So once again we have survived.

Superman Returns

According to this movie Superman has been in outer space for five years doing some research and now he’s returned. The concept is supposed to be that everything has changed, because Lois Lane is now engaged to the guy who plays Cyclops from X-Men and has a kid. The problem is though, nothing much else has changed. Sure, this is a whole new set of actors, a new director, and modern special effects. It’s been exactly (something) years since Superman part whatever the last one was, and its two lead actors, Richard Pryor and Christopher Reeve, have both passed away. Still, director Brian Singer goes out of his way to NOT reinvent the series. He wants this to be a sequel to the old ones so he got a guy who looks like Christopher Reeve, he uses the same theme song, he puts some goofy ’80s retro comedy in there and even did retro style opening credits. In the last Star Wars I heard an audience cheer for a hallway, in this one I heard an audience cheer for a font. Strange times we’re living in.

In real life when you go away for a while and come back, it seems like the god damn planet of the apes, everything’s changed. I mean if Superman really was off the planet for the last 5 years there’s a whole lot he missed out on. He’s gonna have alot of questions.

Superman Returns“Why does everybody’s phones keep playing those stupid songs?” “Would you people please shut the fuck up about this god damn American Idol? Why would anybody give a shit?” “Wait a minute, that dude got re-elected?” “What do you mean never forget 9-11? What’s that all about?” etc. UNITED 93 is definitely “too soon” for Superman because he just found out about flight 93 five minutes ago and feels like an asshole for not being there.

But it doesn’t seem like Metropolis has changed much since the Christopher Reeve days. I’d like to see more new shit that wasn’t in the old ones. I already know about the evil bald dude with the wacky old timey girl sidekick, and how Kryptonite makes Superman weak, and that he can fly. I already seen Marlon Brando in a wig playing his dad. I already got that theme song stuck in my head. It’s cute nostalgia and all but let’s see a new movie here boys. What are we paying you for?

Let me be clear. I’m not asking them to “reinvent” Superman by giving him a different suit or a hat or making him Matrixy or wear a leather coat or something. But let me play armchair nerd here. Superman is a classic American icon, he’s been around for what, at least 40, 45 years. Could be 100, I have no idea. The point is, he’s been around longer than that crappy late ’70s movie this is all a tribute to. Your parents grew up knowing about Superman, it’s not just a thing from your childhood. So I think this movie oughta stay true to all the things that always made him Superman, but then they oughta come up with some new stories and ideas that are not just homages to that particular movie. Just making the same movie with better flying is not enough to capture the heart of 2006 America. Or at least, the heart of me.

And by the way, as long as you got Marlon Brando in there using old footage, where the fuck is Richard Pryor? He wouldn’t even need a wig or anything. I’m sure they could find some outtakes from BUSTIN’ LOOSE or THE TOY or something where out of context it seems like he’s talking to Superman about magic crystals.

As far as I can tell there is exactly one major change to the legendary story of Superman, this whole thing about Lois having a kid. Everything else feels like old hat. Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey this time) has an evil plan, let me lay it out for you:

  1. He has magic Superman crystals that he puts in water and they grow
  2. He has 1 (one) piece of Kryptonite

Now, if it was really so many years they spent trying to make another Superman movie, it seems like there would’ve been time to come up with a better evil plan than this horse shit. He’s growing his own continent, okay, fine. It’s the one piece of Kryptonite part that bugs me. He stabs Superman with Kryptonite once. Superman gets hurt. Then he pulls it out. Now the plan is foiled. Not exactly the greatest cinematic drama and suspense I have come across, in my opinion.

The one thing that does really work is Superman and all his superness. The guy they got playing him is perfect. It’s nice that he’s not somebody from other movies, he just seems like if Superman was a real guy, this would be him. When he interacts with the humans he gives them a charming smile and says corny things to them, but he seems like a cool guy. You don’t hate him for being such a square.

By far the best scene in the movie is the one where the world finds out about the Superman return of the title. It involves a spectacular feat where he catches a falling plane inside a baseball stadium during a big game. And after a moment of contemplation, the crowd applauds. The only thing that could make it more American would be if all the baseball fans were eating apple pie. And maybe dressed as astronauts. And then he leads them in the National Anthem. I would like to think that Superman would not be an asshole and add that extra high note they always gotta do now to get cheap applause. “For the laaaaand of the fre-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…” You know what I’m talking about? I know this is a tangent but it must be said, I am against that bullshit. Every time I go to a ball game and they do that I think yeah, that old national anthem never quite sat right, thank God somebody realized they had to add an extra note in there in order for it to live up to the much higher standard of musicianship set by Mariah Carey. I actually make sure to only applaud lightly to any act that pulls that nonsense, and I give extra applause for the rare singer who sings the song correctly. But it doesn’t matter, if they do that extra show off note people always whoo like crazy. These are probaly the same assholes with the plastic flags on their trucks that are supposed to show how patriotic they are but they’re all ripped up and faded from the sun. BECAUSE THEY ATTACHED IT TO A FUCKING TRUCK AND THEN DROVE AROUND WITH IT. There is no common sense or actual meaning involved in these acts of patriotism. But that’s what happens in the land of the freEEEEEEEEEE.

Anyway whenever the movie is about Superman flying around lifting giant objects, it’s a good movie. There’s alot of beautiful imagery where he’s flying around in the upper atmosphere and it almost looks like a painting more than live action.

They do a good job of emphasizing that he’s godlike. Not that God would feel the need to wear a cape, but you get what I’m saying. There’s a funny montage of news footage of him zipping around the world helping people, which puts you in mind of somebody like God having to deal with everybody’s prayers all at once (or Santa Claus answering letters if you’re not into that). He even flies up into the heavens and sits with his eyes closed listening to every sound in the world, deciding which ones to respond to.

There’s a whole thing about how Lois won a Pulitzer Prize for the article “Why the world doesn’t need Superman.” He has a little talk with her where he makes a good point, she says the world doesn’t need a savior but every day he hears people crying out for one. The problem is, it seems like Lois just wrote that article because she’s pissed at him for screwing her and then running off to outer space. There is nobody else in the world (well, except Lex Luthor) who appears to be anti-Superman. There is no actual argument ever made for why the world doesn’t need Superman, we only see the headline. So the whole thing seems a little empty and makes Lois unlikable.

I guess there is one thing that makes Superman a little less goody two shoes. In this one he actually uses his x-ray vision to spy on Lois. He stands on a neighbor’s house and watches the family interact. I kept wishing he would get caught, that would be hard for him to explain. He never uses it for perverted means, but this is definitely stalker behavior, it makes it a little more interesting that he crosses the line like that.

Still, Superman is the squarest of all super heroes. You compare him to more of a brawler like a Batman, a Wolverine or a Popeye, and he seems pretty milquetoast. Which makes the life of Lois’s poor bastard fiancee all the more tragic. Even when Superman was in another galaxy, this guy knows he’s Lois’s second choice. I’m betting he knows spoiler the kid is Superman’s end spoiler – if not he’s in for a surprise in part 2. He risks his life and he tries his damndest to be a good dad and nobody fuckin cares, his girl and his son will always push him aside and trample over his face to get a better look at Superman. That’s the sad destiny of this poor chump of an actor because the same shit happened to him in the X-Men movies. In those he even has super powers but who gives a shit. Wolverine is cooler. He knows it, the audience knows it and most of all his smokin-hot fiancee or wife or whatever Xenia Onnatopp knows it.

Superman himself was enough to make the movie watchable, but if they make a sequel they have GOT to come up with a better story and characters to put around him. It’s hard to believe this is the same directionist who gave us the X-Men series. Yeah, this movie is more impressive on a visual level, and the action is much more exciting. But it’s not as good in the places that count most. Superman is trying to be more emotional and personal, but I can’t help thinking that the X-Men movies (yes, including the third one that Singer didn’t do) have so much more depth.

The biggest difference is in the villain. Magneto is an old friend and colleague of Dr. Xavier whose political views about mutant liberation are more extreme, and this puts them in conflict. He’s a holocaust survivor and he doesn’t want the same thing that befell his countrymen to befall his fellow mutants, and he is willing to kill to stop it from happening. Also he enjoys chess and is played by an old Shakespeare guy.

Lex Luthor, on the other hand, is a greedy evil guy who hates Superman. And he’s bald and has alot of wigs and crystals.

Magneto’s plan in part 3 was to lead a mutant revolt against a factory and kill the source of a drug that the human government is using to take away the characteristics that make mutants unique. He’s going about it wrong because his plan involves killing a child, but you can understand where he’s coming from and kind of side with him.

Lex Luthor’s plan is to grow magic crystals out of the earth that will destroy part of North America but he thinks he will own the new land so he will get rich. Nobody sides with him, not even his girlfriend.

When Magneto tries to execute his plan, he’s met by the military armed with dart guns loaded with the cure, a dangerous proposition. He tries to use his magnet powers to destroy their weapons like he has done in the past, but they were smart enough to make the weapons out of plastic. But he uses the unique powers of various mutants in his group to disarm the weapons. It’s a back and forth strategic battle where each side tries to outwit and overpower the other.

When Lex tries to execute his plan, Superman tries to stop him, so Lex stabs him with Kryptonite, like he did in every god damn Superman story you ever saw. But then Superman takes the Kryptonite out and Lex didn’t think of anything else to try, so he loses and gets stuck on an island.

Hell, even on the superficial level of skills and accomplishments there’s no contest here. Magneto can control metal objects and he used that to move the Golden Gate Bridge creating a path for his people to start an uprising. Lex is a master of wigs and he fucked an old lady for money.

Ah shit man, I’m gonna say it. I had more fun watching X-MEN 3. (Those are the seven words you recite to bring on a deadly nerd curse.) SUPERMAN is a better piece of filmmaking but I didn’t connect with it as much. Singer has already established the type of things that can make these super hero stories more exciting and relevant, and now he abandons them in his new movie.

I mean I can’t believe it’s ME that’s the one arguing this, but didn’t they already prove that comic strip movies can be more thoughtful than this? The X-Men movies have subtext about race, sexual orientation, the Patriot Act, all kinds of shit. This movie, every time it starts to bring up an interesting philosophical question it then runs away like a sissy. In his review Moriarty pointed out how Lex Luther brings up this question of whether it’s fair for Superman to have advanced alien technology and then just keep it to himself and not use it to help the world. Then the movie doesn’t explore that question at all. The one I noticed is the question of what Superman should be doing with his time. It’s just like the question of why God didn’t stop the levees from breaking in New Orleans, or why He allowed Bush to stop drinking and go into politics. We see that Superman listens to all the sounds in the world and then zips around stopping bank robberies and catching cars that go off jumps and that kind of stuff. But he never has to make a tough decision. I mean don’t get me wrong, he deserves all the credit in the world for saving the world at the end. But if you’re gonna compare him to God and Jesus you might want to show him facing the challenge of helping people who are starving or civilians being killed by war or Pakistanis in an earthquake or something. Not just American bank robberies. Or deciding which victim is most worth saving at any given time. In an X-Men movie you would be encouraged to think about these things while watching the movie, but in Superman you gotta suppress them.

So this one’s kind of the reverse of BATMAN BEGINS. It’s got great action but not a good enough story. One of these days you nerds are gonna get both in the same movie and your Hawaiian shirts are gonna burst into flames.

Two more Superman topics I want to address before I cut this off:

  1. GAY. Some guy begged me in the talkbacks to review “the gay Superman movie.” Apparently Brian Singer is gay so some people expected the movie to be all about boys holding hands and giving you a makeover to impress your girlfriend and shit like that. Well, sorry to disappoint you but there isn’t a god damn thing about this movie that’s any gayer than it would’ve been if anybody else was directing it. Shit, the whole damn movie is about men and women pining over each other and thinking about fatherhood. Of course people will say that everything in the movie is gay and phallic and whatever. But these are guys, you could give them a copy of World’s Biggest Gang Bang and if you convinced them it was directed by Brian Singer they’d write a seven page essay on its homerotic imagery.
  2. 3-D. If you go see this one in Imax it’s in partial 3-D. There are something like four scenes, I guess about 20 minutes of the movie, where a symbol comes up and you put on the goggles and it’s 3-D. POLAR EXPRESS was created in a computer, so they were able to process it into 3-D. But this was live action shot with one angle so they had to go through frame-by-frame and digitally alter it, and they didn’t have enough time to do the whole thing.In my expert opinion, this 3-D is only okay. At least with my goggles and where I was sitting, it looked blurrier and ghostier than when I saw POLAR EXPRESS. It looks kind of cool, about as good as the old one-color-glasses ones like FRIDAY THE 13TH 3-D. But the scenes weren’t really designed to be 3-D so the whole thing becomes a distraction. It gets to the big exciting action scene, then you gotta put your glasses on, suddenly you can’t see Superman’s face clearly and the whole screen looks smaller and faded a little. I was actually kind of wishing it wasn’t in 3-D, which is not something you’re gonna usually find me wishing.

the end

I would like to dedicate this review to the biggest Superman fan I know, my old movie newsgroup colleague KalElFan. He first captured my heart when he argued for weeks on end that the shot of Thora Birch’s boobs in AMERICAN BEAUTY was a digital composite, and that any contrary information in interviews or articles was part of a coverup. He would accept the word of Steven Spielberg, as head of Dreamworks, that it was just a regular shot of some boobs, but since Spielberg had not come out to announce this to the world it was clearly not the case. To this day KalElFan is one of the craziest motherfuckers I ever came across online, and his works spurred me on in my early Writings. For at least the past 6 or 7 years (probaly longer) he’s used the name “KalElFan,” posted thousands of insanely detailed, bizarrely reasoned posts relating to his theories and mathematical equations of Superman, and apparently started a bunch of wars between himself and various Superman related newsgroups. But he claims after reading Ebert’s review of SUPERMAN RETURNS he wouldn’t have bothered to see it if he didn’t already have tickets. That’s my guy right there. Look him up if you ever get really bored.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Saturday, July 1st, 2006 at 4:00 pm and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

138 Responses to “Superman Returns”

  1. I can’t believe that I haven’t read this before! It’s Vern’s review of Superman Returns, but for any reason I didn’t know that it existed! :O

  2. This was a actually quite beneficial post. In theory I’d prefer to publish like this also – getting time and actual effort to make a good piece of writing but what can I say I procrastinate alot and by no means appear to obtain one thing done.

  3. After seeing the teaser behind DARK KNIGHT RISES, I’m a little stoked for MAN OF STEEL. And I’m not a big Superman fan (nor a comic book guy) at all. I know it’s asking a little much for a review of a teaser, but what did you think Vern?

  4. I like it. I was hoping the movie would be more Zack Snydery than it appears to be, but I like that I was surprised. Didn’t expect him to go through a Terence Malick phase, but I guess he’s trying to follow Nolan’s example. Superman Begins.

    I read a post where Drew McWeeny called the teaser a “misstep” because it wasn’t the typical Superman imagery that everybody expects, and all his commenters agreed, but I couldn’t disagree more. It’s not supposed to seem like every other comic book movie teaser, that’s the point. Then when you realize what it is you think “Oh, that was Superman? I’m intrigued!”

    (Not to mention the movie comes out in a year, and if it had all the money shots every damn one of those commenters would come back in a year to complain that it was all given away in the teaser.)

    I feel kinda robbed that it didn’t show with Dark Knight Rises when I saw it. I’m sure the crowd would’ve flipped for it.

  5. I seem to remember some sighs of awe when I saw it (mid-day showing, so not as packed), likely towards the end. I agree in as much that what we did see establishes the environment he was raised in, and shows he’s a hard-working blue-collar boy, which is one reason the version with Crowe’s voice-over is more effective, because it’s about his true calling and legacy he’s continuing. And if Russell’s performance matches that voice-over, I think it’ll blow Brando’s performance out of the water. The Costner one is good, though it took me a few views to get behind it.

  6. I don’t need the burdensome blue collar pathos. I just really want to see Superman punch a giant robot or two. Is that too much to ask?

  7. Knox Harrington

    July 30th, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Yeah, but you’ll see him punch a giant robot or two and then you’ll get bored. Superman stories are meant to be character driven. He’s the most powerful being on the planet. I’m more interested in what he thinks and feels than in what he punches.

    That’s the very reason why I happen to love Superman Returns, and also why I’m much more excited about Snyder’s Superman now that I’ve seen that transcendent trailer.

  8. OK, so this has me a little bit more excited for the new Superman film:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6DJcgm3wNY

    It looks like it focuses quite a bit on character AND punching. Reaaaally intense punching.

  9. Well, its an improvement over the previous pretentious feel I got from the earlier trailers, but its still look too serious for my taste when it comes to a SUPERMAN-movie. But I will await judgment until actually watching the damn thing

  10. I’m surprised by the lack of slow motion shots, but I’m still not planning to watch it, with Zack Snyder still being on my personal director’s blacklist and all.

  11. What Snyder-movies made your shitlist,CJ? Every single one or is there someone special?

  12. Looks like the same old story with different actors to me. Zzzzz…

  13. Actually just 300 and the first 1/3 or so of WATCHMEN. None of the other two directors on that list made it that fast.

  14. And the two others are..?

  15. My guess is one of them is Tarantino…

  16. One point for Shoot. (But even with him I waited until KILL BILL 2.)
    The other one is Lars von Trier.

  17. I´m not gonna be part of turning this thread into one long rant about pretentious scandinavian directors, so I´m just gonna say, I´m with you on Von Trier.

  18. Back to the subject; So no more John Williams theme? Great, in next Star Wars and Indiana Jones hire Hanz Zimmer to replace a heroic triumphant, highly melodic and memorable score witha non-melodic unrecognizable “moody and atmospheric” score “*cough* The Dark Knight*cough. See how that plays out.

  19. Wow, I’m surprised this is the one place on the internet where everyone isn’t gushing love for the new Superman trailer – I absolutely loved it, more than all of Superman Returns and I’m not kidding. The movie looks beautiful and exciting and emotional and also about 4 hours long. I really can’t wait, even though I get the feeling I might cry in the theatre during the Costner stuff. (That one line he says almost made me choke up at work! From a stinking trailer!)

    As for the score, I actually think it’s awesome – it’s no John Williams theme, (but what can match up to that?) but it’s definitely better than anything the Dark Knight trilogy or any of the Marvel movies had. I think I’ve said this before, but how AMAZING would The Avengers have been if it had a truly memorable score?

  20. Every live action Superman movie ever released has been terrible. The John Williams score is nothing special. The villains were cheap. Some of the f/x sequences were interesting & fun, but the production value & sets in the non-cartoon parts of the narrative were terrible. Margot Kidder isn’t attractive. Christopher Reeve was pretty great, assuming you enjoy blank slate superhero-dweebs with no charisma.

    Damn you, Neal2Zod, for planting the idea of a 4 hour Snyder movie in my head. The stuff of dreams, that. I’ll probably have to settle for simply watching MAN OF STEEL back to back.

    This trailer doesn’t hit all the right notes with me
    (I could go without another Nolan-esque treatment of superheroes, converting everyone into SeriousMan, residents of SeriousTown.),
    but I’ve never given a fuck about a trailer before (exception: FA5T) and that ain’t gonna change now. I trust Snyder to piss off the majority and to dazzle *me*.

  21. Lois Lane has been as unattractive as Superman or his alter ego *SPOILER* Clark Kent has been uncharismatic.In not a single Superman hand drawn comic I have read has this not have been true.
    I think they nailed the one-dimensional characters down and brought some of the actors personalities into it fleshing the parts out. For instance Lois Lane has never been a dyslectic journalist if I recall right and Kent was not the glorious goofball at all in the comics to differentiate him from Superman. Superman and Clark kent in the comics I have read were strangely unseperable, but Reeve managed to distinguish them.

  22. Reeves had no charisma? Go back and watch the scene where he sits down at Lois’ table in his silly costume and crosses his legs like there’s nothing ridiculous about this situation at all. Anybody else on earth would have looked like a world-class boner trying to pull that off, but Reeves kept his dignity. It was a quiet kind of charisma that seemed to come from deep within, not from any exterior display of charm.

    Also, his Clark Kent was a marvelous bit of physical acting. He managed to differentiate the two characters through movement, posture, and behavior. In that same scene I described, there’s a part where he tries to psych himself up to confess to Lois, so he takes off his glasses and stands up straighter, and all of a sudden Clark becomes Superman right before your eyes, no costume change required.

    Also, um, so…the end of that third trailer: Was that a fart joke?

  23. Once again Mr Majestyk elequentelnentely expresses what I feel about Superman better.Damn tyour command of the english language. If Virginia Woolf was alive she would kiss you. But then again you´d probably figured she´d be a walker by now and shot her at point blank range.

  24. I’m no fan of Snyder, but at least he knows how to frame a good-looking action pose. Superman is almost entirely about the iconography it created, which I think will play to his strengths much more than the intellectual stuff in WATCHMEN and SUCKER PUNCH that seemed a little lost on him. I’m moderately interested, although the new trailer looks a little tiresomely dour. But it still won’t change the fact that Bryan Singer already gave us a Superman film which was too good for us.

  25. I’ve done a good job most of my life not ruining others’ enjoyment of the Superman films, staying out of conversations that go down that path. But now seemed like the right time to let my hater flag fly. (Though I did as a youngling enjoy the violence in the 4th shitty movie, SUPERMAN VS. FLYING NUCLEAR-SUN GUY WITH POINTY NAILS.)

    You can keep your fandom and appreciation for Reeve’s performance, whatever, sorry. Other than the need to fill out the tights with impressive sinew, that character could have been played by Woody Allen.

    You can keep your love for Bryan Singer’s low-key family drama that happens to have a couple grand set pieces & f/x that remind us it’s about some invincible dude and the idiots he calls friends. I don’t think I’ll join in.

    As someone who’s unfortunately been compared to the MAN OF STEEL auteur once almost said, “I don’t change my opinions for anybody. Pussies do that.”

    I’m optimistic that Zack Snyder is going to dominate this source material and give me a phenomenal film, and I’m equally pessimistic that nerdkind nationwide will berate him for any stylistic choice they notice onscreen and will lament that the movie ever fell to his hands. If the movie doesn’t suck in their opinion then they will give Chris Nolan all the credit somehow. The only way this can be a win for Snyder is if the movie is so goddamn good & successful that it forces them to shut the fuck up (and maybe re-assess the rest of his excellent oeuvre). I’m confident he’s up for the challenge, and even if he doesn’t blow my mind again I’m confident that MAN OF STEEL will be far better than all the preceding filmic adaptations of Supes.

  26. Ok, I understand.This movie is going to cater to an entire new audience of which I am entirekly excluded. Fine. I will go back to my Ultimate Edition and sulk.

  27. I’m with Neal, this looks excellent, and I think Goyer and Snyder sound like a perfect team. As for the score, I think it would be silly to re-use the old theme for a new version of Superman. I know the Singer one (which I thought was pretty good) seemed to glide by purely on people’s nostalgia for the old movies and fail only when it tried to do something new and interesting, but I’m glad they’re giving up on that approach.

    I’ve never been a Hans Zimmer fan either, but do you seriously not like what he did with the Batman movies? That was the first time in like 15 years that he tried something new, and he hit it out of the park. It’s not his fault that every trailer made since then has tried to copy him.

    Also, you are wrong to assume that he’ll just rehash what he did for Batman with Superman. He’s already been interviewed about how it had to be completely different, and (at least according to Harry Knowles) the music in this trailer is from the actual score.

    I wonder what that nut from the newsgroups, KalElFan, thinks about this one?

  28. Well,we will just have to see what we will see,won´t we?

  29. Mouth, you ever watch the deleted scenes on Superman IV? Amazing.

  30. I guess it was just a matter of time. How come the goddamn STARWARS theme is so special and not SUPERMAN? Well, enjoy…

  31. The deleted scense of SUPERMAN IV are MAN OF STEEL

  32. Oddly that MOS trailer reminded me so much of the Donner movie. Not just because its the same character and basically the same first act more or less, its that seemingly ambitious arch for myth, a legend being recreated as a legend and not just simply an action movie about a dude in tights. Grand entertainment, if you will. (BATMAN BEGINS, in trying to ape Donner’s SUPERMAN, aimed for this as well.)Rewawtching the Donner movie recently, I was struck by how Donner basically produced a reverent origin story, like he was making an old Hollywood Jesus/Bible movie you know? Except in the 70s when he was also influenced by the films of that time with the disaster pictures and 007 with the giant sets.

    I recommend people go read Roger Ebert’s Great Movies essay on SUPERMAN.

    Mr. Majestyk – I have to agree with you: saying Reeves couldn’t act is just the WTF post of the day for me.

    Mouth – Dude I think Snyder is getting hosed regardless. If it works, Nolan “reigned” in Snyder. If it fails, well Snyder was the director. That’s what they get for hiring the FUCKER LUNCH hack. Sorry but Nolan is the brand-name filmmaker here, not the DAWN OF THE DEAD 2.0 guy. Its like those 80s movies when Spielberg produced for Dante or Hopper or whoever. His name was the one in big bold letters, not them.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if MOS explodes this summer as a super hit, will WB then park their brinks trucks at Nolan’s house and get him to get that fucking JUSTICE LEAGUE movie off the ground finally?

  33. Man, this new one looks excellent, and that’s coming from someone who liked SUPERMAN RETURNS. It’s a little like the approach they took to the cartoons in the 90’s – BATMAN was dark, a bit gothic and the used the noir-ish aspects of Art Deco, while SUPERMAN was bright, optimistic and used the futuristic/streamlined aspects of Art Deeco for it’s more cosmic approach – that seems like an equivalent to the Nolan Batman universe and Nolan-produced Supes one.

    The music sounded good too and I like Williams, but I also liked the Zimmer Bat-scores. This also sounds (from the trailer at any rate) to be kind of minimalist but if he can get the kind of power (and dare I say emotion) into it that he got into the score for THE THIN RED LINE or the theme from THE PACIFIC I will be well chuffed.

  34. I hope this movie bomb

  35. Also, apparently Superman is dating Gina Carano. That should appeal to this place.

  36. RRA, for a would-be insider, you betray an astounding non-comprehension of the sometimes-useful word “hack.”

    No one who writes & directs his own original thing is a “hack,” and SP
    (or “FUCKER LUNCH,” in your profane Richard Roeperian way of, ahem, cleverly phrasing it)
    was not an adaptation of other material or a journeyman project. That’s literally the opposite of what you were trying to say there, presumably b/c you just dislike Snyder that much or enjoy writing libelously about him that much. (Wait, I forget, did you ever even see SP? Or just look at the $ numbers?)

    Anyway, I look forward to the cognitive dissonance this will cause among so many people when it comes out if it’s actually good.

  37. Shoot – I wouldn’t say the exclusion of the Superman theme doesn’t mean people don’t think it’s amazing. It is and will always be a classic. But since it’s a reboot and has an entirely different style it makes sense. I certainly hope they keep the Star Wars theme in the next SW trilogy b/c it’s continuing the same story and will probably have several of the same characters, but 30 years from now if we have a SW reboot (or they make those side stories in the same universe) I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried a different theme.

    On the other hand, I actually think Danny Elfman’s theme to Burton’s Batman was awesome and catchy and memorable too, and it wouldn’t have been TOO out of place in Nolan’s trilogy. I’m not the biggest fan of Zimmer’s Dark Knight work, but his reputation as a hack makes no sense – he has a lot of great, influential scores in him – Backdraft is so good I even get chills when they re-use it in Iron Chef reruns.

  38. “(Wait, I forget, did you ever even see SP? Or just look at the $ numbers?) ”

    Mouth – wow G.I. Joe, did I really piss you off there by trashing SUCKER PUNCH? I clearly angered you there. Yeah I didn’t like it. In fact I’ve not been impressed at all to be quite frankly by Senor Snyder’s filmography. (and SUCKER PUNCH, a weird situation where many locals admit its not that good yet they admire it because…I don’t know. At a site where we strive for excellence, we settle for less sometimes.)

    You all remember when I threw a hissy fit when Snyder was hired for MAN OF STEEL? Remember? I hope I’m proven wrong and that Snyder actually delivers a good fucking movie. God knows I would rather come off as the pompous fool and get a good Superman movie than be proven right and get a turkey blockbuster. Prove me wrong Snyder, you mother fucking hack. Prove that you are NOT a hack! Make me your bitch!

    Limey – you read the Internet campaigns/speculations to get her to be Wonder Woman?

    Speaking of Internet campaigns, I personally love that small movement out there to get Hayley Atwell to play the new Laura Croft in the upcoming TOMB RAIDER movie reboot.

    And I fucking love that fancasting. Beautiful, nice actress, and a legit Brit too.

  39. What definition of “hack” are we using here? I’m confuzzled.

  40. RRA – Yeah we understand you didn’t like Sucker Punch, but I’m still not sure you understand the definition of hack.

  41. Mouth/neal2zod – I thought hackery within cinema was consistent sub-par filmmaking? Wait its not anymore? Fuck when did that definition change happen?

    In other news, Michael Bay is NOT a hack!

    *cue “Cool” by The Time*

  42. Okay, to be fair, “hack” could mean “author of mediocre literature or journalism,” which could be applicable.
    It’s dickish of me to single out a semantic issue in order to shoot down a fellow talkbacker; apologies.

    Thing is, as I’ve said before, I didn’t like SP the 1st time I saw it. I said iffy-to-bad things about it in the old “Nerd Shit” thread and the original SP thread back in March 2011. But I proved myself to be a myopic idiot once I rewatched it several months later. Most of the narrative-filmatistic elements
    (the questionable voiceover; the invincibility of the fantasy personae; the symbolism; the parallelism; the ambiguously ambiguous ending; etc.)
    that I had missed or misread in the theatre the first time clicked into place, though I still disliked the crying & Gorsski’s accent.

    Then when I saw it a 3rd time, I realized it was a tight story, and a story within a story within a story that isn’t the first story and is a commentary on other stories but removed from those stories, plus a misunderstood pro-feminist tract, and an almost transcendent film, containing virtually all the filmatistic things I somehow didn’t initially notice or appreciate but always enjoy

    (theatre/audience conventions; subversion of theatre/audience conventions; malleable identities; show-offy but purposeful camerawork & editing; fucking great music; pregnant details throughout the script; subjective re-interpretation of real events in a filtered unreal world; dragons; Vanessa Hudgens killing about as many enemy combatants in 20 seconds as I’ve killed in my years-long career; etc.),

    and I found the ability to both surrender to SP’s musicality and dig into its many layers. It’s unique in every sense. It kicks an unholy amount of ass, especially the extended cut.

    Whatever, for most of 2011 I too was among the 80%+ of people who didn’t like it, who thought Snyder fucked up. But I’ve since learned. SUCKER PUNCH is a great movie and a Great Film.

    And that gives me hope for MAN OF STEEL.

  43. Also Superman can suck my Superdick.

  44. Love the trailer and for what it’s worth, geek response has been ecstatic to it, with some even saying they’ve FINALLY gotten it right. I hope all the expectations that Nolan will make it all super realistic and grounded will die out now in light of this trailer with the images of giant spaceships with laser beams and a Superman punching a guy across the sky several times. I don’t see it as dour at all. There definitely seems to be an arc in it of Superman coming from a place of uncertainty and doubt, but getting to a brighter place. That one little snippet of him talking to Lois sells me on him having that easy confidence that Superman should possess.

  45. I just hope there’s a scene where Lex Luthor steals 40 cakes (that’s as many as four tens)

  46. Do you guys also dislike Watchmen?

    Snyder, von Trier and Tarantino seems like a pretty ridiculous list of directors to have blacklisted. At least they make interesting films.

  47. I’ve been a huge fan of THE WATCHMEN since the comics came out and love the movie as well.

  48. I too think the Watchmen movie is pretty underrated

  49. If Carano and Cavill have children, their kids will be the master race.

  50. Renfield, it depends on your definition of interesting. Just because you put some weird or at least good looking shit in your movie, doesn’t make it interesting to me.

  51. I’m not a fan of Snyders movies but I certainly wouldn’t say he’s a hack – in fact you could make a pretty strong argument that he’s an auteur, his style is so distinctive.

    The new Man of Steel trailer is excellent, pushes a lot of buttons for me emotionally/narratively/visually. Also does a great job of making me intrigued/excited for the movie but without feeling like Ive seen the whole movie already. Can’t wait.

    I’m pretty sure that Superman is dating Gina Carano, not Henry Cavill. Only way that pairing makes sense to me.

  52. Knox Harrington

    April 18th, 2013 at 4:21 am

    At this stage, I think it’s impossible for me to not like a Superman film. He’s just way too personal a character to me. Superman is like Jesus in my household. You don’t badmouth Supes.

    I grew up watching the Reeves movies and feel about them the way most people feel about the original Star Wars movies. When Singer made Superman Returns, I at first thought that he was gonna go with an all new approach, but was so pleasantly surprised when he ended up making a sequel to the Donner films. I still love Superman Returns and all its beautiful melodrama.

    With Snyder’s version, we’ll finally get to see that all new approach, and all the trailers so far have left me in awe, man. Man of Steel seems far more thoughtful than I could have ever imagined it would be. This year is Superman’s 75th birthday and I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas. This is, without a doubt, my most anticipated film of the year.

  53. Knox Harrington

    April 18th, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Oh, and I’m really glad they’re not using the Williams score. It’s certainly iconic, and I do love it, but Superman had been around for decades before that score was even imagined. There’s much more to the character than a single piece of music or even a single film. Star Wars and Indiana Jones were born in the cinema. Superman wasn’t.

    I’m happy they picked Zimmer. I like him. That Thin Red Line score is still one of my favourites.

  54. I love Superman. To the point that I saw this piece of shit twice at the cinema despite not really liking it the first time. I was supporting the team. I won’t lie like I wasn’t waiting my entire life for a modern reboot. I’ve been wanting to see that movie since I was 5 and realized they weren’t making anymore Superman movies. That shit is MY Star Wars Episode VII. So it was definitely refreshing to wake up to that trailer I saw yesterday. Here’s hoping the actual movie measures up cause SUPERMAN RETURNS had an awesome trailer too.

  55. Maybe I’m just biased against it because I saw Henry Cavill in HELLRAISER VIII: HELLWORLD, where is performance is terrible even in the context of being the 5th DTV HELLRAISER sequel. I dunno, I’m hoping it will be fun. The trailer seems to me to have a worrisome ratio of brooding to zooming. But maybe this will be good news for people who take Supes more seriously than I do?

  56. The original Paul

    April 19th, 2013 at 4:55 am

    I’m kinda in the opposite position as Knox here. With the exception of Superman 2, which I’m a good deal more easy on than most (I don’t mind the stupid shit like Superman taking out an enemy with a giant logo, given that it’s pretty much established by that time that he pulls new powers out of his ass on a daily basis anyway), I honestly think it’s impossible to make a Superman film that I LIKE.

    Which isn’t to say I haven’t had fun with them. I think the first half of the first Superman film is damn near a masterpiece, with John Williams’ score capturing the “mood” of the film perfectly, Margot Kidder doing a stellar job as Lois, and Christopher Reeve pulling off a perfect double-turn as Superman and Clark Kent. Unfortunately, the moment Lex Luthor is introduced – by an idiot in a sewer, no less – the film does a Django Unchained. It not only loses me completely, it annoys me. A lot.

    Superman 3… I give it credit for trying some pretty crazy shit, although most of it is pretty ineffective. Having two Christopher Reeves face off actually works really well – seriously, watch that scene again – and they had the good sense to get rid of Lex Luthor entirely. As for Superman 4, this one is definitely in “so bad it’s good” territory, but there’s no way that it’s as offensively awful as Superman Returns.

    And as for Singer’s version… look, it looks terrible (seriously, watch the scenes in the Daily Planet offices again and compare those to the ones in Superman 1 or 2. It’s like “Returns” takes place on a stage set), the acting is terrible, everybody in it is miscast, Kevin Spacey gives his worst performance that I’ve seen by a clear mile, they bring back Luthor’s two inept sidekicks (seriously, WHY??!!!) and a lot of it is just really, really dumb. What I can’t get over, though, is how mean-spirited this film is. There’s one likeable character in it, who gets completely screwed over; the rest, including Superman himself, are a bunch of charmless assholes. I find it incredible that this terrible film was done by the same guy who did “The Usual Suspects”. Yeesh.

    If this new one is going to work, then I think there’s a few things they HAVE to do.

    1) Either drop Luthor completely (which would probably be the best idea, since all efforts to put him onscreen so far have failed horribly) or at least make him somewhat intimidating. The impression I get from people who read the comics is that this character is pretty iconic. You wouldn’t know it from the films.

    2) Get the tone right. It has to be fun but it also has to have weight. The humour has to come from the characters, not from pratfalls and idiots. (Margot Kidder’s first line in the first movie is: “Anybody know how to spell slaughter?” That’s the kind of thing that I mean.)

    3) Most importantly, define the characters well. Again, Kidder’s performance comes to mind here. And note that making Superman a posturing asshole deadbeat Dad, as per Superman Returns, does not count.

  57. Luther in the comics is kinda like an evil Bruce Wayne. Unbelievably intelligent, relentless and convinced that he’s fighting for the good of mankind.

    But I’m glad he’s not the main baddie in the new film. I also read that there will be no Kryptonite in Man of Steel, which is a brilliant decision, in my opinion. Kryptonite has become a crutch for lazy writing over the years. I’m glad they’re looking past it. Maybe some day someone will be able to do something new and creative with Kryptonite again, but until then, leave it out.

  58. I think they used Kryptonite brilliantly in SUPERMAN III. Gus Gorman tried to create it, but failed with the vital component and instead of killing Supes, it turned him into an asshole. That was fucking great!

  59. I never liked the old silver age depiction of Luthor as an out-and-proud criminal mastermind/mad scientist. That’s not how you fight Superman. You can’t come right at him with robots and death rays and shit, because we all know that’s not gonna stop him. Then once he lays hands on you, it’s game over. He’s just gotta fly your ass to the nearest jail and the authorities will do the rest. What you gotta do is hide behind a veil of legitimacy. Superman isn’t a vigilante, so he’s not just gonna bust through your window and take you out without due process. So as long as Lex has the world fooled into believing he’s an upstanding citizen, he can’t be touched. It evens the playing field, because then Supes has to use his mind, not his powers, to win.

  60. I may have said this before, but SUPERMAN III is not as bad as people say it is. It´s much more inventive than most people give it credit for. Clark Kent not only re-visit his past but also visit his darker side and fighting ioff missiles in a videogamey way. Robert Vaughn is an excellent Lutheresque villain. The villains sister is probably the scariest woman ever,especially when she turns into a robot

    Also,how come the website is so unstable? I had to rewrite my whole post again and I forgot half of what I wrote the first time. Just asking.

  61. I know a few people who have been exposed to asshole-kryptonite.

  62. CJ-

    Tried to think of a rebuttal but it really just comes down to: having weird shit in a movie automatically makes it interesting in my book :). Movie could suck, I could hate it, but I would at least lend it my interest.

    I kinda hate Pascal Laugier (I know, I know) and suspect he’s engaging in the basest sort of rabble-rousing, just daring you to be offended by the utterly offensive ideas his films contain. But I will see — am excited to see — anything the guy releases. Having a distinct voice trumps having a voice that happens to jive with my worldview, artistically or philosophically or whatever.

    I mean honestly, I’m even kinda curious about that forthcoming Michael Bay comedy…

  63. I just saw Megamind, which I wasn’t really expecting much from (I’m honestly tired of Will Ferrell and I thought it was going to be the same movie as Despicable Me, which I also just saw) – but it was actually excellent and kind of a brilliant spin on Superman. Whereas most movies would have stopped with “It’s Superman, but from Lex Luthor/Zod’s perspective!”, Megamind gets all that done in the first 10 minutes, and then goes off in so many directions I felt like I was watching the movie’s sequels halfway through, a la that bonus act of The Dark Knight (the structure may be a throwback to the Superman serials too perhaps?)

    Anyways, the complicated Luthor-Supes dynamic, as it’s been portrayed in a lot of the animated movies and the comic books, has never come close to being explored in his four(!) attempts on the big screen. I for one am really glad he’s sitting Man of Steel out, and I’m actually hoping he doesn’t even come around for part 2 since the whole “put the famous villain in the second one” gimmick has kind of grown stale already after Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes 2, and I’m guessing Star Trek 2.

  64. I know in the comic books he’s the same age as supes, but really only one guy has got to play Luthor: Bryan Cranston.

  65. Wait a second, we’re saying we don’t want Lex Luthor to be in MoS 2 because other completely unrelated franchises had famous villains in their sequels? Does that strike anybody else as utterly random?

  66. Knox Harrington

    April 20th, 2013 at 3:27 am

    No, as far as I know Luthor was always older than Supes. I think that same age shit only began with that Smallville TV show.

    And seriously, that show can go eat a bowl of dicks.

  67. Perhaps Lex Luthor was held back a few classes.

  68. “Wait a second, we’re saying we don’t want Lex Luthor to be in MoS 2 because other completely unrelated franchises had famous villains in their sequels? Does that strike anybody else as utterly random?”

    renfield – I think what we’re trying to get across is that for Superman sequels we might rather have Brainiac and Metallo and Mister Mxyzptlk and other good Superman villains that the movies hadn’t used yet before bringing back Luthor. We’ve had what 6 Superman movies and no Brainiac yet? Bah. (I guess SUPERMAN III was supposed to be Brainiac before the Salkinds changed their mind and replaced him with a William Buckley-acting Robert Vaughn.)

    But you know who should be brought in for MOS2? Supergirl. I’m not kidding, and it could absolutely work.

  69. I nominate Amber Heard.

  70. Might I just say that after finding Superman Returns

  71. The original Paul

    April 20th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Knox – you read my mind, damn you!

  72. Great post there, Lindsey. You forgot to end your sentence with a full stop, though.

  73. I’m against Supergirl in all her forms. Either Superman is the last survivor of his race or he’s not. You can’t have it both ways.

    Amber Heard would look pretty fetching in that costume, though.

  74. Knox Harrington

    April 20th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I’m pro-Supergirl in all her forms. Her Helen Slater form, her new slutty comic book form, her teenage cartoon form that makes me feel like an old perv, and her potential Amber Heard form.

    Someone who knows how to work Photoshop needs to make us one of those Megan-Fox-as-Wonder-Woman type pictures with Amber in the red skirt and cape. You know, for educational purposes.

  75. RRA, I am pro-Brainiac as well. The 45 second cinematic at the beginning of DC Universe Online where Lex Luthor unites all the heroes and villains against Brainiac is the most chilling Superman film ever made.

  76. “Either Superman is the last survivor of his race or he’s not. You can’t have it both ways.”

    Mr. Majestyk – Superman is the last survivor of Krypton. Supergirl came from a Kryptonian colony.

    Then again, the Bruce Timm cartoon series made it that she was the last survivor of that colony.

    I think she works in the same way Batman/Robin does in that it gives Superman somebody to relate to on a surrogate-parent/sibling level that which he can’t really with anybody else. Plus the Timm series showed that you could do good fun with her that you can’t with Supes: She can be spunky, a smart ass, wreckless, etc.

    Plus I’m all for more kickass chicks in these superhero/comic booky movies.

    Your stern stance against Supergirl makes me fear what you think of Krypto.

    Knox – I actually saw SUPERGIRL for the first time recently and….I won’t blow my load on that movie until Vern (potentially) reviews it along with the other Superman movies. But they really did a cheeseball, boring movie and really blew it. (I did like that scene when she’s advised to quit acting smart or else she’ll be hated. Imagine if the movie had hit upon such poignant, feminine observations, instead of being a rehash of the previous Superman movies, and a piss poor one at that. On the bright side, Peter O’Toole looked fucking fantastic. The forgotten 3rd man in the Siegfreid & Roy act, he was.)

  77. I prefer Power Girl to Supergirl, as she’s got more of a normal person attitude and isn’t bogged down so much the knowledge of Krypton and all that, and she’s a bit more believable as a badass.

    As for Brainiac, there was a guy on a message board somewhere who claimed that he’d been to one of the test screenings for MOS, and said there’s something in the movie that MIGHT be set up for Brainiac, but it’s also connected to Lex Luthor, who we do know at least exists in this new franchises world with how in the new trailer there’s a LexCorp building in that shot with the meteors/missiles(?).

  78. If they only have Lex once though, maybe they’d be best having him in a movie with Doomsday in it so there’s an actual intelligent villain pulling the strings of the beast?

  79. “I prefer Power Girl to Supergirl, as she’s got more of a normal person attitude and isn’t bogged down so much the knowledge of Krypton and all that, and she’s a bit more believable as a badass.”

    Stu – don’t forget boobs.

  80. I think Lex Luthor is the best villain because he’s the only mother fucker ruthless enough to steal 40 cakes, that’s as many as four tens and that’s terrible

  81. Griff – Believe it or not, I actually once owned that children’s book with that memorable stanza. (Ah yes, Luthor in his purple disco costume of death. Good times. The shit that probably spawned the SuperDickery website.)

  82. If Superman was the last survivor of Krypton and Supergirl froma colony, Where does Krypto
    come from? A kryptonian space-kennel?

  83. Shoot – I guess the local comic experts like Broddie can correct me if I’m wrong, but the Silver Age Krypto (yes there are many, but nevermind) was basically Kal-El’s dog back on Krypto when he was a baby. Daddy Jor-El wanted to test that rocket first before firing the fruit of his loins into space, so he sent the dog packing and the rocket went of course. (Just remember this animal cruelty when you see MAN OF STEEL saintify Jor-El.)

    Eventually somehow that rocket crashed on Earth, Krypto haven’t aged but Superman (or Superboy to be accurate) was a teenager by then and hey he got his dog back. Wears a cape and kicks ass with his master. And the Kryptonian dog now has Superman’s powers, but relative to his size as a dog and has super canine IQ. (Which makes him, as smart as a dumb human?)

    I adore such wackyness from the Superman mythos. For whatever reason such things can just work with Superman naturally, but Batman it just comes off as stupid. No idea why really. Then again there’s something absurdly awesome in superheroes having superpets who have to keep their own identities secret or else be confused as that guy’s dog. Its so stupid, but charmingly logical in its illogicity.

    Streaky the Supercat however can go to hell.

  84. Knox – “I think that same age shit only began with that Smallville TV show.”

    It actually started in the silver age.

    RRA – Yep. Grant Morrison brought that concept back to with his New 52 ACTION COMICS run. Except now Krypto came back into Kal-El’s life by way of the phantom zone where Krypto was trapped for a long time.

  85. Also, new Krypto is genetically engineered with some of Kal-El’s DNA to create a bond of supreme loyalty between them.

  86. Stu – does that technically count as beastiality?

  87. I like it when Lex Luthor is portrayed as a super-atheist, a guy who thinks Superman is a crutch who is holding humanity back from achieving it’s true potential. What’s the point in striving for excellence if the best you can hope for is second place?

    I loved the first few issues of New 52 ACTION, with blue-jeans, working-class Superman standing up for the little guy and being a superdick to corrupt authority figures. I lost interest after that, but it’s cool that he brought back Krypto. I like that all of Morrison’s DC comics basically flip two middle fingers to New 52 continuity and take place on Earth-Morrison.

    Anyone played that INJUSTICE game? Apparently there was a tie-in comic series where Superman goes crazy because he accidentally punches pregnant Lois Lane into space and Metropolis explodes, so obviously this is from the same guys who did that MORTAL KOMBAT reboot. I liked that game because it captured the x-treme dumbness of MORTAL KOMBAT perfectly, but INJUSTICE seems like the forced-grittiness and ugly character design of contemporary DC comics taken to it’s logical conclusion. Might be good for a laugh, though?

  88. Crust: I think an important facet of that interpretation of Lex is that it’s really just a rationalization. Sure, he thinks Superman is holding humanity back from attaining its full potential…as long as it’s understood that Lex himself is humanity’s full potential. It’s jealousy, pure and simple. Here he is, a guy who conquered the business and technology world with smart and will. A king among men. He should be the world’s biggest star, yet who does everyone look up to? The guy who just happened to be born special. It’s not fair. But what Lex always fails to realize is that people look up to Supes not just because he has superpowers, but because he’s a good person. He could rule us all like pets, but he chooses to serve us instead. Meanwhile Lex can bust his ass his whole live attaining ever more wealth and power, but he’s still an asshole who only cares about himself. He could gain all of Superman’s powers tomorrow and still be second best.

    Anyway, yeah, Lex is a fascinating villain who’s never been fully explored in cinema. Hackman’s performance was entertainingly hammy, but there’s no depth there, and Spacey’s one-note cover version was easily the worst part of RETURNS. It’s a part he could have owned, since he excels at conveying a certain regal petulance that is Lex’s defining characteristic, but Singer was determined to follow Donner and Lester’s example of treating the character like comic relief. It’s hard enough to come up with a credible threat for the most powerful man in the universe without making his nemesis a venal, bumbling coward.

  89. “and Spacey’s one-note cover version was easily the worst part of RETURNS.”

    c’mon, lemme hear you say it, just once

    you’re insane

    NO! not that, c’mon the other thing…

    Superman will never

    WROOOOOOOOOONG!!!

  90. and of course

    c’mon, lemme hear you say it, just once

    it’s ridge racer! riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge racer!

    NO! not that, c’mon the other thing…

    the Playstation 3 will retail for five hundred and ninety nine US dollars

    WROOOOOOOOOONG!!!

  91. Hey Griff, if I wanted to see people beat internet memes into the ground I’d hang out on 4chan.

    Maj: As usual, you are correct. That’s why I love the ending of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN: Lex Luthor gains Superman’s powers but what finally breaks him is seeing the interconnectedness of humanity through Superman’s eyes and realising the extent of his own selfishness and myopathy.

    RETURNS was completely hamstrung by it’s adherence to the Donner/Lester series, which I’ve never liked very much.

  92. Griff, I can’t make heads or tails of your posts lately. Are you quoting Youtube clips or something?

  93. I’m sorry guys, I just couldn’t resists bringing out the moth-balled 2006 era internet memes when Kevin Spacey’s Luthor came up

    and Vern, what I’m referencing is this Superman Returns clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f05S9x7BarE

  94. I´m not sure I even knew what an “internetmeme” was back in 2006. I remember those days with fondness and nostalgia.

  95. I remember 2006 with with fondness and nostalgia BECAUSE it was the year I was introduced to memes and many lols were had

  96. Cool a place to talk about Man of Steel here! I’m actually really looking forward to it. I have admit of still not being a fan of Sucker Punch but have enjoyed the rest of his movies on some level. The guy definitely can make some cool scenes.

    My main hope is that the film shows Clark Kent as a good character. My problem with Superman Returns is that they made Clark an almost non-existent character. It was definitely the ‘Clark Kent is Superman’s criticism of the human race’ vibe. MOS seems to be taking the idea of exploring Supes Kryptonian godliness as well as his human values which sounds really good to me

  97. Bender – to me its something Majestyk mentioned briefly earlier, that really Superman could’ve easily be Earth dictator and be unstoppable because how can you stop him unless some Kryptonite luckily falls from the sky? I’m cynical, in our world if such a person did exist, he would be a mortal God and feared as such.

    I’m fond of Donner’s movie, but its established on the idea that this was never a certainty because of his upbringing and yada. But there’s always been a slight logical flaw to that mindset I suppose. (Then again, maybe he read comics as a kid and never thought more beyond that level of super powers = superheroism.)

    When we think of dictators, we think of evil beings purposely want to conquer and rule over everybody. But what if Superman wanted to be dictator in the name of doing the right thing? Stop famine, war, pointless poverty, all that jazz? I mean even the Justice League cartoon played around with that concept with an alternate reality where the JL did take over the Earth. Worse since this guy is from the Midwest America and the Heartland, flooded with the religion and Evangelicalism and all that…why wouldn’t he rationalize this dictatorship by saying that God dictated his existence for this mission?

    I mean what makes Superman decide to ultimately be a benevolent god, to be a hero instead of a conqueror? If MOS can tap into that spectrum, we could very well have a pretty damn good origin story.

  98. If anybody would like to see what would happen if Supes was not as kind to Earth after a point you should probably read Mark Waid’s IRREDEEMABLE. He’s one of the greatest Superman writers of all time and totally gets why the Kents were so damn important and how much Kal-El values the gift they left him with (Clark Kent). No better writer was fit to deconstruct what Superman had become.

    SUPERMAN: RED SON is also interesting since it asks and answers the question “What if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union?”

  99. Broddie, and the answer is?

  100. I remember a Superman comic in which all swedes were portrayed as anti-americans and hated Superman intensely. I think it was called SUPERMAN IN STOCKHOLM

  101. I don´t think Superman came back…

  102. I got to be honest, if I had Superman’s powers I’d probably be a Superdick, because what the fuck are you gonna do about it asshole? I’m Superman bitch!

  103. Well, I think I’m clearly pretty alone on this one, but it just comes across to me as stupidity. Most people if they think about the Salem witch trials they think about railroading and persecution of outsiders and the dangers of mob mentality and a faulty justice system. Zombie thinks of naked witches and goats and fire. I’m hard on him because I see so much brilliance in him on the surface level that I wish I could get more brains out of him. But maybe I should’ve learned my lesson from Zack Snyder. I used to want more substance out of him but after WATCHMEN and SUCKER PUNCH (even though I liked both) I realized he’d be better just making whatever shiny exciting thing he wants and not be trying to impress people like me with his ideas.

  104. The comparison between Supe and a mortal god is good, I think. You have to really believe in him to like him, because he doesn’t do shit to help people with serious problems.

  105. Vern – I think you have to let go of expectations or else risk overlooking their actual contributions. Reminded me of Pauline Kael pissy at Robert Redford for not choosing the right projects in her mind, and which turned her against him. (Nevermind that when she offered him drinks later, he jilted her. That might explain mostly for that animosity.)

    Reminds me somewhat of some critics and how they thought of John Carpenter after HALLOWEEN. That movie, he was primed as the new Hitchcock…and to say the least his follow-up output, they were disapointed by when he failed to meet up to their expectations. Which of course ignores that Carpenter for most of his career was one very dependable, genre-prolific (and successful) director who made whole lot of good movies. Nevermind in my book THE THING is better than HALLOWEEN, but I disgress.

    Of course I’m not saying Snyder (or Zombie) are on the level of Carpenter. No no no. (You reading this clearly Mouth?) But I think you have to let directors be themselves. Sometimes when they defy your expectations are the wonderful surprises in the life of a cinemaphile. Or the worst moments.

    pegsman – well Supes tried to cheer Batman up once, but he tried to shiv him with a Kryptonite-tipped blade and that was that.

  106. Damn you Fred, I popped in my unwatched copy of Superman IV (part of the 4 pack on DVD from a few years back) just to see those infamous deleted scenes and ended up watching the whole movie, and I must have lost my mind because I actually kinda liked it this time. What the hell is wrong with me.

    Let’s get one thing straight – it’s not exactly “good” – the story is silly, the FX are still atrociously bad, but it’s literally a freaking Golan-Globus movie featuring Superman. It’s action packed and short and sweet and to the point – almost 45 minutes shorter than the bloated Superman III (which I loved as a kid, but now realize it’s just a few incredible scenes and ideas buried in endless “comedy” scenes).

    Reeve is great as always; his two speeches at the beginning and end are great. Hackman is awesome, and he actually has the most interaction/dialogue with Reeve in the entire series. I liked that this is the only movie that addresses why he should stay out of human affairs (like Star Trek’s Prime Directive). I liked the double-date scene where he has to be both Clark and Superman (I kinda can’t believe it took them 4 movies to do this). I like that this movie addresses tabloids and media responsibility, and gives Perry White something to do. And it addresses mankind’s tendency to destroy itself, and Superman’s never-ending faith in humanity despite all this. Plus I like that Superman defeats the bad guy again by using his mind, which Reeve did in 3 of his 4 movies. Oh I also like that Jim Broadbent shows up as one of Lex’s cronies.

    Maybe I’ve just been too exposed to the excruciating twists and turns of Lindelof and Orci/Kurtzman, but I found the simplicity of Superman IV refreshing. It’s campy 80s schlock but I had a better time watching it than I’ve had at the movies in a while.

  107. I also appreciate the desperate attempt to appeal to the John Hughes crowd by including Jon Cryer as Poochy Luthor.

  108. MOS is currently 65% at RT, which for reference sake SUPERMAN RETURNS is 76% over there. The nerd bloggers are already pissy and claiming the mainstream critics don’t like MOS because they don’t know Superman from the comics. (Harry Knowles pulled that today.)

    Bullshit. I’ve not seen MOS, I’ll see it tomorrow night, but what garbage. In the end movies stand as movies, and that’s what people grade them as. Guess what nerds: Most film critics are paid to review movies, and most aren’t nerds. I understand being a fan might give you a level of appreciating (or despising) the adaptation process and all those damn easter eggs and references and stuff. But this nerd knee-jerk to the less than stellar mainstream love for MOS just reeks of nerd bullshit.

    I mean Vern never read a single issue of Judge Dredd yet he liked DREDD.

  109. I really hope MOS doesn’t disappoint me after the disappointment of Into Darkness, or else I’m gonna be pissed

  110. You know its getting bad (and desperate) when the nerds on Twitter are now claiming the critics are “biased” because they’ve been conditioned by Marvel and “kissing their ass.”

    Umm yeah so this alternate reality the rest of us didn’t live in, Nolan didn’t make those [redacted] movies that at RT are between 85% and 92%, including one considered by many to be the best of its genre? The same Nolan blockbusters (including INCEPTION) who for better or worse Hollywood has ripped off in recent years?

    Funny how Vern in his AVENGERS review said he expected 25% of the same audience who “loved” that movie to in a year later to shit on the film. Good timing with that prophecy. Its partisan logic-twisting nonsense to get the end result that you want.

    Or hell its a good movie and the critics don’t get it, I don’t know. I’ll find out tomorrow.

    EDIT – also Knowles called MOS the best superhero movie ever. Nordling compared it to LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Hey AICN hyperbole, I love it. (But what if they’re right?!?)

  111. I’m getting flashbacks from the time when Snyder’s 300 came out and all nerd critics, especially on AICN were creaming their pants, when it was in fact one awful movie.

    (Not saying MOS is awful. I haven’t seen it. But y’know…Zack Snyder…)

  112. I’m always baffled when people here (including Vern) make sweeping statements that “the nerds”, whoever they are, are saying this or that. How are you you coming by this information? If you find their opinions so risible, why are you diligently reading their blogs and tweets? I have maybe a handful of critics whose opinions I could give a fuck about. I’m not going to waste my time reading random bloggers or, God forbid, Mr H Knowles.

  113. Crustacean, I still read some of those guys but I think you’re right about sweeping generalizations about “the nerds” and I’m trying to cut down.

  114. Is anyone else more bothered by Goyer’s involvement than Synder’s? WB is giving him Justice League as well, is there a shortage of writers over in Hollywood? I just find Goyer to be so underwhelming.

  115. Vern: It’s cool, I know you’re just joking around. It’s not like I think you’re unfairly maligning nerds(*), it’s just sometimes you’ll attribute an opinion to “nerds”, and I’ll be baffled as to where you’ve got it from. Like in your review of THE MUPPETS where you call out nerds for preferring a substance-free alternate happy ending, which is an opinion I’ve never heard expressed by anyone anywhere. I guess it helps that I don’t read AICN.

    (*) Although most people would probably call me a nerd, I really hate the whole “nerd culture” thing and I’m a little grossed out by how eager people are to label themselves as such. You can be into a thing without being into being into a thing, you know? Of course, when I grew up being a nerd wasn’t as socially acceptable as it is today.

  116. Anyway I saw MAN OF STEEL and I hate to say this, but I agree mostly with the critics. Not a bad film, but I was indifferent to it beyond the visceral level of a Roland Emmerich disaster movie. I never quite connected with the story, the hero and his quest like I did with say BATMAN BEGINS and Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN and IRON MAN and the other best such superhero origin stories, as the best myths in general tend to. (Hell even CAPTAIN AMERICA, I was charmed by that no-quit French fry Steve Rogers.)

    Or let me give an example: That brief moment between Supes and Meloni, when fear and ignorance is defeated by genuine human decency (if done by an alien), I felt more for that throwaway moment than I did the whole origin story and all the emotional tugging it tried to pull on me. I give the movie credit for trying, but it doesn’t really work. I would love to lay all the blame at Snyder, but Nolan/Goyer also deserve blame too. It doesn’t help that with this movie’s pacing problems, when the big expensive show-stopping climax happens….I wanted this movie to wrap itself up so I could go home. Whatever. (Contrast that with AVENGERS where me and Mouth and many others just ate up the tag-teaming between the team against the aliens.)

    I’ll tell you the other major problem I had with this, which I’m certain most locals will disagree with me on: There’s no big “whoop” moment, if you will. No orgasmic moment of joy that the best of such movies have when you lose yourself in the moment with a big grin on your face. Remember the Hulk bashing poor Loki?

    Other such films, I think of Batman’s first night out in BATMAN BEGINS. Or Christopher Reeve making his “public” debut in SUPERMAN. Or Tony Stark fighting his way out of that cave. Or Heath Ledger’s Joker with that magic pencil. Stepping outside of that genre, hell many times in STAR WARS with the heroes eluding many pitfalls in the Death Star. Or having space laser dogfights with Imperial fighter jets. Or ole Luke blowing up the Death Star in the nick of time (and Han making his save.) Or John McClaine telling Hans Gruber his famous one-liner.

    After AVENGERS (and most Marvel films in general) I get giddy what else (more like who else) is coming by this film universe someday. Black Panther? Ant-Man? Ms. Marvel? Not to mention adversaries down the road.

    MAN OF STEEL,…I don’t care about the DCU. Before MOS, I was excited about making a Wonder Woman film or The Flash or whatever. I’ll inevitably see those films, but I’m not crossing off days on my dayplanner if you get my drift.

  117. The commentary track to SUPERMAN IV is by the screenwriter and it is one of my favourite tracks I´ve listened to. He is not too happy with the endresult. I like QUEST FOR PEACE

  118. RRA, I realize that you had those big grin moments in the Nolan Batman stuff but Nolan is going to be the main problem. I think all DC movies now are going to try to make the Superheroes these “realistic” joyless movies that Marvel will always win in the end.

  119. Sternshein – I don’t think that’s the problem because remember this movie is still about a flying man. (Nevermind that whole creating a mini-black hole thing in the end.) The methodology this time just didn’t work. At least it didn’t for me.

    In fact, standing back there are interesting and good ideas that they dabble with in MOS. Specifically how the Lois/Clark relationships is completely reinterpreted. Would’ve been nice if all that added up to something I liked more than on an “Eh, OK” level.

    Still Best Movie with an action scene at an IHOP ever.

  120. Crustacean: If I remember right that was in reference to a post on Badass Digest about the supposedly better other ending and the overwhelming agreement of the commenters on the post.

  121. “when the big expensive show-stopping climax happens….I wanted this movie to wrap itself up so I could go home.”

    I had a similar beef. There’s a climax and then there’s … ANOTHER climax with the final duel. At that point I was a bit numb to people punching each other through buildings and shit.

    In a way Snyder is the director Michael Bay WANTS to be. It’s a whole lot of explosions, but it comes off as fairly operatic instead of incoherent. Snyder sells me on the delivery of the wham-bam-thankyou-maam shit better than Bay ever did, and also slips in a glimpse of ye olde American flag with a bit more taste than Bay would be capable of maybe? My adrenaline monitor spiked gratifyingly every time not-Ursa struck a badass pose. The last shot of Costner was unexpectedly iconic.

    I was interested in seeing the Krypton history/lore expanded; that stuff was completely unfamiliar to me. I was less interested in having to hear shit like “People fear what they don’t understand” and “You were sent here FOR A REASON!”

    I think there’s an interesting discussion to be had about Jor El vs Zod and how they are pretty comparable in terms of how they want to take Krypton’s fate into their own hands. Is Jor El’s solution really more ethical than Zod’s? Shannon seemed pretty stoked on his character’s arc and delivers the goods.

  122. The original Paul

    June 14th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    So basically, the initial recommendation here is: don’t go to see MoS then? Alright. I haven’t really liked a Superman film since #2 came out, so…

    Just saw “Iron Man 3” which struck me in exactly the same way as the first two Iron Mans… erm, Iron Men… yeah, I have no idea how to say that. Anyway, it was pretty good. Kinda dumb at parts. I loved the Mandarin.

    Superman Returns got 76% on Rotten Tomatoes? I mean, I can understand people not being quite as f–ked-off at it as I was, but 76%??!!!

    Random off-topic meanderings: I just went to visit my local second-hand video store, without much hope of finding anything really good there – and managed to bag secondhand copies of “IP Man”, “The Assassin’s Blade”, “The Orphanage”, and “Old Boy”. All of which are much-lauded movies that I’ve never been able to see before now. I see a fun night in front of the DVD player in my near future.

    (I’ll have to watc “Bereavement” first though. Haven’t watched that one yet.)

  123. renfield – Honestly the action scenes in MOS didn’t do much for me.

    Contrast that with FAST & FURIOUS 6 with the tank/airplane scenes. We admired those scenes for their creativity, for pulling it off on the ground and not on a laptop (for the most part I’m sure), and also from my perspective, a tongue & cheek sense of humor. Also for being awesome. Seriously that airplane scene had what 3 action scenes going on simultaneously and the editing made you aware of what was always going on while the film intercut between them? So on one level I’m enjoying them as a moviegoer, and on another I admire and appreciate the craftsmanship behind them.

    That said, one FX moment in MOS I did like. *SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS TURN AWAY!* I liked that when Superman fell, he fell through a fucking mountain, and it’s presented off-handed. That was hilarious. *SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS*

  124. Paul: I thought there was a lot of stuff to commend about Man of Steel. We could get into the nitty gritty of how they handle his character beats and the Krypton history and stuff and I look forward to digging into it once Vern throws down on the film.

    That said, if you aren’t susceptible to Snyder’s over the top style you will likely be indifferent as RRA has indicated, or, worse, find it entirely grating and obnoxious.

  125. Paul – I wouldn’t recommend it personally, but it’s watchable. Again not a bad film. Hell you might end up liking it more than I did.

    If you want reference, I would put this on par with SUPERMAN RETURNS. Cool ideas, nice action setpieces, OK.

  126. I’ve decided to postpone my BLOODFIST review to try to get MAN OF STEEL posted some time today, so bear with me.

  127. I liked it. I liked all the Frank Frazetta sci-fi-fantasy stuff and enjoyed not having to rehash the same ground covered by the Donner/Singer films, and I dug the flashback structure. That’s how you do an origin story, by folding it neatly into a present-day story. The dual climaxes was a bit wearying but think of how pissed you’d be if Supes and Zod never slugged it out mano a mano. I would have cut out the giant silver Brookstone executive magnetic paperweight tentacles to save some screentime. All in all, I worried that it would be a slog but it had enough of a twinkle in its eye to still be charming despite its portentiousness.

  128. Mr. M – Was I the only one who got David Lynch’s DUNE vibe from that opening sequence? I liked that they went totally space opera with Krypton.

  129. Yeah, good point. I wasn’t thinking that at the time, though, because I wanted to enjoy myself and thinking about DUNE is a good way to not do that.

  130. Vern:

    “some time today”

    Let’s hurry it up there huh? We’re chomping at the bit here.

    :)

  131. Now, now, let’s let Vern take his time and get his MoS review out in the fullness of time.

    Quality > Expediency

    We wouldn’t want to rush him and then see an article with a bunch of typos, would we?

  132. After he writes it, could he do a few proofreads and make sure it adheres to a clear structure with a thesis statement followed by supporting paragraphs?

    Also could you do proper MLA citations on this one? thanks bud.

  133. You are complaining about the review taking a whole day yet I’m still waiting for the Bloodfist review we should have gotten by now? Priorities man. Lol

  134. You are complaining about the review taking a whole day yet I’m still waiting for the Bloodfist review we should have gotten by now? Priorities man. Lol

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