Wednesday, July 12

Superman Returns review

Superman Returns
a review based on a dream of going to see it

Superman Returns, the newest entry in the long-running Man Of Steel franchise, proves to be one of the oddest films in Bryan Singer's distinctive career. The movie begins in total darkness, and using audio clues only, the audience must decipher the following information: Superman and Jimmy Olsen are hanging out with their scientist girlfriends on a dock on Lake Michigan, when Swamp Thing surfaces near them. Swamp Thing has the ability to emit human pheromones, and the two girls (both played by Erika Christensen) become very aroused, and plead with their boyfriends to let them have sex with Swamp Thing. However, Superman rescues them by grabbing them and flying away, I would guess.

After the rather spartan opening credits, we're whisked back to Clark Kent's teenage years, which take place in an idyllic Smallville curiously similiar to the Austria of The Sound Of Music, except that all the farms are connected by an intricate network of waterslides. The Kents are visiting family friends, who have twin three-year olds. Clark's told that one of the twins is "big." Big how? he asks, only to turn around and discover a twelve-foot tall proportional toddler in a British schoolboy outfit (Carson Kreesley). Clark, his mother, and the toddler begin to ride a waterslide and discuss the toddler's sister. It's here that Singer's script really shines:

MRS KENT: He's a big boy.
CLARK: A big one, all right.
MRS KENT: You should see his sister.
CLARK: She's bigger?
CLARK: She's smaller, like atom-sized?
CLARK: She's normal?
MRS KENT: No, she's...a photograph!

Flash forward to the present, where Superman has a terrific fight scene with Boba Fett, who uses a dynamic fighting style not seen in the Star Wars movies to bring the match to a draw. Superman, though, is preoccupied with remembering four bunsen burners which are heating a giant vat, somewhere far away.

After the fight, look for a cameo from me, as I sit in the produce section and write a rough draft of this review using a laptop and one of the advertising TVs mounted on the wall. (My initial complaint about the movie is that Lois Lane doesn't show up at all.) The film then shifts tones and becomes a stunning meditation on paternity, as I give my stepfather a ride home from the theater, and he gives me a $100 bill. Then I wake up.

Though not the spectacular film many "Supes" fans were waiting for, Superman Returns is a great, if puzzling, popcorn flick, and is highly recommended if you have a couple of hours to kill sleeping on the couch in your clothes, only to wake up after dark, confused and sweaty.

My grade: B

Superman Returns: (Action/Adventure) 2 hrs. 34 min. Rated PG-13 for some intense action violence and hallucinogenic imagery.