May 3, 2006

The Trailer Park: Superman Returns

The full trailer has landed online. Let the handicapping begin. The initial teaser that appeared last Fall didn't really offer much to get excited about. Now, the full trailer is here and you can start to officially let your expectations rise and fall.

I have a lot of faith in Bryan Singer. He burst on the scene back in 1995 with the fantastic Usual Suspects. That was followed up with the less stellar, but still very good, Apt Pupil. From there, his attention was turned to the world of comic book adaptations when he was signed to direct X-Men. It was a slightly controversial choice. He had proven himself with characters, but this would be his first foray into action, and with a group of characters that he was unfamiliar with. We all know how that turned out. X-men may not have been an action packed extravaganza, but he did hit all the right notes. There was some action, and a nice balance between the characters, giving us the origin wrapped in a forward moving story. That success led him directly into the sequel, X2. That film gave us more action and an intriguing story, and currently satnds as one of the best comic adaptations yet. Then something happened, while getting ready for the third X film, Singer was lured away from Fox by Warner Brothers with the promise of bringing the big blue boy scout back to the big screen. That left Fox in the lurch, they would go through a few replacements before finding one that would stick, but that's another story.

This is the first big screen outing for the comic icon since 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which was, shall we say, less than stellar. To say it has been eagerly anticipated is an understatement. With the proliferation of comic book films over the past few years, it was just a matter of time until Superman was resurrected. This trailer gives us the first taste of what the new film will be, and I think it looks rather promising.

Superman Returns is not a reimagining like Batman Begins, rather, it is a sequel to the Christopher Reeve cycle of films. Exactly how it meshes, I am not sure. I have heard that it is supposed to be directly related to the first 2 films, while ignoring the latter pair. Sounds logical to me, as those last films got progressively worse.

This incarnation stars the virtual unknown Brandon Routh as Superman/Clark Kent, and he is a dead ringer for Reeve, it is a little eerie. The supporting cast includes Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, who is now a mother, Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, and Frank Langella as Perry White. The cast looks pretty good, although Bosworth looks a tad to the young side. Other actors considered for the roles reads like a who's who of Hollywood!

Anyway, I guess you may like to know what I think of the trailer? I like it. It doesn't promise to be wall to wall action, and that is a double edged sword. I would love this to be non-stop action, bnut if this is to serve as an introduction to a new series of films, it would probably be best to focus on fleshing out the characters and sprinkling in a few big action sequences. That seems to be the take that Singer is taking here.

There are some absolutely gorgeous moments captured here. The crowd staring up into the sky as Superman flies overhead, Superman flying high above the Earth, Lex's bald head, Superman and Lois atop a building, they are all great moments. There is also the scene of bullets bouncing off of Superman's chest, yes a scene from the comics and cartoons dating all the way back to the early days, but it is such an iconic image, it looks great here. There is very little Clark dialog, which may or may not be a bad sign, lack of faith in Routh? Perhaps, they were just holding it back. Spacey looks to be an excellent Luthor, channeling Gene Hackman, with perhaps a touch of Mike Myers?

I have seen some people say the acting seems to be poor, or worse, but I don't see it that way. Much of it doesn't seem all that realistic, per se, but I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. I do not require absolute realism, especially in a film about an alien with super powers, who disguises himself with a pair of glasses. What I do expect is a film that plays by the rules of the world it has created, and it looks like SInger may have done just that.

So, what are you waiting for? Go take a look at the trailer, then report back here with your thoughts. The trailer is available in the standard QuickTime flavors, but also 480p, 720p, and 1080p high definition. I can't wait to see it on the big screen.

Lastly, a word of warning, you may see some of this material recycled in the eventual Superman Returns review that will come sometime around the release of the film. You've been warned.


Cptalbertwesker said...

As a big fan of the Reeve's films I think Returns looks fairly promising. Spacey looks great as Luthor, and Brandon Routh looks pretty good as Clark/Superman, though I wish that more dialogue was said by his part in the trailer.
Personally I would have liked a reimaging rather than a sequel, because I just loved Clark's introduction to Lois in the original, and would have liked to see that again.

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