Why The Hate For Superman Returns?

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

  1. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    What screws me up about SR the most is that WB didn't try to salvage SR with a sequel. It made more money than they spent on it. Not a huge haul but a profit. But as far back as 2008 WB had buried SR and decided to reboot. I surmise it was a combination of things. Like The Dark Knight exploding at the BO and grossing over a billion. As well as SR not positioning the character for any potential sequels.
     
  2. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah SR made a decent amount of money, but I think it was obvious to the studio that the movie just wasn't exciting audiences and comic book fans the way it needed to.

    It was basically greeted with a collective shrug, and I'm sure they worried that the sequel would just be greeted the same way.
     
  3. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good point. I did not catch that.
     
  4. Dorian Thompson

    Dorian Thompson Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't catch that either. It's a very astute observation. Makes me sad for Kal-El, though. He never got to embrace his own father; his new father dies in front of him of a heart attack and he's forbidden to have any sort of enduring, loving relationship with a woman. He can't even interact with his birth father anymore because their means of communication is severed by Jor El restoring Kal El's power and "dying" for good. As a bonus his son will be raised by someone else even though Kal-El isn't dead. When you think about it--that really fucking sucks. No wonder the movie wasn't successful.

    What a downer for Kal-El of Krypton. Thanks for sending me to Earth instead of that more advanced civilization with a red sun who doesn't need saving, dad.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think that's part of why I prefer the continuities where both Jonathan and Martha are alive and well and an active part of Superman's adult life (as seen in the comics from 1986-2008, the '88 animated series, Lois and Clark, Superman: TAS, and several of the DVD movies). Superman's story may have begun with a tragedy, but it's a story of hope arising from the ashes of tragedy. Having him endure the loss of his adoptive father as well (or both father and mother, in the pre-1986 comics) feels like overkill.

    And what annoys me is how this trend seems to have cropped up in recent years that just because Donner's movie had Jonathan (and not Martha) dying, that means everyone has to copy it. We've had Jonathan die in Smallville, in the comics in 2008, and now in Man of Steel. Jonathan dying and Martha living used to be the exception to the pattern, something that only one version of the story had ever done. But because that version was a blockbuster movie, it seems to have overshadowed all the rest and come to be seen as the default.
     
  6. Dorian Thompson

    Dorian Thompson Admiral Admiral

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  7. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah but the death of Jor-El is such an abstract thing to him, and something he doesn't even remember. I think we still need to see him feel the loss of his adoptive father Jonathan as well-- someone he actually knew and loved, and who instilled the values that he carries forward as Superman.

    I think that death carries a lot more weight, and is a lot more important for the character's growth. It's a defining moment that I thought was kind of missing from L&C and TAS, where he still had this perfect, happy little family to go back to all the time.
     
  8. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    Back when the movie was new, there was some talk around these parts about the roles of Superman and Richard in Jason's life. That's why Richard not only isn't a straw man, but is given a heroic role...he's being proven worthy of raising Superman's son. And I think that Superman accepts the situation because he knows that he could never offer his son the sort of normal upbringing that Lois and Richard can. That's why I'd wanted to see where things went from there in a hypothetical sequel...but that was never to be.

    The first source that I know of that had only Pa Kent die was the George Reeves TV series...I think that a lot of things in the Donner film were informed by that source, so it got repeated there.

    As portrayed in both origin films, though, there is a certain symmetry to it...Clark loses his Earth father only to discover his Kryptonian father.
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    SR according boxofficemojo hada reported budget of US$270m and made US$391m.

    If those figures are accurate, whilst it took more money at the box office it's doubful it returned a profit. Don't forgot the cinemas get a share of that.
     
  10. RogueFive

    RogueFive Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Superman Returns?

    Pros:

    Brandon Routh as Clark / Supes- fucking excellent. Flying in circles around Henry Cavill.

    Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor - yeah, he was pretty damn WRRRROOONNGGGG, uhm, yeah, great.

    Frank Langella as Perry White and Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen - superb casting

    The music, visuals and stuff- never before has Daily Planet building looked so amazing. And I fucking loved the airplane sequence. Minus the fake Lois fainting, that almost ruined it.

    Cons:

    Kate Bosworth should be put into dictionaries. The word "miscast" needs no further explanation. Worst.Lois.Ever. God fucking awful. Read somewhere that Spacey himself insisted on her casting... Fuck you, Kevin.

    Meh:


    The Plot. It's just lackluster and all meh. Still, there IS a plot, and that's a good thing. The complete and utter lack of it is what killed MoS for me.


     
  11. Phily B

    Phily B Commodore Commodore

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    Superman Returns was a great movie, apart from Bosworth as Lane, I loved it. I'm still bitterly disappointed we didn't get a sequel and got that god awful MoS instead.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But why does he have to lose that person at all? Superman isn't about tragedy, he's about optimism. He's about family. He's not a grim, embittered loner like Batman, he's someone who, despite his origins as an outsider, feels like he's a full member of his family, his community, his nation, his adoptive species and planet. It's that sense of belonging that makes him so motivated a protector. He lost the world and family he was born to, and he cherishes his new world and family too much to risk letting anything happen to them. It's about the contrast between death (Krypton/House of El) and life (Earth/Kent family), not just death and death.


    It carries weight, sure, but if it's the only tool you ever pull out of the kit, it becomes cliched and lazy. There have got to be more ways to motivate characters than just killing the people they care about.


    Whereas I felt -- as John Byrne evidently felt -- that Clark/Superman is more defined when Ma and Pa are part of his adult life. That way he has confidantes, people he can reveal his true self to, and that lets us get to know him better than when he's going through life deceiving everyone around him. Sure, you could have that with just Martha, but it's not quite the same. Jonathan is traditionally Clark's main role model, the one whose example he strives to follow. It's useful if he can have actual conversations with that influential figure, because it lets the writers dramatize what would otherwise be an internal monologue.

    (Well, as long as it's not Costner Jonathan, who pretty much spent his life -- and finally threw away his life -- trying to talk Clark out of his instinct to help people.)


    I didn't know that. I thought the pilot asserted that Clark lost both his parents before he came to Metropolis, but maybe I'm confusing it with the comics.


    Yeah, that's another trope the Donner movie introduced that I feel has been too often repeated -- Jor-El surviving as some sort of AI or personality imprint and being an ongoing part of his son's life. Granted, Jor-El was the best part of Man of Steel, certainly more heroic than Superman was, but that's part of the problem. He's gone from being too much of an active influence in Superman's life to being the dominant character in the film.
     
  13. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer the Kents being alive but I was raised on the 90s cartoon and then the 90s comics...
     
  14. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, Superman's not about tragedy, but it's still a moment that forces him to grow up and take charge of his destiny in a much more dramatic way, I think.

    With the other version, it feels like Clark's attitude is just "Well, guess it's time to head off to the city now, and become a superhero, or something." And then he comes back home for advice like he's just some 20 year old trying to make it on his own for the first time.

    It's all just a little too cute and perfect and ideal for my taste, and makes him seem too much like a perpetual kid (never more so than on L&C). Somehow with the loss of Jonathan it feels like he becomes the mature adult we expect him to be in a much more real way.
     
  15. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Coming from a fully functional family, I always loved that Supes had a fully functional family in Lois & Clark. That heroes have to lose their parents is a quite annoying stereotype.

    You act like everyone whose parents are alive and well can't grow up.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I find that a rather bizarre attitude. Plenty of people grow up and lead productive adult lives while still having close relationships with their parents. Indeed, that's the whole reason Byrne made the change: because it had become far more common by the late '80s for adults to have both parents alive and well than it had been in the '40s or '50s.

    Byrne asserted that Clark had gone out to travel the world and help people anonymously for years before he was outed. Mark Waid's Birthright shows more of this process, demonstrating how Clark's travels helped shape him into the hero he became. Here was someone who'd been raised in a loving, nurturing environment, going out into the greater world and discovering all the pain and injustice and cruelty and abuse that people suffered out there, and finding it unacceptable that everyone wasn't treated as well as he had been treated by the Kents and the people of Smallville -- and taking it upon himself to pay forward the goodness his parents had paid him, to live according to their example.

    The really important part of the Donner origin story isn't Jonathan dying -- it's Jonathan teaching his son that he was here for a reason, that his powers needed to be directed toward a good purpose. True, his subsequent death did underline that message, because, let's face it, Clark essentially killed his father by unwisely challenging him to a race -- so there's a Spider-Man-like "With great power comes great responsibility" lesson in there. But it's the basic message itself that's the more important element. Clark going out into the world, seeing suffering and experiencing the losses that occur if he doesn't act, can teach him that lesson too. Sure, it may not seem as personal because it's not his own family dying, but that's kind of the point: that Superman transcends our instinct to value our own kind more than others, that he cares for everyone just as much as his own family.
     
  17. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It came out during Smallville, it had an awesome trailer that it couldn't live up to, the acting was mediocre, and the plot was terrible.
     
  18. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Christopher, I watched the Reeve series pilot just the other day. Pa has a heart attack and dies on the anniversary of the day they found Clark, as he's headed to clean up for the celebration dinner.

    The acting was horrific, by the way. :lol:

    I think Returns would have been better without the CGI flying closeups. Not good. Also, until yesterday I didn't know that Routh was wearing blue (-ish) contacts. I always thought his eyes were their natural brown color.
     
  19. hyzmarca

    hyzmarca Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You're nitpicking the wrong part of the plan. The part you should be concerned with is the one where Lex can't claim ownership of the land without admitting to millions of counts of murder.

    There's no way that scheme doesn't end with his execution. No one would seriously pay him for the land. If he tried to charge people they'd just take it.


    But back to the original point, I think that Superman Returns was way too nostalgic. It had some great ideas which should have moved the character forward, but which ultimately didn't.
    I agree. The thing is, Superman's life as Clark Kent , mind-mannered reporter is a lie. Superman's life as Superman is also a lie. Take away his family and you have a situation where is is literally lying to everyone all the time.

    That really isn't good for the character.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, except in the Silver Age comics, where many Superman and spinoff stories revolved around Superman deliberately concocting elaborate lies, pranks, and hoaxes to teach his friends some theoretically salutary lesson. That version of Superman positively enjoyed lying and tricking people.