Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lois Lane and Lex Luthor Returns

I went into Superman Returns with high hopes and expectations. Bryan Singer, the director of The Usual Suspects and the first 2 X-men movies did a really good job with those movies and I was waiting to see his take on Superman. Though after seeing it, I left the movie theater with a sense that the movie was slightly "off key." It had all the elements that should have made it an excellent movie, but there were a number of things that kept it from hitting the right notes.

Brandon Routh? Ok, fine, he's hot, did a relatively decent job Clark Kent/ Superman, but he was boring. But you know what, Superman is boring. I mean, a guy who you know could survive near anything; where's the drama in that? The essential conflict in Superman is his double life as Clark Kent / Superman, and namely his interest in Lois Lane. Lois Lane is what makes Superman human, and interesting. The conflict and story of Superman, rests on the character of Lois Lane. (Which is why I thought the TV series Lois & Clark was very appropriately titled).

Let's talk about Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane. I admit, before I even saw the movie, I thought that casting Kate Bosworth was a bad choice. She's much too young to be Lois Lane, a hard-charging experienced reporter with a 7-year kid, and seeing the movie confirmed my beliefs. (Brandon Routh is also much too young to be Clark Kent, but that's another topic all together). You know you have a problem when Jimmy Olsen looks older then both Clark and Lois.

Anna Genoese found Bosworth to lack a certain gravitas, and I have to agree. I think both Teri Hatcher and Margot Kidder played much a much stronger, and balanced Lois Lane. (And my favorite part in the Lois & Clark series was when Clark proposes to Lois and she takes off his glasses, showing that she's known for quite awhile who Clark was).

However, James Marsden as Richard? Stroke of brilliance. He gave an excellent performance that really made you root for him (he's getting good at these characters who are involved with women who love other men isn't he? He played Cyclops in X-men).

Lex? Smallville's Lex Luthor, and even Superman: The Animated Series had a much better, much more evil and disturbed Lex Luthor. I'm not a big fan of Smallville, but Michael Rosenbaum has totally brought a new dimension to the character of Lex Luthor. (Can you tell that I think it takes Lois and Lex to make Superman interesting?) I was totally disappointed in Kevin Spacey, who is such a good actor, but hey you've got to work with what you're given. And why was there such a lame-ass plot about growing a continent in the Atlantic Ocean?

Parkey Posey as Lex's henchwoman? Absolutely terrible. I can see that Bryan Singer was trying to model her almost as a 1920s kind of a mob gal, but she was just annoying. If they had included Mercy, Lex's henchwoman in the comics (who is so tough that she's kicked the crap out of Catwoman), that would have made for a much more interesting story movie.

And also, as a nitpicking thing, why the hell was Metropolis completely populated by white people? Where were all the brown people? Sure Kal Penn was in it, but why the hell didn't he get a single line in the movie?

Still, this was a relatively good summer movie. The part where Superman saves a plane in mid-air? Classic. Despite it all, decent movie, though perhaps a matinee one.


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