July 12, 2006

Cop A Feel From The Man O' Steel


With a Sunday iced latte and toasty panini from Tarallucci e Vino on 18th Street in hand, Cinecultist finally got around to attending a screening of Superman Returns at Union Square and we're happy to report the movie was nearly as tasty as our sandwich. This was a surprise to be honest, because we'd almost gotten completely overloaded on all of the coverage, coverage, coverage of this movie. If we had to read yet another Brandon Routh is the Next Big Thing article, we were going to crawl under the duvet and never come out.

However! We're ready to say proudly, that Routh is a tasty little morsel of steel. Even Kate Bosworth, who with Orlando Bloom makes for one of the blandest hot couples ever, didn't entirely bug. The chemistry between these two, particularly in the sequence where Superman takes her from a toe to toe flight around Metropolis, made our blockbuster-lovin' heart soar. How could we ever have doubted that our boy Bryan Singer would bring subtle humor, big heart, complex metaphors and stunning set pieces to this iconic, familiar comic book tale?


Between reading Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude and hanging out with that strange creature known as the "New York Late 20-something Man Child," we felt like we sort of understood the Superman persona. But this movie casts a whole new light on this archetype and gave us new insights into why his character would hold such a sway over the boys who revere him. See, Superman by token of his god-like powers is set apart from human beings, he's grown up with them and loves them but isn't like them. He feels an intense sense of empathy, as evidenced by the scene where he flies above earth all deified listening to their prayers/complaints with his super hearing. Yet he isn't human, so his pain at the separateness is mitigated.

Also, the love between Superman and Lois Lane is the ultimate geek boy fantasy. She reveres him, yet she can't understand why he's so damn aloof. She's engaged to another man but she'll always pine for Superman and as for Clark Kent, she doesn't really know he's alive. That way Superman can be both the one with the crush and the crush object all without the muss or fuss of a real relationship. As for Superman's feelings, he obviously feels deeply for Lois and (spoiler alert) his kid, but his concerns as Superman keep him from ever having to do more than look longingly at her and chastises her for smoking. He's sensitive and the ultimate good, yet never has to take out the garbage or go to couple's counseling. Lucky dude. He can repel both bullets and adult relationships.

Finally on a different tangent, a word about the baddies in this movie. Usually Kevin Spacey crawls under our skin he's so irritating but here, his scenery-chewing abilities were used to their fullest. Our love for Parker Posey also continues unabated, especially with those frizzy hair-dos and her fascination with that evil little fluffball dog. Those dogs are seriously menacing and hilarious. However a note to the movie's editors, what the heck happened to Kal Penn's dialogue? His character is apparently mute because he's in all of these key scenes yet doesn't speak a word. It's a bit creepy to be honest and quite perplexing. It's not like he's so scary looking, why cast him if he never gets to utter any lines? There's got to be some serious Penn banter on the cutting room floor and maybe we'll be lucky enough to see it on the DVD extras.

Other than that, ranks as one of our favorite movies of the summer so far and even (*gasp) worthy of it's 2 hours and 34 minutes (a.k.a. too freakin' long) running time.

Posted by karen at July 12, 2006 8:25 PM