Searching for Purpose
Two gems and a dud: 'Superman Returns,' 'Nacho Libre,' and 'Click'
Of course, none of this matters to kids if there isn't plenty of action, humor, and characters to root for. "Superman Returns" has all of these things. It's as much about the transformation of a frightened, asthmatic child as it is about the machinations of good old Lex Luthor. (In fact, the most unbelievable part of the film, according to the adults I saw it with, was that Lex could have managed to keep both the mansion and the yacht after paying estate taxes. Not likely!)
Both Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor and Kate Bosworh as Lois Lane brought an underpinning of reality to their characters that had been missing in the broad interpretations that came before. Both worked well for me. The casting of chiseled James Marsden ("Cyclops" from X-Men) as Lois's fiancé was inspired, and he became one of the most sympathetic characters, as you saw him also struggle to do the right thing, even if it meant saving Superman, and possibly losing Lois.
All in all, the franchise is in good hands, and the noblest instincts of the viewers are called forward as good old Kal-El searches for his purpose and his home. And while everyone else was seeing Christ imagery, I (who thinks "The Iron Giant" is one of the great films of all times) saw Iron Giant imagery everywhere. In the final scene of strength and sacrifice above the earth, I almost expected Superman to pass the Iron Giant, who was off doing the very same thing. If you like Superman and you have kids and you haven't rented "Iron Giant," go to Netflixright now
and do so. He, too, finds his purpose in life.
You go, Kal-el, er.. Clark… er, Superman.
This is a sweet, silly film with a heart of gold and no bad language (thanks in part to its Mormon director/producer team of Jared and Jerusha Hess, who also brought us the cult classic "Napoleon Dynamite"). It has many of the same slow, ironic rhythms as "Napoleon Dynamite," also features two sweet, loser friends as heroes, and speaks volumes about the transformational value of friendship and the irreplaceable strength that comes from having a best friend who has your back, no matter how goofy you both are.