Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It Could Have Been Worse

I'm probably too forgiving of the 2006 feature film "Superman Returns". It has its flaws, primarily in the story department.

But I think we can mostly agree that Brandon Routh made a fine Superman in his blues and reds.

Many people don't know that Superman Returns, despite pulling in $200 million domestically, was considered a flop not just because it didn't set the world on fire, but because it had to also make back the money spent on about 20 years of WB kicking around Superman ideas. Some 10's of millions.

One of the many ideas of the 1990's that blew through all that dough was that WB decided lightning should strike twice, and so gave the franchise to Tim Burton. This was probably not a great idea. Reportedly Burton didn't think too much of Superman, did not like Superman, and so was looking to just make his own movie, anyway. And just call it Superman so they'd give him $150 million to realize his fever dream of a superhero movie.

I'm not sure exactly what happened, but thanks to the success of movies like "Con-Air" (which is a stupid @#$%ing movie. Seriously.) Nic Cage became attached to the project.

Interestingly, Nic Cage is a Superman fan, as evidenced by the fact that he named his kid "Kal-El". No, really. He did.

This all occurrd in the depths of what is now referred to as the Chromium Age of comics, which will make sense to non-comic people if you remember the 90's "EXTREME!!!!" movement. It basically meant comics became very stupid, very violent, and Superman had a mullet from about 1992 to 1998. No, really. He did. It also meant comics were sort of aplace where if you were trying to make sales, you had carte blanche do whatever made the character "dark", a dumb and meaningless term that Hollywood always wants to apply, for some @#$%ing reason, to The Man of Steel.

So, take a heaping, helping of Tim Burton, the 90's Extreme Movement, people getting their first computer in the 1990's, Nic Cage's Con-Air era popularity, and shake...

This almost happened.

So shut up about Superman Returns.


Brandon Routh said...

Shouldn't that be 2006?

The League said...

Already fixed, Mr. Routh.

NTT said...

But it was still completely boring, had no action and was a remake of the Donner film. Why did I pay $10 for a even longer version of a movie I've seen 20 times already? Oh yeah, because we were lied to in the promos. Fail.

The League said...

Yeah, once I was over the rush of having a new Superman film, I have agreed that the movie had some major flaws and wound up as much as Donner fanfic as an homage.

That said, had the movie not been a domestic drama featuring Superman, I don't think anyone would have minded the ties to the original film. Those are some beloved movies.


Because of what Singer chose to do, unfortunately the audience believes Superman the character to be dull, rather than the movie they watched.

Next time around (if there is a next time around), Brainiac, Mongul or somebody has to show up. Heck, even Toy Man would be a welcome change (or Lex in the armor).

More punching and heat vision.

J.S. said...

Yeah, I don't think Singer's film was really bad- it was just very derivative and sort of lacked an original take on the Superman story. In short, it just didn't really give a new audience a whole lot to get excited about. On some level, I respect it as a faithful, fairly traditional take on the Superman story, but as NTT said, it really just felt like an extension of the Donner films.

The League said...

yeah, the decision to make Luthor the villain essentially makes an action movie impossible. At least in the Hackman/ Spacey mode, rather than the corporate tycoon or mad scientist with a suit of armor mode.

It was fine for the first Superman movie, but today's audience has now seen Superhuman battles many times over. Its not like they're devoid from the comics or cartoons, so it'd be nice to see someone consider melding the spirit of the Superman movies with an actual physical threat.

I'd turn to how Johns and Co. handled Brainiac about a year ago. That could be a movie unto itself. Sure, you get the mess of Kandor out of it, but that's kind of interesting unto itself.

Michael Corley said...

I really, really enjoyed Superman Returns. Not perfect, but a fine film. Routh and Spacy made an exellent mix of good and evil. And I like me some good and evil battling it out on the big screen.