Monday, July 31, 2006

Superman Returns - Review

Well I finally saw Superman Returns last Saturday. I had watched the trailer several times and was looking forward to the film. The original Superman the Movie with Christopher Reeve had a great impact on me as a child so I was hoping Bryan Singer had been faithful to its source. I had heard several reports from folks who didn't like the film for various reasons.

After more trailers than I have ever seen at a film it started. With the first note of that iconic theme tune you knew this was more than a passing nod to what had gone before. The titles were similar to the original, obviously updated with modern graphics. This was definitely a superman film!

Brandon Routh bears more than a passing resemblance to CR and his Clark Kent even sounded very much like him, almost spooky! I thought he did a good job and stepped up to the role with conviction and heart.

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor hammed it up as you would expect and demand when given such a classic villain to play. He does over the top insane menace like no other.

Kate Bosworth is the main weak point of the movie. Her portrayal of Lois Lane was a bit limp. Lois is supposed to be a feisty and strong headed character but here we get a slightly annoying and far too young Ms Lane. It doesn't spoil the overall film however.

The special effects are outstanding with the major set pieces show casing the capabilities of modern technology. I particularly liked the smaller details like the sonic wave whenever Superman flew off quickly.

I had previously read about the Christ references throughout the film and thought they would be very subtle. However there are some startlingly obvious references throughout. I don't know if they were intended or not. Two obvious ones are where Superman has his first deep chat with Lois after he's been away for five years. She has written an article entitled 'why the world doesn't need Superman'. He takes her for a fly and says " say the world doesn't need a saviour, yet every day I hear millions of people crying out for one." and the other comes from Jor-El along the lines of "...the world just needs a light to show them the way, for that reason I sent you, my only son!". I found it interesting that they are there. I guess we are used to the other darker, flawed super heroes that are portrayed in modern films, that we can relate to better. Superman comes out of the remnants of the second world war where people needed hope and a pure hero to look up to. A character that stands for truth and justice etc...

(speaking of the traditional truth, justice and the American way that superman has always been mooted as standing forI thought it was good they left off the American Way bit when Perry White states that line. At least the script writers are aware of the worlds opinion of 'the American Way' and wisely chose to leave it out)

I thought the film was well done overall. Superman is a character that makes you feel hopeful and safe. However bleak things look superman wins out in the end. It has the feel of nostalgia along with the modern look. A nice touch is the dedication to Christopher and Dana Reeve in the end credits.

Judging by what is going on in the world at the moment it is quite obvious the world does need a saviour. That saviour is not a fantasy figure but is real and brings hope and security in a world with very little. Superman is fiction, Jesus Christ is not!