So I saw Superman Returns on Wednesday with my brother and nephew at the IMAX theater in Grand Rapids. Several scenes were in 3D, which makes this probably the first 3D movie I’ve seen in decades. Actually, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a 3D movie at a theater before…I just remember seeing a couple on TV as a kid. The local TV station distributed/sold the glasses at 7-Eleven or something.
Anyhoo, Superman Returns was good, but I was somewhat underwhelmed by the whole ordeal. In relation to other recent comic book movies, I did not really enjoy it as much as either of the Spider-Man movies, the first two X-Men movies, the first Batman movie, Batman Begins, Sin City, The Punisher, and probably Hellboy (although I haven’t seen it yet). Overall, I probably enjoyed the third X-Men movie more than Superman Returns, too.
Probably my biggest complaint about the movie was the overall plot and the villain, Lex Luthor (played by Kevin Spacey). A major portion of the plot was remarkably similar to the original Superman movie, and the more original subplots were not really explored or resolved to my satisfaction. And my problem with Lex Luthor is probably due to two factors: 1) I’ve been spoiled by Smallville and 2) I think Kevin Spacey is an ass.
While I’m not a huge Smallville fanatic, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the show when I happen to catch it. One of the things I like most about the show is that Lex Luthor (played by Michael Rosenbaum) is a much more complex, compelling, multidimensional character than he has ever been portrayed on the big (or small) screen. Both Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey did good work with what they were given, I suppose, but I don’t think they were given very much. “Look at me! I’m an angry/slightly goofy bald guy who wants to get rich with my wacky and deadly real estate schemes! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!” Yawn.
And then there’s the Spacey factor. I’m sorry, but the man just seems like such an arrogant ass that it is difficult for me to appreciate his acting any more. I saw him on Conan the other night, and as soon as he stepped on the stage I immediately began spreading feces on my TV screen to avoid looking at him. Sure, I could have just changed the channel or turned the TV off, but the feces bit was much more dramatic and pleasing in an odd way. Anyhoo, I actually met Kevin Spacey in person a few years ago at a movie premier in Phoenix (a friend of mine had free passes to the premier of Spacey’s The Life of David Gale), and he attended to do a little Q&A action with the audience after the movie. He seemed like a smug, arrogant bastard then, and he seems like a smug, arrogant bastard now. I guess that’s what a couple of Oscars will get ya.
Spacey’s mini bio on IMDB contains this quote: “It’s not that I want to create some bullshit mystique by maintaining a silence about my personal life, it is just that the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person.” That makes sense and is admirable, I suppose, but I think the quote could be modified thusly to make it more accurate: “…it is just that the less you know about me AND WHAT A SMUG, INSUFFERABLE BASTARD I AM, the easier it is to NOT HAVE YOU SMEAR FECES ALL OVER YOUR TV OR MOVIE SCREEN WHENEVER I APPEAR.”
So, the new Supes flick is pretty good and maybe a solid foundation for future movies, but nothing too spectactular in my opinion.