“Superman Returns” – Reviewed

*Warning-Possible Spoilers!Superman Returns Poster

I know it’s a little late, but I just hadn’t gotten around to writing this… So, forgive me for the delay. This review was meant to be written on opening night after I saw the movie.

Let me give you a quick bit of a background before I jump into this review. I consider myself a pretty decent Superman fan. Not on the level of some of the more extreme fans i’m sure, but I do try to watch everything Superman that I can. And having watched the original movie like a hundred times and owning a ton of Superman action figures, I can say with all honesty that this was the movie I had spent most of my existence waiting to come out.

Where Has He Gone?

Sadly though, Superman has disappointed me. For a number of reasons.

Let’s start off with what was easiest to notice: that there’s nothing that “wow’s” you in watching this movie. In Superman 1, even if the special effects may be somewhat cheesy today, there was definitely a “wow factor.” A huge one. I know that movie was actually a bit revolutionary in terms of special effects, but we don’t need that for a wow factor to exist. There was a “wow” factor in Spiderman in watching him swing which wasn’t anything cutting edge at all in terms of special effects. But there was a director’s vision, and that’s what made that movie so great. We all left the theatres wishing we could swing from buildings.

Ironically, there was also a huge “wow” factor in X-men 1 – and then amazingly – again in X-men 2 (which were both Bryan Singer’s movies). Bryan Singer and his writing team MADE that movie. Notice the use of all uppercase “MADE” – not just a simple “made.” For people who have read the comics (or in my case, watched the fox morning cartoons – I know, I’m a lame X-men fan), they know that turning X-men into a movie is pretty much impossible. So to see it pulled off… wow. I left that movie wishing I could shoot lasers out of my eyes – and of course, pulling out admantium claws out of my hands. And in my opinion, that Nightcrawler opening scene in X-men 2 where he attacks the white house is one of the best pieces of moviemaking ever.

But in Superman… there was no “wow” factor. Fun to see it all go down, yes… but I wasn’t wow-ed. Which in short means that there was nothing special about Bryan Singer doing this movie. I honestly think anyone could have made this movie the way it was made.

Luckily for Brian Singer though, his moviemaking wasn’t the reason this movie was disappointing.

The script was ass. Most probably because the overall plot was ass-er.

So… the big conflict in this story is that Lex wants to make an island using the crystal that made the fortress of solitude. Alright, nice story – except.. that’s it, he just wants to make an island. He doesn’t want to somehow use the power of the crystal and the island that it’ll create for anythign special – but just real estate…

Lex and his woman on the Island

that’s it? I waited 19 years for this?

Man, even the weekly smallville would reject such a B.S. idea for a show, how the hell did it get pulled off for a movie?

And the scary evil part of this is that the island created is gonna get so big that it’s going to start eliminating parts of the U.S., and Superman’s going to try to stop it. Except the Island’s got Kryptonite in it, so, it’s going to be a little harder to do. But that’s it, just a little harder to do – no added intelligent strategy, Superman’s just gotta sweat a little more to get rid of the island. That’s the movie in a nutshell.

Now here’s what kills me…

Lois, Her Son, and Lex

Midway through the movie, they introduce the best plotline in the world. That Lois Lane’s kid is Superman’s kid. Then what do they do?

They abandoned it!

I can understand if this is a weekly show where we might learn more next week. But this is a movie we’ve waited 19 years for, and a new Superman isn’t coming out for another 2-3 years. Which means, if you have a great plotline idea, you use it NOW, and get rid of the shitty plotline you’re currently using!

The writing team of Xmen have so disappointed me. They should have stuck with Xmen, just like Brian singer should have. That worked better for them. The Xmen franchise is a character driven franchise where characters drive story ideas (the same way ‘Lost’ works).

Superman on the other hand, because there aren’t as many characters, needs story to drive it. And to come up with a story worthy of Superman, you have to be a damn good writer – like Mario Puzo, who wrote Superman 1.

The script. *shrugs shoulders*. Forgettable. Can’t remember a single line at the time of this writing, while I can cite lines from Superman 1 and Batman at anytime.

As far as Characters go…

SupermanClark Kent

Brandon Routh totally worked as Superman. Believable as Clark Kent, believable as superman, the Superman people have picked another winner to join Christopher Reeve and Tom Welling (Dean Cain in Lois and Clark… not a winner).

Lex Luthor
Kevin Spacey worked as Lex Luthor too. A lot of untapped potential because of the script though.

Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth)
Kate Bosworth sucked as Lois Lane. Yeah, you could say “its not her fault! the Lois Lane character herself sucked in this movie” but at least there could have been a shot for her to come out at least somewhat good (for example, Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, who – again – just needed a script).

Kate Bosworth shoulda taken on Win a Date with Tad Hamilton 2 or something because she was not meant for this role. Lois Lane isn’t a passive character in the Superman story like Batman’s women (example – Katie Holmes as whats her name in Batman Begins), Lois Lane is actually important to the story and is a character. Margot Kidder could do it. Erica Durance does it a bit too mcuh on Smallville, but at least she’s on somewhat of the right track. Even Teri Hatcher in Lois and Clark kind of had it. But Kate Bosworth though… umm.. no potential.

Stanford (Kal Penn)
Yeah, I know he isn’t a main character, but Kal Penn’s a fellow South Asian and I thought him being in this movie would be a big deal. Sadly though, Kal Penn as Stanford = throwaway character. No dialogue at all (what? why?!) makes Kal a crappy sidekick and not as good as Lex’s sidekick from the 1st superman.

I hope Kal Penn makes up for the mistake that was taking on this movie in the Namesake. He won’t be remembered for this.

So in conclusion..

Good movie guys, but you get no applause at the end. I advise the director and writers to go back to X-Men where you guys were really leaving your marks. As for the next Superman, either let Mario Puzo write it, J. J. Abrams write it, or just let me write it.

(Images linked are from ign.com – http://media.filmforce.ign.com/media/033/033915/imgs_1.html )

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