Bryan Singer returns: It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s Jesus in tights!

July 17, 2006

Superman Returns (

Superman Returns

This past weekend I was determined to see Superman Returns, my most anticipated movie of the summer. In the DC area, there is a theater at Cleveland Park called the “Uptown,” and I managed to see Superman there. This majestic theater houses only one screen and a fine screen it is. It’s dimensions aren’t quite IMAX, but it pushes the limit of the traditional widescreen theater as the edges curve a pit toward the audience. I sat in the first row of the balcony, and I was pleased to experience the revival of a comic book legend in the prime setting. John William’s Superman Theme blasting on digital surround gave me happy-shivers, and from the opening credits, I knew that the movie would live up to its history and name.

Everything after the opening credits works just as well. I really enjoyed the opening action sequence – the one featuring the airplane and space shuttle combo flying chaotically out of control. Also, the Metropolis catastrophe scene near the end of the movie was a pretty good way to demonstrate all of the man of steel’s powers. The less actiony scenes are pretty interesting as well as they deal with the “drama drama drama” between Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Superman, Lois’s child, and Lois’s husband. You can look up the husband (Cyclops from xmen) and the boy’s names on IMDB if you really want but that’s how I identified them mostly. Though the runtime is around 2 and a half hours, I found the movie to keep my interest for the most part – action scenes and everything in between.

Prior to seeing Superman Returns, I had read the New York Times’ review by Manohla Dargis (check it out here). Manohla’s review was a little less than pleasing, contrasting with the general praise Superman had been receiving. (see metacritic) I had also read her negative review of “Old Boy,” a korean film from a few years back which I recently enjoyed (to be discussed later). I was losing faith in my favorite Times reviewer to say the least. In her Superman Returns review, she remarked of Singer’s blatant use of Jesus imagery. At the time, I was surprised and thought, “she sure is reading deep into this comic book movie.” BUT during the film, I realized that Superman is Jesus-y inherently. Not only is there some Jesus imagery (Superman falling from space) and dialogue (“The son becomes the father, and the father the son” a direct 1978 Superman quote) in the film, but the whole concept of Superman is doused in Christianity. The movie reiterates Superman as a savior and guess what, he comes from above.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Superman (Batman is more interesting with his darkness and the X-men have cooler powers and intrigue), I did enjoy Superman Returns quite a bit. Manohla was right, the movie and the comics are Jesus ads, but you know what that’s ok. Thank God for the cineplex finally showing an above average film.

3.5 pairs of blue tights out of 5

Next time: 666…


One Response to “Bryan Singer returns: It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s Jesus in tights!”

  1. Dan Says:

    I’m definitely enjoying your writing each time and I like the use of outside resources in your blog entry. I would suggest providing actual links when you reference things just because it would be more convenient.

    On a more entry-related point, I have yet to see Superman but it’s on my list of things to do and, given your review, maybe I’ll make it more of a priority. A few of my friends who have watched the movie seemed to feel that it really doesn’t live up to the Superman legacy and is too predictable, but I guess I’ll have to see for myself. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure that, as long as the movie is moderately acceptable, I’ll enjoy it. I’ve always been a fan of the whole Superman idea and would even put him ahead of Batman because Superman actually is super and Batman kinda just seems like a nut. (If I needed my city saved and had a lot of high-tech gear to give to someone, I would prefer handing it to James Bond over a guy who is gonna paint all the gear black and put on a bat costume.)

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