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18/8/06 12:07
Gan's G.O.N. :: Superman
Well folks, as usual I have a few things to say so if you're willing to read then read on my friend!
I'll start with my critique of Superman Returns. I watched the film and felt so aggrieved that I have a lot to say so the article will be pretty long. But if you are into films, hopefully you will enjoy it.

Onto Superman Returns then. Be warned, if you haven't seen the film, there are plenty of spoilers here so read carefully. Now I consider myself a bit of a film critic as well as a game critic and love movies. I especially love the original Superman movie done in 1978 by Richard Donner. It's a seminal classic and Christopher Reeve was magnificent. So was Gene Hackman. And I'm really sorry to say that the same can't be said of the new film by Bryan Singer. Don't get me wrong, Singer is a great director, the Usual Suspects was superb, he brought a level of life and realism to the X-Men films (that Brett Ratner subsequently lost again in X3) and then I heard he was doing the S Man. I was very nervous, but thought that if Bryan Singer can do that to X-Men and he isn't even a fan, what would he do with Superman when he's as much of a self confessed fan of the original as I am? Balls it up, that's what. I think the problem was that Singer loved the original so much he basically tried to remake it. In fact, it's almost scene for scene with a few tips of the hat to the comic thrown in. Before I start on the actors, the film was just a pure remake of the original, and apparently this was intentional? Why???? I'm not even sure what time period the film was set in, but when you have a remake that acknowleges the original, I prefer it to be subtle instead of exactly the same. It was a complete, in your face rehash of many of the original Donner scenes. And we learned that Lois still can't spell, Clark still says swell and everything has gone to hell. I mean, even the initial scene where Clark is in the bar downing his sorrows into a few bottles of bud. Hang on, Superman drinking in a bar and moaning about his life, wasn't this done far better in Superman 3 with the inimitable August Gorman and Ross ("you know a wise man once said, I think it was Attila the Hun...") the Boss? To even have Clark in a bar necking a few buds shows that they don't understand the character at all. AT ALL. If you want to really know what the essence of Superman is, (apart from rewatching Donner's first two films) then go read one of the best comics ever, Action Comics 775 called "What's so funny about truth, justice and the American Way?" by a writer who's even more amazing than his artwork, Joe Kelley. That shows what Supes is about, and the Singer film totally missed the plot. He would never try and steal Lois away from her fiancee. That's just not like Clark. And even though there were little scenes which were related to the comics (Lois in the space shuttle, the cover of Action 1 etc) in between these the film was paced very very badly. Just when you thought something was about to happen, the music builds up, lot's of really intricate close shots of things shaking, you think something's about to happen and then nothing does! A cut to another scene! Extremely frustrating for a film which was over 2 hours long. I don't think a lack of action could be a criticism as long as the film delivers on other fronts. Great acting. Accurate character potrayal. A really interesting and decent take on Clark and Superman. But it doesn't deliver on these either. And it's funny how Clark went off into space and then came back looking younger than he was when he left. Admittedly, Singer likes casting young pretty boys in his films, and I have no problem with that, it's when he starts spouting nonsense like "I really want to do General Zod but only if Jude Law plays him". JUDE LAW??? Look at Terence Stamp's performance. Then look at every incarnation of Zod in the comics. Then look at Jude Law. It would be like ET trying to play He-Man. Or Samuel L Jackson trying to wield a lightsaber. Sorry Sam, you just ain't got it as Mace. So no Zod therefore Singer turns to Clark's greatest nemesis, old Lex. Now Spacey doesn't do a bad job, but he's no Gene Hackman. His Luthor is quite OTT but doesn't come across as truly evil, even compared to Michael Rosenbaum or John Shea. And what was really missing was an Otis type character as Kal Penn was window dressing. So the villain side of things ain't up to scratch but what about the hero? Maybe it's me but I was disappointed in Brandon Routh. Okay, he's massive. Okay, he does a half decent Clark which is a bit reminiscent of Chris Reeve, but anyone can do Clark. You just have to be a bit bumbling, a little geeky, a little high pitched and nasal. That's not the hard part as that part is just pure acting. The hard part is when you're in the suit. You have to portray so many facets at the same time. Let's face it, Superman is a God raised as a man. But when in the suit, he has a different persona. He should command the screen with a gravitas, a nobility and come across as the most powerful man in the universe. It's no easy feat which is why Dean Cain never managed to pull of a great Supes although Tom Welling does a half decent job. But it's here that Chris Reeve was so magnificent. He was so believable as this being of absolutely immense power but with such a sense of good and decency about him, such a sense of presence and such a sense of purity. No sleight on Routh but he doesn't come anywhere near this on the screen. He still looks like a kid in tights when he flys (which, statistically speaking, is still the safest form of travel). Then let's skim over Perry and Richard White. Frank Langella had nothing about him as Perry White, and wasn't even a patch on Jackie Cooper or Lane Smith. And what was the point of James Marsden as Richard? Just to give Clark someone to compete with for Lois' affections? He didn't need to be in the film at all! I did think that Sam Huntingdon did a really great job as Jimmy but that was about it.

In case you thought I was finished, far from it, but let's cut things short by talking about the single worst mistake in the history of film. Giving Superman a son. It's a mistake to do this as it fundamentally changes the character and totally messes up his whole psyche. How can you give him a son? Routh doesn't look old enough to have hit puberty!! And the fact he has a kid now, albeit a superpowered wimpy kid with asthma, is extremely annoying to me. The kid doesn't even recognise Clark as his own father, that's a job that Richard White occupies. So they gave Clark a son who is raised by another man who is engaged to the woman Clark loves. But hang on a minute. If Lois knows Supes is the kids father, then when did they have sex? It can't have been at the fortress in Superman 2 when Clark was human as first of all he was human, and secondly, he made Lois forget that ever happened. So what did she think, she got drunk one night, had a fling with Supes and forgot all about it? If she didn't get pregnant from that time at the fortress, when exactly did Clark get her pregnant? Nothing makes sense, and this was the worst plot twist in history.

I don't mind a 2 hour film in which not a lot happens as long as the stuff on the screen holds my attention. But to pace the film like that and keep cutting to a fairly pointless scene, to rehash the original Donner films, to give Supes a kid, well, this really spoiled my year. I remember when Matrix 2 came out and Neo was flying around doing his Superman thing, I thought, yeah! Finally! We have the technology to do a really decent Superman! I can't wait! And then Singer goes and releases SR. He really should have done his own version with his own plot and his own take on things. Remaking the 1970 film just really didn't work for me at all.

If you take this film as a standalone film with no mention of the history of the character or what has gone before, then yeah, it's not bad. But you really can't do that. The character on the screen is a result of what has gone on before. The character is already clearly defined. The source material is already all there. Why make a film this aggravating if you love the original so much?

I don't understand, so I hope you do at least. And I pray to God that when Singer does his intended sequel he makes it a new film and his own version of Superman as that would be something I would actually look forward to.

Now that I've got that out of the way (you should feel lucky as I could have gone on!) I just wanted to say a quick thing. Here at Mobile Game Faqs we pride ourselves on a number of things. But first and foremost we will tell you how it is when we review a game. That means we will spend a large amount of time playing all aspects of a game and try to play it through from start to finish. You see, like yourselves, we're more gamers than journalists so we try to come at the game from a gamers viewpoint. We're also perfectionists too, well, at least I am, so we will try and play through everything that a game has to offer. Every nook and cranny, every puzzle and end boss and every level that you unlock so that we can give you a complete and rounded view of the game that should help you decide whether you want to check it out or not. First and foremost we have your interests at heart as there's no point spending your hard earned cash on something that's going to be pants. That's why we take a bit longer sometimes to get our reviews up but you can be assured that unlike other sites we will actually play through the game and not give it 5 minutes with the developer sitting on our lap before we post our review.

On a final note, I also want to congratulate my team, Liverpool, on a stunning victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield. I've been saying it for about a year now but Sissoko was the buy of the season. And we proved that we can compete against Chelsea without our main players starting as our squad looks great now. Roll on Saturday.

Till next time peeps and peepettes,

Gan.

Comments, views and opinions can be left here

Drop me a line at gan@mobilegamefaqs.com

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