Waiting in line at Mann's Chinese Theater was great! I met quite a few people from BlueTights.net whom I mingled in with right away after arriving. A little before 2pm on Tuesday, June 27th I found myself near the front of a line of 15 people. Thank God, because I was sweating a bit all morning about that. Didn't really have any notion of what to expect. Luckily I was able to break from the line a short time after to get some lunch at Hamburger Hamlet right across the street. I brought a few things to do and watch, including my video iPod with all 17 Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. Plus I was smart enough to pick up one of those over-your-shoulder folding chairs. As the day passed into night the line proceeded to wrap down to the corner and halfway to the next block.
Here's a pic of The Line
right near the Chinese Theater court yard (in back of me). That guy with the camera looking up is taking a picture of this
, high up on the TV Guide building facing us. Plus we had a celebrity visitor! Suddenly out of the blue, Stephan Bender, who plays young Clark Kent in the film, showed up to sign autographs and have his picture taken. So here we are!
Just too cool.
I now have two viewings of "Superman Returns" under my belt. Aside from the 10pm show on July 27th I went again last Sunday night. So much was going on in the film the first time around I felt a need to see it a 2nd time to take everything in properly.
Wow! What a great movie! Not perfect but great. If you haven't seen the film yet, be aware that there are spoilers ahead! Here are the pluses:
Brandon Routh IS Superman. Just had to say that first and foremost. Not only does he encompass much of what Christopher Reeve was in the Richard Donner films, but he also brings his own heft and presence to an iconic role that could have easily been miscast. I love Nicholas Cage...but NO! Kate Bosworth makes a great Max Fleischer era Lois, especially in a scene where she argues with Perry White about doing an interview with Superman. I will also say Kevin Spacey IS Lex Luthor. Taking Gene Hackman's version into a darker realm that can be harsh and vicious. And he's not just an off-shoot of Hackman's Luthor but a great Luthor in general.
Right up at the top of my list in the WOW factor department is the plane rescue sequence. Holy shit, Batman! Amazingly orchestrated with top notch VFX, this is truly the buzz clip of the film. The flying in general is strong, visually stunning, and even poetic at times. And hey, his hair moves! Who knew. Saving Metropolis during the earthquake is also another amazing series of feats. The Planet globe falling being the most incredible. And Perry White looking up and saying, 'Great Ceasar's Ghost'...Yes!!! I didn't hear that the first time because everyone at the 10pm show was cheering when Superman caught the globe.
The set and costume design was top notch as well, nicely embracing a 1940's style (art deco, longer women's skirts) while staying firmly in the present. Again, very Max Fleischer.
The use of John Williams music was very appropriate and right on cue, never overstating. Once again, God Bless Bryan Singer for wanting nothing else! As the opening replay of Jor-El's voice and the explosion of Krypton (horrifyingly re-imagined) concluded and those familiar and incredibly recreated main titles starting flying out at us, I actually started to cry. Not only was it my reconnecting with the Christopher Reeve films once again in this new film, but it was almost like being transported back to my teen years seeing and hearing that original opening for the first time. Then when Superman took Lois for a flight around Metropolis and their love theme began I had to reach for the kleenex once more. This especially during my second viewing. That really touched me.
I very much wanted to see the sequence where Kal-El discovers some of the remnants of his long dead home world (as seen briefly in the first teaser trailer). Bryan Singer said after cutting the movie together the scene didn't seem to fit along with everything else. I'm sure it will show up on the DVD but still would have liked to see it included in the cut now.
It was nice to see cameos by Noel Neil and Jack Larson, plus I loved the connectors made to the Reeve films. Especially when Kitty says to Lex at the Fortress Of Solitude, "you act like you've been here before", and he says nothing! He didn't need to say anything because you just knew. Anything else would have begged for what could have been some half assed explaination. Nice. The sign on the broken Kryptonite glass container in the museum makes reference to 'Addis Ababa, 1978'. Of course the place where Lex stole the first rock in "Superman, The Movie", as well as the first film's release year. Good stuff. And let's not forget the Action Comics #1 cover pose recreated when Superman saves Kitty's car. Loved it!
Now for the things I had some issues with.
Big number one on my list is Lois' knowledge of the child's real father. This all leads back to the magic mind wipe kiss that Clark gave to Lois near the end of "Superman II". Of course, as Bryan Singer has stated in the past, "Superman, The Movie" and "Superman II" are a vague history of which this film follows. By using the term 'vague' you open yourself up to interpretation. In other words you can play around with stuff a bit. However when it comes to Superman getting Lois pregnant, you have to follow, almost to the letter, what role that 'Super kiss' played in what she does or does not know. Also, where was or is Lois' reaction of, 'hey if this kid has superpowers, and I am unaware that anything physical happened between you and I, Superman...then WHAT THE FUCK!!". Shouldn't she be pissed that somehow she didn't know how this happened. This whole situation could use a better explanation. Some people have asked the question, 'shouldn't Martha Kent be dead by now?'. This is something I'm willing to take in the 'vague history' department. No problem. Quick aside; loved when Clark through the baseball on the Kent farm and the dog just looked back at him like, 'what, are you fucking kidding me?!'.
Lex Luthor's plan to bring about a new continent is a little ill conceived. Perhaps he could have done something a bit different from his scheme in the first movie. I have to say from the time Superman lifted the crystaline continent to the hospital sequence things seemed a bit overwhelming and somewhat confusing. Did he die? It seemed very much like he did in the ER. Yet shortly thereafter when Lois visits him he is in a coma. How could he survive the fall from space if his powers had been drained to the point of unconsciousness?
These couple of things I was reasonably willing to forgive when I saw it the second time. And even though they still urk a little, I really, really enjoyed the film overall. In fact I'm going again this Thursday before it leaves Mann's Chinese Theater where it's playing in DLP. We're off to an amazing start and I can't wait to see what Bryan Singer brings us next in what has become the saga reborn. Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, and Kevin Spacey are all signed for two more movies.
I'm sure I'll have a few follow up observations later after my next viewing.