Monday, July 03, 2006

Superman returns, and how!

As a kid, I was totally besotted with Batman. Growing up, I fell in love with the tough guy with adamantium claws - Wolverine. Superman was never a favourite. Batman and Wolverine seemed more 'human' -they had failings, angst... lots of it. Even Bill (Kill Bill, Vol II) extolling the virtues of the true super hero didn't convince me. My point being that he was too good to be true - too righteous, too perfect, too happy to be in his shoes. But the sight of Bryan Singer's Superman soaring through the skies to single handedly stop a plane from crashing and assuring the passengers that flying is statistically the safest way to travel did it for me. I finally realized why Superman is what he is - a super human who can do the impossible!

Singer also does a good job of 'humanzing' Supes. Here, he feels alienation and plenty of angst, just like the modern day super heroes we have come to love. When Lex Luthor and his goons beat him up after weakening him with Kryptonite, he is more man than Superman. (I really hated that scene. I mean, I was finally getting warmed up to the idea of a Superman!). But Singer goes a bit overboard here - Supes gets a tad too human. Warning - Spoiler ahead! Getting beaten up is one thing, but Supes becoming a father? He's a super hero, for chrissake!!

That said, Superman Returns is a mixed bag. The first half is simply great, but the second gets a bit too mushy. This is not a special effects movie, but the scenes of Supes soaring through the air are brilliant. Like a character puts it early in the movie ' you can hear the faint pop of the sonic boom' as Supes enters/exits the atmosphere. Make no mistake, this movie is a romance at heart. Lex and his villainous scheme exist so that he can get close to murdering Supes and Lois can run to save him. We all know what Supes feels for Lois Lane, but it is a little too weepy towards the end.

The casting is pretty neat. Bryan Singer's choice of newcomer works well for the movie. Brandon Routh (have I mentioned that he's Superhot?) channels Christopher Reeve whenever he's in the blue suit, but he is more his own man as Clark Kent. He's goofy, clumsy and extremely endearing. Kevin Spacey gets to have a lot of fun as Lex Luthor, but he doesn't have much to do here. Parker Posey as Lex's girlfriend Kitty is deliciously funny. Hated Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. James Marsden seems to enjoy roles like these - what a waste! Eva Marie Saint as Martha Kent should have had more screen time. Verdict - Don't miss it.

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