Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...


Superman Returns (Singer, 2006)

I'll get the easy part out of the way first: Bryan Singer is the best creator of blockbusters that Hollywood has right now (I still consider Jackson to be a New Zealander). He manages to fit emotion and interesting ideas into his hellaciously fun popcorn films.

Superman Returns fulfills most of those provisions. Brandon Routh is a suprisingly good Superman, and Spacey and Posey both get a lot out of their roles. Kate Bosworth is near-disaterously miscast, but manages to not be too distracting. In fact, the only problem with the film is the lack of focus. Overlong at two and a half hours, Singer should have condenced his film down to its essence: loss, survival and change. Instead we get a little too much Christ imagery and an overplayed father-son angle that seems to go nowhere.

But Singer still directs popcorn better than anyone, and the plane rescue is a great cheer moment: it manages to be cheesy and perfect at the same time. However, the best moments in the movie are almost silent, like Clark watching Lois ascend in an elevator: a wrenching, beautiful moment. It is easy, and perhaps frequently appropriate, to read gay themes into Singer's films, and the beating of Superman definitly plays and is shot in a way similar to a gay bashing or hate crime. In fact the sequence walks the fine line of throwing off the tone of the film, as the sudden ugliness of the scene is initally offputting. But like all good directors, Singer manages to work it out by the end.

Even if Superman Returns manages to go for too much, it is much better to see that than a film devoid of ideas like The Omen. Singer is not at their level, but he has a sesability in line with Howard Hawks or William Wyler: character studies in action films. Maybe if we are lucky Singer can develop into something one day. With his X-Men films and now Superman Returns he certainly seems to be on the cusp of something big. Here's hoping.

Current 2006 Top Ten:
1. United 93
2. A Prairie Home Companion
3. An Inconvenient Truth
4. Dave Chapelle's Block Party
5. Superman Returns
6. Nacho Libre
7. Hard Candy
8. V for Vendetta
9. Thank You For Smoking
10. Mission:Impossible:III

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