Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Spent the rainy-afternoon part of Fourth of July watching Superman Returns.

For the record, Superman is not one of my favorite superheroes...he's too powerful (although the quote from Bryan Singer makes it clear that Superman is about power things then super powers).

Here are some of my favorite Superman post I've ran across in recent days:

- Screenwriter John August explains why of all the superpowers he would choose Flight (personally I would choose indestructability because if you aren't industructible, you start flying too fast and you'll get hit by random particles that will embed themselves into your skin.)

- Jeffery Overstreet has written a lot about Superman but my favorite post is this one: Top 10 Things to Do If You Get Bored During "Superman Returns"

- Will has a great post called "Superman as Christ-Figure?" where he explores the definition of what a Christ figure is, Superman's distinctiveness and examples of "blasphomous Christ figures." It's a great read.

- Peter Chattaway has been critical of how some people stretch Superman to be a religious alagory and in his post More wacky religious takes on Superman looks at Stephen Skelton's article for beliefnet.

As a side note, Bryan Singer is supposed to do a Superman Returns sequel scheduled for 2009...what do you think it'll be called? Superman's Still Here?

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F.J. Delgado said...

I agree that Superman is too powerful. It makes him a far less interesting character than Batman, who is more of a badass because he's completely human.

Great blog, keep up the good work!

Reel Fanatic said...

Hopefully it will be called "Superman gets a new Nemesis," because I'm must plain tired of Lex Luthor!

Wasp Jerky said...

Yep. I'll probably see the film sooner than later, but Superman is probably my least favorite superhero. I generally find DC characters a lot less compelling anyway, and Superman even moreso.

Useless Major said...

I like Batman a LOT more, but I can't disagree with my friend who says he's no less powerful than Superman. He just has a lot of gadgets to take the place of alien superpowers. Supes can fly, Bats has the Batwing. Supes has heat vision, Bats has a utility belt with everything short of an atomic bomb in it. Batman's had his back broken and recovered; Superman was freaking definitively killed at one point.

I don't know how he came back but those DC writers stretch more than Olympic runners before a race...

James said...

I'm more of a bat-guy than a super-guy, though the Spiderman films are the best superhero films of late. I think Batman is compelling because he's smart and driven. And let's not forget the brilliant Dark Knight graphic novel in which an elderly Batman whups Superman. Still, I do like the Superman flicks. Wonder how this new one will stack up.

J.D. said...

I saw this movie today.

I mean, it's good, as movies go, but I kept thinking I was watching a movie with other characters. It didn't really click with me that I was watching Superman.


First off, the super-kid? c'mon...

Note to Directors: Looking like Chris Reeve is not enough. Next time try to find charisma, and not somebody who just does a good Chris Reeve impersonation.

Note to Directors Part 2: Don't assume that everybody has seen the first two Superman movies. Moreover, don't assume that those of us who did remember them. I didn't like how this movie just plopped us smack dab in the middle of the mythos without much back story. Yes, I know it's been told a million times, but I could do with a good origin story a la Batman Begins, which was fantastic.

Clark Kent: could Superman's real identity get more than 5 minutes screen time, or do we need to keep cutting to million dollar special effects sequences?

Lex Luthor: Kevin Spacey's a genius, but Michael Rosenbaum's Smallville Lex Luthor is five million times more twisted, disturbing, and evil than this version, plus he doesn't feel the need to constantly muck up his plans by having air-headed bimbos who develop a conscience around. Did we learn nothing from Miss Tessmacher? And...y'know... a new villain would be nice. Even Smallville has brought in Brainiac.

Lois Lane: We get less of the hard-nose go-getter and more of a domesticated basket-case out of her. Plus I just didn't believe her in the role. Combine that with the fact that she and Routh have about as much chemistry as a physics class, and we're not getting anywhere.

Note to Directors Part 3: Don't hire James Marsden for any more superhero films. I wasn't impressed by him rescuing Lois on the ship. Why? Because he's freaking CYCLOPS! He just blasted the door open with his eye beams. I wouldn't put him in the movie any more than I'd put Hugh Jackman or Tobey Maguire, because that just yanks me out of my suspended disbelief.

Super-kid: I was so hoping for the kid to shoot the guy with heat vision rather than creaming him with a piano. And yeah, it's great that Supes has a kid and all, but I would've much preferred to do without him and stick a little bit closer to the current continuity, rather than building off a pre-Crisis Superman movie.

Don't get me wrong, I liked this movie. Given an origin story, a build-up, and dear goodness a NEW VILLAIN, and less trying to re-invent the wheel. More focus on character development would be good for the next go-round too.

Wow...didn't mean to write that much.

pfangirl said...

The film opens officially in my country tomorrow (they've been having premieres and special screenings since last weekend), and I'll be going on Saturday, keeping my expectations in check as a purist fan.

As a child of the early 1980s Superman was my first cinematic superhero, and I'll always have a place in my heart for him, even if he is no longer my absolute favourite.

You want to talk Christ parallels, how about the bashing Superman gets for being 'uncool' in his old-fashioned morality? Predictably, everyone gravitates these days to badasses like Wolverine... when Superman is the more preferable role model for kids.

Oh, and the finest superhero film of recent years- undoubtedly X-Men 2.

Attila The Mom said...

Thanks for the links!

All my guys caught Superman a few days ago. Thumbs down all around.

Why? Too much romance, not enough action.

And here I avoided going for the opposite reasons. ;-)

J.D. said...

I'm sort of over the whole "let's keep Superman sexually frustrated" thing. They do that to death in Smallville. I mean, even the comics guys finally gave up on it and were like HERE, marry Lois already. People were screaming "no you CAN'T let him have the girl, because then where will the romantic tension come from???" Those were also the people who were screaming when she found out his secret identity. And, of course, they were wrong, because the story shifted from "how does Superman get the girl" to "how does Clark Kent use his new relationship to motivate himself to keep defending the world" and it gave him a new dimension.

Unfortunately, Bryan Singer doesn't quite have the grasp on relationships that he should (which made him PERFECT for X-Men, but not so much for Big Blue.)

So basically you have a big long parody of the older movies.

Darrell said...

Well, if anyone cares, I didn't like the movie, but then again, I just don't like Superman. With a hero this extreme, I think it has to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing, and I... well, I don't love it. Batman, Spider-man, now those are my idea of superheroes. I think it's been a fairly week year for films, superhero or otherwise.

andrea said...

J.D. said it all. I especially agree with Notes #2 & 3. During the slow scenes I was trying to remember the old movies and thinking about the episodes of Smallville that I like (ok all of them)Yes, Michael Rosenbaum is the man and so is Tom Welling. I am disappointed with Lois Lane in the tv show and movie. Superkid was too much, and the Christ figure stuff way over done (you are a superhero NOT a savior!). However, I do like James Marsden though.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Super powers ffffha! Lets have some common sense. His mother should have told him that the underpants go on the inside.
Superman was/is/and always will be naff. The only reason they made another movie is because they can now cgi the effects - the story is old and as tired as the empire - nobody is coming to save the world this christmas.

SpookyRach said...

Saw the movie. Love Superman. Always have, always will. This movie was bleh. JD nailed it.

I was really glad they recycled the old music. I still have the original soundtrack on cassette *blush*. Now I can just buy the new one and not have to replace the old one!

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Kimberly Ann said...

I adore the Superman movies. I don't care if they're 'weak' superhero movies in comparison to Batman (which I also really enjoy) or the X-Men. Isn't there something enduring about a honest and kind hero? J.D. does make some really good points though in his comment above and I would probably love Superman even more if those areas of plot and character were further developed.

Paula said...

Someone should write an essay on how as we as a society move towards post-modernism, we embrace the more human characteristics of Batman, feeling that the divine nature of Superman is too unrealistic. We want a story we can relate to.

Any takers? I'm too busy saving the world.


Paula said...

In the spirit of this discussion, here is a web-site I found.

Tracks the increase of Superman's powers from his humble beginnings to his better-than-God status.

Mercurie said...

I must admit that I have always been more of a Batman fan than a Superman fan. I just think Batman is a much more complex character. That having been said, I don't dislike Superman, although I preferred him back in the early days when he couldn't fly and a bomb could knock him out (if you can't get a hold of some reprints of the Golden Age comics, just watch the Fleischer animated cartoons and you'll see what I mean).

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