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David Poland

By David Poland

The Super Thread

I figure we might as well have a place for people to come and spew as they see Superman Returns over the next week or so.
It’s not a firm rule, but I think it best that we set this as a SPOILER area… so if you don’t want to know, don’t look at comments. And I think it best that opinions – questions are ok – be left to people who have actually seen the film, as opposed to fighting over assumptions.
That said… have at it.

135 Responses to “The Super Thread”

  1. PetalumaFilms says:

    I know DP said this was a spoiler area…but still…*******SPOILERS******* You’ve been warned.
    I can’t wait to post more, but I just got in from the screening and am thrilled to report, I loved the movie. Took a little while to get going, but it really won me over in the end. I didn’t find it all that “gay” although the kid having 2 dads seemed sorta “agenda-y.”
    Rather, I found the whole movie kind of hopeful and uplifting, given the strange and scary world times we’re in now. We really could use a Superman. I thought Routh was great and the movie did a fine job tip-toeing on the line of cheeseball, but never falling over it too far. I thought Bosworth was so-so, I missed the kind of trashy/sexiness Margot Kidder had. You could believe she just wanted to hump Superman. But Bosworth’s Lois, who already did the deed, wasn’t *there* enough for me. She’s cute and had some nice moments, but sort of a let down. Spacey was outstanding, but not in it enough.
    I gotta hit the hay but 2 quick things…
    1. I really want to watch the first scene where we see Supes in action for the first time again. When it was happening (with the shuttle/plane disaster) I kept thinking how damned anti-climatic it was. In the original Superman, you cue up that John Williams score and it’s ON. But here, during the whole scene, I kept kind of “ho-humming.” But when he lands the plane and everyones clapping it really hit me…it’s SUPERMAN! I felt like I was a kid seeing the first film all over again. I don’t know how Singer delayed the thrill (if you will) or maybe I was just spacing out and it didn’t click with me right away. I prefer to think Singer did it on purpose.
    2. That scene where Superman is getting the shit kicked out of him was actually tough to watch. He gets womped on and it was like seeing an old friend get his teeth knocked in. The theater was full of teenage dickwads who kept commentating throughout the movie, but you coulda heard a pin drop when Superman was getting the smack down.
    So…there ya go. Initial reactions and an overall BIG thumbs up from me. Let the cynics reign supreme from here on out!!

  2. jeffmcm says:

    Your post did not constitute ‘spewing’, therefore it is in the wrong place.

  3. Aladdin Sane says:

    This won’t be a surprise, but I loved the hell out of it…
    This isn

  4. Aladdin Sane says:

    Oh yeah, Superman getting his ass handed to him may be one of the most brutal scenes ever in a comic book film. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an iconic hero so vulnerable on film – at least in a way that stunned the whole audience. There were a few groans of, “When’s that gonna stop?” It was a tad difficult to watch for sure.

  5. David Poland says:

    What were you trying to say, J-Mc?

  6. jeffmcm says:

    Your initial post seemed to be anticipating a purely negative response.

  7. sloanish says:

    What was Superman missing? Oh, just a third act. I think David’s review nailed it — and I didn’t even mind Routh. Where did all the money go? And how did Jon Peters manage to get his name before the title?

  8. palmtree says:

    Here you go, Jeff…
    The movie was okay overall. It had moments that were iconic and even beautiful.
    But for me the problem was tone and length and structure. The pieces were fine but they were ordered in a way that was off. And the tone was one of reverence, not joy or buoyancy. The glaze over the entire thing made it feel labored…the entire ending was awful.
    A big part of this critique is Singer trying to resurrect Donner’s movie. I grew up watching those and for him to toy with that without adding much new except special effects was disappointing. As a standalone, if I had no previous knowledge of Donner’s films, I might be more amenable.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    This sounds like (I haven’t seen the movie yet) a problem that I have long suspected with Singer as director: he’s good at doing certain things, but he lacks an inherent sense of originality, a true individual vision, and so has just decided to appropriate Donner’s vision and jazz it up with CGI.

  10. David Poland says:

    I would be an idiot to assume that, J Mc. There will be plenty who love the film. And I want them to feel completely welcome here. “Spew” is not presumptive of anything.
    And the only request I did make is that we not load up on assumptive opinions by people who haven’t seen the film. I look forward to your post-viewing opinion in its full bloom.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    It might not be consciously presumptive, but it is certainly connotative.

  12. palmtree says:

    My review in full…indulge me:
    Superman Returns is a fraud.

  13. EDouglas says:

    SPOILERS! (seriously)
    What I don’t get is how Superman could lift that whole land mass into the air and throw it into outer space when there was kryptonite sticking out of it? Just being near it allowed Luthor to punch him so hard that he flew back 20 feet…and yet he still has the strength to perform a ridiculous feat like that?
    And then there’s the whole “sleeping with Superman” thing which I don’t get at all… so she sleeps with the guy, gets pregnant and has his kid, he runs off and disappears, and she’s not even slightly ANGRY about it? He owes her five years of child support!! (Not to mention lying to her by not telling her that he’s Clark Kent.)

  14. EDouglas says:

    SPOILERS! (seriously)
    What I don’t get is how Superman could lift that whole land mass into the air and throw it into outer space when there was kryptonite sticking out of it? Just being near it allowed Luthor to punch him so hard that he flew back 20 feet…and yet he still has the strength to perform a ridiculous feat like that?
    And then there’s the whole “sleeping with Superman” thing which I don’t get at all… so she sleeps with the guy, gets pregnant and has his kid, he runs off and disappears, and she’s not even slightly ANGRY about it? He owes her five years of child support!! (Not to mention lying to her by not telling her that he’s Clark Kent.)

  15. EDouglas says:

    (Sorry for the double post….that was weird.)

  16. Nicol D says:

    This was no where near the disaster I was expecting. Ironically, I came out with mixed feelings skewing towards the positive.
    The Good:
    1. Routh was just fine as Superman. He isn’t remotley fey. Very masculine.
    2. Spacey was nasty as Lex. No where near as campy as I was led to believe. The scene where they beat up Supes was genuinely tough to watch.
    3. Beautiful Alex Ross inspired imagery of him flying and the way he moved was stunning
    4. All of his powers were incorporated in a way that were logical and made sense.
    5. Jimmy Olsen was fantastic!
    6. The film felt big and epic. The saving of Lois and Richard on the boat was great as was watching Supe move land masses.
    7. The glorious Williams score
    8. The spiritual element of a saviour subtext was well handled. The last bit did feel like The Passion of the Superman whether intentionally or not. Even as they look into the empty hospital room it resembled the empty tomb. It gave the film gravitas.
    The Bad
    1. Kate Bosworth was too young nad had no persona other than dour and grim.
    2. Film was very murky, dour and grim. The Genesis camera did not inspire. Whether this is entirely the camera or the art direction/DOP I do not know. I’ll say it is a bit of both.
    3. Very depressing in tone. I did not feel any joy while watching it.
    4. Many, many continuity errors in terms of it being a sequel.
    5. Clark not well defined.
    The Ugly
    1. With the kid they have really written themselves into a corner. Is every film now to be about Supes and the kid? If Clark/Supes does not insist on having more say in the kids life is he still a standup guy? How much will Perry garnishee Clark’s wages for if Lois insists on getting monthly checks?
    2. Again, there is no joy in this film. It is very depressing in tone and even the harshness of the violence felt off to me. Superman is not Batman.
    3. Reeve as Superman acted as though even with the smallest act he was honoured to help you. Routh came off as though you were a burden to ask his help. He came off like he did not want to help but did so out of resignation.
    All in all a mixed bag. Singer knows big and I give him props for not putting any politics or subtext in the film that shouldn’t be there. However, I do not know that he really gets Superman. He gets the Donner film, but Supes is bigger than that.
    I do not think this film will get repeat business and can see why Warner’s is worried. It is a very dour, depressing Superman. It is also paced very slowly and takes a long time to get going. Having said that it is Superman flying around and has some glorious imagery.
    I do think it will be re-evaluated and the whole father/son element will not sit well in the long haul.
    I can see how someone would love this film. I can see how someone would hate it. This is not the definitive Superman by any definition and if Singer chose to not do the sequels and Warner’s rebooted again with a new concept/cast, I’d be fine with that.
    Having said all that, I’ll see it again in theatres before the summer is through.

  17. PetalumaFilms says:

    Having had a night to sleep on it, read some reviews (Dave’s abnd the excellent review Pete Vonder Haar did at Film Threat: I’m a little cooler on the movie now, but still loved it.
    Palmtree- I think that Singer was intentionally tapping into the Donner film because he knows he can’t escape it-especially with audiences who’ve seen those films. I like that he lays it out there and builds on and around it.
    Also-in regards to Pete’s Film Threat review…Superman is really kind of a prick. I was thinking this last night as well, but the review reminded me again. he stalks Lois at home, tries to woo her away from her man, makes saving lois his first order of business…he’s a super stalker! Yet I actually kind of like that and I feel that the gloomy tone of the film played with this nicely. I’d say Superman is nearly as dark as Batman, but on a personal lever, not a “professional” one (ie; Super-heroing). Still loved it, but the flaws are sinking in…

  18. ManWithNoName says:

    Frustrating because the elements were there for a great flick.
    Routh was excellent as Superman/Clark Kent.
    Bosworth, unfortunately, was horrendously miscast. She looked like a damn teenager and no one I would believe capable of having a 5-year-old. The scene on the plane where’s she’s pestering the NASA spokeswoman was supposed to show her fiery journalistic spirit, but it seemed ridiculously forced. I just don’t think she can act.
    Why, why, why Lex Luthor again? Superman needs a villian equal to him. The kryptonite angle has been done so many times in every Superman incarnation. Can’t we get a powerful villian duking it out with Superman, not KryptoniteFeebledMan? The Luthor character has been done to death, and I don’t think he’s necessary in every retelling. The only elements you need are Lois and Clark. SR2 better not start with Luthor’s rescue!
    James Marsden impressed the hell out of me. Every bit as heroic as his super rival and definitely worthy of Ms. Lane’s affection.
    I loved the reintroduction of Superman at the baseball stadium. Fantastic scene, and the spontaneuous cheers gave me chills.
    I wish more time had been spent on explaining why Superman had to leave and why it took 5 years. They just acted like it was no big deal and the world didn’t care that he left. I would think there would be some abandonment issues.
    I would have preferred a ruined Krypton scene to the extra 20 minutes after the climax.
    I don’t really want or need to see this again, but I am curious about the 3D. Impressions from those who have seen it?

  19. TheManWho says:

    No pun intended, but it’s a superb film. Bosworth is one of the highlights of the film for me. In no way does she come across as too young or playing one note. Every motivation she has can be explained by the words Jor-El says as Supes heads to be bottom of the sea. Hopefully there will be more than enough people out there that appreciate Bosworth’s Lois, than those who slag her performance with their paper-thin criticisms.
    One last thing; Superman can lift anything. If he is CHARGED up enough to do it. Hopefully, you catch my drift.

  20. EDouglas says:

    I actually liked Bosworth…she’s a fine actress and it wasn’t too hard for me to suspend my disbelief. I honestly wouldn’t have known she was only 23 just from her performance. I liked her in Beyond the Sea, too… more than Spacey in some parts.

  21. palmtree says:

    Wow, Nicol…your list is right on the money. Way to go.
    Bosworth was not good, but I don’t necessarily blame her. The script was full of clunkers, and she’s not given much character-wise.
    Peta, I agree that a Supes film based on Donner could be a worthy concept, but Singer doesn’t build around it (that implies that the core was still there). He evoked it, mimicked it, without the emotional resonance.
    I totally agree Manwho…show us the remains of Krypton because that would be an emotional experience. That was where the story was, not whether S can win back Lois.

  22. anghus says:

    1. Superman Returns… from where again?
    So the movie is called Superman Returns. Could we have seen where he went? All this stink he made over going back to find Krypton, and we don’t even get to see it. We get a fucking title card that says ‘Astronomers thought they found Krypton’. He left everything behind for THAT? And we don’t even get to see the remains of his homeworld that he risked everything to see? Fucking weak.
    2. Lex Luthor – World’s Most Maniacal Real Estate Developer
    Come fucking on. There are so many interesting variations on Luthor. Mad Scientist. Slick businessman. So they decide that Luthor should, for another movie, be obsessed with using his intellect to create land. Of course, the land he creates is a rocky, stalagtite riddled piece of shit. I can’t see people lining up to by property on “Craggly Rock Acres”.
    3. Lois Lane – Frigid Bitch
    So, Superman left, and Lois Lane apparently lost the ability to emote. 2 and a half hours of the most stoic line readings ever. There is nothing Bosworth does here that would make you believe Superman would be in love with her. She has the emotional range of a brain dead remus monkey.
    4. Clark Kent – Shitty Reporter
    Man, this one bugged me. The great thing about Superman was the duality of being Superman and Clark Kent. Clark in this movie is reduced to a joke. He’s an afterthought. And what i always liked about Clark Kent was that he was intellectually everyone’s equal, and he was a good reporter to boot. In the comics, Clark was often battling Lois for stories. They were competitors, and that fueled the relationship. In Superman Returns, Clark is like a charity case.
    5. The Kid
    There is nothing wrong with the kid. He wasn’t bad at all. But the lack of resolution with that story, the dangling thread it left behind… If there’s a sequel, i pray it doesn’t involve the kid.

  23. Nicol D says:

    Thanks for the response. I also agree with what you said about the score. I got very tense and emotional at many points in the film but I could not tell if the film had earned it or if it was the Williams/Reeve connection that was working on me.
    The Williams stuff is so powerful. I suspect that’s why they used to it. It is an easy window back into the emptional core of the characters. Much like seeing the opening frames of Phantom Menace for the first time.
    I agree that they did not show enough or any at all of Clark doing any reporting. Shouldn’t he be competing for a scoop or something. I also would have liked to have seen his home or apartment. I couldn’t believe he red eyed in from the North Pole every day.
    Oddly, since seeing this last night I have had a weird reaction. I agree with virtually every criticism I have read about the film and yet there was enough there for me to say I liked it.
    I understand logically how someone could really hate this thing…and yet I didn’t but thought I would.
    I do think that has something to do with the Reeve/Williams leftover.
    It’ll be interesting to see how this digests when we all see it again on DVD.
    I think many of the elements will be appreciated more…the flying visuals are stunning at times.
    But many elements will be despised…The wheezy kid is gonna age like Jar Jar.

  24. anghus says:

    i actually didn’t hate the film.
    saving the plane, and his funny line when he gets inside… that was so entertaining.
    But it was like 8 minutes of a fucking eternity.

  25. Nicol D says:

    It is a loooong sit. There is just no getting around that.
    And for a film that really doesn’t even have all that much dialogue, relatively speaking.

  26. Tofu says:

    Wow. Nicol D, you’re on the money with every point. Every last one.

    I honestly have nothing left to say.

  27. palmtree says:

    I agree that the movie wasn’t terrible. It was the epilogue that gave me a bad taste.
    Mr. Poland, are you going to get into the flaws you mentioned in your review? Or did we cover them already?

  28. David Poland says:

    You mean, today’s piece?
    It’s here. Feel free to discuss anything you like.

  29. Tofu says:

    To clear a few points up… The Kryptonite island that Lex created was not the big island in the charts he was planning, nor the one that could flood anything. It was a weapon he would use to off superman, and he intended to make a real habitable land with the rest of the crystals.
    One cut scene tells about how Ma Kent sent postcards in Clarks name to cover for him, making it appear he was around those five years.
    Superman likely visited his mom AFTER seeing his son and love. This is the likely outcome of anyone coming out of the hospital.
    My question wasn’t so much as to why Superman was in the hospital (he had an even better fall than Kong), but more to why no one is feeding him sunlight. Don’t know if that was common knowledge or not. At least the surgeons removed the rest of that green shrapnel.
    The around-the-world saving is a problem. If he was doing this… Than could he live with himself having another job? And bothering to save some crazy woman in an out of control car? This is more of a character problem than anything wrong with the movie.

  30. Ponderer says:

    It’s funny…the three things you cited as offensive all worked for me.
    Perry’s “truth, justice, and all that stuff” felt right for the character. He’s a cynic, and it’s a cynical line. They did the same kind of twist with the “It’s a bird, it’s a plane,” line…they’re having a little fun.
    Lois getting smacked around was effective…maybe a little rougher than it needed to be for the kiddies, but it sets up the tone effectively for the Superman thrashing to come.
    Speaking of which…I thought Superman getting the snot beat out of him was the single best scene of the film. Watching him crawling away, terrified, helpless, vulnerable to murderous thugs – it was an adult, intense and uncompromised moment. It’s rare to see a hero in such a state of naked fear and panic, and it was deeply humanizing.

  31. ManWithNoName says:

    The more I think about the movie, the more I’m disappointed.
    Why was the 5-year absence explained in a title card and barely mentioned by Clark/Superman? The adopted son of the Kents, and eventually the adopted son of all humanity, decides to shirk his moral obligations, the morality that completely defines the character, for what? Answers? What was his plan if he found others of his kind? Never return to Earth?
    DP’s complaints in THB today were spot on. How did Lois know she slept with Superman and that he was her son? If we pretend Superman II didn’t happen, then there is a history between the two that goes beyond the normal definitions of the Lois/Clark/Superman characters (this in itself would not be problematic, as Singer can reinvent the characters for film as he sees fit, but Singer continues making reference to the Donner films). If Superman II did happen, how does Lois know since her memory was erased?
    On a side note: did anyone else read the Superman beating as a gay-bash metaphor? Did I just see that because of DP’s coverage the past couple of months?

  32. Nicol D says:

    Superman leaving for five years and shirking his moral obligations did present a problem for me.
    Especially wen Luthor mentions that Superman knows little about law, miranda rights or appeal hearings.
    It made Superman seem either irresponsible or sulf indulgent and flaky.
    As for the…”American Way” bit, it should have stayed. The American Way does not have to be perceived as right or left and hey…his suit is red and blue anyway.
    If it really was just cynically motivated for an international market, that is rather shameful.

  33. palmtree says:

    It’s bad to take out the American way…but they seemed to have taken out a lot of America in the movie. Whereas Metropolis felt like NY in Superman, this one feels less metropolitan (more like Sydney I imagine?). Before we got subways, alleys, pedestrians, etc., now SR feels very insulated from that big city reality. The one thing that felt resolutely American was Eva Marie Saint, who I would have liked more of.

  34. ployp says:

    Superman is a problematic superhero because he is only harmed by krytonite. What is the fun in that? No one can beat him without one and once someone has the green rock, he’s practically a punching bag!!! Again, what’s the fun in that?
    I liked the film but it certainly wasn’t a superhero film. Not enough ‘cool’ world-saving events. I wasn’t born yet when the first film can out so I don’t know about continuity.
    But yes, the kid needs much more action. Did Lois know of his powers? Did he know about it? I got the impression that they do know until when he didn’t help mommy open the door. And could they please explain the various medicine he’s taking? Is it a cover-up like Clark’s glasses? getting D in PE? Too many questions, no answers. Gosh, I could go on forever. Any thoughts on these things?

  35. David Poland says:

    Tofu – I sincerely appreciate your effort to fill in the gaps… but if it ain’t in the movie, it ain’t in the movie.
    I’m sure there is a great backstory in someone’s head about where Tom Hagan went in Godfather III. But…

  36. Aladdin Sane says:

    I breezed through your list this morning, and have come back to reread it. I don’t agree with every single one of your points, but overall, after a day to think about it, I don’t like it any less than before. I think for me, the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. I dug Kate Bosworth in the role. I wouldn’t have guessed she was 23 if I didn’t know already.
    What stuck out this morning though, was the new cast/concept idea.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing a different Superman movie by Singer. The cast doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced either. I liked what he did, don’t get me wrong. It’ll definitely get repeat business from me at least once or twice…
    …who thinks there’ll be some sorta recut/extended edition explaining how Lois knows? I know Singer said he wants to throw on the dvd a scene showing where Superman went…so we’ll see. I enjoyed it for what it is. Still more entertaining than any other tent-pole for me.

  37. palmtree says:

    Sounds like WB excised all the scenes that didn’t reference scenes from the first movie.
    Godfather III is a pretty good comparison to what this movie is like.

  38. Aladdin Sane says:

    tentpole this summer i meant to say.

  39. Crow T Robot says:

    Intial thoughts:
    – The director Bryan Singer seems most inspired by here is not Richard Donner at all, but his pal Peter Jackson. In fact, my feelings about the film almost exactly mirror the ones of King Kong. It’s waaaaay overlong, running out of steam well before it should and it (weirdly) trumps up the poetry of its essentially pop-corn-ball source. Steeped in sentiment and nostalgia, it’s also made with a caring hand, completely uncynical and has something real, I think, to say about our world today (although I would have had the big guy gone for 6 years instead of 5, if you know what I mean *wink* *wink*).
    – I liked Routh, Spacey and even young Miss Bosworth (people are really being unfair to her). I do wish Spacey would have played up more of the loser side of Lex, the way Hackman did. He kinda reminded me a bit of Bill O’Reilly here.
    – Favorite scene: Parker Posey clop-clopping over to Lex and smacking him in the face about the “brake” thing. Followed by the “women are good at faking it” speech. Lovely. Richard Donner would have been proud of that. Posey doesn’t have the fuck-me-now charm of Valerie Perrine but she represents the audience quite well in this movie.
    This is not a bad movie, Poland. So ferchristakes don’t put this on your worst list this year (which you’ve surely been considering). Yes, the movie comes with a continent-sized amount of baggage, especially from bright people who are well versed in this hero’s history. I can see how high-strung DP would pick the hell out of the shitload of nits. The nits do shoot out like a gatling gun.
    It’s gotta settle a bit, but for me the film is about as good as the first Spider-Man and Pirates movies (3 stars?). As I’ve said all week, it’s hard for me to forgive a film (even an quality one) for a bloated length. I started getting a little annoyed toward the end there.
    Superman Returns is an unusually difficult movie to critique. More later.

  40. David Poland says:

    Haven’t considered any best or worst lists yet.
    It certainly isn’t top five worst material. And as I wrote in my first review, I put it ahead of all but X3 as far as big summer movies to date.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Was there not a line of dialogue in Godfather III saying that Tom Hagen had died some years before?

  42. Nicol D says:

    The one thing this does do is completely rewrite the rules as to what can be called an ‘official sequel’.
    It would be neat (but not expected) if WB said that this film puts to rest the Reeve version and that a new film would be a new Superman adventure.
    Use the same cast but new concept.
    I really do not want to continue with the kid plot. But, I still played the Superman theme on my MP3 player all day and look forward to seeing it again.
    You are right. Tom Hagen is said to have died in GIII and John Savage plays his son in a small role who in now a priest at the Vatican.

  43. David Poland says:

    Yes, there was a line… but no real explanation… key character and all…

  44. jeffmcm says:

    It was twenty years after Part II. People die. There are bigger problems in that movie (coughSophiacough).

  45. Jerry Colvin says:

    The opening few minutes with the old music and graphics were thrilling… felt like 1978 again. The actors were fine. There was more action than Poland led us to believe (also, they never said Lois was 23, so if you’re going soley by actors’ looks, then lots of other movies deserve the same scrutiny). If you really want to be nit-picky, how about: Jor-El says he’s been dead many thousands of our years, yet Lex (in the first movie) said it took Kal-El six years to land on Earth, and in this movie it took five years for him to leave for Krypton and return to Earth. Also, he apparantly returned on Sept. 28 (or the day before), going by the date of the Daily Planet shown many times in the movie, yet security camera footage was dated July 2006. Lois’s prize-winning editorial was dated April 2005, yet she’s receiving her award 18 months later? (maybe that one is okay, I don’t know…) Yes, it picks and chooses what “counts” from those first two movies…. Actually, it’s a whole different continuity (thus they are totally ignoring SIII and SIV) with some things in common from those first two movies — just like all TV incarnations pick and choose what counts from what comes before…. If you’re in to superheros at all, this is nothing new… The Smallville show has music from the movies and also his same Fortress, but practically everything else is different…. Oh, and the cast on that show are all 10 years older than their characters…. If that kind of thing bothers you…

  46. PetalumaFilms says:

    I hate to do it, but I’m gonna anyway…
    Don’t you guys think “truth, justice and…all that stuff” was written that way for a reason? If you look around at the walls of the Daily Planet, all the newspaper headlines detailed big world events….the tearing down of the wall, I thought I saw a JFK shot. I gotta see it again but aside from the obvious 9-11 parralells (Metropolis under sudden attack, people falling out of buildings) there seems to be alot of subversive ideas about the media in this film.
    Shit, I’m all over the place. But I’m trying to think it out for myself. Grr.
    I also think Singer was using the old version of Superman to kind of…pull the wool over our eyes and distract from the fact, that as Pete mentioned at Film Threat, this Superman is a self serving prick. He’s only worried about himself and was only worried about himself when he left 5 years prior.
    I don’t know what it all means…but there’s gotta be something to this stuff. Aside from me reading too much into it…which I’ll cop to.

  47. TheManWho says:

    That guy at Film Threat has never once, stopped being a critic, that looks at the pieces, and not the board. Superman is far from a self-serving prick in this movie. He needed to find a part of himself, that he felt was missing. If 13 year-old girls are given this opportunity on screen, then so should Superman. There is great irony in him leaving to find some sort of connection with Krypton. When he had a connection, sort of growing, here on earth at the same time. That Pete has a FIRM GRASP on reasoning with his reviews.
    Finally, Poland, if YOU dont see it in the film, then YOU dont see it in them. That’s on you sir. While all of your complaints have some validity. They lack any real reasoning behind them outside of you took a very SURFACE tact with this film. Again, it starts with you.

  48. PetalumaFilms says:

    -Superman ditches the world without saying anything
    -He doesn’t even stay in touch with his mother knowing his father has died and left her alone
    -He screws Lois Lane, knocks her up and bails
    -When he gets back, he sits outside her house and looks through the walls, listening to the conversation
    -He spies on her as she gets in an elevator then meets her on the roof and takes her on a romantic flight like old times and then tries to kiss her all the while knowing she has a fiance and “his child”
    While I do agree Superman has every right to seek things out on his own, he was put on earth to be the savior. Not be a one night stand/dead beat dad. In this movie, he’s a real prick. Sorry there wasn’t like…dark lighting and some kind of turn towards the darkside like other dark hero movies have, but face it….he’s kind of a dick.

  49. David Poland says:

    “They lack any real reasoning behind them outside of you took a very SURFACE tact with this film. Again, it starts with you.”
    It starts with a very, very, very surface film.
    All this emotion people are connecting it is starting with them. Is this really a movie about fathers and sons? Really?
    Is this really a movie about responsibility? Really?
    Is this really a movie about anything but getting from gag (stunt) to gag with a massive amount of graphic genius involved?
    Yeah, the Jesus thing is in there. But if that’s what Singer was really up to, it mostly would make me want to slap him in the face for showing so little respect to someone else’s religion.
    Brass tacks? Superman’s a deadbeat dad who shows up and because he is powerful, expects to have rights… like breaking into the house at night, breaking up a relationship, and peeping on others as though he has a right to his posseession of an ex.
    And bottom line, what is the one thing that’s true about the hero triad here and untrue about the villain triad? The hero’s a vacant and beautiful and part of the power structure and the villains are almost-attractive outsiders.
    The more people defend this turd, the stinkier it gets.
    Still, if you love it, enjoy it. But let me know what you think in six months.

  50. Crow T Robot says:

    Poland whether you know it or not, this Superman thing is driving you bonkers, dude. “turd”… LOL!
    Anyway, I’ve always thought of Leonard Maltin as the most uncynical, fairminded, big picture-focused critic working today. Here’s what he threw out today…

  51. TheManWho says:

    Poland, that’s your resounding retort? Tell you what I think in six months? That’s it? That’s all you can muster? Well, that’s disappointing to say the least. However, please fell free to share with your readership how much you love Dreamgirls six months from the first time you saw it. So, I guess, around this time next year. We can bring this all up again next Summer.
    Superman Returns is far from a surface film (If you are calling it SURFACE after seeing it twice, and missing the point of Supes’ dialogue to his soon. It starts with…). It’s very much a Cameron Crowe-esque superhero movie. If you have an OUNCE of cynicism in your body, then you get responses such as yours, anghus’, and Petulama’s. If you drop the cynicism in a ditch. Where it belongs. The film works much differently.
    Should the who LACK OF CYNICISM point be used as an excuse? No, but it’s a film with all heart. That does not share as cynical a worldview as some of it’s viewers. So, calling Supes a prick in this film, misses the point of the film in it’s entirity. Which is sort of like stating; “The paper says September 28 but the video footage says JULY!” Well, he returned, on the release date of the film, and that date on the paper is for his death or his miraculous recovery.

  52. palmtree says:

    Mr. Poland, there is something that this film might be about other than gags?
    Perhaps since they’ve exhausted the Donner films for proven Superman movie material, they can now move on to more interesting things.

  53. David Poland says:

    If the sequel is Superman & Son, you can warm up the lethal injection for me now.
    But yes, as I proposed in yesterday’s THB, there is no reason why the next one can’t be much improved…. even with the exact same team.

  54. Crow T Robot says:

    Sequel: Lex discovers Superman is actually Clark Kent. Convinces Perry White to reveal it on the front page of The Planet. Now all of Superman’s sworn enemies (General Zod, The Ghost of Richard Pryor, David Poland… whoever) take out their angst on Ma Kent and Lois Lane. It’s the thing every superhero fears the most, but no movie has the balls to show… a guy getting his cover blown.
    Put that in a trailer, and I’m there.
    (Dear Warner Execs: You now owe me three million dollars. And I’d like it all in singles please. Thanks.)

  55. jeffmcm says:

    “The more people defend this turd, the stinkier it gets.”
    This sounds like a movie that you dislike a lot more than The Break-Up/Da Vinci/MI3/Poseidon. If you don’t like it, DP, allow people to agree with you, or not. Stop hyping it into something that must be seen…let it go.

  56. EDouglas says:

    Speaking of spoilers, Jami Bernard has some in her review, which are warned about… but the one on the top left corner of the front page of Movie City News is a HUGE spoiler, completely unwarned, which isn’t cool.

  57. Ponderer says:

    Petaluma, on some of your points:
    He doesn’t keep in touch with his mother? He went, like, twenty-nine galaxies away. He’s supposed to dial Cingular? And she’s not alone. In the very first scene, you see that she’s had “dinner company.”
    Yes, Superman has slept with Lois, but he has NO IDEA he’s knocked her up. Lois has no idea that Supes is the father, and there’s no indication that it could possibly be the case until the events of imply he’s a deadbeat dad when NO ONE knows he’s a father.
    As for his looking through walls…Jesus. Okay. What the hell do you think Clark Kent is? He’s Superman’s spy, peering into the lives of humans. Clark’s not real, he’s a disguise to get Superman into places he could never be. If you’re going to freak because he uses his natural power, you have to also freak that he uses Clark at all, and for that matter, that he uses super-hearing to, oh, listen to the entire friggin’ planet.
    He’s a GOD. Gods listen in to people. And it’s part of the reason why Supes can never be with people, or be part of them. It’s built into the very concept.
    Yes, the film is about responsibility. Every single choice is about a man who holds the power to destroy lives. Everything in him wants to be selfish, to take Lois, break up her family and show up a genuinely good-but-not-super man, be the god in her eyes that he was years ago, and ignore the consequences of his five-year absence.
    And, in the end, he refuses to do that, he won’t break up her family’s happy life, even with the knowledge that he has a son. He struggles, and in the end, he chooses not to do the emotionally easy thing.

  58. TheManWho says:

    Ed, no, it’s not cool, but Poland handles his business this way. When he dislikes a film. He can be down right ruthless towards it. There, of course, is a flip side to this behaviour, that leads to all of Poland’s loving reviews about certain films. So, giving away a big spoiler from Supes on MCN, not exactly a surprising move because of who runs the show. The same goes with the WORD HAS IT info. He has decided to lay into Supes with every possible swipe that he can muster. This could go on for a while.

  59. ManWithNoName says:

    Are you really comparing this to a Cameron Crowe flick?
    What was I supposed to feel with Superman’s dialogue toward his son? The whole inclusion of the son seemed like a cheap excuse to give Routh the chance to do the Brando speech.
    What’s my cynicism have to do with the enjoyment of a superhero movie? The original Superman is still joyous all these years later. I wish this one could have been as well.
    You really think Clark is just a spy, and Superman is the real person? I think it’s you who’s missed the whole point of the character.

  60. oldman says:

    Soooo, Superman is a god who is only banging one woman? Wait til Paris Hilton gets a hold of his ass!

  61. oldman says:

    Soooo, Superman is a god who is only banging one woman? Wait til Paris Hilton gets a hold of his ass!

  62. repeatfather says:

    “all of Superman’s sworn enemies (General Zod, The Ghost of Richard Pryor, David Poland… whoever)”
    I haven’t seen the movie, and don’t have much desire to see it. But I definitely think Dave Poland would make an excellent villain in the sequel. . .Superman vs. Thumbs-down Man!

  63. PetalumaFilms says:

    I still loved the movie, I just think Superman was a little sleazy in it. Also, after reading retorts to what I mentioned, I now see that the landing of the plane in the stadium fed Superman’s ego to the point that it almost drives him to try and take back Lois. It’s as if he realizes how much he missed the adjulation, not missed helping people. As Nicol (or someone else) said, the “old” Superman was a man of the people. This Superman seemed to be seeking a photo op more than helping because it’s the right thing to do.
    These are not criticisms or anything…just ideas and things I’ve thought about/noticed. I’ve been thinking ALOT about the movie, and not just because of the spirited blog here. It’s sticking with me. I may have to see it again soon.

  64. Phoveo says:

    Some quick points:
    – The openning titles were cheap, but effective for anyone who grew up the originals. Just like Phantom Menace, there was plenty of cheering in the theater.
    – Superman drinks beer?!?!?!

    – Regarding the last scene between Supes and Lois, I read this as Supes growing, finally being able to let go and leave her alone.

    In general, I enjoyed the first half, the second half was overly dour, poorly structured, and completely unsatsifying, narratively speaking. Lex Luther runs out of gas?!? Yeah…

    I mean, seriously – what happened to the money shot of the giant ever-growing crystal-formed land mass collapsing into a reborn Krypton? I was expecting something like this to be the last shot of the movie. In 3-D.

  65. JohnBritt says:

    If Superman only posts an opening day of $12 million, that will be equal to or less than the opening day of The Omen. That has to be seen as disappointing. However, The Omen did not cash in on its momentum, but Superman cost way more to produce.

  66. Geoff says:

    Lee’s Movie Info is projecting early returns on the same level of War of the Worlds, so there is a big gap between what they are seeing and what Dave is hearing.
    If what Dave is hearing about an opening day less than $10 million is really the case, wow. No way, this film is going to recover from word of mouth or holiday second-winds like Batman or King Kong did. Then we are back to Hulk-like numbers, the final death of the franchise, and Bryan Singer to direct the Wolverine film, next year.

  67. Wrecktum says:

    Poland, I don’t know where you’re getting your $9m Wednesday numbers, but your about $10m short. Sheesh.

  68. Ponderer says:

    Question: do these figures include IMAX numbers? A friend went to a regular 10PM show here, and he said the theater was about 2/3 full, but the IMAX 10 PM I went to was sold out the night before.

  69. Wrecktum says:

    There are less than 100 IMAX theaters playing the film so it’s really a drop in the bucket for opening day gross.

  70. Joe Leydon says:

    According to ShowbizData, “Superman Returns” opened to $21 million. That’s about $11 million more than Dave… well, what’s the correct word here? Reported? Conjectured? Devoutly wished?

  71. Wrecktum says:

    Poland should be embarrassed that Jeffrey Wells got the number right and he got it so wrong. PUNKED.

  72. Telemachos says:

    The discrepency is more like $7 million — MCN says $10 + $4 sneaks for $14 million, SBD says $17 + $4 sneaks for $21 million.
    Still, a big difference. Dave’s sources were either wrong or were WB peeps intentionally low-balling so the real numbers would look better. ($21 including sneaks is a decent opening, but nothing spectacular for a film this size).

  73. Nicol D says:

    I was going through a ToysRUs this morning and went to the SuperToys section. The Routh inspired line of Toys look rather mousy. The way they have moulded his head just doesn’t seem right. Kinda goofy lookin’.
    The SuperToys based on the comic (all square jaw and arms akimbo) seem very, well, Super.
    I wonder if we are at the crossover era of Tim Burton’s Batman where actors were cast precisely becuase they did not have the square jaw comic look; like Keaton for Batman.
    For the next incarnation I would love to see Superman be exactly like in the Alex Ross comics. A man of his mid-late thirties with black hair, a lantern jaw and the physique of say Schwarzenneggar in Pumping Iron. Of course he would have to be able to act, but I think that would be interesting. A really challenge for a casting director.
    I want to see a Superman who flies over the farmland of the American midwest and helps farmers move crops at harvest time under an autumn sunset.
    The flip side is that I hope WB listens to the criticisms like Lucas (arguably) did. Make the next one a pure action film and for God’s sake, do not be afraid to acknowldge that Superman is an American icon.
    In a weird way, the ‘neutral’ Superman of the world really makes no sense. If he is completely neutral and can stand behind any country’s flag then really he stands for nothing because all countries have different notions of right and wrong.
    They can certainly do better with the sequel. I’ll try to catch this one again before the weekend is through.

  74. Joe Leydon says:

    Dave, a word of advice: Merlot. It goes great with crow.

  75. Geoff says:

    Lee’s Movie Info’s crowd reports have been reporting nothing but sellouts for Tuesday and Wednesay, so considering the ridiculous number of screens this is on, $21 millions seems pretty reasonable.
    Big embarassment, Dave, after your last-second mia culpa about Da Vinci’s first night grosses, a few weeks ago, I figured your number was going to be accurate.
    Warner’s has to be breathing a slight breath of relief, here. Could the number have been a little higher? Sure. But as Batman, King Kong, and others have proved, these mid-week openings can create more harm than good, creating bad press of disappointing box office, even before the weekend kicks off. That will not happen in this case.
    Against their favor, though, because of the World Cup, Warners will NOT be able to trump up gargantuan worldwide numbers as part of the opening weekend, come Monday morning. This box office reporting is so much about perception.

  76. Telemachos says:

    I think at this point Warners is just hoping Supe’s 5-day numbers beat X3’s 3-day.

  77. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, you’re so…conservative. In your ideal version of the movie. Surprise, surprise.

  78. Nicol D says:

    Helping farmers work the land is ‘conservative’?
    Red or blue we all eat farm food. And the last time I checked, Alex Ross’ vision appealed to everyone. He has shown this type of imagery numerous times in his depiction of the character and people love it. So did John Byrne.
    As for the ‘Americana’ stuff. Many people are commenting on it, not just conservatives.
    That you labeled my vision ‘conservative’ says more about you and your perception of farmers than it does to what may be left or right, Jeff.
    I have always said Superman is neither left not right. He is for everyone.
    I have defended a lot of Singer’s vision and like much of it. Many do not. Obviously there is something missing in this version that many people for some reason find lacking. It’s much bigger than right or left. It is iconic. Superman existed well before our modern notions of conservative and liberal which are born of the sixties.
    Have you even seen the film yet?

  79. jeffmcm says:

    Is not helping farmers an intrusion into the workings of the free market? Your Superman is Big Government.
    Actually, I agree with you that as far as iconography goes, it would be fun to see. However, it’s also largely a regressive fantasy notion that does not reflect modern America of the 21st century, but rather mid-20th century America. I would like an older, more muscular Superman too, but not one that looks too Aryan.
    (No, I have not seen the film. I’ve been busy with work)

  80. David Poland says:

    I can only say this about the numbers… the estimate we got was low, yes… the number WB is selling is high…
    None of the numbers from Rentrack or other studios are matching up. They are all higher than $10m & $4m. But yes, the numbers we mustered up were low by at least $3 million.
    Not keeping me up at night.
    As far as Justine’s story… it’s been in every media piece I’ve read. I don’t particularly consider it a spoiler at this point. But I will go look for another headline.

  81. Telemachos says:

    Caveat: I haven’t seen the movie yet.
    However, what’s particularly ironic (to me) is that an older, Alex Ross-derived Superman would seem to fit into the story of SR better than a young Routh-ian one. The concept of a Superman who’s left Earth for awhile and returns to find Lois a mother is one that would benefit from an older Supes than a young one. Tennyson’s Ulysses, and all that.

  82. Wrecktum says:

    Spin, spin, spin, Poland. Other studio estimates were between $19-20m. If they weren’t, that studio’s analysts should be fired for incompetency.

  83. Nicol D says:

    “However, it’s also largely a regressive fantasy notion that does not reflect modern America of the 21st century, but rather mid-20th century America.”
    No Jeff, farmers still exist and they still work the land. They raise the beef we put with our bourguignon; the fruit we put in our decadent cheesecakes; the milk we give to our 1.34 children; and the vegetables we put on our gourmet pizzas.
    There is nothing regressive about that. I think Supes, from a farming background, would respect that.
    The difference is in our modern culture of techno this and digitized that, we tend to forget that real people still exist and make a living off of the land. They deserve our respect regardless of political orientation.
    To forget this as a culture is to be regressive.
    Ironically enough, one could argue the fact that because Superman is a print journalist and the film does not acknowledge the internet, it plays entirly into the ‘regressive’ fantasy.
    Print newspaper circulations are down. Perhaps Perry White should have made ol’ Clark work a little bit harder for his job after 5 years.
    Also, Aryan infers blond. That would be ick!
    Hope you enjoy the show!
    Flaws and all it’s still more worth the ticket price than most flicks out there right now. And it’s definitely a discussion piece film.
    That says something for it.

  84. Nicol D says:

    Yes I agree. The older Supes would definitely fit more into this story line.
    This film really is a bit of an oddduck in many ways.

  85. PetalumaFilms says:

    If Superman is helping farmers, he’s not an American version of big business…

  86. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, you’re missing my point. Superman was conceived as a small-town boy who moves to the big city as a newspaper journalist. That’s a life trajectory that could have only been originated in the mid-1900s. It’s an appealing myth, but that’s about it for today, when family farms are largely gone and the rural share of the population is about half what it was in 1930. To be really obnoxious about it, it’s offensive for Superman to be helping Farmer John with a busted gasket when there are black kids in Compton killing each other over crack. The Superman you want to see is a throwback to ‘a simpler age’, which like I said would be fun…as long as it’s recognized as pure fantasy.

  87. Chucky in Jersey says:

    If what Dave is hearing about an opening day less than $10 million is really the case, wow.
    As Milli Vanilli once sang, blame it on the rain.
    Washington DC shut down … Baltimore affected too … Wilkes-Barre, Trenton, Reading, Harrisburg, Easton, Binghamton all flooded out …

  88. David Poland says:

    That actually explains a lot, Chucky.. and is a hopeful sign for WB

  89. Telemachos says:

    FWIW, Dave, a contact of mine reports that a competing studio’s internal number for SR is $19.9 million.

  90. David Poland says:

    Numbers are all over the place, TM… and remember, that’s including multiple Tuesday night shows, including on IMAX…
    However screwed up our estimate was, this will be irrelevant in another day or two or three… numbers today are already way down, but they too may rebound tonight…
    All things considered, I wish I had simply not bothered to go fishing for numbers last night.

  91. Aladdin Sane says:

    I was thinking about it today, and in the end, it won’t matter what we as adults think of the film.
    It’s a family film, and it’ll be for the kids to decide.
    My little sister (aged 9) is going absolutely batty talking about it. She just saw it two nights ago and is looking forward to seeing it again. True she loves the original Donner film, so she was predisposed to like this, but I can’t wait to hear what my friend’s/co-workers kids think about it.
    I think with the set designs etc, overall it is trying to take on a bit of a timeless quality. Whether or not it achieves that remains to be seen, but a lot of the reason many still love the original film is because it’s something they saw on the big screen or on VHS as a child/younger person…So pay attention to the children on your way out of the theater. I’m gonna bet more of ’em will enjoy this than they enjoyed Cars.

  92. David Poland says:

    Reasonable, Aladdin… but keep in mind that Pirates, Monster House and Ant Bully are all coming fast…

  93. Bodhizefa says:

    Superman looks to have made $21 million in its first day, but those figures also include Tuesday night screenings. Looks like that uber-marketing campaign for WB was a big bad idea. And the movie, for all the good reviews, is actually pretty darned boring with a horrible plot and paper-thin characters. Heck, the most round character (not to mention the most wholesome) is James Marsden’s role. Superman, on the other hand, wins the award for creepiest character in the whole movie as he spies on Lois multiple times, trespasses on Marsden’s property, and tries to steal away the man’s wife through adultery. Meanwhile, Singer manages to morph the beautiful Kate Bosworth into a 1950’s prudish school marm with the worst hair this side of an 80’s afterschool special. Then there’s Luthor’s ridiculous barren, brown rock island real estate scheme thrown in for good measure. Is it really too much to ask for a cunning, cutthroat, and devious yet business-minded and beloved Lex Luthor character that isn’t driven to kill billions so much as to succeed financially and attempt to prove to the world that Superman is not everything he’s cracked up to be all while keeping his public persona as that of a cooler, richer, and much more attractive Donal Trump? Really, is that so much to ask?
    This film will be lucky to reach $250 domestically, in my opinion. And with the way most films have so dramatically dropped off after the first weekend this season, we could see Supes barely reach $200. Warner Brothers has to be pretty disappointed right now.

  94. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Box Office Mojo reports “a
    potent if unspectacular $21 million” first day. That puts the Man of Steel’s comeback higher than the most recent Batman.

  95. PetalumaFilms says:

    I think those power outages in the Valley really affected SUPERMAN RETURNS numbers as well. Oh, wait. That was the AQUAMAN numbers on “Entourage.”

  96. David Poland says:

    And I assume everyone who saw the film noticed the Aquaman reference in SR…

  97. anghus says:

    Warner Brothers is officially happy with the first day numbers.
    Unofficially, they’re close to freaking the hell out. If today’s numbers aren’t 12-15 million, they’ll be officially freaking the hell out.

  98. David Poland says:

    Two things –
    1. Isn’t Lois going to accept her Pulitzer in the film, thus the dress in the boat sequence? Many critics seem to have missed this.
    2. It suddenly strikes me that Lex Luthor tells Lois he isn’t in jail because Superman didn’t testify… but isn’t the whole opening Lex sequence about how the old lady got him out of jail?

  99. Ponderer says:

    On 2): I assumed the old lady financed the lawyers and the multiple appeals that finally got him out of jail, when Supes didn’t show up the last time. Luthor refers to the appeals at one point in the film.

  100. JckNapier2 says:

    Ah yes, the ridiculous appeals bit. From my limited legal knowledge (although my girlfriend is a lawyer and she agrees with me on this…), appeals are about the evidence being on trial, not the people. Hence, even if Superman were called to testify (not very likely, but let’s pretend), the worst that would have would be that Luther would be given a new trial, with the testimony of Superman and any evidence collected via Superman excluded.
    Even so, there are literally hundreds of people who could prove that Luther (pick your favorite) murdered a police officer, tried to blow up the west coast with missles (Miss Tessmacher, Otis, the army guys on the bridge could testify), escaped from prison (10 years added even if you’re later given a new trial), and alligned himself with the three kryptonian villains (everyone in the Daily Planet witnessed that). And that’s not even counting the two people that Luther murdered when he broke into the museum to steal the kryptonite (to be fair, that charge would be much harder to prove without Superman). Superman was barely the tip of the legal case against Luther (especially since Superman stopped much of the flooding scheme from concluding by turning back time).
    Point being, there is no logical, legal way that Luther would be out of prison and the film insults our intelligence right off the bat by stating otherwise.
    Although, it does lead to a priceless idea that went unused. Since Luther got of jail so easily, so too could the Kryptonian villains. How great would it have been to see them (de-powered remember) trying to readjust to normal life (visit Zod’s bakery…KNEAD before Zod… KNEAD!)?
    Scott Mendelson

  101. Ponderer says:

    Hey, I don’t make up the comic book logic here, I just report it. :) But really, a lot of the things can be discounted. Otis and Miss Tessmacher are MIA. The army and navy guys only saw Luthor in disguise, and Lex didn’t advertise how he reset the missiles. Luthor was present at the Daily Planet, but I’m not even sure what you could technically charge him with there, with three Phantom Zone villains, uhm, initiating things.
    So, all that given, it’s unlikely but possible that Luthor found a technicality that Superman had to confirm or deny, and some bought-off court throws out the charges (which in a comic-book universe, I can buy). So I can deal.
    Now, even though I love the film, the hole that bugs me is that the first film clearly obeyed relativity. Supes takes thousands of years, our time, to get to Earth. Jor El’s speech to that effect is repeated here. Yet, using the same technology, Supes goes to Krypton and back in five years, and it’s not many thousands of years later when he gets back.
    I felt fine with the film obeying its own rules, so that one sticks out like a sore thumb.
    :still chuckling at the concept of Zod’s Petit Boulangerie :

  102. David Poland says:

    Zod ends up starring in Kryptonite Chef.
    Very funny, Scott.
    And suddenly – I am slow today – I realize… someone must have gotten off of a ticket because the cop never showed.

  103. palmtree says:

    What was the Aquaman reference? I’ve only seen one episode of Entourage (I know…what kind of industry insider am I!).

  104. Colin says:

    Scott, as you note, presumably Lex got his conviction overturned on appeal based upon his conviction being against the weight of the evidence and got a new trial. This would lead to the necessity of Superman’s testimony at the new trial.
    And, as you note, people like Otis and Miss Tessmacher are MIA. I’m sure that Lex either had something to do with this or that they made themselves scarce for fear of what would happen if they testified. In fact, the only person who needn’t have worried was likely…Superman, making his absence so important.
    I’m not sure how this insults our intelligence in any way. In fact, it seems to fit nicely into one of the film’s themes: starting with the premise that the world doesn’t need Superman and then tearing down that notion as the film progresses.

  105. JckNapier2 says:

    Actually, to clarify, I never said that Otis and the others were MIA, that was someone else thinking out loud in my response to my rant.
    Point being, the idea of Luther going free without even a new trial is silly and implausible, which thus undermines the theme of the world needing a Superman. Of course, also undermining that theme is the idea that all of the big problems are caused because Superman came to earth and (more importantly) didn’t properly protect his very valuable property (and if you can go to jail for not keeping your gun in a safe or with a safety lock on it…).
    They could have explained Luther’s freedom any number of ways. He could have gotten that new trial and either been aqquited fairly or via a bribed jury. He could have escaped, he could have gotten shock probation (which is about as plausible as the story we’re given). He could have gotten early release to make room for marujuana users. Point being, the story we are given makes no sense abd we’re expected to accept it just because.
    As for the theme itself, there have been many many stories asking the ‘Does the World Need A Superman?’ (starting with a much beloved 1970s comic story called just that). I’ve never liked any of them and I rightly feared that this movie would be just that from the general storyline. The problem is the reasoning is always flawed.
    It’s always ‘the world NEEDS Superman’ or ‘Superman should take a hike’. How come no one ever comes to the more logical conclusion that ‘yes, we don’t NEED Superman, and maybe he does kinda make humans a little too reliant on him, but he sure is nice to have around in the long run’. The world doesn’t need a Superman, but it sure would want one.
    To be fair, my dislike of the film isn’t just rooted in that legal loophole and the flawed theme, but I wanted to respond. Till next time…
    Scott Mendelson

  106. Nicol D says:

    “That’s a life trajectory that could have only been originated in the mid-1900s. ”
    Because people do not move from middle America to the big cities anymore? Howabout most everyone in Hollywood.
    “It’s an appealing myth, but that’s about it for today, when family farms are largely gone and the rural share of the population is about half what it was in 1930.”
    You’re ‘taught’ it’s a myth Jeff. Where do you think all of your vegetables and meats come from…the big corporations in the sky?
    I would actually argue quite the opposite. The carefree Sex in the City lifestyle that you believe every one and thier sister is leading is the myth.
    “To be really obnoxious about it, it’s offensive for Superman to be helping Farmer John with a busted gasket when there are black kids in Compton killing each other over crack.”
    Gee Jeff, If I had made that statement (and I wouldn’t), you would have been the first to call me an elitist and racist. Both the ‘Farmer John’ you mock and the ‘black kids in Compton’ you generalize about have far more complex lives than your glib retort seems to allow. When you get a bit older, you’ll see that.
    I must say I am continually fascinated that it is the urban dweller who claims to care for the environment that constantly mocks and belittles the people whose lives actually depend on it.
    “The Superman you want to see is a throwback to ‘a simpler age’, which like I said would be fun…as long as it’s recognized as pure fantasy.”
    Your notion of a generation that pulled together to fight WWII and the Great Depression as being the ‘simpler age’ against the generation of Sex in the City morality, microwave dinners, high speed internet porn, guns on every street corner and DVD seems a little simple, don’t you think?
    All generations have their battles to face, Jeff. And every generation thinks they have it so hard compared to the last. Given the ammenities we have, conveniences, a culture that says you have to be responsible to no one but your own happiness etc. I think we (in the West) have had it better than most generations in history. And we squander it with a ‘responsible to no one attitude’. And it is the fault of both right and left.
    Enjoy the show Jeff. And be thankful to those who went before you for the ease with which you can see it.

  107. James Leer says:

    I love JckNapier’s reasoning because he blithely mentions that Superman was able to turn back time by rotating the Earth backwards but then says that Luthor’s escape from prison on a technicality is an insult to our intelligence.
    Speaking of,
    “The more people defend this turd, the stinkier it gets.
    Still, if you love it, enjoy it. But let me know what you think in six months.”
    Wow, condescend much? How can you pretend to respect other people’s differing opinions with lines like those? Essentially, you’re saying that the people who like this film are too dumb to know they DON’T like it. Poland, you’re bringing the hate mail on yourself.

  108. Colin says:

    Yeah, James, I’m just not sure I get Scott’s reasoning. Lex gets out on an appeal. There are two ways that a convict gets out on appeal: 1) the verdict is overturned, and there’s no new trial, or 2) the verdict is overturned, and there’s a new trial, after which the defendant is acquitted.
    Based on what is said in the movie, it seems clear that the latter happpened, with Superman not testifying at the new trial. It seems fair to assume that 1) other witnesses were intimidated or eliminated, 2) there was jury tampering, or 3) he just had really good attorneys, like O.J.
    I’m not sure how any of this is silly or implausible.

  109. JckNapier2 says:

    I just wish the movie had taken the 5 seconds to state that Luther had gotten out via a new trial or some other more logical issue, rather than just say ‘oh, Luther is out because Superman didn’t show up to a hearing’. I don’t mind when superhero movies fudge areas of fantasy (ie – men flying), but when it gets the real-world details wrong, it makes it harder to believe the world that the film takes place in.
    It’s certainly not the biggest problem with the film, it’s just something I found rather annoying since it would have been easy to make it logical, but they chose not to. The film’s reasoning would be similiar to Tomothy McVeigh getting released scot-free after the arresting officer missed an appeal hearing. It just wouldn’t work like that and I was a little annoyed that the film took us for granted with such leaps of logic.
    Scott Mendelson

  110. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry folks, but: Nicol, you are wrong as always. I was writing to explain to you that your idealized notion of Superman proves how out of touch you are with reality, craving a regressive, backwards-looking vision of an America that hasn’t existed for decades. Condescend to me all you want, but remember that there was a time when I was certain from your writing style that you were fresh out of college, possibly even a drop-out thanks to your constant mentions of how little you got out of your undergraduate experience.
    You are the problem.
    Back to your regularly scheduled Superman discussion.

  111. David Poland says:

    Funny J-Mc… don’t see anything in there but a personal attack. Am I wrong?
    P.S. Aquaman makes an appearance in the last scene with Superman & The Boy.

  112. jeffmcm says:

    You are right.
    Nicol, similar to Superman, is impervious to facts.

  113. Aladdin Sane says:

    Movie logic isn’t real world logic. Or didnt’ they tell you?
    It’s fantasy. The bottom line for most people won’t be, “they messed up on the appeals process”, but whether or not they thought it was enjoyable.

  114. David Poland says:

    I hear you, Aladdin… but I would argue that things like that chafe for a lot of people without them even knowing what’s doing the rubbing. That doesn’t mean that a lot of people really won’t care. But some will… and some will without expressing each detailed problem they have with this or any film.

  115. Joe Leydon says:

    Nicol: I think you may be running the risk of getting too literal-minded here. I mean, if there really were a Superman, I would think helping farmers harvest their crops would be EXTREMELY LOW on the list of his priorities. Several steps below, say, going back in time and preventing the Holocaust. Or 9/11.
    The more I read of the ongoing sniping between you and Jeff — well, I’m sorry, but I can’t help being reminded of a funny exchange in “Stand By Me.”
    Vern: You think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?
    Teddy: What are you, cracked?
    Vern: No, I saw him on TV the other day, he was holding five elephants in one hand.
    Teddy: Boy, you don’t know nothing. Mighty Mouse is a cartoon. Superman’s a real guy. There’s no way a cartoon could beat up a real guy.
    Vern: I guess you’re right. It’d be a good fight though.

  116. Geoff says:

    Ok, I just saw it.
    Better than I thought, but really a film to be admired more than enjoyed.
    Despite the length, there really seemed to be some missing scenes, especially ones with Eva Marie Saint as his mother. And is it me or just about every character have more dialogue than Superman/Kent?
    The effects and visuals were very impressive, Spacey was perfectly menacing, and Bosworth, though still obviously miscast, did a solid job.
    Singer has the chops and knows how to build tension(the scenes on the yacht are nicely done in this manner), but man, where is the fun release that you expect from this kind of film?
    Routh probably did as good a job as could be expected, but honestly, I don’t see the Poland opinion of the character being a creep or the Wells opinion of him representing purity. The character is mostly an empty vessel.
    That might have been what Singer intended, making Superman more of what people get from him or how they react to him, which just ratchets up the Jesus comparisons, even more.
    The crowd seemed to be into it, and the woman were just swooning for Routh and gushing for the kid. This really IS chick flick superhero film. And in that regard, does it accomplish what Singer set out for it? Probably. But just not what I would have wanted from this type of film.
    Hell, gotta admit, but I found Batman Begins more rousing, even at the end. And that film even had more sly humor.
    One of you guys had it right. Where are the moments in this like, “Man, that’s a BAD out-FIT!” in this movie. Metropolis does not feel nearly as lived in. And I know the praise has just been loaded on Reeves and Kidder, of late, from critics who are railing against this movie, but they really did bring a sense of fun to those roles that this is sorely lacking.
    Spacey DOES have some fun with the role and he really has as much screentime as any body else. But his later scenes with the henchman do go on a bit too long and lay it a bit thick with how much the main characters are victimized.
    The continuity issues really did not bother me as much as I thought they would. I don’t see the big deal. But man, can any one explain to me how Lois Lane does not get a broken limb, concussion, or even a visible bruise from all of the abuse she takes in this film. I mean, that plane stuff alone should have knocked her unconscious. What is she, SuperWoman and we dont’ know it, yet?
    Not really a bad film, kind of does what it wants to accomplish in telling an emoting story of a superhero and what he means to those around him. Very well done action scenes, but just not enough fun to it.

  117. Ralph says:

    Legally, what was stated in the film is an impossiblility. There are no ‘hearings’ in appeal proceedings. An appeal is based on the written transcript (and evidence) from the trial. If the appeal court decided there was a substantial error in the trial that violated some Constitutional protection (it has nothing to do with ‘the weight of the evidence’ as someone previously stated) then the conviction is overturned. There would be no new trial because of the prohibition against ‘double jeopardy’ – being tried twice for the same crime. So Luther would have been freed (like convicted drug dealers would are released because the evidence was improperly seized).

  118. RoyBatty says:

    I was underwhelmed by the IMAX 3D. The worst part of it was that it did not take advantage of the “coming at ya!” aspect and made some of the action hard to follow.
    But the worst aspect was that it made the grand re-creation of the Kent farm look like a model. A really cool model, but when you spend millions to turn Australian countryside into Iowa you don’t want the audience doing a riff on THE HOLY GRAIL:
    “Meh, it’s only a model.”
    And with 3D, you can’t take off the glasses to watch the film in its plain 2D format.
    Not having the time to skim through the latest of the 116 entries above, my apologies if this was already mentioned…

  119. jeffmcm says:

    I also just got back from finally seeing it. Again, without reviewing every post:
    I enjoyed it overall but it’s not without its flaws. Routh is much better as Superman than he is as Clark Kent. Reeve was much better at crafting two separate characterizations, but Routh’s Kent just looks like a high school kid. Bosworth was fine.
    My bigger problems had to do with the movie’s curious sluggishness. I think Poland mentioned this, but there’s no reason they couldn’t have sliced ten minutes out of the movie merely by tightening scenes, especially in the final half hour.
    I am, however, very glad that Michael Bay did not direct this movie. His movie would have had a lot of bang for its buck, but it would have made a mockery of the icon. I’ll take Singer’s over-reverence any day of the week.

  120. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, another thing. This might have just been me, but did this movie have the greatest opening credits sequence in history?

  121. RoyBatty says:

    Jeff – considering just FIGHT CLUB, NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE, SEVEN, ALIEN, several Bond films…
    Yeah, it’s just you.

  122. Stella's Boy says:

    I thought Bosworth was pretty awful. I didn’t believe her as a journalist, much less a Pulitzer Prize winning one. The opening credits, as Roy pointed out, are far from the best ever. Overall, I was fairly bored throughtout and didn’t like it much.

  123. jeffmcm says:

    I’ll admit it, I’m an astronomy geek. I thought those opening planets and stars were worth the price of admission alone.
    (But come on, the Napoleon Dynamite opening credits? Writing with food? Not even in the top fifty credits sqeuences of all time. And Alien is strong but hardly groundbreaking).

  124. palmtree says:

    I think the more abstract nebulae of the original credits was more evocative of the mystery of space. And of course, the 3D name cards were just pure genius.

  125. Lota says:

    well. After reading all this, it kinda makes me not want to see the Superguy. I never was into the comic and only sorta like the first one with Christopher Reeve, but really just for Reeve.
    It sounds like, even from the positive reviews herein that it just isn;t that interesting somehow, although most people on this blog aren’t saying it’s a horrible movie.
    I guess the overall feeling from this blog is that it would be worth seeing it in the theatre if one really liked the Superman stories.
    Are the opening planets REAL footage or are they simulated; does anyone know?
    (if there were NOAA or NASA credits then they might be real.)

  126. Hotspur says:

    I’m not particularly interested in telling everyone else what they should think. I’m just going to say what I think. It’s not like there’s one right answer here, anyway.
    The movie exceded my (modest) expectations – I think Poland’s review was more or less dead on, except for this: the movie managed to work anyway.
    The biggest problem I had was with Bosworth’s Lois. I actually thought her performance was much, much better than I expected, but the character still didn’t work.
    Some of this was for the reasons Poland pointed out – she’s just too damn young. I never for a second bought her as a Pulitzer prize winner. She’s too young and too insubstantial.
    The script didn’t help her out here. What’s the first thing we see her doing? I think we’re supposed to think she’s asking a tough question. The answer (something along the lines of “that’s in your press packet”) however, tells us something different: she’s unprepared. Her followup question about TV networks is no better – it makes her look like a ninny.
    That whole sequence is the weakest part of the film. So all the power goes off everywhere, and then comes back on, and the plane is fine (um … ok) except the countdown won’t shut down? The incredibly complex, designed-to-be-easy-to-abort launch sequence won’t abort? Um … okay. Everything else works, but that. Oh, wait, and the bolts, which somehow get stuck.
    … right. So everything comes back to normal 100%, except for the two systems, which fail in completely opposite ways, which would create the disater.
    How stupid do they think we are?
    Not as stupid as Lois, evidently. While everyone else is putting on their air masks, she’s taking off her seatbelt. Why, exactly? Are we supposed to think she’s helping someone? Okay, everybody who’s ever taken a commercial flight can answer this question: if you have to assist someone else with their mask, do you do it before or after your own?
    That being said, I actually thought Bosworth was good in the scene with Superman when the script wasn’t making her act like an idiot (“Oh, I’m going someplace so dangerous i don’t want to leave my son in the car … but I’ll just leave my cell phone here and NOT answer hte call telling someone where I might be.”) or get hit on the head.
    And I agree with the earlier poster that the action in the opening sequence never really took off. You never really doubted.
    The miraculous thing to me was that the film recovered from a really abysmal first 30 minutes or so. The imagery is iconic enough, the action scenes (that one excepted) well shot enough, the music starts swelling … I fell for it. The movie won me over.
    Routh was fine, but unspectacular – which was all that was asked of him. Spacey was good. I thought James Mardsen was an uninteresting choice. Bland. Good looking. But no attempt was made to explore what he meant to Lois: is she simply going for the most superman-like guy she can find, a convenient alpha-male type, or maybe going for the anti-superman? Any of those would have been plausible choices – but Singer & co simply didn’t make a choice.
    I had plausibility issues with the ending. He’s so wounded he can barely stand up – but he can still lift the damn thing into the atmosphere. Granted, this is no sillier than some of the stuff in the Donner films (spinning the earth backwards, suddenly being able to teleport and project visions of himself) but seemed like a cheap way out of the nice corner Superman’d found himself in.
    I also would have liked to find a way to connect the emotional stakes with the action stakes. The first Donner film did this well with the two nuclear missles, forcing (aparrantly) Superman to make an aweful choice. In this film the emotional story and the action story never touched each other. Heck, they didn’t even make eyes at each other across the room.
    But the film’s greatest asset is that, despite all these flaws, it basically works. It catches you up and takes you on a pretty fun ride. The parts don’t really add up, but the whole is more than the sum regardless.
    ps Lota, no, those aren’t real planets.

  127. Joe Leydon says:

    I rather liked “Superman Returns.” But with all the complaints and criticisms lobbed at the movie,I am a little surprised that…
    More people have not complained about a scene (my favorite in the movie, actually) in which a child kills a grown-up with a musical instrument.

  128. jeffmcm says:

    Perhaps everyone else likes it as much as you do, Joe. I know I do, plus it’s discreetly non-gory.

  129. palmtree says:

    Joe, that was one of the better parts of the film. Appropriately cartoony. Just saw Supes II a few days ago and it’s also got tons of cartoony violence, people dying in explosions and debris, etc. What gives it more weight is Singer’s misplaced gravitas.

  130. Joe Leydon says:

    Palmtree and Jeff: I agree, it’s a great scene, my fave in the movie. But, again, I’m a little surprised that people who have been looking for reasons to attack the film haven’t expressed outrage because, well, it’s a child who does the killing here.
    BTW: I’m also surprised more people haven’t commented on Lex Luthor’s references to Superman’s neglecting his (Luthor’s) miranda rights, etc. (which, apparently, helped Luthor get his conviction overturned). Truth to tell, I’ve always wondered what happens when super villains go on trial for their nefarious deeds. I mean, would Superman (or Batman or Spider-Man or any other hero) have to testify at these trials? Could a savvy defense attorney trip him up during cross-examination?
    Yeah, I know, it’s only a comic book, only a movie. But still — the more I think about it, the more I think it really isn’t as absurd as some people think that Luthor was able to beat the rap. Of course, keep in mind: This comes from an avid “Law & Order” viewer. I’d love to see Jack McCoy prepping Superman before trial testimony.

  131. palmtree says:

    Joe, I think you can easily chalk it up to self-defense (his mom was physically threatened).
    And your description of the trial is fascinating…too bad this movie didn’t think about exploring it.

  132. Joe Leydon says:

    Palm: That is quite rational. Trouble is, some folks have been so IRRATIONAL in their hatred of this movie (no, I’m not referring specifically to anyone on this blog — more like some people on more politically-skewing blogs).
    BTW: If my memory failing, or did they actually have scenes on the old “Batman” TV show where Bats (Adam West) solemnly announced while laying the smackdown on bad guys: “As a duly deputized representative of Gotham City…”? Or something like that?

  133. palmtree says:

    “politically-skewing blogs”
    I’d think the opposite. If I’m reading you correctly, these are the same people that want to allow concealed firearms on the streets.

  134. David Poland says:

    I LOVE the idea of Superman having to deal with a trial situation.
    Of course, this is X-Men territory… and a bit of Batman’s Dark Knight… and of course, The Incredibles.
    Superman losing to Lex ona technicality and then having to deal with his illegitimate son (what kind of child support does a Superman pay?) and a bitchy dumped ex… only to rise to the Super role again when Luthor tries again in the third act… that could be great. The kid would hate being sent home to mom, mom would get all hot for Superman again, and Lex would use international law to try to overcome Sueprman but Supes would use his superbrain and brawn to win… as long as there are 4 or 5 action set pieces that we haven’t seen before… terrific movie.

  135. David Poland says:


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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima