Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The first Superhero (Respect!)


First shout out to mondo for that unreal limited edition poster... legit.

Superman was the first super hero.
Before him there was nothing. There wree quips, and ideas, whispers, and forgotten comic strips. Superman was the creation of an entirely new genre, closing in on a hundred years ago. Did you know that the SUPERMAN "S" logo is the second most recognized symbol world wide? Think about that. A fictional comic book hero is the second most known logo In Da World. You can walk into a straw hut bar in Ethiopia in a superman tee and some kid will come up to you and say "Su-per-man". Ok. I mean, statistically... that would probably happen. Hows this for perspective: wherever you are, however old you are... reading this review... you know who superman is. Period. How crazy is that?

Point being. He is Myth, he is legend, and he is the man.

I have been reading Superman for years. Years and years. Years and years and years... dammit I think I'm getting older or something (boooooooo). And this... this folks is the film I have been waiting for. Having had to rely on ancient loveable cheese (the original Reeves films, and no I will not forgive the rewinding of the planet!), more 90s loveable cheese (Lois & Clark: the new adventures of superman), a surprisingly watchable but teenage based telling (smallville), and many amazing animated features, to tell superman's story... finally... the big screen does it justice.

So your story is. Two parents on a doomed planet - Krypton, choose to send their only son to Earth in an effort to spare his life. Space ship lands on earth, and two amazing people, Jonathan and Martha, find him, and become his adoptive parents. Raising him, he begins to demonstrate amazing abilities, but they never let him stray from the path of the moral. Instilling a strong sense of love for his fellow man despite their flaws. Years later, their son Clark aka SUPERMAN! is traveling the world saving people, trying to find himself... and then an ancient war criminal from Krypton General Zod (who escaped being destroyed with Krpyton because he was in a space prison) shows up with a bunch of people to you know, destroy earth and such. Oh and they have powers thanks to our planets yellow sun as well.

I'm sorry was that your indestructible safe? Oopsie. 

I'm going to stop now, and point out something that has really, and I mean really pissed me off. Over the years their have been many, many, problems with the superman films, and people have cried out for justice! Here I am thinking finally we have our wants and needs fulfilled, and peeps (critics) are still bitchin'. Lets take a lot.

Problems with the last Superman film:
1. Too much back story on characters we are already familiar with.
2. Not enough action.
3. The portrayal of the villain is a throwback to the classic character that doesn't work here.
4. Not enough action! (deserved repeating) This is after all a super man movie.
5. Oh, and 5, I saved for this... SUPERMAN RETURNS was the classic characters and tones. And it was too cheesy and classic to connect with todays (Dark Knight loving) audience.

So here we are.... problems I am hearing with this latest version....
1. Not enough back story. The characters, lois lane, Perry white, don't have any time to develop.
2. Too much action, not enough focus on the story.
3. The film is too dark (Dark Knight treatment) in tone.
4. The main villain is handled poorly.

F'n blah people. Make up your minds. Ok, well since you are here, and Ol' Boony is the He-man to your universe, let me share my thoughts.

SUPERMAN PUNCHES PEOPLE THROW BUILDINGS! Over and over and its awesome. Finally what I have waited years to see has come to pass. Actual violence and chaos on scale with what a Superman fight should look like. I almost raised my hands in the theatre when he first air body slammed someone... sweeeeet!

The back story was great. The time on Krypton and Russell Crowes performance as Superman (Kal-el)'s father was great. He somehow manages to create his entire character; motivations, pride, strength, all in a matter of minutes. The flashbacks do not take away from the story. I liked how when he was hurt, or alone for a moment, these scenes from his past would come... as if we were seeing his history as he would in such moments. His successes, his failures.

Also, understanding the fact that the supporting cast would be getting limited time, they insert top notch actors in every role. Actors that can get the characters across without needing tons of screen time. I have actually read people complaining that characters like Perry White, and Lois Lane don't get enough time to develop... Kidding? First Lois is by far the best incarnation ever on screen. She is tenacious, and finally - intelligent. This is not the Whoops I found the bad guys and without backup guess I'll be in peril and wait for superman Lois. And Perry? Really? Has Perry ever had screen time? Ever? I mean he's lucky to get two panels in the comic. Yes I know he is played by Laurence Fishburne, but that is the point, he can make the scene intense, sell the few minutes he has... he doesn't need another 15 minutes to explain to you who Perry White is.

There are going to be folks upset with the tone of the film, the times that it does get dark. For me, it simply felt like this was a film for this generation. A world that is darker, more realistic... but a world in which superman is still the loveable determined to do good character we all know, despite what is happening around him. Yes, they drop a few bombs on you that the fans out there might be rubbed wrong by, but as a lifelong superman comic fan, these are things that did happen in the comic and really, I didn't need to see set up through 4 films before they happened.
Henry Cavill.
Is Superman. Though the blue tights have rarely resulted in career superstardom (I.E. Christopher Reeves never having another hit, and where oh where is Brandon Routh... ) I think this will be the exception. The emotions, and places that this incarnation go through could not have been handled by any one other than a top tier actor.

Now I gush because, to me this is more or less exactly what I have been waiting for and well, I feel like Haters gunna hate (to quote some rap verse I am not entirely aware of).

A few issues I had. The camera work though stellar for the most part, gets a little old with the 3x zoom Synder uses (over and over) to showcase superman flying. Wideshot, close shot, zoom in, wideshot. However that same technique is used to perfection during the battles so I forgive it...

Me (Giant to the right lol), and the fam. Just stoked after.
Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars.
Super Hero movie scale 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Believe the hype, and I hope you all enjoy the freaking shizzie out of this film. This review may have been a little more serious in tone than some, but I don't know if I can properly explain how satisfied I was after all these years... that little child in me that read the first page of Superman issue who knows... finally has his superman film. And I was very frustrated as you can tell with some of the advance negative feelings for the film from critiques... some that I very much admire as well. Sigh... can't wait to see this one again.

-Chuck Boonsweet saying "Up, Up, and away!"


Dan O. said...

Nice review Chuck. It's a fine movie that never loses it's sense of energy or fun, but it does get a bit silly and crazy by the end, almost as if a different movie just came out in front of our eyes.

Boonsweet & Bucklesworth said...

Ah I hear's ya Mister O. But at the same time, especially in line with the chaos that is the new 52 dc comic line... I certainly didn't feel it lost touch with the superman universe. Though I understand where you coming from with the switch in tone.

Although that tone did involve massive city wide destruction... so I could do nothing but be supportive, and raise my arms in joy... (metaphorically)