Superman’s 15 Years – The Return | A misunderstood or bad film?

The 2006 film attempted to present a more thoughtful perspective for the hero but failed

On April 18, Man of Steel celebrated 83 years since the publication of the legendary Action Comics # 1 in 1938. Since then, the character has adapted to the most diverse types of platforms; whether it be on radio, television, animation or video games, Superman’s presence has been there at one point. It is clear that, when we compare all the means of transmission, the one that jumps first in memory, depending on the situation that preceded the original comic, is the cinema.

On the big screen, the character was immortalized with Christopher Reeve in the classic Superman: The Movie of 1978, a fundamental work to solidify both the genre of blockbusters (Tubarão was the first hit of the genre in 1975) and comics. adaptations themselves, since the biggest references to this medium until then were the Batman miniseries in the 1940s and the 1966 feature film based on the hit series starring Adam West.

The success of the Kryptonian’s first attempt gave way to a franchise that lasted throughout the 1980s but which with each new film showed a visible exhaustion of ideas and technical resources. Indeed, the original work of 78 presented characteristics of practical effects very innovative for the time, in particular when the subject was the flight of the protagonist, becoming for a long time a reference in the field.

The Christopher Reeve era was an influence for the film

However, the technical care observed was diluted as the sequences came and their budget gradually decreased. So when Superman IV: In Search of Peace was produced with just $ 17 million in 1987, the end result could not be more than recycling visual effects from the original film and a terrible use of blue. screen. The disastrous result, along with the legal disputes Warner Bros. had with the families of the character’s creators, threw the franchise into limbo.

Still, Reeve’s films, especially the original, continued to be seen as a sort of instruction manual on how the character and his microcosm should be adapted. Two examples are the Smallville series, which from 2001 was heavily inspired by the aesthetic concepts presented in the work of the 70s and, in 2006, Superman – The Return.

The early 2000s were very fortuitous for director Bryan Singer (whose sexual harassment accusations had yet to be released), who had directed two X-Men films (these which once and for all launched the fashion of adapting comics with bigger and bigger budgets). For all intents and purposes, by this time, he was the big Hollywood go-to on how to bring this medium to theaters.

In 2006, “Superman – O Retorno” was released

By the time the director received the contract invitation, he was in the process of kicking off the X-Men Chapter 3 project, and his removal caused some disagreement with Fox at the time. The point is, when Singer accepted the idea of ​​a Superman project, he had in mind the idea of ​​indirectly continuing the universe started with Christopher Reeve.

In this way, it behaves like a sequence to the first and second films (leaving out the third and fourth), but doing a job of updating the set, bringing the plot to the 21st century, in addition to a few changes in Clark’s dynamic with the rest of the cast, as the hero was away from Earth for a while.

This concern to align with a successful past was reflected in Brandon Routh’s choice for the role, as the actor bore an impressive resemblance to Reeve, in addition to Kevin Spacey’s build of Lex Luthor as little divergent from Gene’s selfishness. criminal. Hackman. In this way, it is evident during the work that the director’s desire was much more to pay homage to the past than to sow the future. The track directed by John Ottman was based on the previous work of John Williams with some rearrangements.

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At the time of its release, the production suffered a lot of criticism from fans for its more introspective and, for some, well-hung tone. In fact, Superman: The Return gives very little headroom for the two big action moments that would be seen years later in Man of Steel and the comedy. While in the past comics were more mainstream thanks to generous screen time for comedians like Ned Beatty (1978) and Jon Cryer (1987), in 2006 they were relegated more to the short screen time of Spacey’s supporting actor Parker Posey as the film as a whole.

Even so, Superman – The Return is an interesting exercise in how to work with a character that is fundamentally linked to moments of action. The choice to dwell on the sense of displacement of the hero, who after his return saw that several close people were leaving, required moments of relief for the audience, such as action or comedy, to sacrifice. Thus, the film does not manage to bring the spectator into the proposition and only receives in response its fatigue or indifference.

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