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Superman Goes to Hell !

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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Richard--W



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Posted November 07 2010 - 09:43 PM

The best Superman movie is ATOM MAN VS SUPERMAN (1950). It tells a straightforward adventure story in fine style. It has no pretensions and an abundance of spirit in 15 chapters. SUPERMAN VS THE MOLE MEN (1951) in its original theatrical edit is just as good. Superman is a hero who does good things for the benefit of everybody. He gives youngsters someone to admire and look up to. A pity the films are not in color so today's lazy-minded audiences could connect with them. The problem with SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE is too much comedy relief and not enough tension. So long as Miss Teschmacher is at hand, the character of Otis (played by Ned Beatty) is superfluous; he should have been cut out on the page along with most of his silly business. The rest of his silly business belongs to Miss Teschmacher. Hackman needed to moderate his flippant tone and sharpen his threatening skills. A lot time of is wasted watching these two trying to be funny. They skew the mood and the rhythm. They were tedious in 1978 and they're tedious now. SUPERMAN II is overly sadistic. I don't handle assaults on the White House very well; long before 9/11, the sight of the White House being trashed and crumbling frankly made me feel a little queasy. Richard Lester clearly enjoyed directing the destruction. Something is said in the supplements about his spending the most amount of time on it. I love Lester's previous films, but he spindled this one, and it marked a serious decline in all his work that followed. Having Superman and Lois Lane express sexual desires for each other and sleep together was a catastrophic mistake. Their relationship should remain platonic. There are other ways to emotionalize their interaction. Romantic tension and empathy is sustained so long as Lois and Clark retain their innocence. Their innocence and good will has always been at the heart of the piece. Crossing that boundary undermined every Superman effort that came after. The script for SUPERMAN III is so bad it needed to be thrown out. They needed a completely different set of ideas. It's really a Richard Pryor vehicle. Lester wanted to make a comedy with Pryor, so they made a comedy together at Superman's expense. Lester, who had been blacklisted in the 1950s, had issues with America and American politics and American symbols. His bitterness was understandable, but taking it out on a symbol of "truth, justice and the American way" was inexcusable. Lester slyly subverts Superman into an anti-hero and makes him something less than a co-star. He literally and metaphorically "trashes" Superman in a trash compactor. First he trashes the White House, then he trashes Superman. Okay, who doesn't get it? Christopher Reeve, who worked so hard and so successfully at figuring out how to motivate and characterize Clark and Superman, was right to despise this film. SUPERMAN IV is an under-written, under-produced, over-sentimental B movie. But it accomplishes one very important thing: it restores Superman's inner decency, integrity and humanity. That's very important. SUPERMAN RETURNS is garbage. Garbage. It rots from the inside out. It has the stink of decay like road kill that's still twitching a day later. The mentality of the thing is the opposite of what it should be. Checking off all the boxes on the politically corrected playlist is NOT progressive, it is neurotic and trashy. Superman as a dead-beat dad and spurned lover? Lois as a chronic whiner and self-rightuous spoiled-brat? a boyfriend who is more reliable and responsible than Superman because his airplane still flies when exposed to Kryptonite? No thanks. Remember folks, Superman flies because he is above mortal foibles. He can't solve everything or be at a dozen different emergencies at once. He can be super without being invincible. In personal matters he is a stoic. He can be tempted, lonesome, injured, confused and indecisive, saddened by the imperfections of men and women, vulnerable to human feelings, and he can struggle with his own central nervous system, but he should not fall from grace by sticking it in. That discourse should never have been started in the first place. Richard

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman

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Posted November 08 2010 - 05:41 AM

Interesting analysis.  I agree with much of it, although I haven't seen any of these films in years. I'll have to look up those '50s titles.
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

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