My Big Fat Superman
by Mike Baron
This latest Superman is not the best. It feels like something that's supposed to be good for us but not necessarily fun, a dose of cod liver oil. It lacks the charm and iconic resonance of the Chris Reeve version and suffers from a debilitating case of elephantiasis, the Curse of Superman. The basic curse is that Superman is so iconic, he must be all things to all people which leads to the unfortunate line, "Does he still stand for truth, justice, and all that stuff?" They're marketing overseas, see, and they don't want to alienate the European metrosexuals or Islamofascists who nevertheless will go to great lengths to catch a glimpse of Western titty.
© 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment
Not that there is much titty on display. Kate Bosworth slogs through Lois with a grim expression. Her relationship with Superman is the center of the story and yet it is oddly uninvolving. While Superman was gone for five years visiting the remains of Krypton, Lois married Perry White's nephew Richard (James Marsden) and had a kid. Jason is actually Supes' child from their one night of passion.
Brandon Routh is credible within the straight-jacket confines of the movie. Superman can't compete with X-Men or Spider-Man because those characters have so much more emotional baggage and heft, and are free to behave oddly. What Superman needs is a little Frank Miller nastiness, an edge, a flavor beyond Hollywood Bland. That ain't gonna happen. Superman has become cinema's equivalent of the Toyota Corolla, a brand so successful there must be no drastic changes to jar the viewer, and it must appeal to the widest possible audience.
The rescue of the airliner is beautifully done. The sets are dazzling, especially that yacht. As Luthor, Kevin Spacey seems a little smaller than life, his victories a little too easy. And I for one have had it with the semi-humorous sidekick, in this case an ill-used Parker Posey. The one totally unexpected minute in the movie occurs when Luthor's thug, with a dog tattooed on his skull, sits down to duet with young Jason on the piano.
The Big Plot involves the creation of a new continent off the NE coast of the U.S. Wouldn't the eruptions trigger a massive tsunami? Instead, some kind of ripple passes through Manhattan smashing windows. The special effects are impressive, but once again we're left with a big plot that doesn't make much sense. There's got to be a less Rube Goldberg-ish way for Luthor to use Superman's Kryptonian crystals to make money. Likewise Warner Brothers.
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