Well, I went out Sunday afternoon (9 July 2006) with my friends Mike and Donna to see the new film Superman Returns and I was...
I'd read some newspaper, magazine and blog articles before going witht he conclusion that the Superman was politically correct, but I was skeptical that it was true and sometimes negatively publicity is overhyped to the Nth degree, BUT...
In this case, the negative hype was... all too true.
For those of you who might not be familiar with the superhero genre, superheroes are mythical hero figures that became popularized in comic books and newspapers in the beginning of the twentieth century. The genre has come a long way from its origins and become very much an entertainment staple as well as a mainstream interest.
Superman, one of the first and longest enduring superheroes has come a long way from a hero drawn by two Jewish comic book artists on their mother's breadboards in the 1930s. For more about Superman's Jewish origins and the many Jewish references and allusions in the Superman series, check out these links:
And the film didn't just suffer from negative hype and a politically correct makeover, it's worst feature was a really lame storyline, which is where I was inspired to come up with my nickname, "NEUTER MAN" for Superman Returns...
The new Superman doesn't get to "hook up" with Lois Lane.
Yes, that's right. Lois Lane has a new hubby and baby living outside of wedlock because Superman had to go on a "soul searching" trip with Lamas, llamas and undoubtedly yaks. No kidding. Not only that, but Lois is winning a Pulitzer Prize for writing an article called "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." Go figure.
*** What kind of a twentieth century monologue is that? Remember when the hero got to "hook up" with the damsel in distress and live happily ever after? ***
Superman can't even light a match for Lois Lane in Superman Returns. I miss the days when Superman could spend "quality time" with beautiful women like the one in the following photo... or, at least, fight crime together.
Now, the acting wasn't too bad. Superman was appropriately hunky (see photo):
And Lois, played by Kate Boswell was pretty (although Kate should stay a blond)...
Without giving away too much off the story, I'd like to comment that it's really sad when Kevin Spacey, who played Lex Luthor, is upstaged by two Pomeranians (poofy dogs). Enough said.
And not only does Superman "not get the girl," but he doesn't even get to fight crime anymore either. He's only allowed to rescue folks from disasters... the ACLU might sue him if he denied criminals their "rights." The only antagonist allowed in the film is Lex Luthor (and goons), who as I previously mentioned was upstaged by Pomeranians. The film mentions that the reason that Lex Luthor gets out of jail is because Superman fails to make a court appearance as the "star" witness during Lex's time in court... how lame is that?
At one point in the film, Superman... almost fights crime, when the usual museum heist occurs. High-tech criminals set up a Gatling gun on a roof and predictably blow up cop cars Terminator style until Superman shows up to deflect bullets off his "Man of Steel" chest and stuns the criminals into dumbfounded submission with his good looks alone (no punches necessary). And while two donut-ridden security guards are rescued when Superman stops the evil Gatling gun (...mustn't depict actual criminals, people, as villains... excepting Lex of course), we never see the criminals committing a crime other than a possible breaking or entering and illegal weapons possession charges. I predict that Superman violated their civil rights and that they'll get off scot-free when Superman fails to appear in court... again. And, AGAIN... very sad universe.
As a side note, if my review of Superman Returns is too disjointed for you, try this one from Isaac Schrödinger:
Or maybe these ones from Debbie Shlussel:
Perhaps, the worst of Superman's politically correct whitewash in the new film was the deletion of Superman's raison d'etre, that is to say the reason for his heroism... the old phrase: “truth, justice, and the American way”...
Which was changed to: “...truth, justice, and all that stuff.”
More about that here:
It's sad that some Hollywood film directors are so spineless that they would delete the phrase"the American way" from a famous American icon to try and curry a larger film audience from abroad.
And, unfortunately, the director of Superman Returns isn't the first and probably wont be the last to try and deflate classic American icons. That process has been going on for some time. Anyone remember Ted Turner's Captain Planet?
More about the rewriting of superhero history here:
And another article here:
On the other hand, sometimes superheroes end up in photo ops with unexpected folks:
I wanted to find a picture of Dick Cheney with a superhero for my friend Kimbo (...who bears a remarkable resemblance to Dick Cheney), but we'll have to settle for Rumsfeld.
*** See! Is this a photo of Dick Cheney incognito or Kimbo? ***
Ultimately, my advice to you, as people I like, is:
If you want to see a good superhero flick, go out and rent Sky High or The Incredibles.
This whole episode makes me feel like I did when I discovered the Tooth Fairy wasn't real... bummer.
And if you happen to know about any other myths that aren't real, don't tell me at this time, I've had enough disillusionment for the week! Let me live in bliss...
I avoided mentioning the hagiography of Superman in the film. It was very sad... something inbetween Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ and any kooky film ever written about the Spear of Destiny. Oy, oy vay!
I give the film credit for being dedicated to the late Christopher and Dana Reeve, two real folks who stayed true to their values in a politically correct Hollywood world.
In an unrelated mention, if you get a chance, check out the classic Larry Niven short story "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex"... very amusing.
Labels: Films, Humour, Kimbo