Superman!!

This last weekend I treated myself to the new Superman movie.  I have been waiting for someone to make a new Superman movie since, well, since I first saw Superman 4 in the late ’80s.  In general I am not a big fan of superhero movies, comics, cartoons, etc.  But Superman is different.  The whole legend behind superman that is so intriguing is that with Superman, Clark Kent is the disguise.  With most superheroes, e.g. Spiderman, Batman, etc., it is a normal person who dons a mask to become a superhero.  But Superman is the true, albeit glamorized, identity of Kal-El, whereas Clark Kent is the disguise he dons.  My fascination with the idea is the juxtaposition of someone from a different planet with a completely different physiology trying to cope with earthly human life.

This is most emphasized in the ’90s tv series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  That show was more about the day to day life of Clark Kent as a reporter, emphasizing his romantic attraction to his co-worker, Lois Lane.  The old Superman movies had more to do with the villains and action thrills of Superman stopping them from their evil plans.  The scenes with Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent are actually somewhat dull and there is virtually no relationship between Lois and Clark, but there is definitely something between Lois and Superman.  Another problem with those movies, is the addition and deletion of additional superpowers, as needed to move the plot along.  Although this is a trait seen throughout the many implementations of the character.  Sometimes he, or his Kryptonian foes, can move objects with telekinesis, sometimes he is strong enough to fly around the world fast enought to reverse time, yet sometimes he gets to an accident scene a little too late, because he couldn’t fly fast enough.  But all in all, for their time, the movies are well made, and Christopher Reeve has been America’s favorite Superman for years.

This new movie, ‘Superman Returns’, is very interesting.  The guy who plays Superman/Clark Kent was indeed an excellent choice.  I captures the persona of the Christopher Reeve Superman very well.  When Clark Kent, he has the same bumbling clumsiness that was included for comic relief in the original movies, but when he is Superman he takes on the deeper confident voice and is very graceful.  I don’t think they could have found a better match for the role.  As for the story line, there is definitely some confusion, since in this story line, Superman had a romantic relationship with Lois in the past, but there is still definitely nothing between Lois and Clark.  The claim that this is based on ‘Superman II’, when Clark reveals his true identity to Lois, they fall in love and Clark gives up his superpowers to be with her, is somewhat illogical, since at the end of the movie, as again in ‘Superman IV’, Superman kisses Lois and she loses all memory of the incidents.  Why, then, in ‘Superman Returns’ would she remember the romantic relationship she had with Superman, and not the one with Clark?  It was the same event.  The other problem with continuity, although it is a small one, is that the actors in the new movie are very young compared to Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, and this movie is supposed to take place at least 5 years later.  Not a big deal, though.  If I remember correctly, in the original movies, both of Clark’s adoptive earth parents passed away, whereas in this movie, his mother was still alive.  I could be wrong, though.  Based on the inaccuracies, I am mostly confused about the validity of the claim that this movie is supposed to be a sequel, rather than its own stand-alone implementation.  However it must be a sequel, since the opening credits are in the same style, and they even cut together a lot of old Marlon Brando footage for the Jor-El character.   Although, that was probably an attempt by the film studio to show off, since they could have easily used a different actor, like they did for every other character.  It was neat, though.  I really did enjoy the movie, and I am excited because I heard a rumor that there will be yet another movie in the next few years.  The continuity holes are to be expected, as every implementation of Superman has re-invented the entire story line, as seen in the tv show Smallville, which I have also been watching lately.  Examples include Lex Luthor’s changing role between mad scientist, career criminal, and business tycoon; how old Clark was when he started getting his superpowers; the vital state of Clark’s parents; the level of romance between Lois and Clark; for that matter, the level of romance between Clark and Lana Lang.  Every time we see something different, but that has become so characteristic of the Superman universe, that it has become expected, and it always leaves room for new ideas.

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