SUPERMAN RETURNS (YOU’RE NOT KIDDING!)
Holy cinema earthquakes! – Oh! sorry – that’s from “Batman” , isn’t it?. But you would be mixing up your superheroes if you’d been through what I’ve just been through! I’ve just got back from Manchester where I’ve been subjected to the battering that is “Superman”. I did not know that the cinema I was going to was doing the film on an Imax screen as big as a tall building with sensurround sound and special glasses for the audience to get the 3D effects! I now feel like I’ve been through a sausage machine and a spin dryer combined and have been swooping around with the caped crusader and had Lex Luthor almost in touching distance (more please!) not to mention being dashed to bits on rocks and drowned several times!. Before I go to lie down in a darkened room I’ll try to give you a review.
Well -quite apart from the usual stunts and excitement in this type of film I thought it was a really enjoyable, moving, well-made piece with a lot of sensitive subtleties. All the actors are skilful and give the feeling of having a very serious commitment to this work. Fans of Superman will be delighted at the reverential attitude of cast and director. Brandon Routh looks effectively fussy and shy behind his glasses as Clark Kent but transforms effectively into the streamlined superhero showing in his firm gaze his pursuit of truth and justice. A serious and subtle portrait of Superman here. Kate Bosworth really convinces us of her intense link with Superman and makes a well-rounded personality of Lois. In fact everyone – Lois’s husband , her little son, and even the more minor characters seemed totally committed to making fully rounded characters and making you interested in them. Lois’s husband is a good example. Though he doesn’t have a big part we become very involved in his love for Lois and his fear that she loves Superman. Kitty shows by her tears and fearful looks rather than actual words that she is beginning to doubt Lex. Part of this visible dedication by all concerned must be due to Bryan Singer’s direction.
The direction and style of the film were, I thought, highly impressive. I can’t really comment on the past of Superman as I never read the original comics though I do remember seeing the Christopher Reeve films. I got the impression that those were much “lighter weight” than this rather serious, apocalyptic treatment. The dialogue is sparse but every line is significant and filled with sensitive looks conveying subtle emotions. The conversations between characters seem to be dwelt on at length as if to wring everything out of them. These slow periods are interspersed with frenzied action sequences filled with massive destruction. Superman’s swoops in the air have a kind of balletic intensity as if he’s conveying his feelings of fear, anger or sorrow in a sort of dance. At one point he falls towards earth and the curves of his cape make him look like an ancient statue. In contrast to the gracefulness of Superman’s energy, Lex’s energy is all angular shattering and ugly breaking up.
Different periods of time have an important part to play in the film. Touchingly, the newspaper office, Lex’s extraordinarily palatial boat, and many of the buildings suggest the 1930’s.Ancient statues decorate a staircase and some of the costumes suggest an earlier period – bow ties and 1930’s pullovers are around, and there is a scene where we see Lois standing in a lift and her stance and clothes suggest a heroine from the old black and white films. At the same time people are clearly using computers and mobile phones. This suggests we are watching a fluctuating, turbulent world that is vulnerable, emphasising Superman’s father’s words about the people of earth needing help. The exciting countdown to the shuttle take-off from the airplane with computer screens flashing on and off suggests a reliance on technology but the fact that the audience finds it difficult to grasp exactly what is going on suggests a world already in the hands of a few technocrats. When Lex is fairly easily able to make the electricity fail we observe what an immediate and total disaster this is, suggesting that earth’s achievements are built on a fragile ground and we need to be careful what we use and how we protect it.
So what about Kevin! Well, of course he clearly relished this subtle role. From his egg-like head to the soles of his jack boots he is every inch the villain. As always with him the merest raised eyebrow or turn of the head signifies masses of thought and feeling. It was remarkable to see the way that, without saying much at all, he gives a terrifying impression of gradually and inexorably moving towards his goal. His performance is so wonderfully spare that he convinces us that there is nothing in his personality beyond his desire for power. At first, like his henchmen, we are not aware of exactly what he is up to – he plays with crystals, robs a museum and cuts crystals up enigmatically. This could be a comment that ordinary people do not always know what men of power in society are doing, whether they are technocrats or megalomaniac villains, or both. Kevin is wonderful at moving from a fairly quiet beginning to the frightening violence towards the end. He revels in the occasional humour, pulling down maps like a teacher to illustrate his plans for world-domination and coming upon Lois while he is brushing his teeth when you expect him to be prepared to jump out and grab her. His clothes show a nice line in megalomaniac chic – white coat ( sexy I thought), jack boots, an odd hat and (of course!) various wigs. Like the other costumes and sets in the film they seem to be stolen from different periods, the jack boots having particularly nasty connotations, the white coat perhaps ironically suggesting he thinks he is in fact doing good, or being an ironic comment on white-coated scientists. Surely the wigs, which we see lined up on stands , must have been a joke between Bryan Singer and Kevin. I was surprised he didn’t wear more hats – perhaps the director put his foot down there! Even as the villain of course Kevin was hopelessly attractive ( even with and perhaps because of the bald head!)
All credit to Bryan Singer who seems to have that reverence for the magic of the big Hollywood film with all its possibilities for opening up new worlds while being subtle, moving and entertaining at the same time. It rather reminded me of Stephen Spielberg’s apparently similar awe and admiration for the capacities of film.
So – this film is great fun and disturbing at the same time with a sort of background seriousness that however never gets in the way of the pleasure (it rather reminded me of the dark tone of the fine “Batman”fim starring Michael Keaton) It dwells lovingly on emotion and relationships between people punctuated with frightening violence. Perhaps it is hinting at our own tense unstable world where human beings can be sidelined and subjected to all sorts of horrors. It is hugely enjoyable to watch and with great performances. Do see it if you haven’t done so, in Imax with 3D if you can.
Now I must go and lie down as the room is spinning round and I am seeing multiple bald-headed Kevins (Wow!)
Cynthia, Manchester, England.
After browsing around on this site, I saw that Kevin was going to be on Letterman June 26th. The second I read that, I knew I’d make the trip into NYC.
I live on Long Island so it’s only a train ride away to the city and a cab ride from Penn Station to the Ed Sullivan Theater, which is where David Letterman is filmed.
When I got there, there was this strange contraption taking up 53rd street. But you could get on the street and I was the first one by the stage door. The doorman told me Kevin was running very late (my luck, right?) I had my glossy 8×10 which I had printed out the night before, my sharpie and my camera ready.
Kevin arrived on the other side of the barricades that were set up around the sky-diving simulator in a large GMC truck. Since he was late, he walked promptly into the theater without a second look to the few people lined up. Of course, in New York City, people line up for ANYTHING. They see a line, they get on it even if they don’t know what it’s for. So some people knew Kevin was going to be there (I did see someone with a sign that said: Driving Mr. Spacey Loves You!), and others just found out.
Can I just say he always looks so CUTE in that hat?!
After Kevin went inside the theater, the security guards started pushing us down 53rd street and putting the gates across the street, to keep us away from the simulator. I stood right in the front, very patiently waiting for SOMETHING to happen.
Finally, the actual stuntman got onto the simulator and went FLYING! Now, people really started lining up. It was a promotion for Superman, so the promoters were there handing out props for us to wave around when the camera came by. I got a huge cutout of Brandon Routh to wave around. The guy next to me got a sign with the word LEX on it and a slash through it.
Then, to my surprise and everyone else’s, Kevin came out the stage door. I thought he was leaving! But nope, he was going up there!
Here he is meeting the stunt guy.
I yell out “WE LOVE YOU KEVINNN!!” He also looks cute in his safety goggles!! 😛
After the stunt, they kept the street closed which was making me go crazy….I really wanted his autograph. Now this sounds crazy…but the security guard told me I’d have to get to the other side.
So I SPRINT down 54th street….all the way down to the next street and back to the other side of 53rd…just in time for his car to go speeding past me and down 53rd street. That was the only bad part but the best was I got to see Kevin IN-PERSON!!!
Hopefully when he promotes his next movie, I’ll catch him.
– there’s the link to the video I shot.
Lex Luthor Captivates the Screen…and has Fans Mesmerized!
‘Superman Returns’ review written by Mo Smith, Hollywood, Ca. June 23, 2006
Written for DrivingMrSpacey.com and Spacey fans everywhere.
Note: This movie is TOTALLY suitable for children and you’d be doing them more harm than good, if you didn’t let them see Superman Returns on the big screen. Rated PG simply because of one scene that is a tad bit violent… explain to your kids it’s JUST A MOVIE! No bad language…this is Superman after all. ~
Our super-loved and hair-donned Kevin steals the opening scene of Superman Returns, which raises a huge laugh from theatre viewers… rather like seeing someone you expect to have hair, showing up bald! Don’t worry… not for long.
This is an excited crowd, anticipating only to be entertained. Many of us are media, or employees of one of the many companies involved in the making of this long-awaited movie, and if you’re not involved by association you’ve received a special invite from Warner Bros. rewarded for turning up early to attend the Bleacher section of Wednesday evening’s World Premiere in Westwood. As credits rolled, different sections cheered their particular “hero.” Bryan Singer’s name gets the biggest roar with Kevin coming a close second. This crowd, welcomed newcomer Brandon Routh’s name with warmth and equal enthusiasm.
Okay, so you’re ready for more on Kevin’s err… Lex’s evil doings? I admit, he looks gorgeously handsome bald… but fans knew that he would. On the BIG screen (and this was a BIG one) the baldness only emphasizes those peering evil, tho’ often smiling, eyes and sweet, sensuous lips. If you keep reminding yourself, that Superman was originally a “comic” book, then the story line will fall beautifully into place, for there are many comical snips, and lots of them from the Luthor camp. They made our audience laugh often, sometimes hysterically. Equally so, tender – sometimes nail-biting – moments completely took our breath away. There’s a single moment when I swear you could have heard a pin drop in that theatre… talk about tense… phew! Now there are Director’s and there are Directors…. Poseidon couldn’t get Bryan Singer (obviously) but after seeing Superman, they’ll sure wish they could have! All will become clear when you watch the movie.
Evil Luthor is out to destroy Superman, and he almost succeeds, but come on… this movie’s hero is Superman – NOT Lex Luthor. Hey! There’s great idea for a spin-off BRYAN are you reading this?? “Loathsome Luthor Lusts for Love” with devoted DrivingMrSpacey.com FANS as extras perhaps!
Now girls (and boys) don’t for one silly moment feel jealous of Kitty, (Lex’s girlfriend played by Parker Posey) she’s not exactly ‘loving” toward our Kevin. In fact, you could almost tear her hair out when she SLAPS him!!! The nerve! For a split second I thought Kevin was going to laugh, or worse… hit her back! (I hope they have out-takes on the DVD.) But Lex Luthor keeps a cool [well it is bald] head (sorry couldn’t resist) and the scene plays out beautifully. Kitty even makes a pass at Superman… she doesn’t love Lex and at this point you start to get an idea she’s going to do our man wrong.
Kevin doesn’t half wear some great outfits during this movie. As always, the snappy dresser we’ve come to know and love. He steals every frame he’s in, giving a most spectacular performance as Lex Luthor. Without doubt he is indeed just another notch away from being the greatest actor of our time.
I don’t want to spoil the storyline by re-writing the movie here, there are many great scenes with Kevin, also watch for a great scene between young Jason and one of Lois’ villainous captors… very entertaining, and you will laugh. This movie contains comical clips, moments when you’re on the edge of your seat and plenty of action no matter what your age is, allow yourself to be a kid again and milk it for all it’s magical worth.
Much accolade goes to Bryan Singer, he has definitely made a Super fantastic movie here with absolute excellence in his Directing skills, and like me, you won’t be able to wait for the proposed follow-up Superman movies knowing our man Kevin has agreed to play the infamous Lex [Lucious] Luthor.
Another great roll for Kevin and I wish all his fans around the world as much pleasure as I had watching him in this movie. He’s simply the best all round, versatile actor, and hauntingly seducing in his role as Lex Luthor.
Bravo to the cast and crew of Superman Returns, and “thanks” for bringing to the big screen, this terrific movie.