Sunday, June 11, 2006

Superman Soars For Snippy, Snooty, Sometimes-Snotty Scribe

I am not a fan of Jeffrey Wells. Wells, a film critic and professional curmudgeon, has a habit of routinely using his reviews to destroy perfectly effective big-budget films on specious grounds.

He's an annoyingly over-analytical and nigh-prissy presence, and as a rule, I tend to take his reviews with a truckload of salt.

So when Wells not only likes, but actually seems to dig Superman Returns, it's both exciting and worrisome to me. On the one hand, if the movie's good enough to win over this guy, it's got to be pretty good, right? On the other hand, since I agree with Wells about as often as a Priest and a Rabbi come to theological common ground, I have to wonder if this means that Superman Returns will be some sort of stilted, art-house bore.

Still, the review's undeniably exciting, and surprisingly well-written:

Superman Returns feels as if Singer and his team loaded up the finest 2006 CG technology in a big suitcase and time-tripped back to 1982 and '83 in order to make the Superman III that should have happened (instead of the Richard Pryor version that did).

And yet Singer has made a much better film than part I or part II --craftier, a bit dryer, more fully rendered, less comic book-y, and more deeply felt.

Singer makes movies about gifted outcasts, and this is easily his saddest and most personal to date -- not just about a superhero who's forced to live in his own realm and walks around with a broken heart, but one who's more or less doomed to stay that way. The poor guy (Routh) is good and gentle, simple but generous of heart...and yet he's stuck in that blue suit and wine-red cape forever. And either you get the sadness of that situation or you don't.

The rest of the review is available on Wells' site, and it's worth your time. The news that Superman will be playing on Imax 3-D - with 20 minutes of the film in 3-D - should make every arrested adolescent in this country do backflips.


At 2:56 PM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

Whether I agree with him or not, he's a damn good writer and his criteria for a film is it's emotional integrity. That's not nit-picky or specious...but pretty much the only reason to fall in love with something.

His praise for this has got me mumbling the Williams theme lately...something the official marketing has failed to do.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

I'd hardly call his criteria for a movie it's emotional integrity.

A glance at his back-handed dismissals of the Lord of the Rings films shows that's not the case.

Wells makes an excellent case for the emotional integrity of this film, which makes me excited. But I'd argue that Wells seeks integrity less than he does novelty/infamy.

At 11:04 PM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

That charge is levied at just about every major critic at some point or another. LAZY.

Like I said whether you agree with him or not (OH NOES HE HATED LOTR OMFG!!)...he's well written. Like a certain bearded Brooklynite I know.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Lazy? Hardly. It's called opinion; the very thing that critics thrive on and that you're spouting at this moment.

In MY OPINION, he's often a difficult and infuriating critic. Unlike Devin, I almost never understand his reasoning behind liking a particular film.

Your comment on "that charge" being leveled at every critic at some point is false logic. Saying that "every critic is charged with X, and not every critic is guilty of X, so charge X is lazy" not only makes no sense, it's lazy in and of itself.

I've complimented Mr. Wells on his review - which is well-written no matter what the subject of it is. But chastising me for my opinion of his writing is like the pot calling the kettle black.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

Whoa whoa whoa...simmer down, Firestar. No one is chastising you or your opinion. Jesus I need to add fucking smileys here?

All I'm getting at it, not even specifically with Wells, is people love critics when they agree with them and then hate them when they don't. I think that's lazy. Sorry.

I'm not even sure whats being argued here...? You like Wells Supes review...I do too...I think the guy gets movies and so his endorsement of a flick I've been "ehhh" on is exciting. You don't think he writes good reviews...but since he likes something you're amped about...Yay?



At 9:13 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Aw, come on, Nova.

Do I need to start adding smileys?

Everything here's in the spirit of fun. That said, you're wrong. :)


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