Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns: The Cherry Ride (sort-of) Review

As we’ve already established, I grew up a superhero geek and get giddy as a schoolgirl for lots of superhero movies. For me, the first Superman movie, which my Dad took me to on opening day in 1978, is the Gold Standard. To this day, I think it is the best major superhero movie ever made (see my list below).

My expectations for this new movie were already pretty high due to the buzz. Secretly, I was hoping to get just a taste of the same awe and inspiration I got from watching the 1978 film (a tall order since I’m now in my 30s and much more cynical), but in the least I wanted the movie to just not suck in the way that a lot of superhero movies do. I didn’t want or need a movie with a lot of flash and fight scenes or really bad music montages featuring music from Nickelback, Evanescence, Rob Zombie or ay other lame act that appeals to the 14-year old boy from Ohio which is the typical target audience of superhero films.

Superman Returns did not disappoint. It is a complete return to form in that it has the look and feel of the original movie. It is complementary that it doesn’t seem like it was made in 2006; the film has a more timeless feel to it. The acting was great, the action scenes were great, the music was great. Even the opening credits (which used the original John Williams score) gave me chills and made me feel like a kid again.

I won’t bother going into the plot but instead hit on the following points:

  • Brandon Routh: very good in this role; better than I expected. When he is playing Clark Kent, he pretty much looks and acts like Christopher Reeve did. A little wooden at times, but I think that is how the character should be played.
  • Kevin Spacey: very good as Lex. I had heard that he steals the show, but he doesn’t. He plays Luthor a little darker than Gene Hackman did, but with a twinge of humor. But all-in-all, this Lex is a crazy mo-fo and someone you don’t want to mess with.
  • Kate Bosworth: does her best, but fundamentally is miscast as Lois Lane. She is just too young to play a Pulitzer prize winning, tough and experienced journalist. Isn’t she, like, 25 years old? They needed someone older.
  • Parker Posey: like any role she’s ever played, she kicks ass. She is funny, but also shows some surprising depth at times.
  • My only real complaint about the movie is that it hits the breaks in the last 15 minutes and sorta stalls there.
  • Oh, and also, the movie was filmed in Australia and there are a few locales that would be familiar to any Sydneysider, including York St. and a quick shot from one of my favorite Sydney eateries, the Tropicana.
  • PS – that mysterious LA actor I met in New Zealand claiming to be in the movie as a friend of Clark Kent’s: Completely Missing. As Prashant says, maybe he made the cutting room floor and will be on the DVD’s “extra scenes.” Whatever.

To honor the occasion, here is my list of the Top 10 BEST Superhero Movies Ever Made:

  1. Superman
  2. X-Men II
  3. Superman Returns
  4. Spiderman II
  5. Batman Returns
  6. Superman II
  7. Batman
  8. X-Men
  9. Spiderman
  10. X-Men III

Top 10 WORST Superhero Movies Ever Made:

  1. Superman III
  2. Batman and Robin and/or Batman IV (because after #2 they pretty much all run together, don’t they? I remember that Ahhnold was in one of them and that the Batsuit had nipples, and that’s about all I care to remember.)
  3. Superman IV
  4. Elektra
  5. Daredevil
  6. Punisher
  7. Batman III
  8. Fantastic Four
  9. Hellboy
  10. Hulk

Narrowly missing either list: Batman II


Prashant Sridharan, the comic book nerd said...

Uh, it's "Batman Begins" and "Spider-Man".

CHW said...

He technically isn't a "superhero" and the first stories were actually novels before they became comics, but Conan The Barbarian is THE BEST.

Wingman said...

Catwoman didn't make the worst list?

darci ann said...

dear lord, i had almost forgotten about how miserably awful "the hulk," was. Now I need a shower. Maybe if I listen to "super trouper" that can get stuck in my head instead of poor Eric Bana stuck in the hulk.