When I was about three or four years old, my Dad came back from a trip to the US with four Superman t-shirts for me. The were little white t-shirts with pictures from the comics on them, and a little red, polyester cape hanging off the back. Tacky as anything.
But I didn’t wear any other t-shirt for the next three years.
I have some idea why I’ve always empathised strongly with the character of Superman; isolated but much loved, wanting to save the world but frustrated by personal limitations, raised by a supportive family. Oh, and the powers of flight, invulnerability, super speed and heat and x-ray vision. Those would all have been good, too.
For whatever reason, the emotional attachment stuck. When I was 17, I rediscovered comic books and now have a couple of crates of graphic novels lying around my house. I have most of the Superhero movies on DVD – even the really, really bad ones. And so expectations for the new Superman movie – as they were for Batman Begins last year – were high.
And they were met. The new film is emotionally poignant, visually spectacular and, for me, pretty damn enjoyable. It’s not perfect – it doesn’t come close to matching the narrative pace of Batman Begins. But Bryan Singer’s eye for sweeping, glorious visual imagery is… artistic, all the set pieces work, the dialogue – whilst limited – conveys what it needs to about the characters. And even though I didn’t particularly like Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, the trials of their relationship… were engaging. And moving.
Although the Spielberg-esque happy ending was faintly tedious (“Hello, beastie” is a much better way to set up a sequel ;)) and did drag on for about 20 minutes longer than it had to, I left the cinema – very moved. It played on the myth without being too derivative, and whilst daring to try new things.
And wouldn’t it be cool to fly?
I’m loving YouTube at the moment. Here’s the trailer, for the uninitiated. Go see… now.