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18 July 2006 @ 11:28 pm
fanboy all over  
Ted and I went to Superman Returns this afternoon. I'd never seen a Superman movie. I've never been particularly in to Superman. Spider-Man was my childhood crush (I've had a crush on Spidey since I was 3) and once I got older, it was about Batman. Supes, not so much.

I have seen the error of my ways, and I pledge myself at the altar of Brandon RouthSuperman.


This is the second movie in a year that I could've turned right around and walked back into the theatre and watched again. I have no emotional baggage regarding the character or the old movies, so it was basically just pure joy for me. Ted kept wriggling with delight over the Superman homages, which totally escaped me, but for a girl with no investment in any of it, including, say, the music, I was surprisingly misty-eyed over a number of scenes and I just have no explanation for why the Supes theme gives me goosebumps. It sure does, though.

Brandon Routh was painfully dorky as Clark and utterly delicious as Superman. I thought Kevin Spacey made a good Lex, though I couldn't help comparing him to Smallville's Lex, who is just such a generally great character that it's not a fair comparison. Lois was actually perfectly fine, which is an unusual reaction for me to comic book heroines; I tend to think they're twits. I did like, very much, that she was the first one to see Superman, and I have to assume that despite continuing to be thrown around the plane, she never doubted from that instant that they were going to live through it. I wouldn't have. :)

Ok, basically I could go through it scene by scene saying, "I liked it." I liked the Richard character (even if James Marsden looked odd for the first several minutes because I could see his eyes) and I loved Jason, who saw the world from literally a different angle, seeing the photo of Superman and looking up at Clark, and back-and-forthing quite wisely. That was great. :) There were a handful of iconic shots, including the ones the kid took with the cellphone, that were *straight* off the covers of old Action Adventure comics and really awesome pure superhero/specifically Super*man* images, and that was terrific. I enjoyed that a lot.

But the more interesting thing is that we went and bought Superman I and II after watching the movie, 'cause I'd never seen them and Ted thought I should.

I spent a lot of the S1 (haven't watched S2 yet) torn between wishing they'd actually re-made it, because they'd have done it very differently now, and understanding why they didn't (had Christopher Reeve not been in that accident and died, I think they might've remade it entirely, but perhaps not), but...it'd be a very different approach now, I think.

Huge chunks of it were really cringe-worthy. It started off horribly slowly, taking a *very* long time for all the setup, and I didn't think the young Clark was especially well cast. Once Christopher showed up it became considerably more watchable in general, because he truly was wonderful to watch. I can understand why he's so iconic in people's minds. I suspect I'll like the second movie, where presumably I won't have to deal with 40 minutes of setup and too little Christopher Reeve, better.

Lois's read-my-mind poem while they were flying was just...*augh*. I couldn't stand it. I mean, OMG. How embarrassing. I hid behind my hands and asked Lucy to make it stop, and said to Ted, "Maybe this is less awful with nostalgia behind it," and he said, "No, I'd forgotten about this, it's pretty bad." And I knew in one of the movies he turned back time, but I thought that particular lameism was in the 3rd one, so was rather horrified to find it in the first. She generally spent too much time screaming and I didn't find her abruptness to be delightful, but rather off-putting. OTOH, Kate Bosworth, whom I thought did just fine in the first place, did even better in comparison to the original film Lois. She was still abrupt, but not actually unlikeable (except for the fact that she can't weigh more than five and a half pounds, which is a whole different issue).

Luthor kept figuring things out that only his self-proclaimed genius explained (how the fuck did he figure out that kryptonite was lethal to Superman, for example?), and since I can imagine no reason why a genuine evil mastermind genius would surround himself with such incompetent help (and women so prone to falling for Superman, also a problem in SR), his claim to brilliance didn't sell me on it. Spacey, while not Michael Rosenbaum, was a more competent Lex, and jeez o flip, I never realized he looked like Gene Hackman in any way before. Buh. :)

Watching S1 after watching SR actually made me sort of annoyed with the *sheer number* of homages *to* S1. I mean, ok, it was a new setup for a new Superman era, and there were good lines ("I hope this doesn't turn you off flying.") that stood up to the repeat usage, but I donno, if you're going to re-use that many lines in the first place, why *not* just start totally anew? Not just lines, but shots as well, ranging from Jimmy looking through the camera lens to Clark taking his glasses off and almost telling Lois, at her apartment (vs. at the office when she dropped papers and his glasses fell), to the very last shot of Superman flying through the night (ok, that one I anticipated and it made me smile, 'cause...well, 'cause it did, and actually I liked the glasses thing both times, but). It just seemed overdone.

It's sheerly unfair to compare 1978 sfx to 2006 sfx, so I won't, though I will say that for 78 those weren't bad, and possibly if I'd seen it when it came out, or not long thereafter, the greenscreening effect might not have bothered me. Might not have: I am, and have been since I was quite young, *incredibly* picky about special effects. I remember seeing bits of Clash of the Titans, not on the big screen, but on video, so I was probably not more than 10, and just having absolutely no interest in watching it because the effects of the battling monsters were such utter crap. This is apparently not what most people my age thought. So while it sounds like I'm putting on airs about what my childhood self might have thought didn't work, I really did, from a fairly tender age, have real issues with the quality of special effects. (That was one reason I was so leery of X-Men, and so astonished when in X2 I *believed* Nightcrawler's bamfing. I honestly forgot I was watching SFX.) As it was, in S1 there were times when the flying effect worked well, and aside from the cape not reacting to the laws of physics in SR, I thought the effects were wonderful. I believed. :)

I have read lots of LJs saying SR is fine but runs second or third to S1 and S2. I'm inclined to submit that nostalgia runs higher than actual film quality here, not unlike with the original Star Wars films. This is not a topic I wish to fight to the death over, but I thought the structure of SR was vastly better than the structure of S1, that Spacey played the villain straighter than Hackman did, which improved the quality significantly, and that the story in SR, while in lots of ways parallel/complementary to S1, was more heart-stabby.


Besides, how could I resist that nose? *tud*

I was going to Gilmore Girls geek, too, but it's already gotten far later than I meant to stay up, so I'm just going to say I can't *help* it, I like Jess better than I like Dean. Dean's such a great guy he's too good to be true, and Jess might be a jerk, but at least he seems human. I can't *help* it!

Bed now!
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ever so plucky: batgirlaelfsciene on July 18th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
I've heard such enh things about SR so far that I'm not sure I'll manage to see it on the big screen (whither the $3 theater?), but I think you've confirmed I'll at least rent it, with this review.

But oh, wait until you get to S2--I really quite love the movie, and not just because of the awesome might of General Zod. Soon, you will encounter some of my favorite quotes ever! ^-^
(Deleted comment)
Cyrano: Uncle Scarcyranocyrano on July 18th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
I think you should kneel before Zod. (:
Alix (Tersa): Hazel-Rah (tersa)tersa on July 18th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
I agree with everyone else: Superman II kicked Superman's cape off and kicked sand in its face.

Also: package on its way to you! :)
kitmizkit on July 19th, 2006 08:55 am (UTC)
I figure S2 will be better. :) I think I'll watch it tonight. :)

Squee! Package! Would you like me to send you money? I know international shipping is bloody expensive!
Harold Zablehzatz on July 18th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
I understand what you say about the movie, but...
Now would be a safe time to look at my Superman Returns review over here. My principal objection to the movie is that they got the characterization wrong. Using an X-Men analogy, imagine how odd it would be to watch a movie in which half of the ongoing characters got killed and one of your personal favorite heroines gave up her powers to be with a boy.

Hmm...

Anyways, to the true Superman fan (I have something like 2000 comics starring the Man of Steel), the movie loses a lot of points because the characters and situations aren't right. Others may not have these objections. These others will be encouraged to kneel before Zod...

kit: supermanmizkit on July 19th, 2006 08:50 am (UTC)
Re: I understand what you say about the movie, but...
Killing off characters aside, I actually think a 17 year old Rogue would jump at the chance to rid herself of her powers. Which isn't the point. :)

*reads your review and nods* We saw different movies, pretty clearly, based on baggage (hm, loaded term, but not meant to be). I actually didn't feel like Supes was trying to seduce Lois (I am not sure who stopped that kiss; I had the feeling it was both of them)..yeah. Different interpretations of the same scenes. I didn't feel like it went on too long (though I was in fact waiting for Lois to be broken into a zillion pieces after the plane wreck), although now that you've pointed it out, the piano squish should have been addressed, you're right. If I were going to get in a debate about it, I'd argue that a frightened child is neither a good guy nor a bad guy, but merely reacting to a situation, but it should've been addressed either way.

I'm looking forward to watching S2. :)
Harold Zablehzatz on July 19th, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC)
Re: I understand what you say about the movie, but...
Yup. We agree to disagree, and even understand each other's reasoning. It's very civilized. :-)

I would want to emphasize my fundamental issue with the piano squish. It's not that it should have been addressed afterwards, although that's certainly plausible. It's just that it's inappropriate for the genre. Good guys in the Superman milieu don't kill people. It would have been sufficient for the story for the goon to have been knocked unconscious.

S2 is a great movie. I should watch it again.
kitmizkit on July 19th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
Re: I understand what you say about the movie, but...
Yeah, and actually, that's what I expected, was him to get trapped/knocked out, not *dead*. Perhaps the other two goons didn't actually check and assumed he was dead because there was a piano squooshing him! One can't trust goons, you know!
(Deleted comment)
kit: canthavemizkit on July 19th, 2006 08:52 am (UTC)
I do read it sporadically (my flist is not particularly indicative of what I read), but I had not yet seen that. That is in fact a fairly awesome Rogue, in a haute couture way. Thanks!
Janne: quirks (LJ kookaburra1701)janne on July 19th, 2006 03:58 am (UTC)
I have sufficient nostalgia from seeing Superman 1 as a child that I haven't dared watch it again -- The only bit I can cleary recall not liking is Lois Lane who I found mostly ugly and incompetent. Everything else was wonderful, most particularly the Krypton scenes. I did see the trailer for SR when I went to see Pirates yesterday, and though it looks wonderful I do have a nagging feeling it might clash with my rose-tinted remembrances of the original film, and ruin them in the way Episode I+II has ruined Star Wars. Hmm...
kit: fandommizkit on July 19th, 2006 08:54 am (UTC)
*howls at your icon* That's awesome. :)

I entirely agree with your opinion of Lois. I thought she was unattractive, incompetent, and *abrasive*. Not at all pleasant to watch. And I donno, I kind of think if you don't watch the originals it wouldn't clash with rose-tinted memories. But I don't know!
(Deleted comment)
kit: x3mizkit on July 19th, 2006 09:46 am (UTC)
It was impossible that I would like X3, really. Generally I'm pretty easy when it comes to superhero movies, but X3 would've required a miracle for me to like it as much as I liked the first two. I'm actually *glad* other people liked it more than I did, and not surprised; lots of baggage on my part there. But I really did adore SR, yeah. I'm gonna have to see that again in the theatre. :)
(Deleted comment)
kit: supermanmizkit on July 19th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
Y'know, I don't think there /is/ an Imax in this country. Sad!