Superman Sucked

Tried to watch Superman Returns last night, and despite really looking forward to seeing it, I couldn’t even finish it.

It sucked in more ways than I thought possible. If this movie were a war, it would be Iraq. If this movie were a religious leader, it would be Ted Haggard. If it were a blogger, it would be Dan Riehl.

That is how bad I thought it was.

First, the actor who played Superman, while clearly very attractive, was no Christopher Reeeves. He just seemed like a detached dorky frat boy who oh, btw, was invulnerable to damage and could fly.

Second, Kate Bosworth is not Margot Kidder. Period. End of story. And someone please throw her a damned sandwich.

Third, while I like Kevin Spacey, I thought he was a terrible ‘villain.’ And I put ‘villain’ in sarcastic air quotes because he didn’t seem that villainous, more of a self-absorbed sarcastic lout. Kind of like Donald Trump with no hair and plans to take over the world (I am aware that might be redundant).

Finally, I simply fail to understand how no one recognized him- the difference between Superman and Clark Kent was a pair of glasses. Period.

Rather than giving this movie two thumbs down, I instead choose to give it the finger. This movie was clearly made to make the Hulk remake revival look good by comparison. Don’t buy it. Don’t rent it. Don’t watch it. And if anyone tells you it was good, remember their names and ignore their movie advice in the future.






85 replies
  1. 1
    Pb says:

    ROFL. More movie reviews in the future, please. I haven’t seen the movie in question, but your take on it was a riot! Can we give John a POTD for this one? (Story Of The Day?)

    P.S. I did see Night At The Museum, though, and I found it to be appropriately amusing.

  2. 2
    Sirkowski says:

    If it were a blogger, it would be Dan Riehl.

    Are you saying that Superman is gay or that Dan Riehl is Superman?

  3. 3
    numbskull says:

    John, please don’t hold back. Tell us what you really feel. ;)

    I agree, it was terrible.

  4. 4
    Davebo says:

    If this movie were a war, it would be Iraq. If this movie were a religious leader, it would be Ted Haggard. If it were a blogger, it would be Dan Riehl.

    And if this movie was a source it would be Jamail Hussien.

  5. 5
    jake says:

    Rather than giving this movie two thumbs down, I instead choose to give it the finger.

    Bravo! I had an argument with my roommate who normally has good taste in all things. He loved this movie and seemed rather put out when I said he was insane.

    Some bad movies are amusing in a campy Rocky Horror Picture Show sort of way. This one ain’t. Some bad movies could be redeemed by the Mystery Science Theater treatment. In this case, I’m not so sure.

    I could go on about the rubbishy ‘plot,’ but there’s no point. If anyone ignores your advice to avoid this turkey (which seemed to set itself up for a sequel), they deserve what they get.

    One thing I would point out re K. Bosworth: Did she look old enough to have a six y.o. child? No, she barely looked old enough to take care of a six month old lab. Yeech.

    Look, up in the sky! Is it Mark Foley? Is it John Karr? No! It’s SuperPedophile. Able to leap crib railings in a single bound. More powerful than a offer of candy if you’ll just step inside the van… Again, YEECH!

  6. 6
    Tsulagi says:

    Jeez, who pissed in your popcorn?

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    I’ll admit, I enjoyed it. But only because I haven’t seen a Superman movie in, like, 10 years. And even then, you have to admit it was better than at least a couple of the original movie series. I mean, the special effects were better, if nothing else.

    Third, while I like Kevin Spacey, I thought he was a terrible ‘villain.’ And I put ‘villain’ in sarcastic air quotes because he didn’t seem that villainous, more of a self-absorbed sarcastic lout. Kind of like Donald Trump with no hair and plans to take over the world (I am aware that might be redundant).

    In a bad movie, I’ll give Spacey credit for having a more liberal take on the bad guy. When he was stealing kryptonite like a well-off street punk and shiving Sups in the back like a regular gangsta, he came off as “cool”. When he was pussing out at every opportunity, he was a cute foil to Superman’s brainless heroics.

    Finally, I simply fail to understand how no one recognized him- the difference between Superman and Clark Kent was a pair of glasses. Period.

    Alright, now you’re just hating on Superman in general. People have been making that remark since the 50s.

  8. 8
    snaporaz says:

    the Hulk wasnt a remake

  9. 9
    Ryan S. says:

    I’m personaly waiting to see ‘Children of Men’. Can’t wait.

  10. 10
    jg says:

    Both Clark and Supes left for years and came back at the same time and pulitzer prize winning journalists couldn’t figure it out? What was Luthor’s plan? Is the actor who played Superman gay or the director? Whoever put him in a speedo needs to be beaten. Ranks up there with nipples on the batsuit. Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, Jessica Alba as Sue Richards and Tom Cruises wife as Rachel Dawes? WTF? I guess some actresses have agents that look out for their careers other wise I’d take Rachel McAdams, Scarlett Johansen and Angie Harmon in those roles respectively.
    Why didn’t they wait to release the Bond movie until the new year? Its 2007, ‘007. Perfect year for a Bond flick.

  11. 11
    Tony J says:

    Haven’t seen it yet, but the review I was given by the friend who owns a copy boiled down to “Watch the first ten minutes, get all excited, then turn it off, because it’s boring.”

    Which is a pity. Like the Hulk movie (Don’t make it Ang Lee, we won’t like it if it’s Ang Lee), the writers seem to have been entirely ignorant of why anyone would want to see a superhero movie in the first place. Namely, that they have great big exciting bitch-fights with other people who also have superpowers.

    It’s the supervillains, stupid. Without them, all you have is a lot of CGI going to waste.

  12. 12
    Keith says:

    I liked “Hulk”. They maybe should have chopped 15 minutes of setup, but once Banner became the Hulk, I thought it was great (and the comic book framing was well done)

  13. 13
    carpeicthus says:

    If it were a blogger, it would be Dan Riehl.

    Damn. That’s just … beyond the pale.

  14. 14
    Paul L. says:

    Finally, I simply fail to understand how no one recognized him- the difference between Superman and Clark Kent was a pair of glasses. Period.

    My favorite take on Superman/Clark Kent is from a old usenet message.

    He certainly doesn’t need a job to have a deep relationship, be it friendly or romantic, you’re right there. He could set himself up as an idle rich guy with almost no effort. I’m convinced the reason he kept working at the Daily Planet was to see just how long those morons would keep falling for the old “glasses as secret ID” gag.

    “Great Scott! It’s been sixty years now! Aren’t these nimrods supposed to be trained observers?”

    Of course they are. They’re all trained agents of the government.

    Superman is invulnerable. And immortal. And insane. When Lois Lane was killed way back in the 40s, he snapped. He couldn’t handle it. So he found Lois suffering from amnesia and brainwashing and “rescued” her from the people pretending to be her family. There wasn’t anything to be done about it, so eventually she accepted her role. And the
    government began planning for replacements for _that_ Lois, and Jimmy and Perry and Lex and…everyone. There’ve been quite a few of each, but more Loises than anyone else. The sexual revolution was very hard on Lois.

    The Daily Planet would have gone under decades ago if not for huge (and secret) government subsidies. Virtually everyone in Clark Kent’s life, professional and personal, is part of a huge operation to keep him happy. They pretend to be his co-workers, friends and acquaintances, and all work hard to keep fans and other troublemakers from getting close enough to blurt out his “secret” in Clark’s presence.

    Think of The Truman Show with a superpowered Rain Man as the hero, who gets very unhappy if the lifestyle he adopted decades ago isn’t carefully maintained….

  15. 15
    Myrtle Parker says:

    I agree with your assessment of all the actors. I agree with almost everything you said about the movie.

    However, I *still* loved it. I would have probably loved any Superman movie though.

    But, Brandon Routh is no Christopher Reeves.

  16. 16

    Hulk sucked. It was simply an excuse for bad CGI. Great actors, bad storyline.

    Superman Returns sucked a bit less, but it’s still a crappy movie. Kevin Spacey does well as the villian, but the guy who played Superman is a big sucko.

  17. 17
    RSA says:

    I think the movie makers were going for a darker, more nuanced Superman–notice that even the colors of his costume are more muted. While this worked for Batman (and it worked for the X-Men movies, which Singer also directed), Superman’s an entirely different character, and the movie fell down entirely. Other disappointments:

    Parker Posey was wasted, as usual lately.

    It took forever to get moving.

    The only character I can think of who met my reasonable expectations was Perry White, played by Frank Langella. That’s a bad sign.

  18. 18
    carpeicthus says:

    BTW, the director IS gay.

  19. 19
    Pooh says:

    Jessica Alba as Sue Richards

    Wait, wait, wait…you’ve now gone too far.

    I thought SR was ok – it was interesting in how it was rather deliberately old-fashioned. With the curious exception of Spacey’s non-mustache-twirling. Superman is just one of the least interesting superheros in terms of mythos. Especially on film where the split-identity thing becomes risible as it’s so easy to see that they are the same person.

  20. 20
    Jill says:

    I thought it was good. The subtle nods to Christopher Reeve and his movies were nice, especially the “Can you read my mind” music interwoven into the new score. But, definitely a big screen movie and not the same on the TV.

  21. 21

    Night at the Museum was hilarious.

    I went to see The Good Shepard last night. That was good. I really like how they managed it, and the twists and turns left me guessing.

    What I didn’t understand is the mole, and why they trusted him especially after they tortured the one guy.

  22. 22

    Still, nothing is as bad as the remake of King Kong from a few years ago. God that movie sucked ass.

  23. 23
    mcsey says:

    I’m more inclined to ignore the movie advice of someone who admits they are reviewing a film they didn’t actually watch all the way through.

  24. 24
    Jill says:

    I agree with mcsey. How do we know that he won’t change his mind after a careful review of the movie…just like he changed his mind about his vote for Bush.

  25. 25
    AkaDad says:

    How do we know that he won’t change his mind after a careful review of the movie…just like he changed his mind about his vote for Bush.

    John couldn’t take anymore after Superman tried to save Terry Schiavo.

  26. 26
    Bill Arnodl says:

    Think of The Truman Show with a superpowered Rain Man as the hero, who gets very unhappy if the lifestyle he adopted decades ago isn’t carefully maintained….
    That would be a movie to watch.

  27. 27
    Pooh says:

    I agree with mcsey. How do we know that he won’t change his mind after a careful review of the movie…just like he changed his mind about his vote for Bush.

    What’s your plan for making it to the end of the movie?

  28. 28
    Lesley says:

    Finally, I simply fail to understand how no one recognized him- the difference between Superman and Clark Kent was a pair of glasses. Period.

    See, I get what John is saying here. Sure, technically, the only difference between Superman and Clark Kent has ever been a pair of glasses. But when Christopher Reeves played the part, he didn’t play Clark Kent as Superman with glasses. He stood differently. He changed his voice intonations. He changed his facial expressions. There was a whole different feel between Clark Kent and Superman.

    Brandon Routh didn’t do that, at least not effectively. Clark Kent was exactly Superman with glasses.

  29. 29
    tBone says:

    I enjoyed it, despite the very uneven pacing and shaky plot. I thought Routh was great, Spacey was good, and Bosworth was . . . present, and managed not to drool on herself. Loved the music, the SFX and all of the little nods to the Reeve films. The plane rescue sequence was amazing. The movie did end up being too long, though – they could have easily chopped 20 minutes and made it a far better film. There were just too many scenes that went nowhere and dragged on forever.

    Despite the flaws, it was much, much, much better than the Hulk. Now that was a terrible movie.

  30. 30

    RSA Says:
    Parker Posey was wasted, as usual lately.

    Parker Posey should have been cast as Lois Lane.

    I agree 100% with John Cole. Superman Returns sucks balls. Lois Lane would have snapped her neck being thrown around that airplane in the beginning. Bosworth is pretty, but not “Lois Lane”. The “superboy” character is only going to ruin any sequels. Lex Luthor’s plot is underwhelming, at best. (what would have been funny is if some “Ann Coulter” character was added, cheering Lex on as he attempts to drown NYC). Does Kai Penn (Kumar from Harold & Kumar) even have a line in the movie? Clark Kent doesn’t even exist in the last 1/4 of the movie – not even a little, “Clark, where have you been?” at the end.

    Superman Returns is barely 2 stars – closer to Daredevil than it is to Spiderman or Batman Begins.

  31. 31
    Myrtle Parker says:

    But when Christopher Reeves played the part, he didn’t play Clark Kent as Superman with glasses. He stood differently. He changed his voice intonations. He changed his facial expressions. There was a whole different feel between Clark Kent and Superman.

    Exactly. Christopher Reeves was a gifted actor. His Clark Kent lived in a different skin than his Superman. Clark Kent was the act, Superman was the real thing. Brandon Routh tried to do the same thing, but he was just not very good at it.

    The only time it seemed convincing for me was when Lois comes back from the roof of the Daily Planet – having just been with Superman – and she walks in on Clark eating take out with Jimmy Olsen, Richard, and the kid. Clark has a big long wet noodle hanging from his mouth and looks up at her with this goofy look. That scene was the only one where he approached Christopher Reeves version of Clark Kent.

    Does anyone remember when Christopher Reeves was in Lois’ apartment and he takes his glasses off and straightens up like he is about to tell Lois the truth? At the last second he decides not to and puts his glasses back on and instantly falls back into goofy Clark mode. That was classic Clark Kent.

  32. 32
    RSA says:

    Clark Kent was exactly Superman with glasses.

    You are completely forgetting about Clark’s bad hair. Come to think of it, Supes’s isn’t much better. But different!

  33. 33

    Sorry, not NYC – Metropolis.

  34. 34
    norbizness says:

    No Otis = fatal fuckup

  35. 35
    Myrtle Parker says:

    Yah, I can agree with every other criticism too.

    Lois would have snapped her neck like three times in that plane ride.

    Spacey was like a sarcastic version of Donald Trump. The opening with him and the old widow was completely stupid and unnecessary.

    Parker Posey wasn’t used. All kinds of shots of Kal Penn that lasted too long. He didn’t have a single line, I don’t think.

    The plot was pretty dumb. Rather than ‘growing a continent’ and the typical real estate connotations, I’d rather him have used the knowledge from the Fortress in more creative ways rather than ‘dunk a crystal in water’ like Sea Monkeys.

    However, there were some good things too. The way Supes takes Lois up and explains to her why the world still needs a Superman. The shot of Supes falling back to earth after he gets rid of the continent. The shot of Supes rising to meet the sun. The beginning where Supes throws the ball to the dog. The kid was done *very* *very* well. He didn’t come off as overly cutesy and his part was minimal. I liked where he looked up at Clark when the TV was in the same frame showing a picture of Superman and he figures it out, but his asthma prevents him from yelling out.

    And I liked the last seen where Clark talks to the kid in his sleep. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the kid in the sequel.

  36. 36
    Pooh says:

    That’s a great point Myrtle. Even though Reeves was an imposing guy, he managed to ‘shrink’ himself as Kent, whereas Routh is still an overmuscled tank, just with glasses. Maybe a Groucho mustache next time.

    Loved the music

    Word

  37. 37

    […] John Cole’s review of Superman Returns: “Rather than giving this movie two thumbs down, I instead choose to give it the finger. This movie was clearly made to make the Hulk remake revival look good by comparison. Don’t buy it. Don’t rent it. Don’t watch it. And if anyone tells you it was good, remember their names and ignore their movie advice in the future.” Posted on January 5, 2007 | Permalink | Categories Uncategorized | | View blog reactions […]

  38. 38
    r4d20 says:

    I liked it for the little things:

    1)Lois removes her shoes before flying with Superman. A nice touch of realism in a superhero movie

    2)I liked the way he took off. None of this “up, up, and away!!” shit. Just a relaxed liftoff that naturally turns into a all-out flight.

    3) I liked the “other man” and his dillemma – how would you feelif Superman was trying to Game your woman? I mean, you cant hate him, but how do you compete with Superman?

  39. 39
    Punchy says:

    First, the actor who played Superman, while clearly very attractive,

    And those loafers just got even lighter…

    And I’m here to start a flame war: The Wire sucks.

  40. 40
    Pooh says:

    The Wire sucks.

    Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

  41. 41
    Bogus Gold says:

    Belated Movie Review: Superman Returns

    Jon Cole didn’t like the movie Superman Returns. Which reminds me, I just recently rented and watched it myself. I had been looking forward to it and …

  42. 42
    steve davis says:

    Superman sucked? Compared to what? Previous superman movies? Give me a break. Margot Kidder was never particularly sexy. Gene Hackman played a ludicrous Lex Luthor in the second Superman. There were of course some silly moments in the new version. I know Superman is strong, but lifting an entire new sub-continental mass out in space and sort of shoving it off towards the sun? yeah, right. Still, the movie was certainly better than any Reeves version.

  43. 43

    Still, the movie was certainly better than any Reeves version.

    HERESY!

  44. 44
    Zifnab says:

    I know Superman is strong, but lifting an entire new sub-continental mass covered in kryptonite! after being repeatedly shivved with said kryptonite! out in space and sort of shoving it off towards the sun?

    Wtf? Does kryptonite no longer count as Superman’s main weakness? I mean, seriously.

    I was honestly expecting the movie to more-or-less end after Superman got shoved into the ocean. And frankly, I think it would have been a much better movie if it had. Lois, fiance, and son save Superman. Superman retreats to lick his wounds. Lex Luther sets up incidious Lair Of Evil Bad Guys on his new continent. Movie fades to black with Superman and Luther staring at each other across the Atlantic Ocean.

    That would have been awesome.

    Instead, the screenwriters script out a ridiculous auto-win for Superman and a silly “don’t you wish you had superpowers too” defeat for Lex. Lame.

  45. 45
    Zifnab says:

    Oh… um… spoiler warning.

  46. 46
    Myrtle Parker says:

    The sub-continent moving was not that ridiculous. At least not for any true fan of Superman who would know that Supes has done FAR FAR FAR more incredible feats in the Reeves films and also in Silver Age Supes.

    I mean in the first movie Superman literally turned back time and stopped the earth from rotating… actually ROTATING IT BACKWARDS!! How can anyone think that is a lesser feat than lifting a sub-continent (really a very large island probably the size of Manhattan when he lifted it into space) is beyond me.

    As for how he could do it when it was made of Kryptonite –> Didn’t you see how he flew up into the Stratosphere for a charge up right before he did it? Current Superman lore says that his might is virtually unlimited when he charges up like that and removes his self-imposed mental blocks.

    Anyway, the sub-continent lift didn’t bother me nearly as much as the fact that it just wasn’t that interesting. I would have rather had a more creative show down and win by Supes over Lex.

  47. 47
    Dustin says:

    One thing about the ‘subcontinent’ that seems to be missing is the fact that Superman dove BELOW the kriptonite into the Earth’s granite crust, using the granite as a shield.

    Just my two cents…

  48. 48
    CaseyL says:

    I didn’t see the movie because:

    1) Reeves is the only true Supes. Sorry, but there it is.

    2) The way Rosenbaum has portrayed Lex Luthor on the TV show Smallville has totally ruined him for me as a one-dimensional, merely-spiteful-and-greedy Supervillian. Thanks to Rosenbaum’s awesome understated, complex interpretation of how Lex became Luthor, I’m way too sympathetic to the guy to want to see him reduced to another charicature on the silver screen.

  49. 49
    John says:

    Okay, I’ve been thinking about this as well. First of all, Lane can’t recall who the father of her child is, because Superman took away her memory. Doesn’t this seem crazy? Not in terms of possibility, but ethically. Basically he nailed her, and then made her forget. Sounds like super-roofies to me.

    And if this wasn’t enough, the creep uses his powers to spy on her. What a freak. How does one obtain a super restraining order?

  50. 50
    craigie says:

    Finally, I simply fail to understand how no one recognized him- the difference between Superman and Clark Kent was a pair of glasses. Period.

    Funnily enough, that was my big problem too. I’m willing to suspend a lot of disbelief, but c’mon!

  51. 51
    Pooh says:

    Okay, I’ve been thinking about this as well. First of all, Lane can’t recall who the father of her child is, because Superman took away her memory. Doesn’t this seem crazy? Not in terms of possibility, but ethically. Basically he nailed her, and then made her forget. Sounds like super-roofies to me.

    Super-sperm dude. It’s versatile.

  52. 52
    JWeidner says:

    Okay, I’ve been thinking about this as well. First of all, Lane can’t recall who the father of her child is, because Superman took away her memory. Doesn’t this seem crazy? Not in terms of possibility, but ethically. Basically he nailed her, and then made her forget. Sounds like super-roofies to me.

    Strangely, what I found myself wondering was:
    Didn’t he nail her when he had been transformed to “normal” Clark Kent? I mean, it’s been years since I saw Superman II, but my memory tells me that he didn’t nail Lois until he had his powers taken away.

    So what’s the deal with the son then? Did the zygote in Lois get powers when Superman had his restored in that silly chamber? Coincidentally, wasn’t the plot point that was advanced in the movie that everyone outside the chamber (ie: the three supervillians, plus a presumable “superzygote”) had their powers stripped from them, while Superman, inside the chamber, had his restored?

    Incidentally, anyone catch the “official” Richard Donner cut of Superman II? I haven’t, but am intrigued by it, since I’ve heard that the changes made it a more serious, less “silly” plot.

  53. 53
    W.B. Reeves says:

    Hate to be the killjoy folks but it’s Christopher Reeve not Reeves. The only Reeves to play supes was George Reeves back in the fifties TV series. Ah, the golden memories of childhood. I’ll still take Superman Vs. The Molemen over any of the latter day stuff.

    Excelsior!
    Reactionary Walt

  54. 54
  55. 55

    […] Alright.  I listened to O’Reilly today talk about how all culture page columnists are left-leaning.  Then I read the Moderate Voice where I was led to Balloon Juice who said: Tried to watch Superman Returns last night, and despite really looking forward to seeing it, I couldn’t even finish it. […]

  56. 56
    Joe1347 says:

    Too late with your review. I was an idiot and make Superman Returns my first pick with a Netflix gift last week. At least I got the satisfaction of giving it a bad review. What baffles me is that the movie got favorable reviews. What were the reviewers thinking – or have they all been bought off?

  57. 57
    Fledermaus says:

    How do we know that he won’t change his mind after a careful review of the movie…just like he changed his mind about his vote for Bush.

    John couldn’t take anymore after Superman tried to save Terry Schiavo.

    So funny it needed posting twice.

  58. 58
    Krista says:

    Does anyone remember when Christopher Reeve was in Lois’ apartment and he takes his glasses off and straightens up like he is about to tell Lois the truth? At the last second he decides not to and puts his glasses back on and instantly falls back into goofy Clark mode. That was classic Clark Kent.

    That WAS a great moment.

    Reeve’s red boots were just way too damn big to fill, especially considering how heroic a human being he became.

  59. 59
    Zifnab25 says:

    The way Rosenbaum has portrayed Lex Luthor on the TV show Smallville has totally ruined him for me as a one-dimensional, merely-spiteful-and-greedy Supervillian. Thanks to Rosenbaum’s awesome understated, complex interpretation of how Lex became Luthor, I’m way too sympathetic to the guy to want to see him reduced to another charicature on the silver screen.

    Smallville, Rosenbaum, and everything on the WD CW suck. They suck long, they suck hard, and they suck so loudly I can hear them on other channels.

    Kevin Spacey Lex Luthered the pants of Rosebaum.

  60. 60
    Oberon says:

    Superman Returns was horrible.

    In addition to all factors cited by John, the plot was pathetic. It was lame enough in Superman I that the supervillain’s plan was basically to make a killing in real estate. Even lamer to have the same plan in Superman IV.

    Might as well replace Lex Luthor with Carlton Sheets.

  61. 61
    CaseyL says:

    I liked Reeve very much in all the movies of his I saw. Even the gawd-awful Superman IV had one fantastic scene: where Supes is beating the crap out of Clark Kent. (I think Reeve was working out some of his ambivalence about “being Superman” in that one.)

    But the movie that really made me sit up and notice what a terrific actor he was, was “Death Trap.” For someone whose usual stock in trade was Adorable Good Guy, his very convincing turn as Michael Caine’s malicious murderous lover knocked my socks off. I would’ve liked to see him play more bad guys.

  62. 62
    grumpy realist says:

    Was wondering whether anyone else had read “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.” Don’t read it in public; you’ll get carted away by the nice men in white coats for non-stop laughing.

  63. 63
    jake says:

    Strangely, what I found myself wondering was:
    Didn’t he nail her when he had been transformed to “normal” Clark Kent? I mean, it’s been years since I saw Superman II, but my memory tells me that he didn’t nail Lois until he had his powers taken away.

    Yep. As I recall he ditched his powers so he could um…enter her fortress of solitude. (Talk about a hard act to follow. Dinner? Flowers? Faugh! Give up the ability to fly or nothin’ doin’.)

    I got the impression they couldn’t *ahem* until he did give up said powers.

    And of course there was the spoof in Mad Magazine; The “morning after” Lois looks a bit out of sorts.

    Superman: Was it because it was more powerful than a locomotive?
    Lois: No, it was faster than a speeding bullet.

    Don’t ask me why I can remember this shit and spend an hour every morning looking for my key card. Oh yea. I’m a huge geek!

  64. 64
    Brian says:

    Oh come on. The reason to watch superhero movies is not for the fights… they’re usually boring, at least when the behemoths like superman are involved (I mean, Matrix 1 had very good fight scenes; but the fight scene between Neo and Agent Smith in matrix reloaded was just horrible, because there was no real tension… just a lot of special effects).

    Superman Returns was a (very qualified) success; it had an interesting focus on characterization. I really liked Luthor (mixture of old-school mad scientist with a thug when he shivved supes). The plot was pretty bad; too much a Superman II reprise (and the kid was interesting, but probably a horrible idea; I think any sequels will make bad use of him).

    The trouble with superman and the like is that they need expensive special effects to really come off well; this means they have to be framed as a blockbuster action movie. — which is fine, except that the plots are turned into mushy pablum and subtlety just does not come over well. The movie V for Vendetta came the closest to expressing a mixed message, and that wasn’t all that close.

  65. 65
    CaseyL says:

    I read Niven’s essay ages ago, and loved it. Other writers, in cannon and fanfic, have come up various work-arounds to solve the problem.

    I never watched “Lois & Clark,” but I know they got married in that series. Anyone here know if the “MoS/WoK” issue was addressed and, if so, how?

    In terms of “preserving the Kryptonian race” – and to the delight of the “Smallville” slashfic community – there is, in comic canon, a Clark-Lex love child. Sort of, anyway: Lex Luthor somehow got hold of Clark’s genetic material, combined it with his own, and created (via surrogate mother) Kon-El, aka Conner Kent. I think the kid’s one of the latest batch of Teen Titans.

  66. 66
    scarshapedstar says:

    If this movie were a war, it would be Iraq.

    Hey, then doesn’t it deserve a 3-year grace period before you sour on it?

    OK, that was below the belt. Hugs and kisses!

  67. 67
    Jonathan says:

    I read Niven’s essay ages ago, and loved it. Other writers, in cannon and fanfic, have come up various work-arounds to solve the problem.

    Not everyone’s an SF geek.

    I enjoyed Lois and Clark. Teri Hatcher is delectable still.

  68. 68
    Jonathan says:

    I read Niven’s essay ages ago, and loved it. Other writers, in cannon and fanfic, have come up various work-arounds to solve the problem.

    Not everyone’s an SF geek.

    I enjoyed Lois and Clark. Teri Hatcher is delectable still.

  69. 69
    Tony J says:

    In terms of “preserving the Kryptonian race” – and to the delight of the “Smallville” slashfic community – there is, in comic canon, a Clark-Lex love child. Sort of, anyway: Lex Luthor somehow got hold of Clark’s genetic material, combined it with his own, and created (via surrogate mother) Kon-El, aka Conner Kent. I think the kid’s one of the latest batch of Teen Titans.

    Unfortunately, the Connor Kent version of Superboy is currently dead as a post after going toe-to-toe with a crazy alternate version of Golden-Age Superboy in the Infinate Crisis mini-series, saving the world in the process.

    Robin is busy trying to regrow him in a test tube though (what are best friends for?), and the TT story “The Future Is Now” suggests that he might well succeed, after a fashion.

    Fanboy Mode terminated. Please go on about your business.

  70. 70
    Andrew says:

    I just want to give Paul L. credit for an awesome post. That is the best superhero theory ever.

    But what we really need, besides a decade long moratorium on superhero movies, is for Christopher Nolan to direct a true-to-the-comic version of Dark Knight Returns. 80’s cold war, drug, and crime paranoia, inappropriate underage sexuality, ultra-violence, Batman vs Superman, and all.

  71. 71
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    As for the not-recognizing-him-with-glasses-on schtick, consider the number of other superheroes who manage to “conceal” their secret identities with a domino mask the size of a postage stamp (notice how Hal Jordan doesn’t even use his power ring to change his hair color?), or the fact that after 68 years the Gotham City PD (to say nothing of the US government) hasn’t been able to figure out yet that Batman is Bruce Wayne. You just have to roll with the punches on this one, and accept that in Comicbookland everyone on Earth suddenly turns into Mr. Magoo where this particular plot point is concerned.

    A few years ago, DC actually did make an abortive attempt to explain the Clark Kent Glasses business — something to do with his super-hypnotism being instinctively switched on all the time, but blocked when he wore his eyeglasses made out of material from his old Kryptonian rocket ship — but I don’t think they ever did anything more with the idea. (Now, J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter — whom I always liked better than Supes, and who has lately made a smash comeback in the DC Universe — DOES have a perfect identity-concealment gimmick: he’s a shapechanger, who once even disguised himself as a stray cat in the Piazza at Rome and let a little old lady feed him.)

    I would be amiss not to mention at this point that a few years ago I had a dream recounting the complete plot for a new Superman adventure in which he battled Deadmeat, a red-faced but otherwise unremarkable-looking demon in a baggy business suit who was associated in some way with the sale of substandard meat to butcher shops. (This is the sort of dream I have regularly.) It seemed terribly exciting at the time; but on awakening I was inclined to think that I might have trouble selling it to DC Comics, particularly given the scene in which Superman deliberately passes gas to keep Deadmeat’s supersensitive nose from revealing his identity as Clark Kent. (Actually, back in the Fifties the writers kept trying to jazz up Supes by giving him additional new powers: super-hypnotism, super-ventriloquism and the like. Super-flatulence was never mentioned, but you can see how it might come in handy; after all, it’s a lot harder for a super-villain to fight you properly while he’s holding his nose with one hand.)

  72. 72
    tBone says:

    Basically he nailed her, and then made her forget. Sounds like super-roofies to me.

    Watch the Donner cut of Superman II. No super roofie-kiss in that one.

    Even the gawd-awful Superman IV had one fantastic scene: where Supes is beating the crap out of Clark Kent.

    I think that was Superman III. Superman IV was the one with the mullet-powered nuclear dude.

  73. 73
    Zifnab says:

    In terms of “preserving the Kryptonian race” – and to the delight of the “Smallville” slashfic community – there is, in comic canon, a Clark-Lex love child. Sort of, anyway: Lex Luthor somehow got hold of Clark’s genetic material, combined it with his own, and created (via surrogate mother) Kon-El, aka Conner Kent. I think the kid’s one of the latest batch of Teen Titans.

    There was the “Superboy” that came out of Cadmus Laboratories right after Doomsday pummelled the real deal into pudding. If you ignore the Justice-League reject squad that tried to back him up, the Doomsday series was pretty well-done. I’d be happy to see a movie made around that storyline.

    I also took a great deal of enjoyment out of “Kingdom Come”, which projects the DC universe into a future filled with more superheroes than the world can handle.

    And “Batman Beyond”, the shortlived series on the WB had a great take on a Batman protege.

    But it always seems like the more money you through at a superhero storyline, the worse the end product. A shame really. If you want to enjoy a good Superman story, your best bet is still the comic shop.

  74. 74
    Krista says:

    Superman: Was it because it was more powerful than a locomotive?
    Lois: No, it was faster than a speeding bullet.

    Don’t ask me why I can remember this shit and spend an hour every morning looking for my key card. Oh yea. I’m a huge geek!

    And she had a huge backache because of the ice bed. Yeah, I remember that Mad spoof too.

  75. 75
    Krista says:

    Second, Kate Bosworth is not Margot Kidder. Period. End of story. And someone please throw her a damned sandwich.

    Agreed. She was so cute in Blue Crush, but now she just looks like another Hollywood lolipop-head.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal would have made a great Lois Lane, but then again, her Lois wouldn’t have been fooled by those glasses for a second.

  76. 76

    I’m going to get a pair of Kryptonite braces, then I’m going to snuggle up to Dracula. Then, if and when I ever DO bump into Superman, I’m going to bite him and drink his blood.

    Imagine, if you will, Zombie Vampire Superman.

    Who would win in a fight, Zombie Vampire Superman or the Aliens from the Sigourney Weaver movies? What if those aliens were equipped with Kryptonite clubs- would they figure out how to use them? What if one of those face-huggers got him while he was temporarily weakened by Kryptonite- what would the chest-bursting Alien offspring of Zombie Vampire Superman be like? Give me a couple years, and I’ll find out for you, fuckers!

    Ho ho ho, bitches!

  77. 77
    CaseyL says:

    I also took a great deal of enjoyment out of “Kingdom Come”, which projects the DC universe into a future filled with more superheroes than the world can handle.

    I never read that – I’m not much for comics, generally – but I love the idea because it conjures up a delightful image of superheroes applying for unemployment.

    Or trying to – first, we need to find out if the Justice League pays into the Unemployment Insurance fund. And, oh lordy, the Workers Comp fund.

    Hell, it’d be fun to play with the whole salary structure thing: are Justice League employees salaried or contractors? exempt or non-exempt? Do they get benefits? Does Superman complain about discrimination, since he has no health insurance – or does he have health insurance coverage, to pay for anti-Kryptonite treatment? What about family coverage? How does the JL handle all that without outing everyone’s secret identity?

    SFAIK, Bruce Wayne is the only member of the JL who’s also filthy rich. So I wonder if he’s the League’s sole financial support. It’s gotta be pretty damned expensive to run and maintain, you know.

  78. 78
    demimondian says:

    CaseyL — I’m more worried about Social Security. Does the JL have a pension plan, or do they offer their employees a 401(k)? Is the JL a partnership? An LLC? An incorporated entity?

  79. 79
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    “There was the ‘Superboy’ that came out of Cadmus Laboratories right after Doomsday pummelled the real deal into pudding. If you ignore the Justice-League reject squad that tried to back him up, the Doomsday series was pretty well-done. I’d be happy to see a movie made around that storyline.”

    Pfui. Not only was it obvious to everyone that Supes was going to Rise From The Dead (which set a very bad precedent — since then, so many major DC heroes have done so that America’s cemeteries have exploded, usually supplanting their later replacements who were more interesting and/or likable), but that whole storyline was also directly linked with DC’s utterly disastrous decision to turn Hal Jordan into a homicidal maniac for absolutely no convincing reason. It took them 13 years to patch up that mess — not only did they have to return him, all the rest of the Green Lantern Corps, and all the Guardians of Oa to life (since he’d killed all of them), AND shove the kid who’d supplanted him (and was just starting to look convincing in the job) back into the background; but they had to explain in retrospect that he’d REALLY done it all because he had been possessed by a big ugly yellow bug. We should all have such alibis.

  80. 80
    Andrew says:

    Who would win in a fight, Zombie Vampire Superman or the Aliens from the Sigourney Weaver movies? What if those aliens were equipped with Kryptonite clubs- would they figure out how to use them? What if one of those face-huggers got him while he was temporarily weakened by Kryptonite- what would the chest-bursting Alien offspring of Zombie Vampire Superman be like? Give me a couple years, and I’ll find out for you, fuckers!

    Sounds like Zombie Santa Claus’s gone color blind. Probably from eating to many CJD brains.

    The aliens’ acid blood is green. GREEN. Just like Kryptonite. Coincidence? I think not, rot brain.

    Alien Brood Queen says, “And just wait until I implant a chest burster into that wussy Clark Kent. Superman ain’t got shit on Super-Xenomorph.”

  81. 81
    demimondian says:

    CJD, nothing, Andrew. We’re talking kuru, man.

  82. 82
    pennywit says:

    Christopher REEVE George Reeves was a TV Superman.

    –|PW|–

  83. 83
    Matt says:

    I saw it in the theater. I thought the plot sucked, Kevin Spacey sucked, and the dialogue sucked.

    I saw it twice more in the theater, and bought it the second it came out on DVD.

    Two Words: Space Shuttle and Jet Rescue Scene. Best. Superhero. Action. Scene. Ever.

    But yeah, the rest pretty much sucked.

  84. 84

    […] Cole reviews Superman Returns: Rather than giving this movie two thumbs down, I instead choose to give it the finger. I haven’t seen it yet, and after reading John’s review, Ireally wanna.      […]

  85. 85

    The aliens’ acid blood is green. GREEN. Just like Kryptonite. Coincidence? I think not, rot brain.

    I hadn’t thought of that. But, is Kryptonite acidic?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cole reviews Superman Returns: Rather than giving this movie two thumbs down, I instead choose to give it the finger. I haven’t seen it yet, and after reading John’s review, Ireally wanna.      […]

  2. […] Alright.  I listened to O’Reilly today talk about how all culture page columnists are left-leaning.  Then I read the Moderate Voice where I was led to Balloon Juice who said: Tried to watch Superman Returns last night, and despite really looking forward to seeing it, I couldn’t even finish it. […]

  3. Bogus Gold says:

    Belated Movie Review: Superman Returns

    Jon Cole didn’t like the movie Superman Returns. Which reminds me, I just recently rented and watched it myself. I had been looking forward to it and …

  4. […] John Cole’s review of Superman Returns: “Rather than giving this movie two thumbs down, I instead choose to give it the finger. This movie was clearly made to make the Hulk remake revival look good by comparison. Don’t buy it. Don’t rent it. Don’t watch it. And if anyone tells you it was good, remember their names and ignore their movie advice in the future.” Posted on January 5, 2007 | Permalink | Categories Uncategorized | | View blog reactions […]

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