Sunday, July 02, 2006

Review: SUPERMAN RETURNS

If you want to hear me and Elayne Boosler co-host the Stephanie Miller Show on Mon and Tues and there's no affiliate in your area, you can listen by going to http://wavz.com/main.html. At some point I'll be giving my review of SUPERMAN RETURNS. It'll sound a little bit like this:

*********

The first three hours of SUPERMAN RETURNS were pretty good. The last two were unnecessary.

In this version Superman had two secret identities – Clark Kent and Jesus Christ. We got the analogy.

It was very exciting and well made but I couldn’t stop thinking -- $250 million dollars, nine or ten scripts, four or five directors for THIS??

They should have gotten Brad Bird to write this. Everything SUPERMAN RETURNS did wrong he did right in THE INCREDIBLES.

This was the graceful Superman. The Man of Steel and Ballet.

Kate Bosworth was the stupidest Lois Lane EVER (which is saying something considering Margot Kidder wandered through people’s backyards for days not knowing who she was). As I’m sure you’re aware from all the articles, Superman returns after a five year absence. And amazingly, so does Clark Kent…on the same day. Yet ace reporter Lois Lane sees absolutely no connection. (Sidebar: If you’re dumb enough to buy Teri Hatcher’s book you realize you’re getting life lessons from Lois Lane?)

When you can finally buy the DVD of this (probably on Thursday) it might be fun to play the drinking game every time Lois hits her head against something.

Maybe the world didn’t miss Superman for the five years he was gone because we have Jack Bauer.

The flying effects were great. But it’s still wrong to not have that whistling wind whoosh when Superman streaks across the sky.

I missed Gene Hackman.

Brandon Routh makes Dean Cain look edgy.

George Reeves is the Sean Connery of Supermen.

Director Bryan Singer said there was an in-depth discussion during pre-production on the size of the hero’s “package”. My question to Mr. Singer: On this movie or all your movies? And the pilot of HOUSE?

Why would ANYONE want to live in Metroplis? Jesus. A day doesn’t go by when there’s not at least one disaster. That town would break FEMA in a month. And the citizens must now be used to them because no one ever heads for cover, no one ever panics, people continue dining at sidewalk cafes even though a car or airplane is hurtling right for them. (Sidebar #2: If Superman landed a plane in Wrigley Field during a Cubs game that Harry Caray was calling here’s how it would have sounded:

HARRY: Time called for a moment, there seems to be a hot dog wrapper on the field.

STEVE STONE: No, Harry, that’s a jumbo jetliner.

HARRY: Holy cow! Well, while the groundscrew removes it, why not head to the kitchen and pop the top off an ice cold Budweiser? You sure that’s not just the tarp, Steve?

STEVE STONE: No, Harry. It’s a plane.

Every article I’ve read about the movie stresses the love story and the emotionally troubled Superman – all wonderful values to have in a film. But the truth is this: Us Superman fans don’t give a shit about that. Just get to the action.

Why doesn’t anyone ever call the Child Protection Agency and blow the whistle on Joan Crawford-worthy mom, Lois Lane? She puts her kid in harm’s way every fifteen minutes.

Even a dead Marlon Brando is better than most live actors today.

I love that Noel Neill and Jack Larson (Lois & Jimmy from the TV series) had cameos. And my neighbor, Eva Marie Saint (although she had nothing to do).

If Kevin Spacey really wanted to kill Superman he would force him to watch BEYOND THE SEA.

For a flashback segment (which wasn’t needed at all) they spent untold millions to build a whole farm and cornfield in Australia when they just as easily could have used any fifteen minutes from SMALLVILLE.

The most exciting five minutes of the night was the SPIDERMAN 3 trailer.

*******

SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON:

**********

If Superman were really wheeled into a hospital he’d be stopped at the door and asked to provide proof of health insurance.

Lois Lane gets into the hospital to see Superman but his mother has to stand outside with the crowd?

In the hospital, they can’t hang up Superman’s suit. They just have to drape it over a chair? Was Superman in a Kaiser hospital?

When Lois sees all those wigs I thought she had stumbled into Carl Reiner’s bathroom.

You’d think Superman would be smart enough to put a lock on his Fortress of Solitude. If not Lex Luther, there has to at least be Jehovah’s Witnesses stopping by.

When Superman lands back on earth at the beginning of the movie, did he arrive in a spaceship again? Where did he get it? And why did he need it? Is Kansas a no-fly zone?

With those crystals I thought initially that Lex Luthor’s insidious plan to achieve world domination involved opening a New Age store.

I guess this movie disproves the theory that you can’t tug on Superman’s cape. Even Mr. Rogers would have gone medieval if Lex tortured him the way he did Superman.

The last twenty minutes totally petered out. And I’m sorry, I don’t care what his moral code is, if Superman doesn’t KILL Lex Luthor, and by that I mean rip out his entrails, smash him against a wall, set him on fire, and slit his throat with a razor sharp 45 of Mack the Knife then the movie doesn’t have a satisfying ending.

But SPIDERMAN 3 looks REALLY cool!!

25 comments:

aws6000 said...

Eva Marie Saint is your neighbor? Sweet.

Ann Wesley Hardin said...

HARRY: Time called for a moment, there seems to be a hot dog wrapper on the field.

STEVE STONE: No, Harry, that’s a jumbo jetliner.

HARRY: Holy cow! Well, while the groundscrew removes it, why not head to the kitchen and pop the top off an ice cold Budweiser? You sure that’s not just the tarp, Steve?

STEVE STONE: No, Harry. It’s a plane.

*howling*

The Master said...

Now I feel gypped. There was no Spiderman III trailer where I saw "Superman Returns".
There was, of course, a direct slap at "The Incredibles" and Edna Mode, when Superman's life was saved BECAUSE he was wearing a cape.
You thought Kate Bosworth was stupider than Teri Hatcher? I'm amazed. Next you'll be saying that Lex Luthor is more evil than Mary Tyler Moore.
"Brandon Routh makes Dean Cain look edgy." That made me laugh and laugh.
"George Reeves is the Sean Connery of Supermen." So does that make Kirk Alyn the Barry Nelson of Supermen, the guy who really played him first but few remember? Actually George is really Sean only to we Baby Boomers. If you were born later than 1959, Christopher Reeve is your Sean Connery of Supermen.
It's true that "Us Superman fans don’t give a shit about" the love story and Clark's emotions, but they'd like to make a profit on their quarter billion dollars, so they also need to attract women and non-Superman fans. A movie JUST for us Superman fans will make about three hundred dollars.
Yes his mother had to wait outside. No one knows she's his mother, remember? Everyone knows Lois was his squeeze.
Yes, Superman needs a spaceship for intergalactic flights. He can hold his breath for an hour or two but, since the comics revamp of 1986, he will die in the vacuum of space after a few hours. This is why Jor-El put him in a space ship, instead of just lobbing him towards earth like a fastball.
If only Superman HAD seen Beyond the Sea, he might not be so hung up on Kate Bosworth.

Tom said...

Very funny and all, but I couldn't let go of the fact that you had Harry Caray touting Budweiser.

Harry was an Oldstyle man.

Dwight Williams said...

There's a reason why Metropolis doesn't break FEMA in a month. Because Metropolis' lobby groups manage to get Gotham's FEMA money diverted to Metro's needs as well.

VP19 said...

At least Metropolis isn't Townsville, fictional home of the Powerpuff Girls. With all the damage that regularly takes place there, its construction firms probably make more money than Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Alex Rodriguez combined.

Tom Dougherty said...

As you often do, you had me laughing so hard I laughed my ass off and watched it roll under the couch. Poor Superman. This review must put you on some Man of Steel watch list, just under Brainiac. Or at least a Man of Steel shit list.

Thanks!

Mike McCann said...

>>If Kevin Spacey really wanted to kill Superman he would force him to watch BEYOND THE SEA. >>

You nailed it.

BTW Tom, Harry was a BUD Man. There was a classic commercial that ran during Cubs telecasts in the late '80s in which by use of a clever double, Harry appeared to be dancing in Blues Brothers-style. The tag line, "I'm a Cub fan, I'm a Bud man."

Anonymous said...

Even though I grew up watching Reeves superman series, honestly...film is NOT Supermans' medium.

As a kid, when you read superman comics, you lingered on the action shots, you IMAGINED how it looked just before he came swooping in, or how he could possibly turn back time by flying opposite the rotation of the earth. It was PURE imagination. There was not a lot of character development. Batman is similar, but more adaptable to screen. I think of all the movies, etc. the only one that came close to the comics style was the one Teri Hatcher was in. They had the right mix of elements.

But really, some things are better unfilmed. Superman is one of them.

Grubber said...

"At least Metropolis isn't Townsville, fictional home of the Powerpuff Girls."

I went to uni in Townsville, it was not all bad news, except for the 10000 army personnel stationed there.

http://www.jcu.edu.au/theuni/ I seem to remember more pubs at my Townsville.
cheers
Dave

Tom Quigley said...

Not having seen the movie yet, I can't make any rash value judgments, but it seems to me that with all the discussion about whether or not Superman is gay in this one, my feeling is that if Clark Kent can't make up his mind whether or not he wants to be known as the Man of Steel or the Man Wearing Stiletto Heels, then maybe he needs to spend some quiet time in solitude and meditation in his secret fortress deep beneath Brokeback Mountain -- and try and sort it all out....

John said...

If Superman were really wheeled into a hospital he’d be stopped at the door and asked to provide proof of health insurance.

Nah, he's an illegal alien -- the hospital emergency room's got to treat him (but Supe will probably have to face the wrath of Ann Coulter in the sequel to this film).

Mary Stella said...

OMG -- I wish I could say I'm sorry that you sat through such a bad movie, but if you hadn't, we wouldn't have been able to read your hysterically funny review!

I'm thrilled. Now I've had all the fun of the pan without the pain of watching the movie myself.

Thanks, Ken.

VP19 said...

About Harry Caray: He's best known for broadcasting the Cardinals and Cubs, but you can argue his most important stint in the booth was with the White Sox (1971-81). He and Dick Allen saved that moribund franchise when it appeared headed to Seattle.

Also, not many people know that Harry's "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" tradition began not at Wrigley Field, but at Comiskey Park. Harry would sing it to himself during the seventh-inning stretch, and one day Sox owner Bill Veeck secretly piped it over the P.A. system. Of course, the new owners had a falling out with Harry, so he high-tailed it to the North Side.

RAB said...

I enjoyed the film a lot more than you did, but I can't argue with any of your observations...except for one point where you highlight a lovely dramatic moment as if it was a mistake:

"Lois Lane gets into the hospital to see Superman but his mother has to stand outside with the crowd?"

No, see, that's exactly right. We can assume Lois used hospital connections and her well-known personal friendship with Superman to get into the hospital. But poor Ma Kent has to stand outside in the crowd because no one knows she's Superman's adoptive mother. Her son might be dead, and she can't share that grief with anyone because of the whole secret identity thing. All she can do is stand there out in the cold and suffer in silence. And say what you will about her role being small, she still conveys all that with just the look on her face. That single shot is one of the best things in the film.

zazupitts said...

Fun show. I used the WAVZ link.

Two years ago, I spent a half hour interviewing an astrophysicist. I was doing a George W. the whole time, saying “nuculur.” Maybe that’s how we were taught to say it growing up in the San Fernanco Valley? You and I aren’t dopes, and we both mispronounced it. Well, Elayne was kinder to you this morning than that scientist was to me...

Good callers are tough to get. I was gonna call in, but I’m such a mensch: there’s nothing I want to fight about. I’m the Rodney King of controversy. I just wanna get along. Besides, listeners would spot me as a shill in a heartbeat.

good luck tomorrow...

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, he could make Lois Lane die of confusion with The Usual Suspects, if he were so inclined.

benson said...

Actually Harry hawked beer for which ever brewery was the sponsor that season. He was a Sox fan and Falstaff man for a while there in the 70's. But even before he "gussied" up to Gussie Busch's wife, he, of course, was a Bud man, considereding who owned the team and the brewery.

Also, Ken and all, if you haven't heard comedian Dan St. Paul's bit (from Bob and Tom syndicated radio show...it's floating around the internet) of Harry calling the first baseball game ever "between the Jerusalem Giants and the Bethlehem Braves", you really are missing a good laugh.

Anonymous said...

Wow, bitter much?

Are you familiar with the Superhero movie genre? Most of your criticisms are conventions of this genre.

Although I do agree that Eva Marie Saint was vastly underused, she couldn't go into the hospital because it would have given away Superman's SECRET IDENTITY! Hello! Were you even paying attention or just scribbling down notes for corney jokes to post here?

David said...

Okay,

David really is the funny one, right?

RKBentley said...

Agree with you completely.

And, yes Spidey 3 does look awesome don't it. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ya know, Margot Kidder was mentally ill. Mentally ill does not equal stupid.

Tom said...

>>>"BTW Tom, Harry was a BUD Man. There was a classic commercial that ran during Cubs telecasts in the late '80s in which by use of a clever double, Harry appeared to be dancing in Blues Brothers-style. The tag line, "I'm a Cub fan, I'm a Bud man."

I just shouldn't talk about things that I'm too young too remember clearly. I was certain that Harry was known for hawking Oldstyle.

I always listen to Pat & Ron on the radio anyway.

Mystery Man said...

Hey, guys, I'm a new kid on the block and recently posted an article on Lois.

http://mysterymanonfilm.blogspot.com/

Despite all the breaks in logic about their "son," they ruined her character. I hate to say it but The World Doesn't Need Singer's Superman.

-MM

angela said...

Brandon Routh makes Dean Cain look edgy.

George Reeves is the Sean Connery of Supermen.


Your review was great, but oh was this the best part.

Note: A little unfair point at Margot Kidder. No one knew who Christopher Reeve was either.