Ebert was right - Superman sucked (SPOILERS)

There are some things here which may be construed as spoilers - just wanted to make that clear.

I saw Superman Returns last night with my girlfriend. This is a girl with excellent taste in movies. She introduced me to one of the funniest comedies I’ve ever seen, Wet Hot American Summer, and the first time I saw Fargo was with her. When she falls asleep during a movie, especially if she’s had a four-hour nap eariler, this is generally an indication that the movie sucks.

Generally I feel about the same way towards Roger Ebert that Vincent Gallo does. He called one of my favorite movies of all time, Oliver Stone’s awesome neo-Western U-Turn, an “exercise in genre filmmaking,” and gave it one and a half stars. I don’t get it - this movie may be derivative but it’s still amazingly executed, as well as having an incredible turn by Billy Bob Thornton as a fat, greasy mechanic, and manages to feature Jennifer Lopez and actually make her character believable. And, he gave two thumbs down to David Lynch’s Lost Highway, which I think is a very creative and cerebral movie as well as having an awesome soundtrack. He’s also given good reviews to a lot of movies that I hate.

But, Roger Ebert is right no the money when he called Superman Returns “a glum, lackluster movie.” I was absolutely astonished that a Superman movie could be so damn boring. I’m going to list the things I hated about Superman Returns, and explain why I found them so disappointing.

[li]Lois Lane was portrayed by a simpering, child-faced lolita. This actress was NOT believable as a street-savvy, veteran reporter. Margot Kidder was all woman, baby. That face had intensity. She brought genuine charisma to the role. And it was plausible that she could stand up to Superman’s masculinity, offer an effective foil to his character. Kate Bosworth simply did not have it. Her Lois was like an insecure, no-confidence little baby. There was no fire in the role whatsoever, no heart, no soul.[/li][/ul]

[li]Many of the sequences were just plain boooooooring. That scene where Superman talks to Lois Lane on the roof of the Daily Planet and then flies off with her - it dragged on so long it felt like it was never going to end. And, because of Bosworth’s crappy acting and Superman’s lack of charisma (whether this is due to the script or Routh’s acting I’m not sure) there was zero chemistry between the two of them. The “action” scene that took place on Luther’s landmass - dragged on forever and offered up zero suspense or even interesting action coreography. And…oh MAN…that scene where the plane seems to have crashed and then we see it swoop back up - wasn’t that scene in Goldeneye? Or was it Indiana Jones? Or was it almost every action movie, or video game cutscene, that involves a plane? God, did they really expect us to believe that the plane was going to crash and that Lois, her husband, and son, were all going to be killed? Did they have to have such a ham-fisted “surprise?”[/li][/ul]

[li]I had very high hopes for Kevin Spacey’s Luthor but I was again let down. He just didn’t really seem mean enough. He didn’t seem crazy or evil enough. I think Spacey probably could have pulled the role off if he were given better dialog, but he wasn’t, and the Luthor scenes didn’t represent the threat hat they should have.[/li][/ul]

More generally, there was just no suspense in this movie, or anything thrilling about it. Routh’s Superman was extremely un-charismatic, unlike Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, for instance, who seems like he is actually someone you know and sympathize with. I understand that the character of Superman is vastly different from that of Spider-Man or any other superhero, that he is supposed to be somewhat cold and harsh - but Routh just doesn’t do it for me. He’s handsome, he’s buff, he looks like Christopher Reeve, but beyond that, it just seems like there’s nothing there.

Did anyone else feel this way about the movie? It was so hyped and so looked forward to by so many people - and I really went to it thinking that I was going to be entertained. Instead I was vastly disappointed, and left with a hollow and sorrowful feeling.

Superman Returns

I’m very glad I didn’t spring for the full pop on this one.

Both Lois and Clark were too young. He’s been gone for five years. Shouldn’t they be around 30 instead of mid twenties and looking younger?

Bosworth was channeling Reeves too much. I don’t like the excessive bumbling Clark.
I grew up with TV Superman and liked the freindly competition between the two reporters.

I did like some of it. The new special effects make the superhero movies much better and the little surprise was interesting.

All in all, didn’t suck but was real mediocre.

And people wonder why I started this thread.

You think Superman Returns blows, wait for the airborne chasm of “let’s take our cues from fans 'cuz we don’t have any clues how to write an interesting script or cast a movie beyond roping Sam Jackson into it” horridness that will be Snakes On A Plane.

Nitpick: he only reviews with one thumb. The other thumb at the time belonged to Gene Siskel.

Carry on.

I totally dug it. It was awesome.

Hey, if they’d asked me, I bet I could’ve doctored that heck outta that script.

I haven’t seen Superman Returns yet and I may not go to see it. But one bad sign about it was when I read several places that Kevin Spacey’s version of Lex Luthor was more comedic than Gene Hackman’s. Now I have tremendous respect for both Spacey and Hackman as actors, but the last thing this movie needed was a more comedic Lex Luthor. Hackman took what should have been a serious villain and did everything but dress him up in clown shoes.

Superman, after all, is Superman. He’s got every power and advantage in the world. And Lex Luthor, at best, is a mere mortal with no superpowers. So you’re already going against the dramatic grain by having a good guy who has every advantage over the bad guy. The last thing anyone should do is further diminish the bad guy.

I don’t think he’s more comedic, so much as funnier. Hackman’s Luthor was, like you said, clownish. You were supposed to be laughing at him a good portion of the time. Spacey’s Luthor is much more charismatic. When he’s funny, it’s because Luthor is being charming and witty, not ridiculous, which makes him more threatening when he’s being violent and angry.

Well said. Spacey certainly was not clownish. At times, he projected a real air of menace. I wish he’d been given an evil plan that was equally menacing.

Bosworth is entirely too childlike to play Lois, especially a Lois who has been left by her true love. Kidder had far more personality, as well as age. I checked – Kidder was about 30 while filming the first “Superman,” and Bosworth is about 23.

The film had its plodding portions. I would have liked snappier pacing and to see Superman actually have a little fun with being back in costume saving Metropoolis.

That said, it had some thrilling moments and some beautiful images. It also successfully explored a side of Superman – the obligations, the balancing act between Clark and Superman – that we hadn’t seen before.

While I would’ve preferred for Spacey to have played Luthor straight with a twist of menace, I did like some touches he brought to the character. The “Come on, say it, I know you’re dying to… WRONG!” bit was hilarious, and very well done.

I could’ve completely done without Parker Posey’s character, however. I kept wondering why Luthor kept her around- she must’ve been killer in the sack.

Luthor is such a potentially terrifying character- I mean, here we’ve got a normal (albeit extremely intelligent) guy who can routinely stymie the most powerful individual on the planet. Wouldn’t it be great to see him played with all the menace he’s capable of, rather than as a buffoon with delusions of grandeur?

I think that’s what I like about The Lex Luthor Show… uh, I mean, Smalllville. Luthor is the most interesting character in the series.

I liked how it showed how smart Luthor was, like when he figured out the truth about the kid. Just the way he interacted with people as well. He didn’t seem to look down on people for not being as smart as he was either.

Parker Posey’s character must have been a blind spot for him. He should have seen that she was upset, and not handed the crystals to her. I’m willing to buy that he’d make that mistake though.

Posey’s character was a waste, not even half as bright as Valerine Perrine’s Miss Teschmacher.

I wasn’t planning to see it from the moment I found out the thing was going to be set after the events of Superman II. That was a huge mistake right there…they should have rebooted.

I thought it was great, but I’m a sucker for all the little references to the old films that they threw in, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Most of the complaints people have I can see, but I don’t agree with. There were a few parts that were slow and could have been tightened up. It just didn’t bother me that they looked young.

The real question is if he’s been gone for 5 years, why doesn’t it look like 1985? :smiley:

I agree that Kate Bosworth was not the best choice for Lois Lane, she’s too young, yeah, she’s cute, but kind of bland. I liked Cyclops as the boyfriend (I sang “Jimmy Olsne’s Blues” to myself whenever he was on screen). Brandon Routh was perfect as Superman (and Clark), I thought. Spacey was excellent, funny and violent, as Luthor and I loved the movie. And it’s not because I’m on the rebound from hating X Men 3, really, I promise. (Man, was I disappointed with that movie!!)

I told my wife after the opening recude of the “plane” that the movie just earned the ticket price!

I thought the movie was very well crafted. Excellent effects, and I have no particular beef with any of the actors, I thought they did a nice job. They did cast Supes and Lois way too young to believe a 5 year hiatus.

The plotline, though… ugh! Let’s see, Lex Luthor hatches a scheme to make a killing in real estate, gaining untold riches and power. Said scheme will kill millions of people in the process, mostly by forcing existing land underwater. Lex steals a bunch of kryptonite, and tries to drown Superman while he’s weak. Superman gets saved and foils the plan.

I think I’ve heard this plot before, somewhere.

Omigod, I thought I was the only person in the world who thought that!

Not even close. Even actor Michael Rosenbaum has made (half-facetious) statements that Smallville is mostly about Lex Luthor’s gradual slide into evil.

It’s actually a more interesting story than all that hokey Krypton/Jor-El/Zod stuff.

I seriously enjoyed Superman Returns, but that is in no small part of dying to see anything Superman on the big screen again.

But I agree that there was much that could had been improved upon in the movie, most importantly, I wish I found Superman more inspiring. Superman should be what people should aspire to be - honest, moral, caring, selfless, etc. But as he was characterized, I never got the feeling that he really did everything he did for love of what is right and moral, but rather because it was his duty. He lacked heart and soul.

I felt terrible for his mother who he really didn’t show a shred of emotion towards. The Superman I know is very warm and an emotional being. That scene was just cold and wasn’t pleasant to watch.

I do want there to be another Superman movie. In fact I’d there to be dozens more :). But I don’t want them to be sequels or interspaced between the other movies. Start over please with some fresh ideas without bastardizing his character. Take some cues from Superman: The animated series. Superman should be more than a soap opera.