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Superman Returns - Review
12-05-2008, 09:56 PM
Post: #1
Superman Returns - Review

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its.. a colossal disappointment.

You gotta wonder what went through director Bryan Singer's head. After pretty much re-inventing the comic book movie wheel with the first two X-Men movies, he wisely stepped away from the franchise (resulting in the bloated dross that was X-Men: Last Stand), deciding to concentrate on a new superhero film, starring the world's best known hero.

And guess what? It's even WORSE than the film he walked away from.

For starters, Singer (along with seemingly the rest of the world) seems to think that the 1970s Superman movie, and in particular Christopher Reeve, are the only representations of the DC comic book. What's the first thing you read about new Supes Brandon Routh, what's the first thing people had to say about him? "Oh, he looks JUST like Christopher Reeve!" SO WHAT? Why is it so essential to stay fixated on those movies? Why do we never hear references made to the Kirk Alyn Superman? Or George Reeves, who (arguably) made an even bigger impact in the tights than his similarly named counterpart?

But I digress. So, Superman Returns, then. Taken five years after Superman II (with Superman 3 and 4 being nixed from continuity - hmmm, messing around with continuity and carelessly discarding what's come before it? Yup, it's based on a DC comic, alright), we find that, for no real reason, Superman flew away for five years and let Lois Lane grow both more attractive and several years younger. That was nice of him. And wouldn't you know it, he's not back five minutes and already Lois is in dire peril - how did she survive all this time without him?

While we're on the subject of Superman III and IV being wiped out because they were, well, crap, let's get one thing straight; the entire Superman FRANCHISE, including those holier than thou first two movies, aren't exactly perfect either. There are dozens of howlers in those movies, from Superman flying around the world so fast he turns back time (um, why not just do that for EVERYTHING bad that happens?), to Superman kissing Lois and WIPING HER MEMORY (it's Rohypnol Man!). Are we to pretend those things didn't happen as well?

Anyway, in this one, what follows is a plot so ludicrous and half-baked you often wonder whether you should laugh or feel insulted. True, Superman is the most boring, two-dimensional character in comics, but even he deserves a better story than this. Spacey, a great actor, thinks hamming it up and yelling is all you need to be a great villain (if we're going to be obsessed with the 70s films, Gene Hackman was a much, much better Luthor), the chemistry between Lois and Clark is non-existent, and let's get to the REAL one-fingered salute to the fans, the franchise and the comic books themselves. If you want to avoid spoilers, look away now..

Lois has a son from "another guy." Who, after playing piano with the nicest kidnapper in the world, suddenly reveals he has SUPER POWERS TOO. That's right - it's actually Superman's son! Not only would this be a biological impossibility, (wouldn't Clark's Super Sperm, just, you know, blast right through Lois?) but it also kills the entire series STONE DEAD. So, what, are we going to have SuperBoy in the next film (and make no mistake about it, Superman Returns is an obvious attempt at a franchise starter)? So we're basically going to ignore decades of continuity and just make stuff up for no reason?

And then there's the fact that Superman isn't exactly, well, Super in this film to begin with. Yeah, he does some (nice looking) stuff like catching airplanes and having bullets bounce off his eyeballs, but when it really comes down to it, all he does it sulk, pick things up, and then get the snot beaten out of him by Luthor. Um.. awesome.

It's a mess. A boring, pretentious, worthy mess. Which, in the days of spot-on comic book adaptations like Spider-Man 2 (and most recently Iron Man) is simply unacceptable.

Send it to the Phantom Zone.

Don't abuse children, or else they'll turn out like me.
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