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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


seen the face of redemption

  superman returns

expectations were fuzzy going into this - all i knew is that i enjoy bryan singer's storytelling, the cast looked decent, and that this film had been through eight layers of development hell for like thirty years. so here's how it turned out.

it wasn't perfect. there's some sappy spots, some overly long scenes that could have been filed down, and one or two times where the film gets lost in its own story and takes a few minutes to find its way back out. get past that and you will witness singer's attempt (and ultimate success) at establishing himself as the new spielberg. this man is a philosopher, exploring more about the soul of the superman character than anyone has ever tried. you expect a lot of action and adventure, and there's some, but mostly you see what makes superman tick, and it's a fascinating take.

plot-wise, it doesn't seem like much happens from the beginning to the end - it covers a lot of time and distance, but without a lot of attention paid to it. lex luthor has another diabolical plot, lois lane needs to be rescued, yada yada. it's sufficient to make the film satisfying, but not overwhelmingly so. this film is all about the triumph of its director, IMHO, seating himself on the superman throne, paving the way to tell more stories about the character - which is why the ending is so vague.

you have to respect the high tribute singer pays to the richard donner films - the intro, the (slightly overused) john williams theme, the slightly off-balance lex luthor... even dedicating the film to christopher reeve and his wife. the guy gives credit where credit is due.

as for performances - many were skeptical about the noob brandon routh. let me ease your mind - he pulls it off. at times it feels like he's acting like christopher reeve acting like superman. he nails the bumbling, awkward nerd of clark kent, and the noble, serious, innocent kal-el. probably because the guy doesn't have the stigma of a dozen other roles attached to it (which is why james marsden feels like such a schmuck in this film - his cyclops performance was schmuck overload). he still doesn't look old enough - tom welling looks older than he does - but he supercedes the age barrier well.

kate bosworth almost pulls off lois lane, but she's missing some of the fire, the wild-child you've come to expect from her. she almost seems bored by the role. granted, it's not the annoying bubbly chirp of erica durance's lois from smallville (who could pull off a brilliant lois if she had a decent writer or two).. or margot kidder's shrill, scary performance from the donner films... bosworth ends up only being mildly convincing.

spacey is a larger-than-life lex luthor, carrying gene hackman's torch by being deliciously evil, smart, ruthless. it's a shame he didn't get more screen time. five years of michael rosenbaum as an on-the-fence villain has shrouded the memory of how awesome a bad guy luthor can be. which makes sense - the only episodes of smallville i enjoy anymore are the ones where lex acts like lex.

summation: another declaration of bryan singer's genius. if the usual suspects and house didn't convince you, this will. what could have easily been a flashy self-obsessed piece of summer blockbuster trash ends up being a strong, thoughtful, worthy experience.


for this post

Blogger Bragg Says:

how about a friggin spoiler alert at the top of the post. luckily i didn't read past the first paragraph...


Blogger B-Call Says:

no s**t.
she was the hottness for real.
I'm watching I and II on Friday to get prepped for my screening, probably on Saturday in CHICAGO!!!

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

what spoilers??? you people are crazy. i didn't post a thing about the plot. trust me, you'll be plenty surprised, i didn't reveal a bloody thing.

Blogger B-Call Says:

answer my question.

Mel Gibson says, "GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!"

J, we're saving the Columbus trip to COSI for you when you've got an open weekend. We thought that it would just be a better, more satisfying trip if you were present. Let us know when you're available and we'll hit it up. But we'll miss you when we're in St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Blogger Justin Hall Says:

no miss tessmacher in this, although kitty kowalski (parker posey) does steal one of her lines from superman I.

nick's free the weekend of the 23rd... unfortunately i dont know if renee'd be happy about me taking off on our first anniversary...

Blogger luis Says:

hey, great review! you should post this on FilmCrowd.com :) your blog url is displayed at the bottom of each review you submit so it might even send a little traffic your way. we have a page up for Superman Returns here


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