Superman Returns is the next in the list of Superman installments, scheduled for release in summer of 2006. Warner Brothers have very recently sent out an initial Superman Photo for press distribution. I think they did it mainly to calm the fans and reassure the fans that the producers know what they are doing. For fans who were initially shocked to learn that Nicolas Cage was once offered the role, this photo must definetly comes as a relief. Brandon Routh fits the part very well. I was rooting for the Smallville dude but then I guess the producers might have felt that he may not be a "fresh" material. It is surprising that Superman, who is the most popular among comic book heros, does not get as much Hollywood attention as he deserves. While Batman, Spidey and X-Men are having a decent run, it is about time somebody revived the Superman franchise.
Do you know the excitement involved in buying a new Superman comic book? As a 2nd standard kid, I remember standng up on my toes and peeking into the library man's bag when he came for door-to-door lending book delivery. I'd try and push aside my mom and voice my srong opinion to the man " did you bring Superman comics ?". I'd ask him. He would usually disregard me. Who wants to talk to some over enthued kid when there is the dreary business of delivering "Ananda Vikatan" Kumudham" and "Kalki". If we were alowed to borrow 5 books every three days. Then once every 2 trips I got to have a say in the choice of 1 book. I had to multiplex between Action/DC comics, Amar Chitra Katha, Tinkle and Champak everytime my turn came. Superman was not just a childhood fantasy, it was alternate life/dream world, a person could easily slip into. It sets the tone for a person's life. From spending hours in class, drawing the "S" symbol of superman to getting hooked on to Seinfeld 20 years later because he loved Superman, the comic books dictated you taste, choice and lifestyle preferences.
Superman was the king among comic book superheros. Every time Clark Kent morphed into Superman, you would fantasize a dozen scenarios where you would like to molt the crappy strechland drawers( colloquial for half-pants and strechland was the buttonless elastic waisted half-pants that was in vogue then) and the checked T-Shirt you bought from Luz ( in front of Kamadhenu theatre) and become Superman. You want to go underneath the table in your class and become Superman ( in the fantasy other class mates go.. WOW!). Drawing the Superman symbol was the initial challenge. Many people graduate from that point and actually get to draw the whole superman. Since I sucked in drawing and stuff, I pretty much took a long time before I could draw a decent "S".
The comic books shows all the great strategies to get children hooked on to it. You have a normal geeky Clark Kent and if he can become Superman then you are wondering " so can I". The comic book traces Superman from the discovery of his superpowers to the point where he began to fly ( He merely jumped/rocketed from Point A to point B before he learned how to fly). Did you know that the very first comic book also featured Lois Lane, and they worked for The Daily Star (as opposed to the daily planet)? Did you also know that Superman's arch foe, Lex Luthor (Played by Gene Hackman in the movies) had red hair when he first appeared in Action Comics. He later was shown completely bald. It was late in the Superman Comic book series did Supey learn about Kryptonite, and realized that he was indeed from Krypton. Reading this at the same time when ET and Star Wars were released, I truly belived ( like Fox Mulder) that aliens existed.
So imagine my joy when I found out they were making Superman movies. At a time when you wanted to know more and more about Superman's world ( and thereby incorporate it into your own fantasies), Superman movies were like a dream come true. After getting promoted from a fan to fan with full fledged internet access, I learned that Superman in the silver screen started much earlier thn what I had imagined. According to various sources in the Internet: Fleischer Studios,in 1941, started an animated Superman cartoon series. The 15 or so, episodes was made using technology that was considered sophisticated then. The first Supey TV movie was released in 1948. It starred Kirk Alyn, as Superman. If you search IMDB you will also find that there was also an Indian Superman Movie in 1960. In 1992, when I was in X'th std, Superman was "killed off" by Doomsday. this was splashed as headlines in The Hindu's Young World. I thought he would never return and saved the cut-out of the paper. But he returned anyway and finally defeated Doomsday. In 1996, Superman married Loisin both the comic book and the TV series Lois and Clark.
The first Superman movie, which until today, many consider to be the best, was released on December 15, 1978. This covered Kal-El's transit from Krypton to Planet Earth. In this movie all the characters, Jimmy Olsen, Louis Lane (Margot Kidder) and Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) wereintroduced. The only villian in this movie was Lex Luthor. The top scenes in this movie for me were 1) Clark Kent becoming Superman for the first time in the fortress of solitude,2) Clark Kent catching the bullet with his hand to save Louis Lane, 3) Superman catches Louis Lane as she falls from a helicopter and he tells her " don't worry, I got you" and she says " but! who's got you".. a cool Supey moment 4) Oh!and who can forget Superman turning back the clock to save Louis Lane.
Superman II, according to me, is the best Superman movie.. ever!!. This movie had everything a fan wanted. Three horrible villians from Krypton ( and this includes General Zod ) and Lex Luthor. The three criminals of Krypton, who were condemned to the Phothom Zone as prisonors, are freed accidentally by Superman, when he detonates a bomb. The best scene in this movie is the fight sequence between Superman and the three villians. Although there is no clear victor in that scene, the exchange of super powers is simply thrilling. The final scene in the fortress is worthy of mention too.
Superman III is probably the worst of all superman movies. I hated it. It tried what Spiderman II successfully acomplished. It detailed the travails and pressures associated with being Superman. Superman cracks down under public pressure to contantly keep saving lives. He drinks in public and does bad things until the good Superman takes over. Badly directed, poor casting, a nothing storyline made this the most boring of all Superman movies. Almost a sabotage, from which Superman movie franchise never really recovered. Superman IV was a more action packed one, where Lex luthor steals Superman's hair froma museum and adds it to the package of nuclear bombs, which Superman intends to throw into the sun and destroy ( A Quest for peace). From the chemicals that Luthor added, emerges a evil villian with incredible superpowers. One can say that this movie was at least an atempt at entertanment.
The new movie Superman returns should breath some fresh air into the Superman franchise. Bryan Singer ( The director of the X-Men series) is in charge of this movie. I am happy to hear this news because both installments of X-Men were pretty slick and nicely taken. The quality of movie making and the costume design were pretty sophisticated in X-Men. Bryan Snger is the right guy to do justice to Superman. From the photos of Brandon Routh revealed to the public, experts say he has already gone for tradition instead of being a rebel (which it seems he was in the X-Men). Superman wears the red underwear on the outside and also has the small "S" on his belt that was not found in any of the movies/animated series that I have seen. It seems this costume stems from the 1930's version of Superman. Louis lane is played by a person called Kate Bosworth (seephoto). Although Margot Kidder comparisons may still arise, I hope she works. The love element and Louis Lane have always been a vital factor in the movies. ESC Entertainment (Constantine, The Matrix: Reloaded); Stan Winston is designing the Superman costume And the cast are as follows: Brandon Routh (Clark Kent/Superman), Kate Bosworth (Lois Lane), Kevin Spacey (Lex Luthor), Frank Langella (Perry White), James Marsden (Richard), Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen), Eva Marie Saint (Martha Kent), Kal Penn (Stanford), Parker Posey (Kitty Koslowski), Stephan Bender (Young Clark Kent), Noel Neill (Previously Wealthy Woman
The Plot, it appears, continues from where Superman II left off, Six years after Superman's victory over General Zod,(and Ursula and Nod). Superman returns to earth after an absence and finds that Lex Luthor rules the earth along with an old enemy from Krypton.