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A little bit of Superman

I am currently very frustrated with my course selection for Duke. As it turns out, I will not be needing to take any Chem since I shall receive credit for it from my CBSE marks. As a result, now I don't know what to take instead: the higher courses have basic courses as prerequisites, timings of some basic courses are simply clashing with others, and the remaining have been filled by senior students. Compound that with the fact that registration has to be done at 10pm tonight.

So I decided to take my frustration out by bitching about the Man Of Steel. I saw 'Superman Returns' the day it came out, and though some of my friends seemed to like it, I'm going to take a stand and say I didn't.

The biggest disappointment of the movie was probably the villain, Lex Luthor, played by Kevin Spacey. Spacey acts as a half-jokey, half-evil character, who looks more comical than wicked, leaving us completely bewildered as to whether one aught to take him seriously or not. (Take a good look at Luthor and his goofy gang in the pic on the right. How villainous do they really look?) His evil plan too is a complete joke: Luthor plans to drop some crystals from Superman's home planet into the ocean to create a complete new continent that would submerge America. He would then sell this new land at exorbitant prices. As Anthony Lane, in his review for The New Yorker (link), comments:

Picture my disappointment as I realized that, for all the pizzazz of Superman Returns, its global weapon of choice would not be terrorism, or nuclear piracy, or dirty bombs. It would be real estate. What does Warner Bros. have in mind for the next installment? Superman overhauls corporate pension plans? Luthor screws Medicare?

I mean, *why* should any country listen to Lex Luthor when he tries to sell a land illegally created and occupied only by him? Wouldn't some country rather just send an army and some B-52s to acquire the land instead? The comeuppance Lex receives for his deeds at the end is also a total gag: he, along with his girlfriend, get trapped on an island with no fuel in the helicopter and only coconuts for food. Compare this villain with Dr. Oc. from Spiderman 2 or the villains of X-Men 3: The Last Stand, and well, you just don't have a very attractive villain.

Now about Superman. "Any guy, provided that he looks like a black-haired Adonis, can play the superhero. So the real deal here is to find someone who can play Clark Kent" (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, link). And this is precisely where Brandon Routh fails. Clark spends more than half of the movie trying to entice already-engaged Lois Lane, ultimately realizing there's just *no* hope. As it turns out, Superman, not Lois Lane's fiance, is the father of her son (Superman had sex with Lois Lane in Superman II, released in 1980). When Superman finds this out at the end though, he just kisses Lois and his son goodbye!

The Superman-saves-Boeing747-LoisLane-and-SpaceShuttle-simultaneously is probably the only real jaw-dropping scene. Basically, if you've seen the trailer of Superman Returns, you've seen all that is worth seeing. And,

if Superman is such a paragon, how come he wants to save a species so universally dumb that not a single member of it recognizes him when he puts on a pair of glasses? (Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, link)

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