Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SUPERMAN RETURNS: It's Superfluous!

SUPERMAN RETURNS (fantasy adventure)
Cast: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden and Frank Langella
Director: Bryan Singer
Time: 157 mins
Rating: * * *
Lois Lane and Clark Kent in Metropolis
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? After a long visit to the remains of his home planet Krypton, Kar-El (or Superman) returns to Earth to find that Lois Lane (Bosworth) has a new man (Marsden) and a four-year-old son in her life. Also, Lex Luthor (Spacey) has been released from prison and is now using Superman’s crystals to change the map of North America. Yup, the Man of Steel has his work cut up, viz, to save the world and reclaim the heart of Lois!

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? When "Superman the
Movie" opened in 1978, cinemagoers were thrilled with its out-of-the-world plot, heart-warming love story and mind-boggling special effects. People 'believed' that Man could actually fly! Women started looking for something more in their men... and some even wished that their man could read their minds.

A lot has happened during these 28 years, with the movie spurning three sequels (two of which were ‘unofficial’). Lots of other comic book characters had also come on to the big screen and these were accompanied by inspired scripting and state-of-the art special effects. Bryan Singer's Superman Returns is so respectful of the franchise’s traditions that it tries very hard to emulate and even rehash them. But it lacks the little touches like wit, fun and humour of the earlier movies. Relying only on incredible save-the-world scenes is not enough these days. There has to be more and more each time around to wow the audiences. This one entertains but does not impress us.

HIGHLIGHTS: Most of the ‘disaster’ sequences are fantastically done although a few look fake. However, it is Spacey who spices up the movie every time he appears. Given the charm-less, humour-less performance of Routh in this overdrawn two-and-a-half hour movie, I would have nodded off to sleep if not for Spacey’s maniacal portrayal of Luthor. Bosworth and young Tristan Leabu (as Lois’ son, Jason) are also memorable and I even like Parker Posey's air-head Kitty, a revised version of Luthor's blonde stooge Miss Teschmacher (played by Valerie Perrine).

LOWLIGHTS: Routh is sorely miscast as the title character. All he manages to achieve here is a bad impersonation of Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent and Superman. (Perhaps the tons of make-up on his face made him look more like a mannequin than a man of steel!)

THE LOWDOWN? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Great Caesar’s ghost, look who's back again!


At 3:59 pm, Anonymous vasu said...

hello roger, have to agree with your evaluation of the new superman. I think he even looks like the late reeves. But I think it only works for those of us who saw the first supermen flicks. the younger ones will think he is awesome or as the Malay Mail says these days, got juice.

At 2:27 pm, Blogger Lim Chang Moh said...

Ya Vasu. I think he tried very hard to imitate Reeves. You r right. Those of us who saw the original will see how repetitive this sequel is. It is even somewhat a tribute to the original. I remember the electrifying mood in those day when Superman The Movie opened (1978). Cinemas were sold out for months!

At 11:14 pm, Blogger jesscet said...

i was quite young when i watched the original superman.. maybe i'm old now but this new superman looks more like a superboy! not convincing.. and the movie also too predictable!

At 6:07 pm, Blogger Lim Chang Moh said...

Hi Jesscet,
I have yet to come across someone who said this Superman is fabulous and that the movie blew him/her away. Hope things are fine with u.


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