Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.
29 June 2006
Superman Returns isn't really an action film, which is kind of odd considering that it's Superman. Whether you'll find it successful or a failure depends largely on whether you want it to be an action movie or whether you're more interested in Superman gaining some actual dimensionality. Either way the film never quite delivers on its potential, but it's not a dud.
I'll be honest, I've never liked Superman, he bores me. Superman has always been this one-dimensional American icon to me. He's got super powers, he's pretty much invincible, he's good and he lives in a world where good and evil aren't really complicated. Superman is good, Lex Luthor is bad. Where's the attraction in that? I like Spiderman, he's got the super powers, but he's also caught up in the messy complications of real life. He struggles with the weight of his responsibilities. His villains are often also friends and their motivations are more complicated than being greedy and wanting to rule the world. Batman, even better, not only does he have to wrestle with all the extremely dark and damaged emotions that come along with being human, but he doesn't even have super powers, just super wealth and a Sharper Image platinum catalogue.
I'm not a comic book fangirl, so I'll never be able to approach any of these franchises whilst thumbing through a back catalog trying to decide if some film decision is supposed to be sacrilege or not. I don't think I've watched any of the previous Superman films more than once and since I was about 10 years-old. I don't watch Smallville and I don't care. I will, however, be going to see the sequel whenever the decide to make it. Because despite the movies flaw (and there are several) Bryan Singer et al have finally delivered a Superman who's more than a caricature.
I've read a few reviews and found a pretty bizarre set of complaints people have had. My favourite has to be the guy complaining that Superman's super powers aren't realistic enough. He wanted to know how Superman could lift a giant rock out of the ocean and toss it into space, but he could barely stop the falling 777 from crashing into the ground. (personally, if you ask me, the answer is clearly that while he could just stop the falling plane on a dime if he wanted to, doing so probably would have crushed the plane and killed everyone on board. Obviously it takes a lot longer to stop a plane safely with minimal damage when you're dealing with velocity, structural details of the plane itself and the fact that the force of the reverse velocity is concentrated on only the small surface area of his two hands, but I'm not a scientist, what do I know?) If you're going to sit around and discuss scientific plausibilities in a Superhero movie a.) you probably need to look into some better hobbies and b.) shouldn't you be more concerned with the fact that a 777 goes all the way up into the upper atmosphere or possibly all the way into outer space and comes back down through it without exploding, burning up, being crushed by the pressure differences, or being detrimental to anyone on board and not only that, but Lois Lane doesn't have an oxygen mask on for at least 5 minutes whilst being thrown back and forth around the cabin but doesn't suffer from lack of oxygen nor does she lose consciousness at any time? Also no one vomits. (I'm pretty sure they call the plane that goes up high enough that people on board achieve anti-gravity is called the Vomit Comet for a reason) See I'm one of those people who can suspend disbelief for the big things; like guy who can fly, shoot laser beams and stop bullets with his eyes, but you have to keep the small details legitimate.
The movies big failure is its complete lack of inertia. Nothing ever gets rolling and instead of an engrossing movie we get a series of scenes that work all right as scenes, but never gel together into a single unit and thus the final product is kind of boring. There are either too many action scenes breaking into the engaging story of Superman coming back after just flying off on a whim to his destroyed homeworld for years to find that everyone has moved on, or is at least trying to; or too much Superman pining because his love was practical enough to build a new life for herself instead of just moping around waiting for him as he clearly thought she was going to taking screen time away from day saving and cgi flying sequences.
Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor was rather disappointing to be honest. He kind of seemed like he didn't want to break out in that stereotypical Spacey quiet to psychotic anger mode, but couldn't quite decide what to do instead. Parker Posey was funny in that twitchy Parker Posey way, though her character is little more than the typical bad guy bimbo role (why can't writers, either screen or comic book, ever seem to write an interesting villain's girlfriend? There are sometimes interesting female villains but not real Lady MacBeth style bad guy girlfriends.) Kate Bosworth was fine as Lane, though all it really requires is having a halfway decent screen presence and not completely sucking as there isn't much written for her to actually have to act. In fact for a movie over 2 hours long, there didn't seem to be much dialogue at all. The only time a character spoke in an entire paragraph seems to be when Lex Luthor was summing up his nefarious plan. As for my opinion of Routh? I liked him. His take on Kent was more realistic, choosing to make him more the real life guy that no one really notices rather than a clumsy bumbling putz. (I've always thought that if Kent were such a klutz you'd notice he wasn't around.) His Superman is subtle.
So all in all a decent movie, not as good as the other franchise restoration film, Batman Begins, but nothing to shake a stick at. (and thankfully this one didn't start over at the beginning but just picked a point after the two ok films to move forward from. Personally I don't know hat I'm very happy about the decision to remake the first 2 Batman movies as the next films in the series. I liked the prequel, but there's nothing wrong with Batman, and it's going to be really hard, I think, to get a Joker who's as good as Nicholson.)