Friday, February 22, 2013

Superman Returns sans- the American way. 07/03/06

As we all know Superman returned to the box office last weekend and earned the top spot at the box office. Its $52.5 million opener barely beat out Batman Begins(grrr, Batman was such a better movie) opening weekend which had $48.2 million but Spiderman 2's opening week end beat it by a mile with $128 million opening weekend. Here's my review: Super Man Returns is three things: 1. a special effects spectical(duh), 2. soap opera and 3. Saturday morning cartoon. The special effects spectical portion does its job well, especially one scene where Super Man must halt the descent of a disabled commercial airplane that for whatever reason(maybe it wasn't explained, maybe I didn't care) has a small spacecraft on top of it. The special effects let you feel the power and grace of Super Man even when he's only a little speck flying by. In other words: special effects act like the movie equivalent of a rumble pack letting you feel the impact of what's going on. After this airplane rescue ends in a baseball stadium, Super Man goes on the plane to inform it's passengers that "statistically it's still the safest way to travel" and this reminds us that what we're watching is just a fun summer movie. It doesn't have to be an amazing story it just has to be fun, and it is mostly due to the special effects and cornball summer superhero movie humor. The soap opera aspect comes into play in the movie's main story. Lois Lane has moved on since Super Man last left and now has a "prolongued engagement" (as photographer and cheery Clark Kent friend Billy puts it) with her boyfriend and a son. The story also has a "surprise ending"(middle if you pay attention) and leaves you wanting to see Billy or even JUST Clark Kent more than the family due to the fact the plot takes itself too seriously and you just don't care as much(that being said I also liked the kid, just Lois and her boyfriend bored me with their generic soap opera couple babble). Of course, the soap opera element gives us a beautiful view of Metropolis(because Super Mans doing that "I don't have to pay for romantic tours, I can fly" thing) which is a great special effect in its own right, but it also means once again the movie does special effects better than story. This brings us to the best non-special effect element of the movie: the Saturday morning cartoon shown through the campy Lex Luthor. Now I have to say that while I was expecting a more serious Lex, I believe Spacey's campy version probably was more enjoyable to watch. We're first introduced to Lex through a scene taking place in a mansion. At first the scene appears to convey the darkness of Lex as he acts indifferent to an old dying woman who he is stealing from. Once she dies and we're out of the deathbed room however, we are treated to Lex's henchman girl taking her undercover maid wig off and the two walking out of the manchine in what could have been a seen from Matilda II: return of the magic girl. Luthor becomes a typical evil but stupid Saturday morning villan with a scene involving a toy train set and kryptonite and his out-there plot for a land mass that covers up the U.S. He is also caught in a robe brushing his teeth in a on his boat, a boat you will want by the movie's end. Only in a scene on a rock full of kryptonite does Luthor show dark menace, but Spacey's campy portrayal is much more enjoyable to watch than that ever could have been. The controversy around whether or not Super Man is gay is obviously false due to Lois Lane being the love interest. However, certain scenes including the one on the plane make it obvious that director Bryan Singer quite liked the looks of Super Man actor Brandn Routh, as evidenced by some subtle male model poses at some points. You can almost hear director Singer saying "oh yeah baby, smile at the camera ypu sexy beast!" The Christ figure comparison might not be as far off since Super Man is told by his father he is the guiding light, and the scene towards the end on the giant rock of kryptonite kind of resembles the Passion of the Christ in some ways. The final controversy around Super Man is "Truth and Justice" which used to be "Truth, Justice, and the American way". It makes me sad we've become so hated that we've had to take ourselves out of one of our beloved superhero's catchphrases, but then again Super Man should be for all people. Overall, the movie is slightly above a simple summer romp but still not reaching the heights of greatness. Both this and Super Man's unimportant odd jobs(and let's face it his job as a repoter) reminded me of the original Spider-Man. Both movies are more than just summer blockbusters but not quite spectacular; though Spider-Man's story was more interesting/relatable(to me at least, opinions may differ) and the villan was much darker despite his being in Power Ranger suit with glider. Batman Begins remains the best superhero movie by far followed by Spider-Man 2 and then X-men 2. However you could do a lot worse with your summer movie choices and it beats the hell out of X3. 3.5/5

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