July 04, 2006

The Old Val Returns with Superman

Yesterday was a big laundry day for me. Since we've been back from France, I've been on a real domestic kick - cooking, cleaning and now doing laundry. It's the influence of my aunts and cousins in France. They are such strong women and reinforce for me the ideas of womanhood I picked up from them as a child. (That's me with my grandmother. She's 80 years old and doesn't have one grey hair on her head - naturally.)

I've been cooking more than ever because we felt so good after 10 days of home cooking. Recreating French meals has kept me from missing my family less because of the connection. It's hard when half your family lives across the ocean. In spite of the distance, my brother and I still know them fairly well and share a level of closeness as if they lived around the corner.

Anyway, it gives me great pride that Jon's shirts are ironed for possibly the first time since our holy union in a temple on Long Island. It took several hours - six to be exact - to get everything washed and ironed. Don't get me wrong, it was hard work but it was also relaxing. You can be rest assured that I ironed my clothes as well. Consider the fact that they were harder to iron than anything because in my last shopping adventure I picked up some items made entirely of linen which wrinkles very badly when washed or when worn or when looked at for that matter.

It also means that I'm connecting more to the person I was in my early 20's. That person used to be a lot less lazy when it came to domestic matters. So, I'm feeling better all around. My life gets better every day and if you've known me my whole life, you know what I mean.
Yesterday's hard work was punctuated with a night out. Jon took us to see Superman Returns the latest in Hollywood's attempts to make superheros accessible to everybody instead of just to those of us that live vicariously through their comic book adventures.

I'm going to attempt to review it. (spoilers follow)

If you can suspend your disbelief for some of the more improbable scenarios created by the writers, this is an excellent film. But if you are analytical and expect something for the asking price of $10.50 like I was the film is merley enjoyable.

After 5 years in outer space presumably to visit the ruins of Crypton, why would Superman need to return to earth in a space ship that resembled the one he arrived in as a baby? He's Superman, damn it, can't he fly? But no. In the beginning of the movie he comes crashing down to earth in a meteor.

Also, if that little boy is indeed Superman's son, believed to be the son of the fiancee that is not Superman, then shouldn't he be a little older? If he is believable as this other guy's kid, Lois would have had to meet and have sex with this guy the moment that Superman disappeared on his five year hiatus. The idea of Lois Lane could sleep with someone immediately after that kind of heart break doesn't jibe.

Of course this would be the heart break that caused her to write her Pulitzer Prize winning article "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." It wouldn't be the heart break of her learning the truth about his true identity and their sleeping together because Superman erased her memory to spare her the heart break.

And is her kid's asthma psychosomatic? Once he throws the piano across the room in a later scene, his asthma seems to evaporate. If the asthma was a device to throw the audience off of that trail, it didn't work. I knew she had Superman's child the minute that Clark Kent started looking on her desk at the Daily Planet after his return.

Parker Posey is completely wasted in this movie as Lex Luther's moll. It's not her fault. She's a great actress but the character of Kitty Kowalski isn't really that flushed out. She's there as Luthor's conscience occassionally asking him if what he's doing is the right thing to do. As an actress, there wasn't really anything for her to sink her acting teeth into.

Regarding Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor I was disappointed - not in Kevin Spacey. If a director told Mr. Spacey that he was playing a flag in his next movie, you can guarantee that he would probably win an Oscar for it if the part were well written enough. But you can't bake a delicioius cake with sour butter and rotten eggs. You need good ingredients. And in spite of Kevin Spacey's dedication to this part, Lex Luthor was not well written. It's not entirely clear what Lex Luthor intends to do and considering he's a mega genius, his evil plot could have been better executed.

Oh and then there's the notion that Lex Luthor could somehow sail to the Fortress of Solitude and steal Superman's crystals. And that somehow (which I doubt) Jo-rel hadn't designed the place so that only his son could use it. If so, then Jo-rel isn't really much of a god figure. Somehow Luthor finds the fortress and steals all the crystals so he could bring knowlege to man like Prometheus brought fire to people. Except as Kitty points out Lex is not a god. Apparently he thinks that Superman is like the gods keeping the knowledge away from human beings that would improve their lives. So if that's the case wouldn't that kind of make that an honorable intention?

Luthor's not honorable. He's a crook. It makes sense that he would sell the information but he wouldn't give it away like Prometheus so why make the Prometheus comparison at all? This right here is why I sometimes have trouble enjoying films. This is another example of where you really have to suspend your disbelief and forget everything you know about mythology relating to both ancient times and to Superman.

Also, Superman is a kind of soft in this movie. Not physically, I mean the guy is gorgeous as you would have to be, but they made him really human this time around. There are a lot of shots of him gazing at Lois with love and regret. I blame the Spiderman movies. It worked in Spiderman because they did that right from the beginning with the first movie. They made Spiderman someone easy to connect to like you and me. And now they are trying to do it with Superman except in this instance they are making him like Jesus Christ, here to save and protect mankind - the human incarnation of a God we can't see or touch until he comes to earth as a man. They really do lay the Christ imagery on pretty thickly.

The other thing I didn't like is that Lois Lane seems to have reverted in age. The powers that be should have cast an older actress. As I was watching I couldn't help thinking that was a mistake. Kidder was 30 when she played Lane in the other movies and the character is supposed to be 5 years older. Kate Bosworth on the other hand is 23 and looks like she's 17.
It's not believable that the little boy is hers. If you've only seen Superman Returns and don't know anything at all about Superman you would have to concede that Lois Lane was a hard-boiled reporter with her own by-line by the tender age of 18.

Go ahead. Suspend your disbelief. I dare you.

There are other examples of inconsistencies both great and small but in spite of all these problems, the movie is fun to watch. You just have to shut off your brain for two and a half hours which do go by quickly in case you were wondering. I didn't find out the movie was that long until I started reaing other people's reviews.

No comments: