Friday, August 24, 2007

Superman Returns (again)

Last summer I saw 'Superman Returns' at the cinema and blogged about it. My friend Marcus also saw it and blogged about it, three times [1][2][3]. It took me a while, but I finally got around to re-watching it on DVD last week.

I still have a mixture of positive and negative things to say about it.

But I've realised what my main problem with the film is, and it is this:

The film is not about Superman.

Marcus complained that it was a film about Superman but not about Clark - Clark being the 'real person' and Superman being the 'disguise' - but I think it is actually not about Superman or Clark. To me, the film is actually about people's responses to the idea of Superman - specifically the different ways that Lois Lane and Lex Luthor respond to him, but almost every person in the film responds to Superman in some way and its those people that the film is about.

In the original (Dick Donner) Superman movie, Clark finds out who he is and what he can do, he goes through a bit of soul searching and anguish and comes out a hero. In Superman II he battles his inner demons, gives up his powers, gets them back and vanquishes his enemies. In Superman III we have the great fight between the two personalities, Superman vs. Clark Kent. And let's not talk about Superman IV, OK?

But the point is, all those films are about the man under the suit. This film isn't. There's no particular character development of any of the main characters (except the kid). Pretty much all the characters end the film exactly the way they were at the start. So, basically, its a film without a heart. Looks great, well performed (for the most part), a few good set-pieces, but ultimately a bit empty.

Of course, maybe its just me. As a life-long fan of Superman, he's the character I relate to. Maybe if you relate more to Lois or Lex you'd find the film more engaging.

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