Sunday, July 23, 2006

Superman Returns

Superman Returns is, above and beyond, a paean to Christopher Reeve's performance so many years ago. The movie succeeds -- at least in reminding us how wonderful Reeve's performance really was.

Yet, I remember thinking a few months ago as I watched a prolonged trailer of Bryan Singer's movie, that this movie's success would hinge on one thing: Lois Lane.

So, the whole thing falls on the performance of its two leads: Brandon Routh and Kate Boswell. I would have to say that they succeed halfway. Which means that they fail halfway.

Poor Routh. Those are big, red boots to fill. Reeve gave us the iconic superhero, yes, but more than that, he gave us Clark Kent. His superhero WAS the bumbling Clark Kent, it wasn't just an act, and in doing so reminded us that we're all Clark Kents....and maybe just a bit Superman. We could see a little bit of ourselves in this uberman. And, when you think about that feat, how amazing it is and continues to be.

Routh looks a lot like Reeve, but he doesn't show the nuances, and he certainly doesn't have the comedic timing. He appears simple, but, then, that's pretty much what we've been given to work with for the last 80 years or so -- except for Reeve's performance. After two-and-a-half hours, we still have no idea who this guy really is.

Margot Kidder, on the other hand, showed us that Lois Lane was on the outside what she was on the inside. There wasn't a lot of guessing you had to do. She could do drama, she could do comedy, and you saw it in her eyes. Kate Bosworth, unfortunately, doesn't have a whole lot to work with here in terms of story. She's an angry young woman. It gets a little tiring watching Lois Lane as angry when we're used to perky, spirited, determined. Okay, we get determined out of Kate's Lois, but that's about it. Oh, and we get sad.

Which is what we are at the end of all this. Did I mention the action scenes are incredible? The beginning disaster is worth the price of admission. But that's not why we're there. Oh, maybe that's why the 10-year-olds are there. But the rest of us are there for the Clark and Lois story. After you save the airplane, who do you go home to?

The answer for Superman is always, and has always been, no one. Christopher Reeve in the first two Superman movies gave us hope for more. Superman Returns does not.

I liked the action scenes, I liked the evil, over-the-top Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. I wanted more depth for that iconic trio -- Superman, Clark, and Lois. And, like Superman and Clark, I truly am schizoid on a thumb's up decision on this one. Decide for yourself.


Post a Comment

<< Home