Man, Not SupermanI just finished watching the Superman films. First through fourth, then Superman Returns.
I've never wanted to be someone else, except perhaps when I was a kid, maybe Superman or Spiderman. Yep, illusions of grandeur. When we grow up we get it from self-help books, telling us we're invincible, can do whatever we want if we just make our mind up to, and so-on. Hmm. Well, I'm a man, not Superman, though the films did make me think a lot about life. And I like the second one most especially. It was the first significant cinema experience of my life. In a way I guess it inspired my collection of 900 or so films. Probably.
Anyway, so as I watched, I thought a lot, about a lot of things. I tend to get like that at times, especially after a bereavement. Another of my uncles has died, just got news a few days ago. He had been in hospital for some time, and apparently in a coma in later days. Details are hazy, because he was abroad. So... About the films...
I guess with the first film, the idea of latent powers is a typical thing in teenagers. I loved the style of it. The goofyness and banter. That Lois Lane was kind-of a girl-next-door. That Superman felt both alienation and love. That he was a good-guy being ignored. Seems like good-guys get that a lot. That somehow his parents weren't there while he was growing-up, though they were in a strange spiritual kind of sense...
The second film, as I mentioned, is a favourite. I know it was controversial because of the removal of director Donner some way through the filming, and it being credited to Lester; but I like the cut I saw at the cinema all those years ago, wide-eyed, utterly thrilled child that I was.
The third one, I didn't see except on video, and found it a bit forgettable really. I think by that stage they were taking audiences for granted and wanting to grab and run with the money. Not good, that. I did like the Lana character, and Kent's dynamic with her. Especially that it was he whom she loved, not Superman. Always a useful thing, that, for any man I believe. No matter how protective we may wish to be of our lady, and no-matter how much she wants that from us, whether she expresses it or not, intimacy really comes from connecting to the real man on the inside. If he'll be that open with you I guess.
For the take the money and run reason though, I never watched the fourth one until now. Pity Lana suddenly disappeared, but it wasn't as much of a stinker as I expected, though the special effects were super-noddy at times, and the story was patchy and rushed, very often; and the main stars looked noticeably aged compared to previous films.
When I watched Superman Returns some years ago on disc, I loved the nostalgia the credits created, but somehow, it just wasn't a Superman film to me, in the sense of it continuing the previous films. Apparently the timeline's supposed to continue somewhere after Superman II, ignoring III and IV. Not sure.
Anyway, I just finished watching this, and it's more on my mind than the others now, and I have a bit to say about it.
That idea, of being away for some years, coming back, and seeing a changed world. Well... What can I say? The idea of not really being sure if one has been loved. The idea of having to deal with the lack of exclusivity, the fact that there are so many options and possibilities for a lady one may love -- and will she choose elsewhere, despite oneself? The problem of having to cope with circumstances while she chooses. All very uncomfortable, and all things I've had to face, as I am sure many men have.
Then there was the whole idea of even feeling necessary. To anyone. Wow. That's a big one for Superman to handle, bigger than moving the moon, in Superman IV. And relating to a son. Wow again. Jason. Nice name that.
With Superman Returns though, I felt it was too beautiful, too distracting from the story, and I don't just mean Bosworth and the extremely irresponsible shots of her feet, or her doubles'. It took me a long while to start feeling for the characters as characters, not just alternative versions of the Reeve / Kidder combination. But by the end of the film, it was starting to get to me. Maybe just as well it was so long.
That's part of what I've been doing; the online me is dying it seems, very often. And my escape of late has been film. Though my focus has not. I think a lot more about life, and I work a lot harder at it than I have for a very long time. Reminds me of something my teacher said years ago: "I'm not Superman you know? I know I might look like him, but I'm not!" Always makes me smile, that :)