last modified: Thursday, June 29, 2006 (4:00:31 AM)
Here's a short summary: I liked the movie. If you're curious to know why, continue reading. There are no spoilers here, just my insights.
Just got back from seeing Superman Returns. It's fantastic. I imagine it not appealing to the general masses, however, much like Peter Jackson's King Kong. It's a unique hybrid - homage, sequel, remake, origin film. If you are a fan of the archetypes created in the original Donner films (even though Superman II was stripped from Donner's paws in the final cut), then you will not be disappointed.
The pacing and storytelling are reminiscent of the 1978 Superman, but the plot tackles modernity. The character development and feel of the Metropolitan-world is retro. It's part physical comedy (a la Cary Grant), part complex interpersonal relationships and part apocalyptic disaster film. There are so many echoes from Donner's film, fans will be pleased. Those out of the Superman movie loop will not be lost but this is not your average action movie. Or your typical comic book adaptation, for that matter. Bryan Singer calls Superman Returns a chick-flick.
It's roughly 2 and a half hours long and the teenagers sitting near me were fairly bored by the end. There is no true build-up, the third act is... odd. I liked it very much because it seemed real, complex, modern. The movie has a retro feel but it does not leave the audience feeling disconnected.
If you're curious why Superman and Clark Kent both disappear for 5 years and no one makes the connection about the secret identity: Clark Kent is unnoticable. There are subtle clues to let the audience know that Clark almost does not exist at all. That's the true purpose of his alter ego.
The focus of the original franchise revolved around the affinity and connection between Lois and Superman. This movie picks up that torch beautifully. It's not a fairytale romance, there are realistic obstacles that impede "happily ever after" in the traditional sense. It's not predictable or cheesy.
The relationships between the characters are complicated and painful. There is invisible damage done to everyone, there's real emotion and turmoil. Ken Burns calls Superman the ultimate immigrant. Superman steps out of the two-dimensional; he is no longer the cookie-cutter protagonist. He's not a boyscout, he's a man. He's real, he's lonely, he wants to be human.
The Scrabble board on Martha Kent's table says it all: Alienation.
Can't wait for the 10-something disc Superman boxset. It features a version of Superman II that has received Richard Donner's blessing. =D
Ok, I'm done with the fangirl rant. http://welcomeconsumer.com