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A moving drama with a whole hell of a lot to say (perhaps too much). But there's sufficient emotional depth and dramatic intensity to keep you engaged. The cast very skillfully brings the three-dimensional characters to life. And the main story is punctuated throughout with subtle (and sometimes not-so subtle) deeply patriotic overtones.
This movie is a blast. It's action-packed, well-acted, and full of surprisingly well-developed, three-dimensional characters. It's my favorite Superman film to date.
Fans of the Reeves-era films may have a hard time digesting the drastic shift in tone and focus. But let's face it, Superman is, and always has been, an alien. It's about time we have a movie that treats him like one. This isn't a "superhero" film. It's a science-fiction film about an alien, who eventually becomes superhero.
As for those complaining about excessive violence or the uncharacteristic "darkness" of the film, grow up. Superman can't save everybody, and if there really were superpeople fighting it out in a modern city, there would be tons of collateral damage, people would die, and fight scenes in this movie are exactly what it would look like.
I hope more filmmakers adopt this technique of adding layers of sci-fi "realism" to superhero lore. It makes for darker movies, yes. But I think it's a necessary step to bring superheroes into the 21st century.
The Final Frontier isn't all bad, just mostly (say 90%) bad. The acting is as good as any other installment and there are even a couple cohesive cinematic themes. But the plot makes absolutely no sense (like absolutely none) and the "climax" is utterly confusing. Star Trek V is a strange experience, because at first glance, it feels and looks like a decent film. But the storyline needed months more development and there are plot holes big enough to pilot the Enterprise herself though. If you choose to suffer through this one, watch it as you're falling asleep or while you're mostly busy doing other things (it's an enjoyable movie if you apply no scrutiny to any of it).
It's a compelling film with extraordinary acting and plenty of emotionally gripping moments. But it should have been a tragedy. The Hollywood happy ending was forced, and didn't feel suitable for a fairly dark film dealing with addiction. It felt like Zemeckis was holding our hands a little too tightly. Sometimes it's OK to let the audience draw their own conclusions.
I guess I liked it. This particular story-arc may have been a bit too comic-book for the masses. The action sequences are fun. But even a nerd like me found some of the plot points silly and far-fetched (even for the Marvel Universe, where aliens and superheroes are real). I enjoyed much of it, but felt uninspired.