First the Spidey trailer: OMGYAY! Black costume! Venom! Crazy Harry! Gwen Stacey! I have to wait a year? NOOOO!
Okay, now for the movie I actually saw.
I read somewhere that this movie is supposed to take place after Superman
II, meaning we are supposed to pretend Superman
III and IV never happened, which is what all sensible people were doing anyway. Superman has just come back from a five-year search for his dead planet after astronomers told them they found it, but neglected to mention how long it takes light from other solar systems to reach Earth. (I know, I know; no real science in superhero movies.) The world appears to have moved on, much like Lois Lane who now has a kid and a long-term boyfriend. Poor Superman, it seems he is no longer necessary to his favorite plucky reporter or on his adopted home world. Yeah, right.
Lex Luthor, meanwhile, is out of jail because Superman didn’t show up to testify against him. He’s been keeping busy seducing old ladies and planning to take over the world. With one of those “laser beam on the moon” type plans, no less (note: not actual movie plan). It’s an old fashioned Superman story, with a clear-cut villain, standard world saving and none-too-subtle Christ imagery (which, come to think of it, is kinda weird for a character created by two Jewish guys).
Brandon Routh, I think, got the role of Superman/Clark Kent because he is easy on the eyes and bears a passing resemblance to Christopher Reeve. This isn’t to say he didn’t do a fine job as Superman. His performance didn’t catch my eye, and didn’t leave the biggest impression on me, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t very Truth, Justice and the American Way. Indeed, I think he blended enough humor into the role to keep Superman from being less bland than I usually find him. And I certainly don’t think Tom Welling would have done a better job. I’m rather glad they didn’t cast the Smallville star, as that would have caused all sorts of continuity weirdness. I really like that the Superman movies have their own canon, separate from Smallville and the comics.
Movie!Lex Luthor is one of the differences I really like. Sure he’s erudite, but he’s also funny, has weird plans I don’t think he quite thinks through, and is batshit insane. And, he’s played by Kevin Spacey, which is truly the best casting ever. Gene Hackman must be so proud, because it’s a great continuation of Movie I and II Lex. The Lex scenes were my favorite because Spacey is a great actor, and he and Parker Posey (as his floozy follower with great hats and occasionally horrible hair) played off each other so well.
I would like to introduce Kate Bosworth to Katie Holmes and have the former educate the later on being the female in a superhero movie. Admittedly, Lois Lane has a lot more history and pizzazz than Ms. Pulled-Out-of-a-Screenwriter’s-Ass-
Rachel, but I think it still applies. I found Bosworth’s Lois to be the best of the female-love-interests-in-the-superhero-
genre so far. Though considering her competition has been Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba and Kirsten Dunst (I don’t think anyone in X-Men counts, and Jennifer Connelly is disqualified on account of the sheer badness of The Hulk
in general), that’s probably not too high praise. Still, she was plucky when she needed to be, had some good scenes involving her son, and was generally palatable.
Oh, James Marsden, I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about your acting. You’re not
a plank of wood. It is totally
the fault of the visor that you come off empty and vaguely embarrassing in the X-Men movies. You were so cool; I almost wished your character could stay with Lois. I think you also had more screen time in Superman than you did in all three X-Movies combined. So, good on you, man.
Okay, nitpick time. ( Cut for spoilers )
What I really liked about the movie was that it was genuinely funny. There were some really good humorous dialogue and visual jokes. There’s a levity you can add to Superman that you just can’t get in Batman. The humor is subtler than in, say, Fantastic Four. X-Men was genuinely funny too (Bryan Singer did both, of course), but I think it was of a slightly darker cast than Superman. There’s really only one dark joke in Superman, and it didn’t go over very well with the audience I was with. In a way, it didn’t seem to belong.
The special effects were very good, but nothing I would call awesome. It was what the original movies wanted to accomplish, but didn’t have the technology to do. There was some CGI facial weirdness, but that’s forgivable when everything is moving to fast to really tell (I barely noticed, but I have a friend who looks for it purposely; I don’t know why). I can’t really say there’s anything that stick out in my mind, but there’s a bit with an airplane that really cool. It would probably be better remember by me if it wasn’t such a standard Superman rescue I’ve seen in comics and the cartoons. Though, it really is one of the best illustrations of Superman’s power.
So, yeah. Superman Returns
. Really good; maybe not my favorite comic book movie, but definitely worth seeing. Good cast; appropriate, though maybe not scintillating, plot; actually funny. Makes me wish they’d do that Batman vs. Superman movie because [shallow girl] that’d be a whole lot of hot on one screen [/shallow girl].