlon Brando back to life for the film. You can see a nice breakdown of what it took Rhythm & Hues to do so here. One of the astronauts was played by Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin who is trying to launch the fist commercial suborbital space flights. Definitely not important to the story but a nice inclusion. Lastly I thought it was fun that Gotham was mentioned in the film. It was completely insignificant but it brought a smile to my face nonetheless.

Now the things that were not so good. The thing that was most bothersome to me was Lois Lane's superhuman resistance to any sort of damage. Let me explain. The two most glaring examples of this were the plane crash sequence and Luthor's boat destruction sequence. In the plane crash sequence she is thrown from one end of the plane to the other twice, if I remember correctly, and just completely bounced around the cabin in general. She manages to make it to her seat, put her seat belt on, and be completely fine and wearing a smile when Superman enters the plane to greet her and the others in the airplane. In the boat destruction sequence she gets a steel door slammed, not shut but really slammed, on her head and she is completely fine within five minutes. Did she inherit some sort of super strength when she "mated" with Superman? It just seemed completely off base to me. The other thing that really bugged me was the Bank robbery sequence. You know the one prominently featured in the trailers where he gets sprayed in the chest with bullets and shot in the eye. Yeah that one. Well it didn't belong in the movie. It has no story point whatsoever. Yeah it shows that he is the man of steel. We already know that and if they wanted to reassert it it should have been done with something that tied back into the story. Like when he rescued the Kitty Kowalski character from the car that had lost the breaks. That tied back into the story. He was being distracted with that event from the fact that Kryptonite was being stolen from a museum. When the bank robbery sequence ended it did so abruptly and was never referenced or tied back into the plot. It should have been cut. In addition the ending seemed weak to me. The movie was moving along at a nice pace, two hours went by without feeling like two hours, but the ending just felt like it was meandered. I felt bored and restless before the credits started rolling which is not a good sign.

Was the bad stuff enough to ruin the film for me and call it a failure? No I don't think so. I think it worked overall. Like I said it was very exciting and entertaining. Would I recommend it to others? Sure. Go check it out. If you do let me know what you think.

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Jak said...

Oh I'll tell YOU what I thought alright...

Obviously I loved it. I haven't been an uber Superman fan, but I've been a fan nonetheless. I like him better than Spiderman, but not better than Batman, to give you an idea. Well i'm glad you enjoyed it! Its actually the the reaction I predicted from you though. You liked it, but you didn't love it, and honestly I think its a film that you'll start liking less and less as time goes by. I'll start as you did with the good:

Yes, I enjoyed the story too. I thought it was well written and executed. Room for improvement in certain places, but I was satisfied as it developed. I thought the characters were very 'playful', which made the movie as a whole not as serious and dark as Batman Begins was, not that it was a bad thing. I really enjoyed the many subtle homages to the original Superman legacy! The main titles of the other films, the Action Comics reference with Superman holding up the car, the soundtrack, the "It's a bird, its a plane," line...Everyone also caught the Gotham reference too! All these little things kept a smile on my face throughout the movie. Lex was great too. Very smart and intellectual, but not uber evil and all-powerful. He's not a super-villain.

There were some things that bothered me a little, but not enough to raise more than an eyebrow. The degree of power kryptonite had on Superman seemed arguable. Does it just make him sick? Does he just lose all his powers? How close does he have to be to it? Does he have to be touching it? Again, I accepted it, whereas I know a lot of geeks out there were writing hate mail as the film was still in progress. Lois was also just acceptable, but I think she could've been a 'stronger' Lois, having a more "i'm going to do this whether you like it or not" attitude.

In response to your dislikes, here's what I think:

The Super-Lois. Yeah I can see how that could've bothered you. Not a scratch on her huh? Hahaha. Yeah I don't think it bothered me too much that it threw me out of the movie. As limited amount of characters there were, I think they needed her to stay concious for the most part to be somewhat of a secondary hero. Who else is gonna save Superman? Cyclops? Yeah right! But the Bank scene I thought was absoulutely fine. It was a super-hero sequence for that purpose only: to entertain. I would agree with you if it TOOK AWAY from the movie's storyline, but it didn't really! It was part of the hero montage that emphasizes who Superman really is. You forget how old you are, and how young everyone else is. Have they really followed the comics? Have they really seen the previous lame movies? A comment that Steven made that I agreed with was the comparison he made to Batman Begins, where he felt a yearn for the development of Batman fighting off crooks and building his reputation and fear with the city before taking out the main crime boss Falcone. We the audience knew he had his ninja training, but Gotham really didn't. This movie begins with Superman being missiing in action for 5 years. Not that people really forgot about him, but you know Lois did write and won an award for the "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" article. The Bank sequence is part of the "Superman is a hero, remember?" montage. It was just cool to be in there I guess. Not every shot in a movie has to connect to the main story, otherwise we'd have a billion half-hour flicks. LOTR! OMG don't even get me started with that trilogy...hehehe.

Well anyway, I thought it was a great summer flick. Not better than Batman, but a solid second in my superhero-movie list...I think...

Anonymous said...

My Opinion of the film...

I thought it was fantastic!!! The IMAX 3D a little overated but oh well. Every single shot of superman flying was amazing the wire work and cg was near flawless. Most of his poses were very comic book and very cool! The knee bent coming down for a landing, using his arms to turn and slow down, is exactly how I would have drawn or tried to portray a person flying. I didn't feel like he was swimming or something which is usually how most movies end up looking. I agree with Jak with the bank scene being the beginning of the superhero montage but I think shane is having trouble with it cause it was kind of long for a montage? The problem I have for the bank scene was if these guys have enough money to get a helicopter and this enourmous mini-gun then what the hell are they robbing a bank for? Maybe the bank scene was an answer to superman folklore: are superman's eyes invincible also? I know that was a question that people ask sometimes. Now steering away from the bank and on to lois...

Lois being tossed like a sack of potatoes like that should have massive internal bleeding and when the steel door smashes her skull she definitely would have been dead. But this is a movie and you can get away with stuff like that especially when they are a main character. Though if we ask bryan singer he may tell us something like we had hypothosized: she had inherited some of supes powers from carrying his child. To me that would make sense cause she would have to be strong enough to protect and carry the baby and "Life finds a way." (what movie is that from?) I agree with Oscar with the kryptonite not entirley effecting superboy but he did seem afraid of it.

Carrying on the Kryptonite theme... I feel that the reason why the kryptonite wasn't effecting him as much while lifting the continent was because of the direct sunlight he was recieving while lifting but I could be wrong? My problem with the continent was that he was lifting it. Come on guys don't you think you could have come up with something a little more creative than that for supe to save the day?

So there's my two bits.


Kenfield said...

Hi, um I don't really have a lot to say on this movie that hasn't already been said. But Katie and I really enjoyed it and we had no idea that it would be tied to the original films. This put us at ease because we thought they were trying to completely reinvent The S and that could go anywhere. We felt good about it from the moment the film began with those wonderful opening credits. I did not see that coming! This caused us to relax and just enjoy the film. Of course we have our criticisms such as the Lane's invulnerability but we expressed them more like funny jokes and comments that were told each other during the film. So yeah, I agree with most of you on these critiques, but like you we had a blast watching it! It was a nice end to a very stressful week.

Oh, HI SHANE!!!! Katie and I are finally joining the Blog scene!
I hope your family and you are doing well!

Antelmo Villarreal said...

Hey man,

Love all you posted on superman, all the links and trivia stuff.

I enjoyed the movie, but was not a fan of the casting.

It really did not feel like superman. Superman felt selfish, errogant and self centered. SO it was not really the image of the all american hero.