Tuesday, July 25, 2006

So, I Loved Superman Returns

Hey, I figure if Limecrete can paraphrase my blog name, I can do the same to Michael Hartney's right?

It’s true, I loved it. I mean, I totally expected to because Bryan Singer is an absolute fricking genius (shut it, Mancuso). And he didn’t disappoint me here. I can however see why the negative word of mouth has sunk the film.

But first of all I need to mention my harebrained idea to travel up to London to see it in 3-D Imax on the hottest day a) of the year so far and b) quite possibly since records began. I mean, it’s HOT. And as I believe I mentioned before, the Brits don’t believe in air conditioning. My train from Brighton to London? Not air conditioned. The cinema though mercifully was air conditioned. My second faux pas was the timing. Last Wednesday was the last day of school in London and so my screening of Superman Returns was full, full I tell you, of a school outing end of term treat. Score. Luckily for me (and, of course, for them) they all shut the fuck up when the film starts and stay silent all the way through. Bless them.

3-D Imax really is the way to see a movie is all I can say. When I was booking my ticket, it would only offer me row J and I was all “I want to be nearer!” and then when I got there and sat down I was like “thank GOD I’m this far back!” as it was my first Imax experience ever, I had no idea just how H U G E the screen was going to be. And then the movie started and the sound was incredible. When the opening strains of that score started, every hair on my body stood up and tears welled up in my eyes. Yes it’s true. I’m a nerd. And I don’t care.

Now, the film itself. Why did people expect brainless stupid action and nothing else when it’s a Bryan Singer film? He has become known for taking the summer blockbuster and grafting gravitas on to the bombast. Superman Returns runs 154 minutes and only has 3 action sequences. That’s one every 50 minutes folks. If you want pointless brainless shoot em up nonsense, go see X3 or Transporter 2 or something. For me, I loved how Bryan Singer delivered a meticulously and lovingly crafted human drama. The conflict of Lois and Superman and Lois and Clark, the backbone of the previous movies after all, is front and centre. My heart broke a little when Lois dropped her purse and in going to help her pick it all up, Clark’s glasses fell off. When she handed them back to him and he struggled with putting them on and keeping up the charade or telling her everything was a masterful moment, gloriously understated. Those kind of moments are all over the movie and I say brava.

Other moments, admittedly, don’t work quite as well. The central baddie plot with Lex Luthor creating a new USA is fumbled and not, it must be said, overly interesting. Furthermore, everyone is loving Parker Posey but I thought she was woefully underused and reined in. She’s one of the most fearless comic actresses around, so I guess I just expected more. And I wasn’t overly pleased at how one moment Kryptonite makes Superman so weak that Lex and his goons kick the super crap out of him and then next minute he can heft a whole continent of it into orbit. However, his interminable fall back to earth had my heart rising ever higher into my throat as I was thinking “fly damnit, fly!” and when he hit the ground, I actually gasped.

All in all, this was a solid start to a new franchise. The box office hasn’t been SO awful that a sequel is out of the question (I mean, it’s no My Super Ex-Girlfriend now is it?) and I think that now Singer has found his feet, as long as he stays on board for the future films and the ridiculous negativity being aimed in his direction doesn’t see him walk away, I think that things can only get better.


Cookie said...

I still need to see this movie. Thanks for the positive review!

Popcultureboy said...

See it! See it now. Bryan Singer has gone on record as saying that the lower than expected box office has put the sequel plans in jeopardy. It needs all the help it can get.

Cookie said...

I believe I never commented back... The human story element of the whole movie was fantastic. The action part, not so much, but as you pointed out, this is a Bryan Singer movie...

The only quibble I have, there's a huge gaping hole with the storyline of his return to his home planet. Shouldn't there be something more to this?