Superman equals teh suck

Superman Returns is even worse than X Men 3.

It has at least half a dozen instances of the most logic-defying intelligence-insulting movie-physics I've seen. Kevin Spacey doesn't even come close to saving it; there's only one 30 second scene that he's in that isn't a total snooze, and you saw that one in the preview. It's hard to decide who's the biggest whiner: the big blue boyscout, Lois, or Lex. Oh, and the plot is stupid and all the characters are boring and totally sleepwalking through their roles.

...And there is a precocious child.

I guess it's an adequate sequel to the others, given how much they sucked too, but ugh, I want those two hours back. Those of you who told me that this movie was ok are despicable.

If you're feeling tempted to see this piece of garbage, just rent the DVD of the modern Superman or Justice League cartoons; they were actually not bad. Clancy Brown is a thousand times the Luthor as the one in this movie.

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42 Responses:

  1. belgand says:

    Finally someone else feels the way I do about it. I actually feel asleep a few times during the thing.

  2. abates says:

    And Superman was doubly emo because he realised he couldn't cut himself.

    I'm going to hell for this comment.

  3. johnreen says:

    And all those stupid, cutesy references to the original 80s movies didn't make it any more bearable.

    • saighin says:

      No, they didn't...but they did make for one of the easiest and fast-acting drinking games my friends and I have yet to make up...just drinking to the scenes from the originals, we were tanked 30 min...that almost made it bearable...

  4. zond7 says:

    It's the inconsistency of the inconsistencies that had me gnawing my face off. Like how Lois says "I forgot how warm you are" to explain why she doesn't freeze miles above the earth's surface -- yet somehow neglecting to add "also, I neglected to recall how you can somehow exude a forcefield over me that lets me breathe up here".

    It's like updating an old classic car by putting new number plates on it with a topical bumpersticker or two, then throwing away the chassis.

    • matt_od says:

      i'm sorry.. but my response to your comment really has to be: "it's a comic booooook!"

      will everyone please stop getting all pissy about the physics, biology, etc in movies based off of comic books. yes, people can't breathe very well that far above the surface of the earth... but people can't fly either!

  5. skreidle says:

    Huh.. first bad review I've heard.

  6. spamcola says:

    Finally someone else who noticed how bored Kevin Spacey was in this movie. That, and what's with Kal Penn not having A single line in the fracking movie?!?

    I will say that I liked the casting of Brandon Routh (even if the film did call for him to be a superhuman emo boy) and that Kate Bosworth did not make me hate her more than usual. I must, however, re-emphasize one thing from Mallrats: Supes should have worn the kryptonite condom, deadly or not.

    • drhoz says:

      I refer you to Larry Niven's article "man of steel, women of Kleenex"

      re the movie, oddly enough, apart from the strangely pointless title sequence, and Lois' youth, and the fact they'll never be able to do a Cthulhu movie without some idiot claiming they stole the rise of R'lyej from Superman Returns, I quite enjoyed it.

      Maybe I just wasn't expecting much....

      • spamcola says:

        I wasn't expecting much either, but I was wholly unprepared for the plodding pace of the film and how preposterous the whole "super kid" deal was. I understand why they put the kid in there (now Supes isn't the last Kryptonian, now he can be the father with the booming ominous voice, etc.), but couldn't they have picked another device to ease Superman's "I'm the last one" complex?

        -the Boeing 777 that didn't buckle or rip out of Superman's hands while being held vertically: yeah. Unless he has a TK field that he can willfully force around any object and maintain it's structural integrity despite being 400ft long and being held vertically only be two steel hands at it's nose cone, I don't think that would work too well. Next thing they'll say is he can fire mind bullets ...
        -The whole flying over Metropolis with Lois sequence was OK, but one does have to wonder if Supes has a force field around him or something to that effect to support humans at that altitude.
        -The beating Lois took through the course of the movie: The way she was thrown about the plane followed by getting her head slammed down upon by a 300lbs steel door on the boat you think that she would either be in a coma or in a full body cast halfway through the fracking movie.

        I will say that I liked how they handled Superman's flying effects (the sonic booms, low-level flyovers), and the sequence where he fell back to Earth after saving the day only to land with a resounding "thud" in the middle of the park. I thought that whole sequence was great.

        • pfrank says:

          I think at some point in the comic it was explained that all his powers basically come from forcefields.

          • jonabbey says:

            Really? I've always thought that was the only viable solution to the things he can do, but I'd not seen that in the *cough* literature.

            Physics violations, let me count the ways.

            Oh, I know, how about Superman catching a man who fell out of a tall building ten feet off the ground and doing absolutely nothing to mitigate his momentum.. adding another force vector to the man's momentus peril, even.

            How about the fact that nobody died except for the red shirt bad guys? C'mon, Batman Begins had the balls to let bad things happen. Superman Returns would have been a far better movie if we had been shown actual tragedy that Superman was powerless to prevent because he wasn't able to be in two places at once, or because his powers couldn't magically attend to each individual's particular circumstances in the plane crash.. in fact, how about killing the guys in the shuttle to save the plane? Now that'd be some sign of some moral calculas operating in the big S.

            Still, nothing rose to the level of Superman spinning the world backwards to turn back time in the first one.

            • pfrank says:

              Yeah I don't recall what storyline it was that put forth the forcefields theory, but it's in there someplace.

              And if you think the going-back-in-time power was stupid, you should check out some of the other pre-1980's comics. How about Super Hypnotism?

              From Wikipedia:

              Pre-Crisis, Superman had the ability to hypnotize others at will. This ability was dropped in the modern comics. One late 1970s story, attempting to explain the effectiveness of Superman's disguise as Clark Kent, suggested that his super-hypnotism, aided by his Clark Kent glasses, worked continually to make others see him as a thin, mild mannered man, not an athlete in a suit, and even included photographs of himself. However, this theory presented numerous flaws, such as various stories where Batman would disguise himself as Clark Kent; it also failed to account for anyone studying Kent's build from behind, let alone how the illusion could work on a video camera or whenever Kent was performing his job as a TV news anchorman. For these reasons, this explanation for his disguise's effectiveness was dropped, in favor of the traditional "suspension of disbelief" status quo.

            • citizenx says:

              Superman does not kill. There have been at least a few stories that centered around how he's just not that sort of boy. Shit, Batman doesn't kill, and don't you think he's more suited towards that kind of thing and his enemies deserve it?

              And I think the force field stuff in the comics came from the post-death Superboy (who turned out to be some sort of Superman/Lex Luthor clone) who had powers because of "tactile telekinesis", or some hogwash. When I was reading up about it weeks ago, Wikipedia wasn't as helpful as I thought it'd be.

              • babasyzygy says:

                Well, he didn't used to kill - but at one point no DC heroes did. With Wonder Woman deciding to give it a try, who knows how long it'll take Supes and Bats to come around?

                The "new" Superboy was an escaped lab experiment - his original powers were "tactile telekinesis," they explicitly worked differently from Kryptonian/Daxamite powers and had different strengths and weaknesses. As time went by, he gradually gained Kryptonian powers.

              • pfrank says:

                I think it was in the John Byrne stuff in the 80's where they first talked about his powers being based on telekinetics and forcefields and stuff. But I could be wrong.

                • editer says:

                  ISTR sometime around then the force-field stuff coming into it, maybe in the Infinite Earths reboot. That's why if Supes is in the middle of a big explosion his cape disintegrates, since it's not within the force field; the "old" cape was made of Kryptonian material found in the space pod and never got damaged.

        • jwz says:

          Oh, there are so many. I thought about enumerating all the physics dumbness in the review, but I figured I'd just wait for someone else to do it in excruciating fanboy detail instead.

          But my favorite one is this: he hefts the Giant Fucking Rock up into space, right? Straight up. He lets go. I'm thinking "You idiots! It will fall straight back down!" It goes into orbit. Then he falls straight back down!

          And my head asplode. Normal physics works on Superman but not on giant fucking rocks.

          • spamcola says:

            The giant rock in space did kind irk me as well, but at that point my "GAH!" meter was spinning out of control. It's a comic book movie, granted, but what a mess. I'd put it on a par with Hulk: very well shot, plodding pace, and angst to the hilt.

  7. jarodrussell says:

    I *heart* youse!

  8. deadmoose says:

    According to Ebert:

    It would have been fun to give Superman a bright, sassy child, like one of the Spy Kids, and make him a part of the plot.

    So it could have been worse.

  9. speedracr says:

    I am SO glad that someone whose opinion I value online agrees! When my friends and I went to see it and pretty much hated it, and then everyone online loved it, I thought maybe we were being too picky. I was bored silly by the movie, and the change in physics and unbelievable happenings just made it worse. I can understand people thinking it was "ok", but people actually LOVED that trash? Ithen watched the first one, and realized that this movie was more a re-styling remake of the first movie than it was a sequel! PURE TRASH!

  10. babasyzygy says:

    What got me was that Supes suddenly became a stalker. Taking Lois up and trying to recreate the chemistry of the flight in the first movie wasn't romantic, it was just creepy. Especially when he flew by her house... "In case you didn't figure it out, I know where you live." By contrast, the only real hero in this film is the so-screwed Richard.

    I think the only way I can deal with all the weirdness from Supes in a consistent way is to believe that they were trying to show just how much Supes is not human. Maybe he'll rocket the kid off to another planet - that's what Kryptonians do with their children, right?

  11. djverablue says:

    i mainly just enjoyed the scene with the dogs in the beginning. i'd be hard pressed to tell you what happened in the rest of the movie.....forgetable, to say the least. but i did have a good time, i'd never been to a "3-D" movie before, so that was kinda exciting.

  12. flipzagging says:

    At the end of the movie, Lois Lane is trying to come up with the first sentence of her article "Why the World Needs Superman". I think I know why she was having trouble with that, the article has to start with

    ...because Superman might vanish for five years, leaving his alien super-technology unguarded so it could be discovered by anybody, in particular, scheming villains who use it to cause billions of dollars in damage and almost kill me, a planeload of people, my son, my husband, and most of North America.

    Also, I was feeling like I had way too much privacy.

  13. taniwha says:

    Amen to that up and over.

    Kingmob's a friend of mine, pointed me toward your post when I told him how much Superman Returns pained me. I believe that movie made me sterile.

    I bought DVD set 3 of the Superman animated just to get the bad Supes taste off my soul. Clancy Brown is indeed a far better Luthor. Every single thing about that cartoon is superior to this new movie.

    Also, if Luthor's going to grow his ugly crystal continent to make land that people will want to buy... where's he going to grow crops? He'd just be beholden to the remaining nations for food anyway. Unless the crystals are also rock candy.