Saturday, July 15, 2006

Did I Believe A Man Could Fly?

So last night I saw Superman. What’s the beef?

Spoilers **************************************************

First 45 minutes really are A grade – they’re the film we’ve been longing to see. The cast fit the bill perfectly. Everything seems to work. Brian & Brandon nail it, the pacing and direction perfect. All this escalates into the plane crash set piece which left me absolutely buzzing. Some of the best 45 minutes of cinema.

However it then begins to fall apart.

The last half hour is utter dross. I personally left the cinema extremely disappointed – a stark contrast to the sheer joy of the first 45 minutes.

The main problem is there is no threat. Whoah, hold up Smeg I hear you cry! Did you not see Lex Luthors exposition dump that Dumbledore would be proud of? Course I did. In a scene ripped straight from the ‘Bashir Bond’ DS9 episode (almost the same map of the world graphics too!) Luthor explained he’s going to create a new land mass – flooding much of America (and the world) thus leading to many riches because everyone will want to live on his new land mass.

Great. A pretty big plot. Problem is once the chain of events are set in motion it never seems that big.

Yes Metropolis gets hit by an earthquake but where’s the international flooding? Where’s the reaction, the terror as the sea level rises? There’s none. So the scale of the devastation actually appears small thus Luthor’s plan never feels as threatening as he makes out.

Also the big problem is one that’s always going to be Superman’s downfall. To get engrossed into the story you have to suspend a huge amount of disbelief.

The 00s have seen some stonking superhero films. Batman Begins & Spiderman 1&2 are comic book masterpieces. I would also much rather rewatch these than Superman. Why? Simply because the creators go to so much length to ground them in reality. Batman especially has you feeling that this just could actually happen. You feel the emotion of the heroes and really get into their psyche.

Sadly Superman lacks this simply because he is so infallible. The scene with the Jet is great and you can just about stretch your imagination to believe that a super powered alien could stop one. Lift a whole continent on the other hand? It’s pushing it. You just can’t relate to him.

I’m also left wondering why he doesn’t seem that bothered by his crystals at the end of the film? We never actually see him find them!

Oh and then there’s the boy. That’s the killer twist that’s going to divide fandom. All I wonder is how the hell did Supes not break Lois back and shatter her pelvis? ;)

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