Sunday, December 31, 2006

They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be

O.K., so it's 1979 (or 2001 retcon time) and you're Superman as portrayed by handsome, heroic, charming Chris Reeve (or handsome Brandon Routh retcon). You've just defied your alien daddy and made him turn you mortal so you can sex up your beloved Lois Lane as played by the pretty, spunky, delightful Margot Kidder (or pretty Kate Bosworth retcon).
With me so far?
Fabulous Kryptonian crystal technology has taken your overwhelming superpowers away and about 8 seconds later you're (without a condom) losing what is presumably your super-virginity to the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. The "ONE". The woman you previously CHANGED TIME to save.
All good? You bet your super-butt.
Good thing you took advantage, too, because soon everything is back to status quo and with a super-kiss to erase her memory (?!?) you're back on the job.
Now, sometime within the next month Earth guys at their telescopes announce they've discovered the location of Krypton. Your exploded homeworld.
Do you shrug and say: Oh, so THAT'S where it was. Too bad it's still EXPLODED. What's on t.v.?
Do you achingly and angstily WISH you could abandon your responsibilities to travel the stars alone?
NO. Apparently you build or get your dad to build a spaceship and take an unannounced 5-year round trip to CHECK that Krypton is still exploded and deadly poisonous to you.
Fortunately, no super-villain destroyed the Earth while you were gone. Luthor, Brainaic, Zod and Richard Pryor never undertook any mischief to threaten humanity and the only people affected by the disappearance of Superman were your worried mom and friends.
Oh, and the knocked-up love of your life, who has sensibly found someone else to care for her and her head-scratcher of a kid.
Plus before you left one of the last things you said to her was that you'd never leave her.
Now you make a movie and YOU are the HERO.
Am I supposed to LIKE you?
Listen, I KNOW I've got unreasonably high standards. I'm a comic book fan. Like many of my ilk, I have severe Daddy issues. Like many of the poor schmoes in my culture I'm crying out for a hero and comic book Superman is supposedly one of the greatest.
So that's why "Superman Returns" sucked buttock from Premise One: I cannot and will not hero-worship a Dead-Beat dad.
How could he know she was pregnant, you ask? Consider for a moment that he has X-Ray and microscopic vision. If he couldn't wait for a pregnancy test it would've taken a GLANCE at his lover to determine her condition.
She is HIS WORLD. She is not secondary to a visit to his thousand-years-dead biological parent's grave. He is a stand up guy. He doesn't slink off because 'saying good-bye is too hard'.
If Batman or James Bond pulled that shit I'd shrug and say it was par for the course. They're flawed heroes whose dead daddies matter more to them than any girl they've boinked.
But it's SUPERMAN. In the comics you'd NEVER catch Superman making that mistake.
And it's a mistake with serious consequences.
This half-assed movie has a confused five-year old boy KILLING a thug with his super-strength. Severe emotional damage to that kid. Severe damage to the thug, too.
Happened because daddy wasn't there to teach this guy how to handle his abilities.
What DOES daddy do?
He whispers Kryptonian platitudes in the boy's room at night. He mumbles to the mother of his child "I... I'll be around."
You movie makers: writers, editors, directors, actors and all should be EMBARRASSED to turn out a piece of this calibre.
"Batman & Robin" embarrassed.
"Fantastic Four" embarrassed!
Except Spacey, Posey, and the CG animators. Kudos!
Frankly, if the whole flick had been a half-hour silent film with just the CG Superman catching crashing planes I would've clapped my hands with glee like a child and left the thing alone as an entertaining afternoon.
Turning Superman into a sulky dillhole and Lois into a helpless mooning moron left a bad taste in my mouth for months.
Superman is meant to stand for the Christian values Christianity itself keeps fucking up. I feel there's nothing wrong with being a good father, and Superman had two dads who taught him better. Jonathan Kent and Marlon Brando... I mean Jor-El.

Up next... the Fantastic Four movie. Threat or menace?