Superman Returns

Superman Returns movie poster

 

It’s probably my own fault for buying into the hype, but Superman Returns left me cold. There’s not a lot of drama implicit in the story of an omnipotent alien from another planet, and I just can’t buy the “god walks among us” metaphors. Spider-Man is a real, troubled human being burdened with great responsibility; Batman is a human being wracked with guilt and obsessed with revenge; Daredevil is a literally broken man overcompensating for far more than just his disability. With Superman, it’s just plain hard to relate to an alien, even if he suffers such petty human problems as unrequited love.

An obvious point of conflict is conspicuously absent: instead of any jealousy or anger from Richard White (James “Cyclops” Marsden), he simply acquieses to his romantic rival. It’s more like Superman to be above & beyond mere mortal jealousy; what makes White so noble? Perhaps he’s intimidated by Superman’s sheer potency. Just as the character is defined by nepotism (he’s the Daily Planet’s editor-in-chief’s son), Marsden is Bryan Singer’s X-Man star who was conspicuously erased very early in Brett Ratner’s X3. Hmm…

Another disappointment: whereas Spider-Man 2 exuded a strong sense of New York, Superman Return’s fictional Metropolis is a blank, generic city without character. It’s a timeless locale – the present, yet nostalgic – where when a superhero returns from across the galaxy to save them, the citizens all run out and buy newspapers.

As for the cast, Parker Posey wins for best screen presence. While Kevin Spacey gurns, hams, and scenery-chomps, she scores laughs with mere looks on her face. There was a lot of concern over the casting of a relatively inexperienced former soap star for the lead, but I thought Brandon Routh was just fine. Kate Bosworth (made up to look like Rachel McAdams), however, is was too young to be plausible as a star journalist with a five-year-old kid, and to be at all appealing to (yes I have to say it again) an omnipotent alien from another planet. Points detracted for dull, overhyped outtakes of Marlon Brando’s mumbled improv bullshit, and shafting screen legend Eva Marie Saint with about 5 minutes of screen time.

The Dork Report for June 28, 2006

The Dork Report for June 26, 2006

  • Look, robots!
  • 1,000 2,000-year-old skeletons. (spotted on Fortean Times)
  • The Beatles are taking it to Vegas. But what really interests me is the NY Times reporter’s preview of the new Beatles remixes/remasters.
  • After audio quality, the next detraction to digital music is the lack of packaging, artwork, liner notes, etc. Some "albums" on iTunes include PDF documents as "digital booklets", but now The Residents have a new scheme on how the music industry might transition the long tradition of album packaging to the digital realm.
  • Mac-obsessed Goobers who can’t wait for Mac OS 10.5 ("Leopard") are already mocking up their own fantasy versions in Photoshop: Dream 1 , Dream 2 (spotted on AppleInsider)
  • ProjeKCt 6 (sic), aka Robert Fripp & Adrian Belew, will open for Porcupine Tree’s forthcoming tour.

The Dork Report for June 23, 2006

  • Whoda thunk, Clowns boost fertility. Are they sure the clown wasn’t, you know, taking advantage of the situation? (spotted on Fortean Times)
  • Rest assured: the government is totally on top of this whole terrorism thing, snooping on your phone calls and “Swifting” through your bank records.
  • Matt Damon is Kirk.
  • Nobody does it betta, in a cardigan sweata.
  • Snakes on a Plane auditions.
  • Not to nitpick, but I believe this is actually a triple-dip.
  • Lost Girls, one of Alan Moore’s famously unfinished projects, is finally about to be published. Moore grants a massive interview (more of an extended monologue, actually – honestly, the man thinks and speaks in paragraphs) on the subject of pornography.
  • Related to the above, the owners of the Peter Pan copyright are, perhaps unsurprisingly, not pleased with the portrayal of Wendy as sexually active in her adult years.
  • The Motley Fool gives the music industry the slide-rule beat-down.
  • Two 2006 bootleg perspectives on the Pink Floyd legacy: Roger Waters live in Verona and Dave Gilmour live in Manchester.

The Dork Report for June 22, 2006

  • Why Hollywood never gets any work done. (guest submission from Insider Andrea)
  • Spotted on the same site: a ratings schema I can get behind.
  • When dating AOL, breaking up is not an option.
  • Linking to this will score me points with my dork-loving girlfriend for weeks: Helvetica vs. Arial
  • Movie, band, and brand fonts.
  • Snakes on a Soundtrack (guest submission from Girl on a Blog Andrea)

The Dork Report for June 21, 2006

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang movie poster

 

Even if the marketing hadn’t trumpeted the dramatic return of burnt-out Hollywood high-concept screenwriter Shane Black, it’d be painfully obvious Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a movie crafted specifically for the audience he practically created with his Lethal Weapon quadrilogy. The all-over-the-place plot leaves a few threads dangling (What happened to the whole Michelle Monaghan femme fatale setup? Was it too obvious to be anything other than a red herring?), but that’s not really what matters; the movie is exactly what what Hollywood execs and critics alike mean when they use the belabored cliché "a ride that you either get on or you don’t."

The Dork Report for June 20, 2006

  • Most. Pagan. Watch. Ever. (spotted on Boing Boing)
  • Nature upends the fairytale. (guest submission from Godless Killing Machine Andrea)
  • Shopify is going to be huge. Set up a complete, functioning e-commerce site (that doesn’t look like ass) for free? Worth 2-3% of every order, I think.
  • Amazing news for sci-fi dorks and film school geeks alike: late 2007 brings, at long last, Ridley Scott’s definitive Blade Runner: The Final Cut in both theatrical and a massive DVD release including no less than four versions of the film.
  • Some concept art from the Tim Burton Superman movie that wasn’t. Not since Zardoz have we seen crazy psychedelic floating skulls like these.

The Dork Report for June 19, 2006

  • How much is a feature film digital download worth? Or rather, how much are consumers willing to pay? An “album” of songs far, far less than cd quality goes for $9.99, so maybe $9.99-19.99 movies will work after all. (guest submission from Wisely-Keeping-Her-Netflix-Subscription Andrea)
  • A great site full of interesting commercials, shorts, and music videos (notable: They Might be Giants’ Bastard Wants to Hit Me). (spotted on Boing Boing)
  • Have no fear of The Dork Report continuing to live up to its name; it’s Transformers Update time!
  • Memo to future first children: showing up at concerts given by avid anti-war artists is probably not a good idea.
  • Unsurprising it wouldn’t occur to the Pentagon to research a Peace Bomb or a Kitten Bomb. (spotted on Fortean Times, with reporting by Andrea)
  • A new interpretation on a classic product of The Mighty Marvel Metaphor Machine. “GrrrrrrrrRRRRRAGH HULK CUM!!!
  • Heyyy! Only a few select scenes in Superman Returns will be in 3D? Rip-off!