Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trek4Ever, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Heh, I popped in the movie, maybe about 6 months ago, because I didn't even really remember it (I did remember that I mostly enjoyed it aside from Bosworth as Lois) and I too had the thought it was a shame that Parker Posey wasn't given the role of Lois.
     
  2. Taylirious

    Taylirious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree that Parker Posey would have been an excellent Lois and I too think the film was boring but I don't hate it.
     
  3. EmoBorg

    EmoBorg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I actually liked Brandon Routh take as Superman. I think he played it well. I don't know why folks have a problem with his acting in Superman Returns.

    Superman is not really a conflicted character like Batman. Yes, both of them lost their parents when they were young but Superman lost his parents at a much younger age and as a result he hardly knew his birth parents. His humans step parents always did a good job of raising him well whether in the comics, television series and movies. He did not see his birth parents die like the way Batman did and thus he did not become disturbed like the Caped Crusader.

    The way Brandon Routh and Christopher Reeve played Superman was just suitable for the role.

    Kevin Spacey was the perfect successor to Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.

    But seeing Kal Penn as an villainous henchman was strange.

    Kate Bosworth wasn't good as Lois Lane.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's not so much his acting, although I don't remember enough about his performance to have much of an opinion on it, which may be telling in itself. For me, he just doesn't look remotely like Superman. Some people seem to think he bears a striking resemblance to Reeve, but to me they look nothing alike. Routh just doesn't have a face or a voice that fits my image of Superman. I could see him as Sherlock Holmes, or maybe Spock (aside from the voice), but I was never able to see him as a credible Superman.

    I had a similar problem with Dean Cain. He worked as the version of Clark Kent they were going for on that show, but he didn't work as well as Superman. Partly because his face and voice were both a little too distinctive, so it was blindingly obvious that Clark and Superman were the same guy, even more so than usual.
     
  5. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I believe I was the first one that suggested this, but I may be wrong. I don't remember anyone suggesting it prior to me.

    Anyway, I thought Zooey Deschanel would have been excellent casting for SR, since they were looking to recreate the style of the Donner movies. They got a guy who looks like Chris Reeves, then they should have got a girl that looks like Margot Kidder.

    As a bonus, Zooey looks similar, but hotter.

    Anyway, coulda, shoulda, woulda. My main gripes with SR were:

    1. Wayyyyyyy too much pining over Lois. I felt like I spend 2hr+ watching Superman pout that he doesn't have Lois Lane anymore.

    2. He gets brutally beaten by a bunch of low pay thugs, and there is no payback. What little "payback" there is, is completely unsatisfying.

    3. He lifts a rock the size of a continent out of earth's atmosphere all by himself, *with* chunks of Kryptonite all around it. What were the writers thinking?

    4. Super weezy whiny runt.
     
  6. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is what happens when fanboys/girls and the general public demand action all of the time without anything else (and I liked Man Of Steel a lot.) I also still love Superman Returns as well (I bought the Blu-Ray at the $5.99 discount price from the clearance rack at HMV two Fridays ago!)

    As for what you've said about Superman and Lois, Routh was no more emo than Tom Welling was on Smallville, and Lois wasn't any more low-key than anybody was supposed to be (she's a hell of a lot more braver than the Margo Kidder version of Lois or the actress on Lois & Clark, facing down Lex Luthor with a ton of backbone and rescuing Superman after he rescued her.

    There's NOTHING wrong with the Donner films other than people and fanboys couldn't get it (a few critics did get it, and some moviegoers like myself did) and wanted action all of the time. This time, they got it, but as the old saying goes, 'be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.' Now they've got it, and they're disappointed. It was just a good way to tell a Superman story, but people wanted more than Singer wanted to tell (perhaps he should have done a new story, but what for? Sometimes telling a continuation is better then telling an origin.)

    BTW, John Kenneth Muir did a great review of Superman Returns that still stands out for me, and codifies why I still love it as a movie: Superman Week: Superman Returns (2006)
     
  7. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've got no love whatsoever for the Donner movies, but I'll always be puzzled as to why Singer felt the need to make his "tribute" so damn drab and gray-brown:

    [​IMG]


    'Course, now Man of Fail has a very similar visual look, and I don't like it, either. Guess I'll just still have to stick with the better S1-3 Smallville eps for my Supes fix... :p
     
  8. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kate Bosworth supposedly auditioned for Lana too. Imagine 10 years of that Clana!
     
  9. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I won't deny the SR Superman is poutier than most, but he's hardly pining after Lois for the entire movie. Once they finally have their conversation on the roof, he clearly takes a step back and spends the rest of the movie fighting crime and stopping Luthor instead.

    Superman and Lois only interact again briefly after he's rescued from the water, and then at the very end as he's flying away.

    Yeah I agree that was deeply unsatisfying. That beating scene is one of the darkest and ugliest moments in any superhero movie, so it's frustrating that we never get to see Superman confront them again.
     
  10. CaptJimboJones

    CaptJimboJones Vice Admiral Newbie

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    I certainly didn't hate SR - there were a lot of things I liked about it - but I knew the movie had serious problems when I realized I was rooting for Richard White to hold onto Lois.
     
  11. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Speaking of the thungs, I don't even know why Kal Penn was even in the movie. He doesn't even say anything in the movie!
     
  12. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Having a now-fully powered Superman beat up a couple of normal crooks would have been overkill at best (and deliberate murder at worst, since a punch from him would have resulted in them having broken skulls.) The ice ledge falling down on some of the crooks and Brutus having the piano slammed into him by Jason on board the Gertrude was a great old-fashioned 'hoist by their own petard' move right out of the old MPAA Production Code that people didn't get because they wanted action all of the time and for Superman to kill somebody (BTW, those objecting to the action in the current flick should note that this always happens in the current comic books: Superman-and the Justice League in the first story arc of the new Justice League comic book-can't always save everybody in the nick of time, some will die.) Superman waked into a trap? He didn't know that Luthor had stolen kryptonite and used it as a base element to grow the crystal continent; even so, he did what he did because he's like that.
     
  13. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think anyone wanted to see Superman pummel those guys into a bloody pulp. But it would at least have been nice to see him stop the helicopter in it's tracks or wrap them up in a steel girder or something.
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What I'm about to say probably has already been said and more than once in this thread, but since the OP asked, I can't help myself.

    Before I dig in I will say that I re-watched Superman Returns after watching Man of Steel and now I don't loathe SR as much as I once did. I think SR was harder for me to swallow when it served as the 'final' Superman movie, the bookend of the Reeve era films. But now that I have something else to compare it to, I've actually found some nice things to say about it.

    I liked the relatively brighter color scheme of SR, the John Williams score, the maintenance of the Donner aesthetic for Krypton, and the flying effects all better than what I saw in MOS. I also liked the inclusion of the George Reeves-era actors. SR was more of an homage (not always in a good way) of the Reeve era but also acknowledged George Reeves contributions. After reading a Superman biography recently I appreciated that more. I can't think of an action scene in MOS that was as well shot as the plane rescue early on in SR.

    Now the rest...

    Singer made a mistake in connecting the film to the Donner films with totally different actors. I can get some call backs and using the Williams music and even the aesthetic, but it was a mistake not to at least make the characters his own and to update the Superman story for the 21st century. For an example of what I'm talking about, I take Smallville which sparingly used some Donner-era stuff but largely charted its own course. SR could've done something similar.

    Singer was mistaken to think that general audiences were as taken with the Reeve films as diehards like me and would remember or care about the intricacies of Superman 2 and be willing to ignore Superman 3 and 4.

    To be fair to Singer he did try to make Superman relevant but I felt he was a little too heavy with the religious metaphor. I also didn't need Superman to be an absentee father. Perhaps Singer was going for an emotional core with the film, but the actors he had didn't quite pull that off.

    SR was too drab, too somber, if not in subject in tone and execution. Superman wasn't super enough (except for the plane rescue). The film was lacking in action. And the one time Singer let Superman do an amazing feat with the lifting of the Kryptonite-laced island it was an impossible one for Superman.

    Lex's plan didn't make much sense. Who would want to live on a barren Kryptonite island? Lex's crew was boring, including Parker Posey. They were too small bore for a guy like Lex, or rather the Lex many people had become accustomed since the mid-80s.

    The casting was a mixed bag. I can't blame Routh because I think he got bad direction. Kate Bosworth was a wet noodle. She was too young, or looked too young to be playing a Lois after Superman 2 (or 3 and 4, whatever), and her take on the character was way too sedate. Spacey was an inspired choice for Luthor, but he got saddled by the story. I can only imagine what could have been if Spacey had been allowed to reinterpret the character in a new story.

    It sucks when Richard White comes across as more heroic than Superman. And the less I say about the kid the better.
     
  15. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Am I the only one that thought Spacey was terrible as Luthor? I particularly cringed where he gets Lois to say to Superman will save us then he yells WRONG!!!
     
  16. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Look up here, I’m in heaven Moderator

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    I liked him, the scene where he shivs Superman and starts beating him is probably my favorite Lex Luthor scene in any media.

    As for the movie, it was alright. My friend cracked me up with his comment that the entire movie was Superman picking things up and slowly putting them down.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That has nothing to do with anything I've said. I did not at any point use the word "emo." I don't believe I have ever used that word except when quoting someone else's use of it, or when discussing comedian Emo Philips (which is something I haven't done in a long time). I'm hard-pressed to contemplate a circumstance in which I ever would earnestly invoke that word. I'm not even entirely sure what it means.

    I don't believe that labels constitute meaningful criticism. I speak about individual performances, I don't try to lump them into categories. The only things I actually did say about Mr. Routh's performance were that (a) I didn't feel he worked as Superman and (b) I felt Singer directed him and the rest of the cast to be too understated. I don't understand why any of those comments would suggest this "emo" thing to you. I would assume that "emo" means "emotional," i.e. expressing strong and maudlin feelings, whereas the problem here was that the characters were not expressing enough feeling.


    Which is the problem. One or two low-key performances in isolation could've worked, but the entire ensemble was so languid and internalized that it robbed the film of energy.


    And bringing a small child into a potentially dangerous situation right along with her. Nobody gets to be called brave for unthinkingly putting other people in danger, especially children, especially their own children. That's not bravery, it's reckless endangerment.


    There's no reason why a continuity reboot would require a new origin story. If anything, the problem with comic-book movies these days is the assumption that every one has to be an origin story. Origin stories are a limited formula and we've kind of reached saturation by now. Anyway, Singer's first X-Men movie wasn't an origin story, except for Rogue, and sort of for Magneto. It opened with the X-Men already in place as a team, Wolverine already equipped with adamantium and lacking his memory, Senator Kelly already campaigning to register mutants, and so forth. The origin movies came later in the series.

    And I don't think a continuation was the right approach here. Donner's Superman was a movie made in the Bronze Age of comics with Silver Age sensibilities. In the interim, Superman in comics had been radically transformed, with new and influential ideas introduced to the mythos, such as Clark as the real person -- and Lois's love interest -- rather than Superman, or Luthor as a ruthless corporate magnate. Those new ideas were adopted by numerous screen adaptations of Superman, from Lois & Clark to S:TAS to Smallville. They became key aspects of the mythos. So for Singer to go back a quarter-century and try to resurrect a movie built around the pre-Crisis version of Superman felt backward and atavistic compared to what other screen adaptations had been doing for many years. It was ignoring a whole generation of the franchise's evolution, decades' worth of new ideas. And I found that a missed opportunity.

    For all of Man of Steel's faults, at least it's up to date in its influences. It draws a lot from Superman: Birthright. It has Lois in on Clark's true identity as she had been in the comics throughout most of the '90s and '00s. It gives us a glimpse of the Luthorcorp logo on a pair of tankers, telling us that it's using the corporate Luthor idea that's now standard. This is the benefit of starting anew: You can be more up-to-date, incorporate the best of the more recent ideas that have come along. And I would've liked to see what Singer would've come up with if he'd started anew, if he'd drawn on post-Crisis ideas instead of trying to rehash something far older.
     
  18. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Since I haven't seen SR since in was in theaters in 2006 I ordered a copy today. For five bucks. (Vintage Steve Martin fans will get that.) Seems only fair to give the movie another shot.

    As for Emo Phillips, is anyone else thinking "Brent Spiner doppelganger"?
     
  19. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    I once saw Superman Returns being sold for five bucks in the bargain bin, picked it up for a few moments then put it back in the bin when I realized that was still too much to pay for that movie.:p
     
  20. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I, too, found the thugs beating Superman to be very disturbing. I consider Lex stepping in and shivving him to be a mercy killing, because those ex-cons probably would have been pulling down his pants next....And didn't they die as a direct result of Superman's actions (lifting the island)? Seems an appropriate revenge for Superman...he's a god again, and they get squashed like insects, beneath his notice.

    I never had a problem with him lifting the island...the Kryptonite radiation seemed more diluted beneath, as it was mixed in with lots of normal rock, and the effort did wind up "killing" him....
     

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