Sunday, January 14, 2007

Superman Returns

After a failed theatrical viewing of the film (hey, I was tired!) I finally got around to getting my hands on the DVD to give it another shot.  Unfortunately, the library only had the bare bones edition, sans any additional extras, to my dissatisfaction.  One major plus to my home viewing experience was my surround sound system, which I had cranked up to the extreme, literally making my house rumble due to sheer volume.  Complaints on the film aren’t too abundant, it does feel a bit long, and the idea to use a muted color palate, while aesthetically interesting, might not have been the right route to tow.  Singer, who did a commendable job adapting the X-Men legacy to film, is successful again here, resurrecting Superman onto the big screen for the first time in far too long.  Brandon Routh was a great choice as Clark Kent, but a little less appealing as Superman himself.  I didn’t feel he changed his mannerisms convincingly enough, for example, upon saving Lois Lane and her intermediate family, his verbal exchange with her fiancĂ© Richard White (played by James Marsden) seemed awkward and aplomb; I contest that the world’s biggest hero would be more poised and confident.

One of my biggest complaints would be Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane.  In the comics, past film versions, and done splendidly by Terri Hatcher on the TV series The New Adventures of Lois & Clark, Lois was always a fiery go-getter, full of energy and grit; here, she came off without any of that loveable fire and tenacity.  The casting of perennial comic bit actors Parker Posey, Sam Huntington, and Kal Penn (think White Castle) could also be taken under question.  To round out the principal cast, Kevin Spacey played a wry and ruthless Lex Luthor, and Frank Langella played Perry White, although I preferred him as Skeletor, in the live-action Masters of the Universe.

I love the Smallville aspect of the Superman mythos, and wish we could have spent a little more time on the farm, but, there was a lot of story to tell here, so we never dwelled for too long.  Ultimately, as a fan of the character and franchise, it was a real joy to see another film made, especially one that tried to honor the source material.  The effects are stellar, the story’s moderately good, with its high and low points, and there’s potential for a forthcoming sequel.  I’d definitely recommend at least seeing it once, to form your own opinion, instead of accepting the general consensus, which wasn’t too positive.

Overall Grade: B 

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