Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A worthy addition to the mythology

A few random thoughts after attending an opening day matinee of Superman Returns:

I think the opening credits were extremely smart. I still remember how bummed I was that they made up a new theme song for the first Star Trek movie, and how the audience applauded when they finally gave us a snippet of the original music about an hour and a half into it. By using the original Superman music and fonts from the 1970s, the main titles said "We're back; let's have some more fun together."

I'm glad they kept Luthor a little humorous, but I think Gene Hackman's Luthor was downright stupid, so I'm glad Kevin Spacey played him a little more straight. And I liked Parker Posey as Luthor's sidekick Kitty a lot better than Valerine Perrine's Eve Teschmacher. I was worried when I heard they were going back to the world of the original movies, because I honestly didn't like those movies that much. The tone of this movie is more respectful of the original legend of Supes, I think.

I really, really wish they'd done more with Jason, Lois Lane's son. He just kind of sat in the back seat looking mysterious most of the time. I guess they have to save something for the sequel - but on the other hand, if the box office doesn't merit a sequel, they'll never get a chance to explore those themes. One reason I like Serenity so much is they laid it all out there, and if this turns out to be the end they went out with a bang. Superman Returns kinds of holds back and promises to go farther next time - but what if there IS no next time? There probably will be - it even has a projected 2009 release date - but nothing in life is guaranteed.

I think the new Superman, Brandon Routh, might be a better actor than Christopher Reeve was - more subtle, more range of feeling - and while Margo Kidder was great, Kate Bosworth "feels" more like Lois Lane to me. I believe her as a real reporter - and I've been around a few real reporters in my time. And Frank Langella's always great, turning in a human portrayal of editor Perry White.

Bottom line, Superman Returns is a worthy addition to the mythology, better than any of the Christopher Reeve films, with all due respect to that beloved actor. If it wasn't for the Spider-Man and X-Men flicks and V for Vendetta and Sin City and Batman Begins, it might even qualify as one of the best comic-book adaptations of all time. But those eight movies do indeed exist - at least Superman Returns might help round out the top ten.


Blogger Wally Conger said...

I agree with your assessment entirely. The casting was great. The effects were extraordinary, I thought, and the plane sequence was the old 1940s cartoon come to life.

My only real problem with Returns was the pacing. It begins too slowly. We should have seen that plane bit in the first 6 minutes. Just as I did with the 1978 Superman, I kept thinking, "Put on the friggin' costume!" It took Reeve an hour to get the suit on, but then, that was an origin story; it was excusable. A half-hour is too long a wait for Supe's first appearance in this film.

12:03 PM  

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