Short and sweet: as a whole, I loved this movie. I had a rockingly good time seeing it and it exceeded my expectations in most areas. The cinematography was gorgeous, it was very well directed and constructed, and they absolutely nailed the big iconic moments. I started squeeing from the opening onwards--it was spectacular. I loved that they went old skool on the credits--they balanced their interminability (the ones on Superman I go on for so long it makes me cry with laughter) with a truly spectacular backdrop. Very exciting!
Brandon Routh was charming and gorgeous as Superman. He may not be the best actor in the world, but he was well directed and managed to bring some genuine charisma to the role. Little boy supes was cute as pie too--wish he'd been in it longer! And the set up of Superman's return was great. There were so many gorgeous Superman moments that I can hardly list them all, but the shot when he plunged through the clouds from the sun was probably my favourite. I had a lot of fun squee with all the flying and rescuing and superpowers and awesome boots (I want those boots, damn it!)
Kevin Spacey really won me over as Lex. He's not Michael, but he still brought a lot to the role. I thought the writing of his plot was really well done. They stuck to tradition: the new continent was very reminiscent of Costa Del Lex; Lex's mad humour was perfect. But it didn't just feel like mimicry. Right from the start they did lots of fun things with Lex's plot. I thought Kitty and her cannibalistic lapdog were hilarious. And Lex's minions were hysterical. Where I really switched into pure squee where Lex was concerned was in the trainset scene. That was a geniusly geeky-but-cool set up. Kitty's deadpan lines, the initial anti-climax and then the widespread miniature destruction had me in spasms of glee. The little man getting run over by the train! The miniature church on fire! The earthquake! Things that go boom! *squees*
Lex really made the movie for me. I was cheering him on! I did wish that we'd found out a little more about Superman's time away from earth. The staring into space wasn't really enough for me. And I remain quite confused about the way Kryptonite works. Just when I think I'm working it out... pfft! they throw in some crazy continent-building thing. Regardless, I found most of the plot exciting and suspenseful.
And I guess that brings us to Lois. This was what I'd worried most about before seeing the movie. I've always identified with Lois and I hoped that this movie would break the current mould of pathetic superhero-girlfriend-figures (a la Katie Holmes, Kirsten Dunst). Lois has always been a strong female figure for her era. She's supposed to be tough and independent. My worst fears were realised with this Lois. It wasn't just the casting, though Kate Bosworth didn't bring much spark to the role and wasn't physically well-cast either in my opinion. It was also the writing. Saying a character is intelligent and talented is not enough. They didn't sell the character convincingly to me. And I had a stack of issues with her being made such a demure little girl figure. Starting with the six inch heels. Basically, the problem with this Lois for me is that she's what I call 'boy pretty'. She's girly, she's not intimidating in any way, she's pretty, but not so strikingly attractive that the ordinary guy can't imagine being with her. She hasn't got enough personality to animate a finger puppet. Boys love her.
If this movie had been written from Richard's perspective, it would have gone like this: You find the perfect woman. She's pretty, demure and smart (well, that's not demonstrated, but hey, you can still tell your mates that). She has a fabulous career (assisted somewhat by you being the boss's son), she cooks and cleans the dishes (while you stand around sipping your after work drink). Not only that, she's also a great mother, looking after your kid's diet and medicine, picking him up after school even on the night she's going to collect her Pulitzer, and so on. But then ... you discover that you are not man enough for her. She must have Superman! Oh. And the kid's not yours either. Sucks to be you.
The kid totally charmed me. I groaned at first but he completely won me over. Running around with his head in the bin and being so quiet and unphased by both Lex and Superman--he just won me over. So cute. Pity he has such a milksop of a mother. (I swear in the scene where they are trapped on the ship he was thinking 'I'll just see how long it takes for her to get out of here on her own ...'.)
Where Lois first lost me was with the fainting. She had been passable until then, though apparently she has a remarkably elastic spine that can withstand buffeting around in a plane with no restraints. We didn't need the fainting to demonstrate her love for Superman. What woman faints from love in the twenty-first century?! Or maybe it was just the spinal injuries catching up with her...
The whimpering and crying didn't win me over either. And she was won over too easily to Superman. YES, Lois is meant to be obsessed with him. But I would have liked to see her character at war with herself over the morality of the situation. It was Superman that showed restraint, not her, and that disappointed me, because they showed us yet another weak frail woman, overwrought by her emotions. And apparently she didn't even believe in her Pulitzer-winning article! I wish she'd articulated what she'd written to both us as viewers and Superman. But no.
If they'd had a stronger Lois, the sea-rescue could have been a spectacular hero-moment. A strong male superhero doesn't have to have a weak female counterpart. A strong woman at his side makes him even stronger! But the sea rescue seemed crazy and implausible and fizzled as a moment. (How could she lift someone twice her weight, yo?!) But it was better than nothing, though too little too late. And why did Lois get into the hospital and not Martha?!
I choose to believe (with good reason, I think) that Superman came back to life for Jason, not Lois, and I'm clinging to this as a redeeming feature. I loved the idea that Superman found meaning in his son when he'd lost all other meaning, and the bedroom scene was so sweet. I also liked how dignified Richard was in the face of the events. I didn't like the way they scripted him initially--it seemed implausible that he wouldn't already be well aware that he was the rebound guy after Superman. But I liked that he worked with Lois to rescue Superman and that he supported her (undeservedly) taking Jason to see him at the hospital.
To end on a squeeful note, I had lots of fun giggling at the phallic crystals and Lex's delightfully evil and homoerotic screw-over of Superman. Yes, go
My other favourite Lex-Superman moment was the 'imagine how annoyed that must make Superman!' line from Jimmy, and Lex's little speech about Supes 'skimping on the little things'. Oh! And 'our mutual man in tights'!! That was adorable. I also loved the lackey who played piano with Jason. Such a funny scene! (Though could Lois be any more stupid wandering on to that boat in the first place?!)
As you can see, I have wildly alternating opinions--the extremely squeeful and the extremely ragey. In my perfect world, there was no Lois in this movie. She died a couple of years ago. Tragic, really. But she left a well-meaning guy to bring up her child. And I'm sure he and Superman will come to a mutually happy ... er... domestic arrangement. ;-)
Finally: DESERT ISLAND! So funny. Kitty rocked. She had waaaay more personality than Lois, and those last scenes of them on the island were so cute! 'But what will we eat?!' Hee!