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Shared Darkness

A Communal Life in Film, Examined

Some Scattered, Super Thoughts

I’ll
be posting another item soon, possibly later tonight or perhaps
tomorrow, and the full review will soon follow, but I did want to briefly weigh in from the blogosphere on
that forthcoming little caped-and-blue-tights-clad independent film
called Superman Returns. Perhaps you’ve heard of it…

There’s
been a lot of reportage about the film’s dewy marketing campaign
— a
completely understandable attempt, one presumes, to woo the female
moviegoers who stayed away from Mission: Impossible III in droves. But this tack isn’t a cynical bait-and-switch. Superman Returns isn’t a short movie, and it won’t be accused of being overly adrenalized, that’s for sure.

Like Batman Begins, Warner Bros.’ other successful superhero franchise reboot, Superman Returns plays a fairly solemn hand. But there are no real explications of back
story as in that film, and the first hour-plus of the movie is
downright sluggish, despite a foregrounded action sequence centering on
a near-disaster involving the space shuttle
. Speaking of which, the
execution of said action sequences in general is frequently dazzling
and there’s an absolutely great effects shot that — though it’s
already been leaked to the movie’s television campaign — I won’t
specifically mention here, lest someone manage to avoid the small
screen saturation and experience it pure, as I had the good fortune to.
Still, the balancing act between relatable drama and big-stakes action
saddles the movie with a lurching momentum
. In the end, though, does Superman Returns
deliver for the diehard comic book subset, of which I am not a
card-carrying member? It’ll do huge business, but honestly, I’m not so
sure that it does.