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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns is super magnificent (review)

Superman Returns Why is it that you could probably ask a random selection of people from any country what Superman's weakness is and nine out of ten of them would be able to answer "Kryptonite"? Well, obviously because Superman has become a pop culture icon with enough clout to have Nicolas Cage name his son Kal-El (Superman's real name), to have Shaquille O'Neal tattoo the Superman 'S' emblem on his arm, and to have Jerry Seinfeld include a Superman reference in many (every?) episodes of his sitcom.

When someone like Superman achieves such an elevated iconic stature that people willing scar their bodies (or their children) with references to him, he runs the risk of jumping the shark or simply not living up to the expectations that we've grown accustomed to. This was my fear when I walked into a preview showing of Superman Returns earlier today. I shouldn't have feared because Bryan Singer knows how to make a "real" superhero movie yet remain true to the essence of the source material.

Superman Returns paid rightful and glorious homage to the original Christopher Reeve Superman movie and to the comics. Singer has even stated in interviews that he specifically tried to translate many of the most memorable Superman images from the comics to film. He succeeded. Furthermore, he created a masterpiece that potentially outshines any other superhero movie ever made.

I don't want to give to much away, but here are something to take note of:

  • Fantastic use of John Williams' original Superman music.
  • Ridiculously good casting... Brandon Routh as Superman makes Christian Bale as Batman akin to pounding a pot roast peg through square hole.
  • Brilliantly nostalgic beginnings and endings.
  • Subtle ties to the original Superman movie like Lois Lane's smoking habit. (I swear the last time I saw Superman, Margot Kidder was lighting up a cigarette every 15 seconds.)
  • Genuinely character driven with great action.

Somehow, Bryan Singer's Superman Returns made Superman more real to me now than the original when I was four years old. The more I think about it, the more I can't recommend it enough.

Topics: Superman, Superman Returns, movie review, Bryan Singer, Brandon Routh, superhero movie, pop culture icon, and reviews.

posted by silinx | 7:59:00 AM

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