Wednesday, June 28, 2006

SUMMER OF SUPERMAN: All that's left is the waiting.

By the time you read this, some of you will have already seen Superman Returns. I haven't gotten to see the movie yet, but I've been waiting a long time. A few more hours won't hurt. It seems like yesterday I was looking at a countdown ticker telling me I had a year left before the movie was released.

At this point, I guess the honest question to ask ourselves is this: Can Superman Returns possibly live up to the hype and expectations?

I don't think so.

I don't really expect to be disappointed in the movie, but I'm also aware it's a movie. Possibly a film made by folks with the best of aspirations, but there are going to be flaws. There are going to be portions and performancess that don't quite hit the mark. There are going to be things that don't stick with Superman canon.


After all the opportunity for a movie which was not, in any way, representative of the 70 years of Superman comics, I'll take a flawed movie which at least respects the ideas and ideals behind the character.

Superman, unlike any other superhero and unlike many other fictional characters, is an icon. Trying to capture the wonder and grandeur of any superhero is tough, but some ideas are more easy to translate than others. Capturing an icon, putting them to film, is like lightning in a bottle. When it doesn't work, somehow the disappointment is all the greater. Everyone knows who Superman is supposed to be, and we're unforgiving when he somehow doesn't meet out expectations.

From the trailers I know the screen writers and director have taken the challenge head on. They're well aware that journalists have spent a lot of ink pondering Superman's irrelevance in a world that, they believe, has outgrown the need for Supermen. We need, these journalists insist, our heroes tarnished and barely functional. Who can believe in a Superman who deflects bullets?

I eagerly await Singer and Co.'s answer to that question, especially as the reviews, both good and bad, never raise the question.

I'm looking forward to my time with Jamie tonight, standing in line for popcorn and a Diet Coke. I'm looking forward to the titles and the music. I'm also looking forward to the quiet ride home where we don't say too much to each other.

I have no idea how to make the perfect Superman movie, and even if I did, someone else would find problems with whatever I wanted to do. So all I can do now is end the anticipation and hope for the best.

Up, up and away...!

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