A few weeks back, I saw the much raved about Superman Returns. I read reviews where it was heralded as the greatest comic book movie of all time. I had peers telling me that it was a non stop thrill ride. Basically, I was buried in piles and piles hypage (is that a word because if not, I call dibs on creating it). Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to see this movie because 1) I'm a comic book geek at heart 2) Shamefully, I must admit Emily got me semi hooked at the Lois & Clark series and 3) I'm a guy thus any movie promising explosions is high on my list. I paid my $7.50 (yah for cheap theatres in smaller cities!), I bought my bag of pop corn, and was ready for 2 hours of pure excitement and enjoyment.
I was disappointed.
Now, we're not talking about Napoleon Dynamite disappointment. We aren't talking about people promising me that this is exactly my type of movie and me wondering what type of person they think I am. No, it isn't one of the worst movies ever created by mankind (though, I admit for a movie that I disliked so much, I sure like to bring it up, don't I? Must be my desire to always bug poor, sweet, lovely Molly).
Superman Returns wasn't a monumental disappointment. It's more along the lines of Spiderman 2. Both movies were ballyhooed as being absolutely amazing awesome. I believe both movies when they came out were declared to be the best comic book movie ever. I admit that I did like both. I might even watch them again if I was in an incredibly lazy mood, a bunch of friends were watching them and a big bowl of popcorn was in front of me. Obviously, I'm not calling for the film reels to be torched.
They weren't the best comic book movies ever. I liked the first Spiderman way more than I enjoyed the second. As for Superman Returns, I just couldn't get over the universe that was presented to me. Maybe I had been watching too much Lois & Clark or I was too attached to the modernized comic version of Superman. I really didn't enjoy how Clark Kent was such an afterthought and secondary character. I love superheroes and I obviously want the hero to get a lot of face time. I enjoy the superhero story so much more when we are reminded it is the day to day alter ego that is the real person. We deal with the struggles that the alter ego has with balancing his life with his superhero life. Those type of stories is why I absolutely adore Spiderman and have tons of Batman comics. In the TV series Lois & Clark, I believe they found a great balance between letting us know Clark Kent the human and Superman as the saviour. In the series, I enjoyed the interaction and relationship between Clark and Lois. In the movie, Lois entire feelings are directed at Superman and she doesn't seem to even care that Clark Kent has recently returned too. Once again, I'll blame it on liking the TV show thus this little story development really bothered me.
I've heard the argument that this film is trying to follow the previous movies thus I need to get notions of the TV series or the comics from my head. Even doing that, I still disliked other elements in this movie. I did enjoy that it was able to maintain some of the campy enjoyment the original films had. I thought Kevin Spacey was a incredibly evil Lex Luthor which is a big compliment. There were a few campy or cheesy elements that I wasn't a huge fan of. I personally thought the final 20 minutes of the movie was fairly poor especially the ending scene with Lex. I already spent a paragraph on this but I really didn't like how centered the film was on Superman & Lois. I thought it was a little overkill and there was other story elements that could have been explored. I would have liked the film to go into further detail of why Superman decided he needed to abandon everyone for many years. Yes, I know they explained he was trying to find out if there was any remains of Krypton plus if any life from the destroyed planet still existed. What I mean is, I would have liked to see if he had any personal inner struggle leaving the world, women and family he apparently loves so much. I would have liked to know what was his real intentions of going to discover Krypton? To really beat the poor dead horse with it's own leg, I really didn't like another element about Lois & Superman's relationship. Lois' young boy. I didn't think I would like the fact she had a boy. At the end of the movie, I knew I didn't like that fact. I don't want to ruin the movie for people who haven't seen it, a major plot point concerning the boy was definitely something I put in the 'hated it' file.
It sounds like I trashed the movie. In reality, I really didn't mind it. I just won't throw out best ever comic book movie accolades. I'll just say it was a fair movie with a few elements that irritated me. Some of the criticisms could be more because of how I envision the Superman universe and I'm comparing this film to other versions of Superman that I eagerly enjoy.
I recognize the next question is, what do I consider the best comic book movie ever? I am not going to answer that. Mainly because I don't really have an undisputed favourite. I liked the first X-Men (was really not a fan of the 3rd), the first Michael Keaton's Batman was great, I really loved the original Spiderman and despite everyone in the world hating it, I enjoyed Daredevil too. I don't have an undisputed champion in my mind. That could change because I've been told for months and months that I must see Batman Begins. I want to see it. I'm also a little anxious due to it being very hyped to me -- it's been given some 'best ever' throw outs too. Am I really in the mood to slag yet another movie everyone feel I'll love oodles?
Wow, this was a doozy of a post. You guys probably only thought I typed this much when I was referencing wrestling.