Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Superman Returns" Returns

I am in the middle of writing “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just a European.” Having transcribed hundreds of notes I am now forging them into a travel journal the likes of which the world has never seen! Well, unless you know who Bill Bryson, Peter Mayle, or Chris Stewart are, then, well, it will be a lot like theirs. Only funnier. And easier to read. I hope…

It amazes me how much my life has changed in three years. My screensaver on my computer is my pictures folder. We watch a lot of TV from my computer hooked up through the HDMI port to our widescreen Bravia and when there is a pause for bathroom breaks, food or opening another bottle of wine, the screensaver comes on and I am endlessly amazed at what I see. Mountains in Ecuador, Christmas celebrations in Columbia, Italian fountains, the mountains of Candeleda, seafood holocausts in Baiona, the sand castle of Heidelberg, the endless pictures of Stefan grabbing Lena’s boob at locations around the world, or the simple pleasure of me eating a sausage McMuffin with egg seated in a beach chair in the sand on the Maine coast.

All of which is an excuse to show what I think is my favorite picture of the thousands I have in my pictures folder. I took this in the Galapagos. The hot chick in the center makes it though.

Oh yeah, need to warn you. I suggested “Assassin’s Apprentice” by Robin Hobb a short time ago and now I must issue a caution with that. It is a trilogy and I have read reviews of the last book. Apparently the ending is sad. Imagine, I don’t know, the sea witch marrying the prince at the end of “The Little Mermaid” or maybe Sigourney Weaver allowing Newt to die to the Alien Queen in “Aliens” or Sarah Conner getting killed by the Terminator in Terminator I. Or worse still, imagine Superman as a dead beat dad, trying to steal Lois away from a happy relationship and crawling on his hands and knees while beaten by thugs trying to get away and not fighting back. So, take that recommendation at your own risk.

I cannot stop reading and have started the second book of the series, knowing that tragedy awaits and yet, cannot stop myself from reading. She has a skill, I can’t deny.

Check out the new poll on the right side. Apparently, it’s poll week. It is beyond my control. I am driven by urges.

I have been listening to a podcast called “iFanboy” and I love it. I have two hundred episodes on my iPhone and listen to it whenever I go out for errands. The guys doing it are intelligent, catch me up on the comics I have missed the last three years and keep me constantly laughing. The last one I listened too was about “All Star Superman” by Grant Morrison, which I loved.

I HATED “Superman Returns” but the podcast made me want to see something Superman related and Wendy had never seen the movie. Also, I have found in the past that sometimes watching something a second time is better than watching it the first. You know what is coming and are prepared. Your expectations do not get in the way of what you actually see. So, maybe Superman Returns will be better on the second viewing than on the first.

It was not.

This movie was directed by Bryan Singer. He of “The Usual Suspects,” X-Men I”, “X-Men II”, “Valkyrie” and this... This travesty. This abomination!

On an interesting side note, I did realize last night, while explaining Superman II, that General Zod was one of the generals in “Valkyrie.”

“Kneel before Zod.” OMG That’s him! The general who shows up in civilian clothes
during the coup and says this should be seen as a people’s movement! That’s General Zod!

Terence Stamp

I was so incensed by “Superman Returns” that I had to take notes on things I was going to bitch about today. I was going to start out explaining the good, bad and the ugly of the movie, pretending that I could explain away the many faults with an optimistic attitude and smiley face. Maybe this… or Maybe that… but no, I do not have the patience or the time. I must rant and rant I shall!

Superman Returns is supposed to take place after the events of Superman II. In Superman II, Superman gives up his powers to be with Lois, they have sex in the fortress of solitude, and then return to civilization where Clark discovers three Kryptonians destroying the planet. Clark gets his powers back, defeats the villains, gives Lois a super kiss, somehow making her forget the sex, that Clark is Superman and the fortress of solitude.

So, we start off Superman Returns with the premise that Superman has slipped Lois a roofie. Then he finds out that his home planet may have been discovered by astronomers so he flies away in his father’s spacecraft for five years searching for remains. All he finds is dust.

1. He knocks up Lois and never even says goodbye.

2. Lois hooks up with another guy immediately, since the guy thinks the child is his, and nine months must of happened pretty fast for her to give birth to this child so soon after Superman leaves.

3. Superman fails to pay child support for five years.

4. Superman’s (normal farm) dog drops a ball at his feet, wanting to play fetch. Superman throws the ball over the horizon. The dog runs ten steps looks back at Superman with a look of “Why do you have to be such a dick Clark?”

5. Clark Kent and Superman return (after an identical five year absence) on the same day and no one even blinks.

6. Superman (symbol of all that is right and good and honorable) starts trying to steal Lois from her current boyfriend with sly glances, longing looks and a secret flight through the air above Metropolis.

7. The smartest man in the universe is reduced to sleeping with old women in order to raise money. Wait… Bryan Singer feels the need to explain why LEX FUCKING LUTHOR is rich? Just have Lex be rich. We’ll get it. He made some smart stock investments, patented some genius inventions, whatever. The greatest super villain in all universes becomes a gigolo to raise money for evil schemes? Pathetic and stupid.

8. Perry White says to Lois “look, all the major newspapers have hot reporters on rooftops looking for Superman. Your assignment is Superman not the blackout.” So let me get this straight; Superman only talks to hot single female reporters on rooftops? Really?

9. Superman sees the fax Lois sent with coordinates on it. He flies towards those coordinates and then sees a massive earthquake, land mass rising, eruption, whatever, under the sea traveling toward Metropolis. He turns back, blows out one fire and catches the Daily Planet globe from crushing people and… that’s it? You saved the city from the crystal destruction by blowing out a fire and catching a huge globe?

10. Lex raises an entire island off the eastern seaboard and yet, there is no tidal wave? The water isn’t affected at all by a new land mass appearing in the middle of it?

11. Superman’s kid crushes a thug with a piano. Shortly, Lois and the child are locked in a pantry. Lois asks her super-son, “Honey, can you help mommy with the door?” Twenty minutes go by with multiple shots of Lois trying to force the door and the kid happily sitting on the floor eating Oreo’s ignoring his mom’s last request. WTF was the point of that?

12. So Lex makes a huge land mass made of crystal. His ultimate plan destroying most of the U.S. and everyone will move to his new crystal continent. With what arable land? With what buildings? With what… everything? Why wouldn’t they move to Europe or Asia? Where is the food going to come from? Worst… evil… plot… ever.

13. Superman lands on the new continent and loses his powers because it’s made partly of Kryptonite. He then gets beaten up by thugs and stabbed in the back with a Kryptonite knife. The part most disturbing about this, is Superman crawling away from his beating, whimpering and crying out. Look, Superman isn’t just Superman because he has super-powers. He doesn’t turn into a cowardly simpering wimp when he loses those powers or faces adversity that matches those powers. He fights back. He shows courage against all adversity. He’s supposed to be the shining example to other heroes because of his ideals, his courage and his morals; not his super powers. He’s like the Captain America of the DC Universe. People look to him for inspiration not because he’s so strong but because he never bends his morals. Because his SPIRIT is an inspiration. People don’t look up to Superman because he’s Homer Simpson with Super Strength, Flight and Invulnerability. Having Superman crawl away whimpering while being beaten by thugs reduces Superman to “Anyone who has his powers could do what he does” and that’s not the point at all.

14. Superman gets a recharge from the sun and lifts up an entire continent of Kryptonite. (Rolls eyes.) Again, no tidal wave by millions of tons of rock leaving the ocean.

15. They put SOLAR POWERED SUPERMAN in a dark room with the shades drawn. To recover. Brilliant.

Is this the worst Superhero Movie ever made? I have to go with yes.


  1. It was bad but at least it had the space shuttle save to redeem it. That whole sequence is money, if they could have made the rest of the show as good as that they would have had a winner.

    LMAO @ your #4, that is great!

    I'm sure you know this already but your Valkyrie general/Zod was also the voice of Clark's biological father on Smallville.

  2. Hey Jamie,

    Long time reader, first time commenter....

    Even though the movie was balls, I hate to say that your #14 was slightly misconstrued.

    A piece of the Kryptonite crystal he was stabbed with remained logged in his kidneys until it was removed by Lois(?). Only once it was removed was he able to recover... at least that's what I think I remember....


  3. General Zod was also a transexual in the movie "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

  4. Hi Jamie,

    First - thanks for the 11 years or so of entertainment (even the bittersweet moments). I've been following your writing ever since your earlier dinosaur token days.

    I sometimes to talk about to non-magic types as: "I know this guy in Madrid..." - just felt like I've known you that long.

    I almost wrote you the other day in response to your religion article – it is sooo close to how I feel about it things. It was probably my favorite bit of your writing I’ve read to date. Thanks. (further comment below about Lamb)

    Superman – here’s an interesting book – doubt you can get it kindle-like though: “Alien Sex: 19 Tales by the Masters of Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy” – it addresses some pretty radical stuff – published around 1990 I think. One story that sticks with me (I read this in 1992 during Senior Week) is about Superman doing the deed. I don’t want to spoil anything – but that one story does a good job detailing why Superman can’t reproduce… at least not on our planet with us pidly humans (just imagine the power of kryptonian sperm and our yellow sun…)

    Here’s a link to it on amazon…

    I was in to Audiobooks a little bit before you were (during your hospital commutes, etc) – and when you “told me” about Bill Bryson’s book, I quickly downloaded it via Audible… it was great – Yellowstone? – still scary to me. I agreed with your opinion as well regarding the last voice of the Martin novels… not bad – but near the quality of narration of Roy Dotrice. If ever you get back in to audio books, let me know – I have some great suggestions to you. (I used to commute two hours a day – and went through A LOT of books). The BBC casted books “Dune,” and the trilogy, “His Dark Materials” are near the top of my list of favorites.

    Lastly, while I’m on the subject of books, I stumbled on Patricia Briggs. If you want to try a little more mature werewolf/vampire dark fantasy series based in modern times - try her out. I started with an offshoot book called “Cry Wolf,” a spin-off series of her first series of books that start with “Moon Called.” “Cry Wolf” is unique in that explores the affect of an Omega werewolf in a pack… pretty original stuff (to me, anyway – who tends to stick to traditional fantasy). All the books are based around werewolves, but there is plenty of vampire, fae, shifters, witches etc to go around. One unique thing about the main character in the Moon Called series (Mercedes Thompson, a ‘Shifter’ and later a vampire-slayer) is that she carries a lamb on a necklace, instead of a crucifix – and it has the same anti-vampire affect of a crucifix. Her reasoning for the lamb is identical to your thoughts about the portrayer of JC being tortured.

    I would really like to write more – but the whole work thing is going on right now - I love hearing of your adventures Jamie… Keep writing… never give up!

    ~ David G

  5. That's just it, Lois didn't remove the whole piece of Kryptonite from his back, they only broke the part that was showing off. Most of the crystal was still lodged in his back and he was still able to pick up this Kryptonite Island and dispose of it, that's large BS. Even early on in the movie Lois says to James Marsten's character: "Kryptonite WILL kill him." Really? 'Cause I didn't see it, did anyone else?!

    Very good article though. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that thinks this movie is slop.