Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer of Superman: No Superman 2?

Leaguers, you've failed me. Superman Returns has only raked in $170+ million up to this point. As the movie cost a lot more than that to get made and marketed, it looks like the chances for a sequel are pretty much drawing to a close.

Now, what kind of crazy-assed we world we live in where $170 million isn't enough of a gross to make a profit...? Well, I don't really like to think about that all that much.

What's really upsetting is that X-Men 3, which was, at best, a cookie-cutter action sequel, and at worst... well, let's not get into what I personally felt about the movie, but that movie made something like $230 million.

@#$%ing Brett Ratner, man.

There's no justice.

The American movie going public is a fickle beast, to be sure. I'll never know why Super Returns didn't do better at the box office (ie: why more people didn't want to see Superman in a movie), but I have a suspicion...

Nobody generates bad press like Superman.

I get a lot of e-mails from Loyal Leaguers and beyond any time some pop-culture columnist can't think of anything to write about and decide to jump on the "I am so smart, Superman is no longer relevant" bandwagon. You don't see a lot of articles about why Iron Man or Thor are out of touch with the American zeitgeist. Or a lot of ink spilled over Batman's irrelevancy in our day and age. And with every movie review re: a superhero movie, the reviewers who haven't seen Superman since they were 8 spend a lot of time talking about how Superman is a simple-minded lummox, a boy scout, etc... but Batman and Spider-Man... well, those guys, they're REAL characters.

I think we all sort of killed Superman. At some point we decided Superman was the broadstroke caricature, the two-tone copyright-infringing generic "superhero" popping up in ads for plumbers and carpet millers. He was that silly man-like-object who couldn't be taken seriously while Spider-Man... Spider-Man and Batman both seemed safe. I mean, really, they were just us, right...? And not really... super. We made Kal-El into the alien he'd always tried so hard not to be.

We read the pop culture reviewers rants about how our age had surpassed that of Superman's simple origin (ah, the joy of looking at our forebears and laughing), how Superman is a kid's fantasy, how he's sexually confused, how he's a relic, how he is nothing but the nerd's projection of powerlessness, how he couldn't have sex with Lois without killing her... we analyzed and analyzed until what was left?

Jesus. How well do you really think Wolverine would hold up under such scrutiny?

We've been trained not to trust the character, to believe he's got to be up to something, that nobody could possibly be who he seems to be when he's not one of us.

Superman Returns did receive fairly good reviews. It had amazing special effects and a few stars in the cast. And lets be honest... they marketed the hell out of that movie, maybe too much, but I don't think there was a lot of confusion that Superman Returns was coming out this summer. But that was a media blitz for a movie fighting uphill against a whisper campaign starting sometime back in the mid-80's when the last of the Reeve Superman movies was released to empty theaters.

I'm disappointed, Leaguers. The nay-saying Luthors have won. I don't think I'm getting my second installment.

So if you haven't seen the movie, say you were too busy, and, heck, by the time you DID have time, you thought you would just go see the Pirate movie instead... Or just wait until the DVD... Go check out Superman Returns now, on the big screen while you can.

And if you've already seen it just the once and that was it... Leaguers, go see it again. Heck, go just to see what the little kid has printed on his jammies in the final scene. I noticed it on a second viewing and it was all I could do not to crack up and ruin the mood of the whole theater. Fathers, take your sons.

It's a mighty weight, Leaguers. A weight great enough that even Superman himself can't lift. So put your backs into it.

No comments: