Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Review: Superman Returns

I saw Superman Returns on opening weekend but took a while to write this review. I had had a lot of anticipation for this movie, which usually for me means I'll be disappointed. I was never a real huge comic book geek, but I did read quite a few Superman comics, and as a kid I loved the Superman movies.

Last year's Batman Begins was an excellent film, and I hoped to be as satisfied with this movie. Brandon Routh plays a good Superman, and he looks a bit like Christopher Reeve, so I can't complain about him. Kevin Spacey did a great job as Lex Luthor, but unfortunately Luthor's plot in this film is pretty damn lame. Surely in all the comics that have been written about Superman, a better scheme has been written that could have been lifted for this movie? But from a character standpoint, the major disappointment for me was that Kate Bosworth was a pretty lousy Lois lane. There was barely any palpable chemistry between her and Supes. Plus, her giant forehead was distracting.

Otherwise, this movie was waaay too long and had too many quiet, "dramatic," moments that were supposed to be awe-inspiring but were more like sleep inspiring. All in all, it could have been a lot worse of a movie, but it could have been a lot better too. Hopefully the next movie will have more action and less of the sleepy stuff. Honestly, the best part about going to see this movie was that the preview for Spiderman III looked REALLY good.

Now, some reviews of this film will tell you Superman Returns is a sequel to the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie, while others will tell you that it's a sequel to Superman II. Why is there confusion, even though Director Brian Singer has explicitly said in interviews that this is is a sequel to Superman II? My theory is that the confusion stems from the unstated fact that Superman Returns is truly a sequel to Superman II, but not the movie we all know. I believe Superman Returns is actually a sequel to the Superman II movie that was mostly filmed, but never finished, by the original director Richard Donner. The original idea for the Christopher Reeve film was a two part movie. Richard Donner filmed Superman and Superman II basically at the same time. But the studio got nervous about having the first film end in a cliffhanger and instead had Donner have more of a resolution for the first movie. Then, once the film was a success Donner continued to work on the sequel but got into some arguments with the studio and was then replaced by Richard Lester who, many movie fans feel, screwed everything up. When you watch Superman II, some scenes were shot and edited by Donner, and some by Lester. A lot of the original Donner material was cut altogether. For example, the Donner version of the film has an R-rated love scene between Supes and Lois Lane that never made it to the final version. Most people don't know this, but as a big Superman fan, Superman Returns director Brian Singer does. I think he had this unfinished movie in mind when he made this new movie. At some point this year a new DVD box set will come out that will supposedly include for the first time, the Richard Donner version of Superman II. I believe at that point my theory will be confirmed. You read it here first.

Oh yeah, my grade for Superman Returns is B-.

No comments: