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Sanford Summit 3 áby Nolan B. Canova
On "Superman Returns" áby ED Tucker
On "Superman Returns" áby Greg Van Cott
"You, Me and Dupree" áby Mike Smith
Tampa Film Review Reminder áby Paul Guzzo
Shine On You Crazy Diamond....Tribute to Syd....Still Sucking....But He'll Have Company....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 28: "Jesus Christ Superstar" áby Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 329  (Vol. 7, No. 28). This edition is for the week of July 10--16, 2006.

On Superman Returns

By Greg Van Cott

I saw this film last night which resulted in me leaving the theater carrying a great deal of emotional confusion, and felt that another screening of it was merited to clear up any of the misconceptions I held and also to check the film again for anything that I may have missed. The first screening was held in a pretty mediocre theatre. The sound was too soft which left me feeling like I was watching a large TV with the volume down too low, and me without the remote. Plus, I noticed I was sitting too far away and didn't feel the cinematic scope of it at all. So upon seeing the film again and making sure I eluded the problems that ruined the first screening, I came to an undeniable conclusion about this movie:


Ok, so what? So I didn't like it. You can't win 'em all. However, the great atrocity involving this movie was not a mere liking or disliking of the experience, but more due to a great loss of potential this film could have had. Now I've heard a lot of discerning comments before about various stand-alone films/sequels regarding what it didn't deliver and so forth, and the little voice in my head saying, "Be content with what you got." I still agree with that philosophy to the Nth degree when the variables coincide with an honest, hard-working, intelligent, strife to be artistic mantra that I see in specific movie cases that I do defend/support from time to time (J2, certain James Bond films, etc.). And despite this, I see films from time to time that I don't feel fit into these categories due to a lack of TIME and ENERGY going into the wrong areas whilst other more appropriate places of the film should go with far better examination. As John Steinbeck once said about the film adaptation, The Red Pony, "the music was good and that was about it."

My favorite part in this whole film was the title sequence. As everyone has said here correctly, it was a great throwback to the original Donner film, and unfortunately that is its only purpose. The same thing can be said about the music. John Ottman does a competent job of creating a good score using Williams' themes, but what was the best part of the music? Williams' old stuff. Good ol' JW has this uncanny ability to make his music memorable and hummable (though it should be a concept easy to understand and I don't understand why many composers don't do it enough. Is ambiguity the name of the game these days?)

One of the big things that I mentioned when I got excited about the trailers was the GREAT potential to go BACK in time and see the Silver Age style of Superman. Essentially, Superman I, II, and III were just like that. To get an idea of what that is, one should examine the first three films to see what the general spirit of this Superman universe is. In these films, there is an absolute consistent atmosphere of FUN absurdism. Though the word "absurdism" has become almost a bad word in the practical and artistic world as of late, we have to remember that late 19th to early 20th century works carried a lot of this form/surface style from Bertolt Brecht to Samuel Beckett, from the cinematic works of Luis Bunuel to Englishman absurdist Richard Lester's "A Hard Day's Night" (he later did Superman II and III). And yes, the Shuster-Siegel kids (who were only high school kids when they created Supes in 1933) put this element in their work during this Golden Age comics and it was extended well into the Silver Age: circa late 60's to the early 80's. Many of the new generation these days complain of the original Superman films' silliness, which indeed is this fun absurdism. My argument to this would then be: Don't watch them then. There's Bruce Timm's animated series and the Lois & Clark TV series which have modeled themselves more off of the Modern/Bronze Age of comics we live in now. If you don't like seeing Lex Luthor paddling in an abandoned subway entrance converted into a pool looking rather goofy who likes to threaten his poor excuse of a manservant/henchman... if you don't like seeing a Clark Kent bumble around looking very awkward and unmanly... if you don't like seeing an extremely childish natural computer genius who defines himself through character actions by toying with a yo-yo and toying with his computers and his toying/playing make believe as a General and Liquor salesman... then this not for you. This is indeed a dated style of Superman comics.

Now of course there is a serious side to these Superman films. If all of it was just pure silly juvenile stuff, no one would gave a damn what happened in the story.

As for the first film, all of the Krypton set stuff is pretty serious and to the point. Kal-El growing up into the earthly-looking Clark Kent and his dilemma involving his powers vs. wanting to be normal, the repressed relationship between Clark and Lois, and Luthor's total disregard for human life in exchange to show his egocentric view of his own brilliance, etc. And by the time we get to III, the Luddite ideas over technology, the scary situation you could have involving your child's inability to do nothing right EXCEPT when he becomes a natural shot with a BB gun intriguingly shown within Richard Pryor's character when he realizes he is a natural at computers (which is possible) and how he is being abused, and that metaphysical type Jekyll/Hyde fight between dark Supes and what has kept him from becoming a malevolent force on Earth: growing up as Clark Kent. It's this stark contrast that I believe has made Supes I and III successful Silver Age adaptations.

So the ultimate stylistic question of this film is: IS THIS A SILVER AGE SUPERMAN FILM? No, it is not.

Finally, onward to the low down of Supes Returns. As I said, I came into this film with the wishful thinking that I thought it would have been like going back in time to an older style that is, in fact, dated. It is as dated as the old Bob Kane style shown pretty damn well in Batman Forever, which brings us to another point. For die-hard comic book fans who take this art pretty seriously (and hasn't been taken very seriously till fairly recently), there can be this benefit of the doubt in terms of what can be said as "an apparent difficulty to understand the comic book medium cinematically" because the Superman films were the very first attempt to do this and to extent the first four Batman films.

Yes, there were the Superman, Batman, and Flash Gordon serials and radio/TV shows from the 40's, 50's, and 60's, but for the feature film medium the Superman films were the first. So any problems that can be said in terms of storytelling in these films can be chocked up to a lack of an understanding to some extent, and there are many people who believe that the first Superman film isn't that well written or as interesting as some of the modern stories as produced by Alan Moore, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, or Dan Levine. We can say safely that the Mankiewicz/Newman couple films are a stepping stone though, which is absolutely fine. These earlier Superman and Batman series films with everything in between like Darkman II, The Rocketeer, and The Crow do have one major thing in common: they all wanted to tell a story that was fun and as lively as the comics they emerged from.

Roger Ebert has always believed that comic book films as implied by the word "comic" were supposed to always be fun.

Two things seem to have KILLED this MOVIE era in comics. One: Alan Moore's Superman comic from 1986, "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" which many comic book aficionados mark as the end of the Silver Age (also the end of the original universe of the Shuster-Siegel Superman) involving a fairly serious story where Supes analyzes the world's purpose for having him while many other character arcs are ended. After that, Superman began all over again with a different style, attitude, and universe. A few years before that, Superman III was also released which a number of people mark as the last successful Superman film that truly carried this style without going into apocryphal territory. The second element that ended this era: the disaster that was Batman & Robin (1997). After that, there was strife for very serious comic book movies delving into serious realistic issues. The strongest examples of this new fad: Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" and "Batman Begins". No fun absurdism, not much humor, very little stylistic joy because many people believe these days that isn't as important as story. They're right, but can you have a story that is supported by a world devoid of joy and spirit? Not at all, and that may be the next question for comic book films. So despite the IDEA of doing a film that harkens back to a lost era as being novel, the end results of Superman Returns proves that this era must be dead.

(Hmm..., Metropolis has started to look more like Schumacher's Gotham from Forever...)

This film attempts to be a hybrid of the Silver and Modern Ages. The only problem with doing this is you get a film that isn't sure what it is trying to be. If you can't do a film that isn't strictly Silver Age, what is the point of doing this kind of film in the first place? Why did we need a continuation of the original series? Might as well have done a whole new series just as Deborah Joy LeVine did with Lois & Clark and Bruce Timm with "Superman: The Animated Series" using the new style. They're such drastically different styles that a melding of the two produces a great inconsistency where the strict seriousness clashes with extremely watered down absurdism. So in a sense, this film was an incorrect approach to take altogether.

To the victors come the *SPOILERS*...
This film as you've gathered in my opinion is only ok. As said well in a review, as much I want to like this film I can't. It's a major disappointment. It's not that good of a film in terms of technicality of storytelling, direction, acting, and dealing with issues. The main moral question this film asks is: Do we need Superman? Apparently as the film demonstrates, only to save the world when Lex Luthor causes destruction. The best answer my friend came up with is that Superman is a symbol of hope and optimism, and always encouraging people to do the right thing. Sure he is that figure and he has only always been that. But in terms of a character defining themselves through action (which should have been very easy in a film filled to the gills in action), this film frankly does not answer that question worth a damn. This film had the great potential to delve into many issues and give us a lot of insight as to how we can learn from Superman. The film offers very little of anything outside of artificial thrills.

There is a scene where Supes as Clark Kent is flipping channels on a TV where we see glimpses of Iraq-like footage, political tensions, and terrible weather. These are things we see everyday and now Superman has reentered our lives in an era that does seem to need him as much as the Vietnam era, but there's all you see of that. Supes spends a good amount of his time like the 1st film saving us from normal disasters like fires, accidents, and robberies. Yet as Jor-El explains in the 1st film, humans can solve these problems themselves and we do. Superhero films always undermine the true heroes of the world: Firemen, police, and soldiers. The best comic book stories are when the heroes merely assist the cops or help them by dealing with the criminals who are so bad that they go beyond what the human heroes can deal with. The reason why characters like Superman exist is the need to have someone who could sacrifice themselves without putting themselves in mortal danger. However, this makes such a figure's actions more like chores than heroic action because what defines a hero... Self-sacrifice.

Due to Supes' five-year absence, this film makes us ponder a dreadful amount of plausible questions that could be asked by Metropolis citizens such as: "Superman... where were you when my son was killed in a car accident? Where were you all this time?" "Superman, where were you when my father was murdered?" "Superman, where were you when my best friend was raped?" These are very important questions that weren't asked in the first films due to the almost Disney approach they took (...it's supposed to be fun. Not Tennessee Williams or David Mamet). Yet when compared to the great deal of insight of the recent "Batman Begins" which this film was promised to be like for Superman, there's absolutely nothing this film has to offer.

Speaking of Superman's disappearance, the main usage of this idea this film seems to be dishing us is for three reasons without much regard to Superman's apparent self-indulgence to see where he's from when the character is a servant of the people (if he wants to be Christ, what he wants doesn't matter unfortunately-- that can be an issue, but also not explored). These reasons are one: to show us how Superman's disappearance has affected Earth-- which frankly wasn't exploited enough to be noticeable outside of trivial things like Luthor making the most out of Supes missing court dates, Lois having a kid, and the world not looking like the 70's and 80's anymore. Two: to be able to move from the Silver Age to the Modern Age, which as I said proved messy. And three: to explain why to some extent we haven't had a Superman film in a while, LOL. More questions emerge: So Superman decided to check out Krypton, ok... so what? Sure, we understand why Supes wants to see his real home, BUT WE NEVER SEE IT! It's as if we saw Dad come back from his 'Hush-hush' trip without much explanation of what he got out of it. Weren't there shots of Superman checking out the remains of Krypton in the trailer? Wasn't there a shot of Supes in a fetal position sitting in the exact location from where he was as a baby launched from Krypton? Where did they go? Is there going to be an extended cut? Rather have cut out more CG action sequences than that those elements if it proves true. Also, how did he get there? Where did the ship come from? From the Fortress of Solitude? He certainly did not fly there vehicle-less given his power is acumulated from our yellow sun. We didn't even get a good look at the ship after it crashed other than it looks like a John Barry-Kryptonian design. So what?

We also get a glimpse into Supes' past where he discovers some of his powers. One of my questions was: Why is Clark wearing glasses? He didn't wear glasses in that part of his life as we've found out through Donner's film. Perhaps that's too nit-picky, but it gives us an idea into what details were NOT looked at too closely as a whole. It's nice to see Oscar-winning actress Eva Marie Saint (who won playing alongside the great Marlon Brando who won for that very picture as well) reunite for one last film with Brando whose image also appears in the film. UNFORTUNATELY, they aren't used to the film's advantage! Saint only has two scenes in the entire film! The character's appearance was virtually pointless. I suppose if you connect her story to the first film it becomes seemingly longer, but her appearance still was arbitrary. If it were another actress who was just as good as an actress but not as famous, it would have been fine for the actor. However as Brando's character in the original said, it is the (humans) habit to abuse their resources. There was this big story also involving how Singer had bought the unused footage of Brando from II, and as IMDb has noted in their trivia, how it was supposed to be implemented into this film. Where is this footage by the way?! Did they mean he bought the rights now that Brando is dead? Did he plan to use it and then backed off for a chance for Donner to make a special edition cut of II?! Even though it was cool to see Brando again, it merely became a recycling of old material despite the fact that it was cool to hear/see it. It was just was Brando from the 1st film again. WHY WHY WHY?

When speaking of Brando, this inevitably leads us to the acting. In this film, it flat out STINKS! The absolute miscasting of juvenile talents (I use the word talent lightly) of Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth make me shudder. Christopher Reeve was a Julliard trained actor and this guy is not. One of the character's main secrets that I believe Reeve devised was that Superman was terrified of failure and when people die. This was seen through the death of Jonathan Kent (who doesn't die in the comics and has stayed alive in other universes-- my friend calls this giving Supes a Bruce Wayne complex) and the "NEAR" death of Lois Lane. He's willing to turn the world backwards for Lois. That's a pretty compassionate man. When you see Reeve fly after those nuclear missiles in the first film, you see determination and absolute intent: I WILL NOT LET THOSE MISSILES KILL ANYBODY. Despite the fact he's not totally successful in accomplishing this task in the first film, the intent is still there. Where is this intent and as the great acting teacher Uta Hagen would say, "What is his objective?" for Routh's Supes? When he sees the Earth crack, his face tells me, "Huh... the Earth is cracking... Hmmm..." He is allowing the fact he is wearing a Supes costumes do more of the acting than him. Jack Nicholson once said during Batman that you should let the costume do the acting for you. I don't think he's right. This is not a question of interpretation of character like Sean Connery vs. George Lazenby vs. Roger Moore. It is all performance and Routh performs like a bad Beta version of Supes. His Clark Kent is worse.

This film asks us another question: What is the point of being Clark Kent other than to not be Superman 24 hours a day (or 28 as on Krypton, LOL)? Clark Kent is such an utterly useless character in this that he makes the whole notion being Kent even more apocryphal. In the Lois & Clark show, our hero would rather be Clark Kent more than Superman because of this great character conflict: He's always wanted to be normal and be like everyone else. In recent versions of Superman's story-- specifically the Lois & Clark show, Clark Kent wears glasses (despite the fact that he has perfect vision) not because of a simple surface disguise, but because he wants to be normal. In these days where insightful commentary like this can be made, this old idea of Clark Kent becomes utterly useless. He can act like the Reeve interpretation, but he can't be an afterthought anymore because we can't all be Superman. We may want to be like him, but we all are really Clark Kent. That's why some of the best storytelling in the Lois & Clark show involves Clark Kent having to solve the problem without relying on Superman's persona to help him. He can still sneak a superpower here and there, but Clark can be just as resourceful and that's what makes him a great character aside from Superman.

Lois Lane has also lost her spunkiness and pizzazz in spite of having a kid that can make her just as courageous and ballsy. It can be argued that in order to progress and mature the series we have to take these characters into other terrain. The loss of a character's defining core can not be confused with maturity however. Bosworth seems to try hard, but her youthful, inexperienced attitude along with Routh's do not coincide with all the sh*t these characters faced in the first films. In comparison to the maturity of Reeve and Kidder in terms of their personalities, they do not deliver what so ever. They may seem mature, but seeming is not doing as Shakespeare might infer. The same can be said for Frank Langella's Perry White. He is a great actor no doubt, but why is so Perry so f*cking mellow? Remember when Jackie Cooper said very humorous and ABSURDLY, "the person who walks away with this will have the greatest single interview since God talked to Moses!!" Then he pops in a cigar and then a hand comes out of nowhere to light it. Nope, not here. Langella's White seems to be on some relaxing medication when he looks at everyone discerningly and then only says softspokenly, "C'mon..." A friend said that he was a more sympathetic Perry White. I believe they tried to combine him with Lane Smith's more understanding Perry from Lois & Clark, but he still had a Sargeant's attitude about him: "Sorry Lois..., I can't help you with the pensions. (People laugh as he shows bare pockets) What are you all standing around for? This ain't no country club! Move!!!"

Marsden's (a bad actor always) Richard is a totally pointless Dad figure and our other beloved characters like Jimmy and Martha simply function as scenery. This leads to another great problem: WHERE DID ALL THE ENERGY OF THOSE EARLY FILMS GO? Those characters were so animated. When you saw Gene Hackman's Luthor, you could tell Luthor was so vain he had fun being himself. He had fun telling everyone he was so such smarter than everyone including Superman. This Luthor by Spacey? Everything seems like a chore, a duty. Perhaps he's pissed and wants revenge on Superman... When Supes returns, he doesn't seem very pissed or surprised to me. Spacey is fine, but he lacks the animation and energy of Gene.

In fact, one of the many things that worries me about this ultra-serious movement of comic book films that turned Ra's al-Ghul from an Arabic aristocrat to a dark looking businessman is the new problem involving a lack of FUN and imagination with the material. Yes, the Riddler was silly in "Batman Forever", but boy was he entertaining to watch. Now don't get me wrong I love "Batman Begins", but if this extreme pursuit for reality in comics continues we'll lose the reason why we read comics in the first place: to see a universe and characters that don't exist in this realm. The actor who comes the closest to this fun absurd style was Parker Posey as Luthor's mistress, Kitty. She changes her hairstyle and fashion season every other scene. That's funny not in "ha-ha that's it" way, but more in a "ha-ha, I know somebody who does that" sort of way. Thus, the nature of absurdism. It satirizes reality. This film has many chances to show us this old kind of absurdism. One: Luthor has a miniature/train set of Metropolis that he explodes uses a tiny piece of a Kryptonian crystal. As the little figurines of people burn up, you can hear very faintly some underlying screaming. Now doesn't that sound like the scenes when all the Metropolis people get into ridiculous accidents in Superman III? Well, it was just an extremely, watered down version of that kind of humor. Two: Posey says as an example, "Like seamonkies?" Spacey agrees, "Yes, Kitty like seamonkies," though it's not funny because Spacey doesn't reward us with the ability to laugh. Another moment is the "Dog literally eat Dog" joke, which really isn't that funny and is more just out of place. Singer as a director seems to be afraid of becoming Richard Lester. Well, what the hell is wrong with this? Richard Lester had a great energy in his films. Richard Pryor was brilliant when it came to physicalizing his performance with childish animation, and yet everyone in this film stands around like the figurines in the miniature. This film sorely lacks that animation and energy. So when comparing the snappy blocking of his film to this flat by-the-numbers approach, I prefer III any day in terms of cinematic fulfillment.

(Land in this film is starting to become a bit impractical, hmm...) This finally gets us to the plot of this film (don't worry most of what I wanted to say is up above). Lex Luthor wants to build an island using the Kryptonian crystals, and he doesn't care who he kills to do it. This raises OF COURSE MORE F*CKNG QUESTIONS! Luthor seems so obsessed over his father's mantra involving "LAND" that it makes you wonder why his father kicked him out if Lex Luthor respects him. Luthor in these films now it seems is always after land. Even in II, him wanting Australia is LAND. Now in the 70's when overpopulation was becoming a major issue, this absurd land craze made more sense. Overpopulation will always be a problem now, but people now have an understanding that you can move to places like Las Vegas or the countryside for more space and you don't need to be restricted by where you work. This is actually an issue brought up in III frankly. So why land? When Luthor creates this island, it is so absolutely inhospitable that it creates a major question also in Tim Burton's Gotham City. Why would anyone want to live in a place so grotesque, dark looking, and alien as Luthor describes it? Luthor explains that since BILLIONS of people will die and that the island will destroy so much existing land they will have no choice. Now in the 1st film, Luthor's brilliance is in the fact that he makes the missile hits look like an accident. This plot is a like sillier version of a James Bond plot where the villain makes himself richer by destroying common ground for everyone else. So how is he going to explain this "freak of nature" island? Why would anyone want to surrender to Luthor's ideology? And besides, wouldn't the killing of billions of people solve the population problem? I suppose the evacuees need someplace to live, but again why there? As Roger Ebert says in his review, it would take millions of years for that land to become farmable, for anything to grow on it, and for anyone to find it pleasant looking. Superman's apparent response to this is that it is a joke, "I see an old man's sick joke." However, I never saw Luthor as a genius who lacked practical skills. You can't build the biggest plane in the world without expecting people to worry about it being too populous that it could kill a whole lot more in an accident than a normal size plane. Strange logic, but it's true.

In other subsequent Luthor plots in the new shows, he always showed his uncanny ability to put Superman in a dire situation without even having to confront him or do much to draw attention to himself. In one Lois & Clark episode (SPOILERS ahead for that), Luthor turns the public against Supes by using his heroics against him by superheating the city's aquifers and hidden ravines whenever he saves people causing a heatwave that only exists in Metropolis. Therefore, the people start petitioning for Superman to leave because they believe he is the cause of their pain and that he is a heat conductor. Supes/Clark starts to believe this, too. His parents reassure him by saying, "but it never happened in Smallville." But by the time, the public starts to have enough of this heat--which by the way is very telling of society that when the sh*t hits the fan we're quick to take down our leaders/idols for our own personal convenience-- he decides to leave after a kid throws a Superman toy at him in hatred. But he has to leave as Clark too because he's worried the heat will happen when he is just around, so he even kisses Lois goodbye, which he has never done before. Very telling and heartwrenching for the characters. "Edge of the razor" tactics they call it when characters are put in a situation where they are tested to the extreme. And Luthor starts to taste ultimate victory after this! And it didn't have to do anything with land. That's the brilliance of the character. I also did not like the idea that in order to not make Luthor come off NOT like Blofeld (the two most famous bald villains in cinema) that he had to be marooned on an island in the end to become whimsical again since the joy of watching Blofeld is that he can get away scott free. If your helicopter ran out of gas, the radio is still powered by the battery as far as I know.

Lastly, the CG may be impressive in this film, but it is nothing when compared to the greatness of Roy Field/Stuart Freeborn/Derek Meddings effects. What is the one of the great joys in watching a James Bond film? That the stunts you see in these films are absolutely done REAL with actual physical effects. And even though Meddings' effects in the Bond films such as Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, & Goldeneye are miniatures, damn do they look real. As Spielberg once said about digital effects, "the public will always know it is digital. They can just tell." So the film becomes the spectacle of seeing the uncanny ability the human race has when it comes to viewing art: knowing that the animated image you're seeing drawn by artists looks like a person doing BLAH BLAH when it isn't a real person at all. We just relate to two eyes, a mouth, a nose because we are an egocentric species that see ourselves in everything like lately animated cars, toys, bugs, monkeys, and superheroes.

About Superman's kid... I seem to be ok with this I guess because it is an interesting concept (never liked the premise of II and the fact that Supes has a silk bed in the Fortress for lovemaking-- better than a crystal bed I guess), but as Brett pointed out: Superman is a solitary character. The closest he has had a sidekick is Supergirl and she's only around sometimes. This idea of where Supergirl comes from wasn't pursued unfortunately in Superman's departure because in the comics she comes from the Krypton moon where she was cryogenically frozen to prevent from dying of Kryptonite poisoning as the story goes. A shame. I remembered in the theater when the kid kills the guy with the Steinway piano (why a Steinway? Why do we like to destroy rare pianos?... "That's a priceless Steinway." "Not anymore...") some guy said in the theater, "Oh bullsh*t!" Anyway, the new question though is how can this kid be used in later stories? All the kid will be is a liability to Superman. Oh no, the kid can be killed by Kryptonite as Luthor seems to imply... Oh no, Lois' kid is Supes' son? I'd say as a writer kill him off so you can give Supes a Tracy (Bond losing his wife in OHMSS) complex, so he can suffer more internally. If you're going to make him so powerful that whenever he does a death defying stunt you'll know he'll be ok despite almost dying because there are so many references of him being like Christ, you know you're going to have to figure how to make him more human than that.

The reason I've noticed a number of people will like this film anyway is because the general public who don't obsess over the little eccentricites of film are more opened to things than guys who see everything technically like a microbiologist, so I envy all you guys who enjoyed it.

In conclusion, [fellow blogger] Rogue is absolutely right. This is a remake of Superman: The Movie disguised as a sequel. It is no doubt a REQUEL ! The structure of this film is almost identical: Clark at the Kent farm, Superman comes to save the day (without much thought into why he should become Superman again or why no one is asking why Clark has appeared the same time as Supes), he saves people from trivial accidents, Luthor steals a rock found in Addis Ababa from a museum (best moment of that is when you can see the listed elements are the same for making synthetic kryptonite from III minus the tar), Luthor creates chaos, Superman is hurt by kryptonite and almost drowns, a woman comes to save him (this time not Miss Teschmacher, but Lois-- though it's a nice irony to see Lois save him, but alas not that extraordinary), and then Superman does a very God like thing in the end. And ONE LAST THING, if Singer wants to keep making so many references to the 1st film ("I hope this hasn't put you off flying," Lois fainting, Clark helping Lois with her purse, all the Brando lines like "They could be a great people Kal-El, I've sent them you, I could embrace you in my arms," and finally "Remember, what my father said: 'Land!'" I'd rather watch the 1st film because all this film is doing is making me want to watch that film anyway. What's the point of making this film if all you want to do is point backwards?

So, all and all, I'd rather watch Superman and Superman III. If I want a Superman film, I'll watch those for their true spirit.

"Any questions, class?"

"On Superman Returns" is ©2006 by Greg Van Cott

All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ę2006 by Nolan B. Canova.

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