Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why This Movie Is Awesome...

I have a strange history with Superman Returns.

Early on, when I found out the film was in the works, I got really excited about it.

I was born in 1976. That places me squarely in the "child-of-the-80's" crowd. Which means Superman was the baddest cat I had ever seen.

There are lots of us out there - kids who grew up watching Christopher Reeve as the Man Of Steel.

When this new version came out, I didn't get to the theater in time, which was frustrating. However, once it came out on DVD, I couldn't wait to rent it.

And then I didn't watch it.

I'm not sure what happened - I think Kristen and I started watching it and then I had to a meeting at church or something (story of my life.) Unable to really dig into the Bryan Singer's new addition to the Superman mythology, I wasn't able to really decide how I felt about it.

Thankfully, it showed up on HBO or something last week and I recorded that dude! And I think I can safely say that I love this film. It's not perfect by any means, but here's why I think it's great.
This kid pulled off Clark Kent flawlessly. I guess it could be said that Reeve did it flawlessly and this kid just copied that, but I'm still impressed. I think he mastered both characters masterfully. From vocals to the physicality to the smallest of facial expressions, Routh did a great job in this movie.
I think the recent Batman franchise has done two things for hero movies...first off, it dialed down the silliness of comic book films, adding a more realistic texture to the films. For movies like Batman, that's a great thing. It's added a whole new dimension to that character. But, unfortunately, it's made us suspect of films that stay true to their comic book beginnings. "Superman Returns" does stay true. Every one of the original Superman films was silly - Lex Luthor wore silly clothes; Clark Kent looked exactly like Superman; the one-liners weren't all that funny. But we loved it. And Singer's film stayed true to those qualities. I just hate that so many cynics couldn't see or respect that.
I think one of the smartest things about this movie is its soundtrack. I love that the original scores were recorded with orchestra, and not modernized, looped up and made trendy. (I'm looking at you, Michael Bay...) I mean, come there any cooler music than Superman? And don't say Star Wars. 'Cause it's the same song.

The old Superman movies had great endings. They were great because even though you could theorize that a sequel would come, but you were never sure. Superman Returns did that, too. They left lots of room for additional films, but didn't write themselves into a corner, thereby forcing themselves to make one.