Superman Returns...from a 5 year space voyage and...
Firstly, greetings from New Zealand. I've been here for nearly a month now and life is great! When my friend, Amit, suggested we book online for tickets to the new superman at the special re-opened 3D Imax on opening day, I thought sure, why not?, even though the ticket was $20 new zealand dollars(as compared to the usual $14 NZD). As much as I love the independent spirit of lower budget and arthouse films, I can't really begrudge the occasional epic mind-blowing big-budget blockbuster, in 3D no less. All the reviewers were awe-struck it seemed. I couldn't find one major bad review in my brief perusal on the net. I have no special affinity for Superman but I have to admit, I was fairly excited. Maybe it goes back to the theory of high expectations = bad movie experience, but I left the theater nonplussed, with the feeling I had perhaps wasted my money and night. Superman comes back after an absence of five years. He briefly talks about it and his reasons. He went to see the dead remains of Krpton, his home world. There was nothing left. This is the extent we get from his escapade. I suppose he must have spent most of the 5 years...traveling in space? He seems eager to move on, change the subject. Lex Luther's master plan is fairly dumb and ludricrous for someone who is a genuis. There are some inconsistencies when it come to Kryptonite on superman's part. He becomes helpless when he first becomes exposed to it. Yet, in another scene he is able to fly a giant island of it into outer space and hurl it at the sun somehow. I guess he did just did it real quick before the krytonite drained his powers?
The characters seemed scattered and I almost felt like the writter/s were unsure of what to do with them. The film has an uneasy climax at best. Besides the plot holes and unexplored characters, the action scenes are nothing spectacular when held to today's current CG standards.
I guess the most intriguing thing for me about Superman is the duality of his person. He's the most powerful being on the planet with nearly unlimited powers. Yet by day, he chooses to be a bumbling idoit, who chases Lois Lane around, begging for any scrap of attention. The story is, Lois doesn't give Clark the time of day, but of course falls head over heels for Superman. It is an interesting situation and I was dissappointed how Brian Singer glazes over it without exporing the complexities of human nature involved. I mean, he can have the girl of his dreams as Superman...but Superman is incapable of leading a normal life, having a family, settling down. But as Clark, he's a stooge, as a necessary disguise to hide his super-powers, he can't let anyone take him too serious. It should also say something about how superficial we can be as people when we are presented with the smae person, with a different image. Clark never judges Lois as being superficial but the audience can't help but to. But all the interesting elements are like I said, largely left unexplored, given up to cheesy dialogue and CG action. Also, I felt like Clark was pretty much dissed and compltely disregarded for largely, the whole 3rd act of the film. He just goes away. No one questions where he is, not even Jimmy Olsen, who seems to have this huge man-crush on him. The Clark character recieves no resolve at all.
Kevin Spacey is the closest thing to redeeming the film. That is to say, he is the only character that has any charisma at all. He has very limited interaction with Superman and is somewhat mired by the stupidity of his master plot and all the holes contained there in.
Anyway, alot of others seem to enjoy the film and if I've lowered your expectations, maybe you will too, now reverting to the antithesis of the before mentioned theory, low expectations = better movie experience.