Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns: Super, man!

Caught the 6:30 show of Superman Returns last night. It was really well done. Two big thumbs up.

Even though the flick had been getting good reviews (76% on Rottentomatoes) I was pleasantly surprised at just how bang-on this movie was. Big props to newcomer Brandon Routh for paying homage to Christopher Reeve by imitating his Clark Kent almost to a tee (as opposed to "making it his own"). It could have backfired so easily, but the kid did good.

Kate Bosworth was passable as Lois Lane - I was kind of indifferent, which probably isn't a good thing, but at least she doesn't bring the movie down and she didn't "read" too young (but close).

Thumbs up to James Marsden, too. I had avoided trailers like mad so I didn't even know he was in this until the credits rolled at the beginning. His character was not useless and he did a fine job in a thankless role (kinda like Adrian Brody in King Kong).

Kevin Spacey made a good Lex Luthor, though he isn't as critical to the movie as one might suppose. His is almost a completely different storyline. The confrontation between Superman and Lex didn't have the sizzle it should have, considering the acknowledged history between the two.

I'm not gonna spoil the movie for you, but I will tell you this: you would be well served to watch the first two Superman movies before seeing this. There are enough significant allusions to events in those movies that I wonder how anyone could understand the basic premise of this one without having seen the prequels (forget 3 and 4, though - ugh!). This is not Batman Begins: this movie clearly acknowledges the existence of the previous incarnation. The first 15 minutes or so are especially cool if you've seen those other flicks.

Now, without giving anything away, this movie does take one MAJOR liberty with the Superman mythos that many fans will detest. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about it, but I know that it didn't bother me nearly as much during the movie as I would have thought, so it couldn't have been that bad. And it certainly gives this Superman its own identity.

So, all in all, a very entertaining movie (even at 2.5 hours!) and, I have to say, quite possibly the best superhero movie made yet.

Even though you've been raised as a human being you're not one of them. They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.
- Marlon Brandon as Jor-El

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