hi guys! i havent slept yet since seeing it back to back and having an impromptu "party" with my co-workers my mind is still kinda jumbled up, so i'm posting my review as a series of "talking points":
- the begining sequence shows Singer's version of the destruction of Krypton: although very nicely done, specially that part how the red Sun imploded and the resulting shock wave obliterating Krypton. but i do miss what should've been the real start of the movie: Kal-El exploring the remains of Krypton.
- the Plane sequence and Superman's debut to the world: best part i like about this sequence is Superman using his heat vision in releasing the clamps and lifting the space shuttle, separating it from the plane. easily one of the best scenes of the entire film. and when Superman lands the plane in the baseball stadium with thousands of people seeing it live and even millions more seeing it in nationwide tv almost makes you want to join the people cheering and clapping for Superman's Return.
- Kal-El's scenes: the scenes with Martha and his sad confession that he is the last of his kind is very effective in emphasizing Kal-El's loneliness in the world. (more of it will come later when Kal-El snoops around the Lois' house and listens to a private conversation). its a crying shame because this is the only scene that serves to show audiences the two personas: Clark Kent and Superman being one and that Kal-El is the real complete person. but most of the scenes that should've served to establish the emotional anchor of the audience to Kal-El was cut, so again there is a missed oportunity to show once and for all the true man behind the tights and the glasses.
- Brandon Routh as Clark Kent at the Daily Planet: he played it in such a perfect combination of giddy-geeky no wonder people find it ridiculous for Clark Kent to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Superman. Routh was funny as Clark without being clumsy. sure people bump into him, but his hurmour as Clark was more due to the fly-on-the-wall effect, the big guy who is just plain awkward you dont want to spend too much time being associated with
Brandon Routh as Superman: i will say this, he did a good job, commendable even. but it just wasnt great, it wasnt even Chris Reeve level (which alas he will have to endure the comparisson a little while longer. this should be expected specially now that the movie has just come out). as i have mentioned years before when he was first cast, Routh lacked the powerful PRESENCE that Reeve had as Superman. i wouldnt say he lacked "grace" because Routh does have it plenty, its just very different with what Reeve had. Reeve's Superman had the kind of presence that would make you fall on your knees, Routh's Superman has the kind of presence that would make you want to sit down and talk about life.
Routh does have a kind of GRAVITAS or a CENTEREDNESS (as Singer puts it) that would be perfect as Kal-El. Kal-El is the combination of Superman and Clark Kent and more. Kal-El is the complete person. it was such shame that the one role that Routh would've excelled in-- the most important role of all-- was left out of the film.
- Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor: what can i say? the Spaceman delivers the goods like always. Spacey's Luthor has such charisma that you cant help liking him, even wanting to go see just how far can he carry his diabolical plan of detroying half the world. but there are momments that Spacey was downright sinister and sadistic, and all such likability dissapears because now you're frightened of him. he is definitely no light-weight villain, the fact that he finds amusement (and dare i say even a sense of justice?) in the cruelty that he inflicts even makes him more dangerous. and him being alive at the end of the film shows that if they do bring him back, he'll be badder, meaner and prehaps crazier than ever.
- Kate Bosworth's Lois was OK. that's just about it. there wasnt really anything significant about her portrayal or about her appearance that is noteworthy really. she did a good job, but other Lois-es that came before her will be remembered more fondly than her version in this movie
- Perry White was underutilized. Langela is a brilliant actor, but his star just didnt shine in this film, if anything he looked cliche. maybe in the sequel he can get better material?
- Sam Huntington played Jimmy Olsen as such a likeable character that when he's on screen and has his concerns and successes, the audience immediately empathize with him.
- Richard White was such a likeable character, a "good man" as Lois says. therefore the inevitable development-- that Superman being the rightful father to Jason and husband to Lois-- means that Richard has to get out of the picture. it makes me feel bad for him because he essentially was the man that raised Jason and was the man who provided support to Lois when she needed it most. and you can see that Richard risks just as much as his human capablities and resources can allow. Richard is the "human" superman, and to put him in such an uncomfortable, confusing postion makes it very unfair to him. Superman thus unnecesarily wounds up looking like the ungreatful deadbeat dad who usurps the other guy's role.
- Iconic scenes:
= when Superman catches the Daily Planet Globe, and descends with it on his shoulders like Atlas carrying the world.
= the scene where he had to soak up the sun's rays to empower him, there was that perfect momment where one sees Superman's silhouette against the backdrop of the sun and the clouds.
- The Flying scenes: nearly every scene that has anything to do with Brandon Routh flying are done excellently. Singer said he worked hard on trying to capture as much flying styles as he could for use with this film and it shows. good job!
- the Superman suit: more than a year has passed since seeing it for the first time. i said that i will wait to see it in action first before giving my full assesment of it . now that i've seen the film in every format available to me-- regular theater and IMAX 3D, here is my final assesment:
i like the 3D supershield.
heck i even like the S-buckle.
i can even let pass the darker shade of red
the rest of the suit is horrible. and it doesnt help that it looks terrible on Routh.
i know that Singer was going for the Fleischer look. it may have looked good in the Fleischer cartoons, but that was 60 years ago. Superman's suit has gone thorugh 70+ years of evolution. you'd think by now they whould've come up with a perfect suit that would look good on anybody that would be Superman. and in all intents and purposes the franchise have. its just that Singer and his costume designer went the opposite direction. if Routh was playing Aquaman then i'd say the suit looks great. but he's not, he's playing SUPERMAN, and Routh's efforts of building himself up to the best Superman physique his genetics would allow was just swallowed up by the horrid suit.
anyway, moving on....
- i spottted Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty, the SR screenwriters, at the museum scene. cool!
- the Hospital scene: i like the part of Jason touching the shield as Lois confesses to a comatosed Superman. these powerful images, combined with the perfect music really drives home what Singer plans for this franchise.
- i like the poetic justice by which we leave Luthor: the man who tried to destroy a continent just so he can create his own is marooned on a little island.
- Superman and Jason: the ending of the film was a very touching scene between Superman and Jason, it really pulls at the heartstrings to hear Superman repeated Jor-El's "blessing" to his son. It really does seem like Singer's angle for this movie was to introduce Superkid and to move the franchise forward in the direction of Superman having a family, thus it makes even more sense now on his decision to use the Donner films not as as homage but literally a spring board to his Superman tale. which leads me to the next point....
- Superdad and Superkid: ok, maybe i should've seen this coming, after all i'm a spoiler junkie, but i just wasnt expecting to get SuperDad instead of Superman for this movie. this caught me a little off guard. also i was thinking Superman Returns to be a restart-sequel, but upon seeing it twice now, it really does look to be Superman3 redux. i cant see how a viwer, if they havent seen the two Donner films be able to follow SR.
overall, it was a pretty good film. it wasnt great, but maybe because i'm a fan that's not ready to accept that Superman is now a father, that Superman will have to think about his own family and that they may have to come first on his list of concerns instead of the whole world's like he always did. i'm also very uncomfartble with how Jason was brought about and how he was raised and his initial concepts of what a family is. Superman has always represented old school values, about doing the right thing and thinking before you leap. is Superman Returns a little too "post-modern"? i dont know, what i do know is that if Superman was real he wouldnt be having a family this way.
(edited to add review on super suit)