Selasa, Jun 27, 2006

" SUPERMAN RETURNS Press Screening"


*** MAJOR spoiler warning ***

( dari perspektif seorang kaki komik dan fanatik cereka superhero )

This is, quite easily, the BEST Superman movie ever made.

I say that not to disparage other movies, which I certainly love but nothing has ever reached this level before. Ever.

This is also quite easily, THE BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE ever made.

None has ever been truer to the characters, had a more moving story, or literally let you see the comic books spring to life. You will see things that have never been seen on film before, things that no one else can do.

This is DEFINITELY a job for Superman.

I would also rank this in the highest echelon of movies. Not just Superman movies or comic book movies or even action movies. It's one of the best movies ever made.

Let me give you some perspective on this, lest you think I'm some gushing fanboy (which I am now, but I wasn't that 'berat sebelah' before seeing the film).

Having followed the repeated, failed attempts to get a Superman movie off the ground in the past decade and being well aware of what could have been, I had reached a point where I wished no Superman movie would be made simply because I feared the resulting travesty that much.

When I heard about this movie finally REALLY moving into production, I was nervous. Scared. I would have sold my soul for a guarantee that it would be done right. Thankfully, it never came to that.

I followed Bryan Singer's video blogs and every bit of news on the movie that I could find and while I felt it was headed in the right direction and in good hands, there was no way to be certain. Not until I'd seen it.

I don't love everything having to do with the character. There are plenty of other mass media adaptations that I find lacking and writers in the comics who have disappointed me.

I went in to this movie with the highest of expectations and the most severe of my critic's eyes peeled and searching. Surely they couldn't keep everyone in character, give us an intelligent and emotionally engaging story and not have a billion plot holes where things were done simply for the super x-factor.

Happily... I was wrong. It not only met my every expectation for an excellent movie (or a Superman movie), it exceeded them!

The movie has this core... this heart, this feeling and emotion that sets it above and beyond most other movies out there. And given that it's about Superman, who may have the biggest heart of us all, nothing could be more fitting. Effects were astonishing, and never to the degree where it ticked me off how fake something looked. It wasn't overkill on the CGI, which takes you out of the story. The CGI was clearly used as it should be, as an enhancement and not as the end all, be all of an action sequence. It was a wholly new visual experience and something I'll remember for the rest of my life. Seeing it on the big screen for the first time is just an amazing experience.

The music was very good and I'll certainly be picking up the soundtrack. Not only will you hear the main theme, but bits of all the old familiar themes will pop up right where you'd expect them to. Sets and costumes were nothing short of brilliant, from Lois's dress for the Pulitzer party to Superman's suit, from Jimmy's bowtie to Lex's immaculate wardrobe. The Daily Planet newsroom, the Kent farm, New Krypton and the Fortress... even Metropolis itself is breathtaking.

The biggest worry for me going in (besides the story) was Brandon Routh. I had no problem with his appearance but I was worried how his performance would be. I had nothing to gauge his acting ability on. Having seen him, it erased all doubt. He's a magnificent Clark and the second you see him in the suit in action, there's no longer any doubt. HE TRULY IS SUPERMAN. In some moments, it's like he's channeling Christopher Reeve... so much that it's uncanny. And in other moments, he takes the character to new places and heights only dreamed of.

Kate Bosworth made a spectacular Lois. She was tough yet vulnerable, opinionated yet confused. She played her with a real depth and maturity that I absolutely fell in love with. She also gets to show Lois's strong side, as Lois puts herself in danger to save a woman early on in the film and then risks her life to save Superman later on. Finally a screen Lois who's as tough as she should be and as compassionate as she needs to be.

Kevin Spacey was brilliant as Lex Luthor. He plays him with this edge, this fire... I've never seen Lex on screen be more determined, more obsessed or more out for blood. And yet he's never one-dimensional or flat. He's got motivation and he's got depth, and he's also got a mean streak a mile wide. Lex always puts himself first, and that's never more apparent than it is in this film. His performance is inspiring.

Parker Posey though used mostly for comic relief, was still able to bring a depth and an arc to her character that I didn't expect. She's clearly an homage to the ghost of Miss Tessmacher past(see the original Richard Donner's SUPERMAN THE MOVIE), but I think she's got more heart and brains than old Tess was ever allotted.

Sam Huntington was a godsend as Jimmy Olsen. He was born to play that role. He mixes Jimmy's dorkiness with his humanity and caring, making himself truly worthy of being "Superman's Pal". I couldn't get enough.

Frank Langella played Perry perfectly. My only regret was that his screen time was limited and we never see him for more than a few minutes. But to do so much with what little time he did have impressed me.

Eva Marie Saint, though many of her scenes were cut still managed to move me as Martha Kent. The scene where Clark returns to the farm alone was as meaningful as it was because of the amazing job she did making you feel what it was like for a mother to not see her son for five years and to then have him dropped back into her life, unconscious and unmoving.

The cast was brilliant and all had an amazing chemistry together; Perry with Lois and Jimmy, Jimmy with Clark and especially Superman and Lois. They all bounce off each other so well it's kind of surreal.

*** again... MAJOR spoiler warning ***

So, is Jason really Superman's son? Superman thinks so, Lois might think so, and there's evidence to suggest he might be. But let's look at that evidence. Is any of it irrefutable?


Jason flings a piano on the thug going after his mother. Does he? Possibly, yes or it could have possibly been from the boat rocking on the ocean.

Jason spots Superman down in the ocean when no one else can find him. Telescopic vision? Perhaps. But that's not actually expounded upon, so theoretically he may have just seen something the others didn't because he was looking in a different spot.

Lois says to Superman as he's in a coma, "I wanted to tell you that J..." and she's interrupted. Clearly they wanted us to think that she was going to tell him that Jason was his son but she never actually says it.

Jason calls Richard 'Daddy'. That doesn't mean Richard is his actual father though, so we have more ambiguity. Jason may just call him that as he's been the recent father-figure in his life.

Lois... thinking Jason has powers, later asks him to break open the locked door to get them out of the room they're trapped in on the yacht but just as he's about to Richard flings the door open from the outside.

Special attention is paid to the words of Superman's father, Jor-El and Superman's repeating of those words to Jason. It's implicitly clear at the end of the film that Superman believes Jason to be his son but there's technically no information to confirm 100% either way.

Personally, I JUST FEEL that Jason is Superman's son... JUST A FEELING. Lois seems surprised but not overwhelmingly so, when the piano crushes the thug. Not as surprised as she'd be if he did that and he was biologically Richard's son.

And clearly, since she later asks him if he can open the door to the room they're trapped in, she fully accepts that he may have superhuman abilities.

It's still never explicitly stated that he's Superman's son but there's enough information there for me to be comfortable enough to say, and ALMOST believe that he is.

The Richard White issue is never resolved though, as Lois begins and ends the movie engaged to him. Superman and Lois aren't together and that's made even more difficult a situation by Richard being a good, genuinely likable character. He did seem to have a little bit of jealousy over Lois's past (and current) feelings for Superman though, so it will be interesting to see where they plan to take him in any sequels.

The story was truly fantastic. There are nods to the comics and the original Reeve movies everywhere you turn. The characters are handled with reverence and respect, the story is meaningful and you can really connect with it, the action is intense and amazing, the performances are brilliant and impressive, and I honestly never expected I'd see a movie that was this good anytime soon, much less a Superman movie.

I absolutely could not have asked for more.

The only minor flaw in "SUPERMAN RETURNS" is that even at over two and a half hours, it feels like only half the flick Bryan Singer wanted to make. This is a reintroduction story. Even though there's very little attention paid to the origin story-already covered by Richard Donner's 1978 classic, Singer does spend plenty of time getting you used to Superman being back... back on Earth, back in your heart, back in theaters.

By the closing credits, if feels like the filmmakers are saying, "Okay, the big guy's back... now come back in a few years for more. You know Superman, Lex, Lois and the rest... now watch us build this new franchise of steel."

But also by the end, you'll be cheering for them to do just that. In the end, it's not that there's not enough of the movie, it's that you'll simply want more of everything it gives you.

I never expected it to be this good. I hoped it would be, sure. But then I also just hoped it wouldn't be a complete train wreck and there'd be at least something to enjoy about it. Well, there is something to enjoy about it.


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd count this movie among the best movies ever made. Never.

I have been impressed down to the core.

This movie was indeed a job for Superman and my Superman is Bryan Singer.

p/s: Mungkin review ini agak 'bias' dan berunsur 'favouritism'... tapi biasalah. Inikan blog aku dan obsesi aku terhadap Superman pun telah lama diketahui umum. Ternyata memang berat sebelah. Enjoy gambar hiasan di bawah ini sekiranya anda malas membaca ataupun tak setuju akan tulisan diatas.


vovin berkata...

Hahaha, hell i do bro...

Yeap, dont agree with remarks 'This is also quite easily, THE BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE ever made.'

Batman Begins still the best superhero movie in neutral point of view (Hey, i'm a huge fan of Spidey, gotta remember that).

But still, i will take all your point into deep consideration.

Already donlod Spidey. Watch out!

thesandman berkata...

then again... when it come's to Kal-El a.k.a Superman a.k.a The Man of Steel, I can be ultimately bias!


; )

thesandman berkata...

Likewise on your annotation about Batman Begins. As believable and realistic as a superhero can be.

Wonder if they'll ever make that 'World's Finest' movie???

Aku pasti berada dikayangan tatkala filem itu menjadi realiti kelak.

NiK! berkata...

Cibai ko Faizal!!!!

Tgk premiere tak ajak org siut!

Aku yg debab nih sure gerenti muat punyalah kalo menyorok dlm beg galas ko!!!

Belum cuba belum tahu beb..hehehe

Neways, Spidey 1 is the coolest/best superhero movie ever because Sam Raimi stayed true tpo the superhero's roots YET adapted it here and there to make it acesible to regular audiences of ALL AGES.

Budak umur 6 tahun tak boleh mahsyul tgk Batman Begins beb...kalo intellectuals / teenage lvl baru boleh enjoy Batman begins..

so walaupun Christopher Nolan is good, but in my books dia takleh lawan Bryan Singer NOR Sam Raimi when it comes to staying true to the source material YET STILL making the movie accessible to the movie going masses.

I rest my case.


vovin berkata...

Letak pula pada perspektif orang2 skeptikal yang tak suka filem superhero,

they absolutely takkan suka Spidey tapi find Begins lebih dekat dengan jiwa mereka...

Like one reviewer penah tulis, like watching serious movie, except it has superhero in it...


still for sandman, returns nowhere near Begins or Spidey...u can hate me, dude, but it's true...

thesandman berkata...

Aku suka orang macam nik! dengan vovin... selected people which really respect the superhero genre, may it be comics or films(Buat aku lagi tercabar untuk 'menulis'...)

Thank you.. guys.

This are modern day mythology we're talking about here. Like Hercules(greek myth) or Thor(norse myth), contemporary comic book icon deserves worthy recognition.

p/s: Tapi nik! kau tu poyo lebih la,geram pulak aku. Dari dulu tak paham-paham bahasa ...EEIII!!!

Nazim Masnawi berkata...

C'mon, man. It's not really THAT good. Lima tahun lepas mungkin filem ni boleh makanlah tapi with the standard set so high thanks to the likes of Batman Begins, Spider-Man 2 and even Singer's own X2; if you don't clear the bar these days, it's hard not to be disappointed.

thesandman berkata...

Enter Nazim.


I admit that I was 'over the top' when i wrote the review and maybe... MAYBE I over-rated the movie. Excitement has gotten on me.

Batman Begins, Spider-Man 2 and Singer's X-Films memang dalam kelas yang tersendiri.

You have your own arguments,bro. Aku pun respect dengan kau punya overview and critiques(please visit romankodian,people) and YES: there are a few flaws and number of defects here and there. You're an admirable critic,no doubts on that.

Heheh.. again,I am being bias. Sebab tu takde satu benda pun yang aku kutuk dalam citer ni. I'm no critic. Aku tak pandai critic! :p

The classics(SUPERMAN THE MOVIE and SUPERMAN II) shaped SUPERMAN RETURNS. Bryan pays homage to Donner and Reeve. Dalam masa yang sama jugak, he created his own identity denagn style dia sendiri.

Well, kita dengar dulu apa kata yang lain sebab ramai lagi yang tak tengok aku rasa.

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