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.