Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns = Pleasant Surprise

To be very blunt, I did NOT want to go see Superman Returns. After reading so much press about it, and seeing how out of continuity it might be, especially the Lois with a kid hype, I didn't want to bother. I just KNEW I was going to be disapointed.

Well, my husband wasn't going to take "no" for an answer. He went and got tickets before I could protest further. Since I can't stand to waste money, it was a done deal. We went ahead and got in the car and drove to the theatre.

After sitting through three sh*tty trailers and a Spider-Man 3 one, it was time for the movie. When the Superman theme by John Williams started, I got a serious tingle up and down my spine. From there, things only looked up.

I am mad at myself for doubting Bryan Singer and his crew. Once I saw the name "Guy Dyas", the deal was sealed. Dyas was the production guru for X2, and I was fortunate enough to meet him back on the set there. I was very impressed by his work there, and even more impressed with what he did here. Singer has obviously assembled a great crew that knows how to entertain the viewing public.

Brandon Routh was a credible Superman to me. From his overall physical appearance to his general demeanor, I bought him as the man of Steel. I was also pleasantly surprised at his Clark Kent after reading several reviews that called him dorky. What he did worked for me.

Kate Bosworth was the actor I was most concerned about, but she pulled off Lois's swager with aplomb. I loved the inherent curiousness she applied to the character's nature. It worked very well. I felt Kate did Margo Kidder proud.

Campy Kevin Spacey and Quirky Parker Posey were great villains. I had also read about how they didn't pull it off in reviews, and I have to disagree. Spacey oozed Luthor from his pores. I could feel the sliminess all down the walls. I especially loved Parker's sassiness. She grows on me as an actress with each role she takes on.

I loved the one liners, and the audience with me did as well. The script was smart and polished, but not so much that it felt contrived. The actors said their lines with ease, which made the movie flow well.

Visually I really enjoyed the film. The set work by Dyas and his crew was impeccable. My biggest quibble was the CGI at times really horrified me with it's fakeness, but that is to be expected. If that is the biggest complaint I can find, then I can live with it.

James "Scott Summers" Marsden gave a great performance as Richard White. I can see why the X3 crew killed him off so quickly - they were pissed at how great he was going to be in this film. I also enjoyed the Jimmy Olsen and Perry White characters. Sam Huntington and Frank Langella, respectively, were great comedy relief, and held a sense of gravity about the movie.

I was very pleased with Superman Returns, and will definitely get the DVD. I am also thinking of trying to take my nephews to see it, since it was very kid friendly. There was no "sexual content" to speak of, and no really strong language. The most harsh thing I could object to, kid wise, was a beating taken midway through the picture. Otherwise, I was thrilled by the fact that I could take my nephews to it and relax, knowing they could enjoy it.

Have any of you seen it? Carl, what did you think of your two viewings? I am curious!


Carl said...

Welp, here's my review that I posted on my blog as well as (a SF & F BBS I frequent).

Superman Returns (2006)

Welp, time for another reboot of a classic comic book movie franchise. A time that fills comics fans with a great deal of trepidation; will this be wonderful triumph or a nightmare? To the point, Bryan Singer has returned Superman to us and except for the updates, new actors and such, it's like he never left.
From the opening credits, SFX and music that are almost exactly like the '70s movies, you know that you are in the hands of people that loved the original movies (Superman 3 and 4 are ignored completely).
The story picks up 5 years later after Superman disappeared after astronomers found remains of his Krytonian homeworld. Since then, we learn that Lois Lane has moved on, Lex Luthor has been free and continuing his villainous ways under the radar and the world has learned to get along without a Superman.
Welp, of course, this is proved wrong in no time short. There are daring rescues, more romantic flights, underhanded evil plots and fantastic Superman moments that look right out of the comic books. And new-comer Brandon Routh seems to be channeling the late, great Christopher Reeves' Clark Kent/Superman; in some parts it's down-right eerie. And Kevin Spacey does emulate Gene Hackman's Luthor also, but updated to seem influenced by Michael Rosenbaum's Smallville version. And the rest of the cast are really good, Frank Langella's gruff but understated Perry White and Sam Huntington's new Jimmy Olsen is goofy and bubbling. Kate Bosworth is good, but she lacks some of the fire of the earlier Lois Lanes. I even liked the new characters of Richard White (James Marsden, Cyclops from The X-Men movies) and Jason (Tristan Lake Leabu) even though the latter had this weird Dakota Fanning-look going.
Oh and for those that love trivia and stunt-casting, the sharp-eyed would have noticed Noel Neil (one of the original Lois Lanes from the Superman TV series) as Gertrude Vanderworth, Jack Larson (the original Superman TV series Jimmy Olsen) as Bo the bartender, Sir Richard Branson as the Space Shuttle Commander, Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita, LXG) as the Shuttle Press Liaison and I of course, I hardly need to mention the also late, great Marlon Brando as Jor-El.
I of course loved the movie, saw it twice in less then 12 hours, in IMAX/3-D and then regular viewing. It's a worthy return though the movie's new elements really upset the current comic continuity. I will of course, buy it on DVD. 5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait for the next one!
In addition I have friends that have already seen it at least once a day since it opened, if not several viewings a day. Of course some Marvel Zombies are already knocking it saying Spider-Man 2 did better (who cares, I go to see superhero movies, not for a "Brand-X" company) two years ago. I am just glad to see a part of my good teen-age memories brought back to life and rebooted with aplumb. While I don't buy all the comics with Superman, the movie's very important to me. It was one of the last movies I saw with my dad, who died in 1983. So, it's kind of holy ground for me. It's like someone finally cared enough to get it right and they feel the same way. No one will ever be able to tell me Brian Singer and his people are miracle workers...

Carl said...

Oops, that last bit should have read "no one can tell me Brian Singer and his people are NOT miracle workers"...

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, I agree completely. The team behind Superman Returns did an outstanding job. Singer has assembled a great group, and they work well as a team. It is a credit to all involved for bringing Singer in.

I was very lucky and got to go to the set of X2 for a press conference and see this team in action. I was really impressed with what I saw then, and my mind is even more secure in the knowledge that when you got a winning hand, keep it close.

Thank you for posting your review. It was very complete and thought provoking, mentioning things I hadn't thought of.

Take care!