Monday, March 26, 2007

Superman Returns

I have to admit, that over the last year I have become a huge Smallville fan. The television series on the WB network is as good as any television series on air. I have the first 4 seasons on DVD and it at least once on a weekly basis, sometimes more. With the success of the television series, I expected Superman Returns would to do well at the box office.

Superman Returns is essentially a follow up to Superman 2 staring Christopher Reeve. That series, based on the DC comic did well between the years 1978 – 1987. For every generation, there has been a Superman, for those in the 1950’s it was George Reeves, In the 1990’s on television in Lois and Clark it was Dean Cain, and for the 1980’s among the favorites was the late Christopher Reeve.

Reeves took on the role and responsibility of Superman like no other. It was his appearances on Smallville in season two and season three that had many thinking that he had passed along the mantra to Tom Welling, Clark Kent of the Smallville series. With Superman Returns, Brandon Routh proves that Superman is more than any actor, he is goes beyond the expectations of fans to the heart and dreams of those wanting more.

I won’t say Superman Returns is the best of the Superman series. It is quite good though. I especially enjoyed the soul searching done with the characters. We see the struggle of decisions made in the past, and the consequences of living with those decisions. We see Clark Kent, the alter ego of Superman, struggle with those issues. One of the beautiful things about the character is his willingness to move on and move ahead, despite the disappointments.

This action packed story is infused with just that, story. While the action and special effects abound, Superman always has been, and thankfully still is, about story. The story of a Savior sent from the Heavens above to provide salvation to mankind. Those stories are more than coincidental in the plot of this and virtually every other Superman. Many will recall that it was Hollywood Jesus that first drew attention to this theme some years ago. If you want an analogy of the film thought about and processed over the years you have to look no further than this web site.

There is a great deal of spiritual commentary in the film. Many have processed that; I could as well, but will simply say the sacrificial, crucifixion scene in the movie was as touching and well played as in any Superman movie ever. We genuinely care about the Savior who would sacrifice himself because of the love he has for others. While we know the outcome, we know that Superman must live; we still feel the pain of the punishment he took for those he loved.

Superman’s ability to execute justice, yet at the same time, love those around him are attributes about the man that we appreciate. We realize that he is so much more than us, but he is still one of us. We realize he has unexplainable powers, yet he is tender, caring and loving. He goes out of his way to love and be kind to children, even taking the time to help a small child get her kitty out of a tree when battling the injustices of the world around her. Superman is truly a Savior, Messiah Character; one many can relate to and hope for.

Technically, the story is very good, this movie flows well and the direction by Bryan Singer is top notch. There is a very good cast. Brandon Routh will satisfy the desire of many, even the Tom Welling fans in his portrayal. Kate Bosworth is a beautiful Lois Lane who has matured from the character on Superman II, and I especially enjoyed Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. I was concerned how the character of Richard White would be portrayed, but was even pleased with the direction of the film here. James Marsden did a great job, and provides a character that we can sympathize with and care about.

Superman is a story we desire. It is a story we need, it is a story we want. Superman is the story of a power greater than us, caring for us, and ultimately, even though some like Lois Lane, think they don’t need it, provides salvation for us. Superman is in essence the story of a Messiah, a Savior. It is a story that has been told before, some say some 2,000 years before. It still has meaning, and it still has purpose. Thank God the story lives.

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