Saturday, June 30, 2007

Superman (1978, Richard Donner)

There seems to be a school of revisionist thought among the kids today that says this movie isn't awesome. Sorry, but you're wrong. Sure, by today's CGI standards the effects are shoddy, but that's what I love about this movie. It's from a time when spectacle wasn't simply about photo-realism, and the filmmakers' ambitions outweighed the technology at hand. In other words, they didn't have computers to do the effects work- if they wanted to do something, they had to figure it out (e.g. the unbroken shot in which Superman flies off Lois's rooftop and Clark comes in her door a few seconds later, accomplished with a screen and a projector). In our angsty, super-sensitive age, we've all gotten used to anguished, workaday superheroes, but Superman's always been a breed apart- he's not human, after all- and I like that the filmmakers don't try to psychoanalyze the Blue Boy Scout. If I want work-class heroes, I'll watch a SPIDER-MAN movie; if I want darkness, I'll catch BATMAN. What I want from Superman is stalwart heroism, and grandeur, and above all fun, which this has in spades. Seriously, this movie makes me laugh more than most comedies, especially when Lex Luthor (whose brilliance is only rivaled by his enormous amusement with himself) shows up. One word: "Otisburg?" Plus Christopher Reeve does effortlessly what his successor, Brandon Routh, couldn't- he makes Clark Kent as much fun to be around as Superman. Whereas with Routh we were just marking time until he got back into the suit, we care about Reeve's Clark. Man, this movie's so damn cool. Rating: ***1/2.

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