July 11, 2006

Superman Returns... to the Theater

As four and five year olds, my brother and I rarely passed a day without donning our Superman capes, Superman shirts, or a one-piece Superman outfit that zipped up the front. It wasn't that we thought we were Superman, or anticipated soaring above Metropolis, fighting bad guys. Instead, Superman epitomized all that was good - he fought the bad guys, always won, and was invincible! The guy could see through walls, except lead, and always outsmarted the criminal henchmen. Who better to emulate?

Following this innocent time, when Christopher Reeve, as Superman, first hit theaters, the franchise frittered itself away, most notably in Superman III when Richard Pryor threatened to turn the superhero gig into slapstick comedy, or even earlier, when Superman spins the Earth backwards to reverse time - all in an effort to save Lois. Pretty silly stuff.

So, with that said, Superman returned to the theaters in a big way this last month, with Superman Returns, aptly named. Set five years or so after having left Metropolis to investigate the last vestiges of home planet Krypton, he returns to a world that has both changed greatly but remained the same. And though I hadn't expected any much more than the standard summer blockbuster fare, I left very impressed. The show's plot, though farfetched, was ingeniously clever, and the characters seemed believable. Far from the laughingstock shown in Superman III, Superman Returns returned the franchise to glory all through fighting for truth, justice and... all that stuff.

The show may not have the urgency of An Inconvenient Truth or the box office dollars of Pirates of the Carribean 2, but it certainly holds its own, and was worth seeing, opening up plot twists and surprises that even my biased, jaded mind hadn't anticipated, while still retaining options for an expected sequel. For two hours and thirty minutes at least, we had traveled back in time two decades and donned the cape again, to fight evil. And we were invincible.

Listening to ''Doorway'', by The Usual Suspects (Play Count: 2)