Kryptonite Green With Envy
I am happy to finally be able to say that they’ve finally made a good Superman movie. String me up or ride me out of town on a rail if you like, but the previous Superman movies weren’t very good at all. People like to talk about how awful IV was, but I think III was the bigger insult. The second one had Zod, but wimped out in the “letting Lois keep information” department. The second one also gave Superman (and his ilk) weird telekinetic powers, which didn’t make any sense at all. The first movie’s best contribution to the Superman canon is the score. It’s not PC to say you didn’t like Christopher Reeve as Superman, but … I didn’t. I also didn’t like Margot Kidder’s Lois or Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. Too campy and silly for my tastes.
Superman Returns fixes a lot of the problems, in my opinion. The characters are treated as real people, which I think is the most important aspect when making a superhero/comic book movie. People react believeably to the events that unfold. Lex Luthor still has some humor around the edges, but Kevin Spacey gives him an under-the-surface anger that hints at future confrontations in the Lex-vs.-Superman story. Lois is understandably angry at Superman for leaving (he’s been gone for five years and the movie begins with him coming back). Superman himself, though alien, is very human, trying desperately to deal with his self-prescribed duty to help humanity and his desire for love.
Then there’s Lois’s boyfriend, Cyclops. There’s no way to envy this guy. He’s been dating Lois for five years, helping to raise her son, knowing full well the whole time that her first and biggest love is The Big Guy himself. Sure she’s hurt because he left, but Cyke knows she’ll always have him in her heart and mind.
So when Superman ret– comes back, it’s easy to tell he’s not so okay with this. Sure, he’s glad that airplanes are brought back to earth gently and not as many people are being killed by falling pieces of buildings and all, but when it comes right down to it, he’s jealous.
This is where I experience a little disconnect. I guess I can understand being jealous of someone who your girlfriend used to love, but being jealous of Superman is like bulimia: it might seem like a good idea, but it ultimately doesn’t make any sense. Jealousy is based in comparisons, most of the time: what does he have that I don’t? (superpowers), what makes him so great? (uh… superpowers), why does she like him more than she likes me? (….superpowers, maybe?) About the only thing he’s got over Superman, really, is that he didn’t go off into space for five years. I guess that’s something. Relationships have been built on less.
I guess it’s the natural (human) response to be jealous, but I think maybe Cyclops should call that nice Jean girl he used to know because I happen to know who Lois picks in the end (Hint: he can lift continents).
So, it was a good movie overall, and I recommend it, even though I guessed the “twist” pretty much when the movie was announced a year ago. I guess the “twist” wasn’t the point, though, and it should be interesting to see where that goes.
Now to go back to waiting for the next season of Smallville.