A Man Who Was Superman | Review


I saw this movie just yesterday at 10 and stayed up late to midnight just to finish it. What an awesome movie. That’s why I’m writing a review now to spread the love.

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Release in 2008
Directed by Jeong Yoon-chul
Overall Rating: A+

Main Cast: Actors / Characters

Jun Ji-hyun as Song Soo-jung
Hwang Jeong-min as Lee Hyun-suk

I’d like to start this review off with a quote from “Superman” in the movie.

“Strenghts don’t open big, iron doors but a small key. We all have a key inside of us…to open the door to a new future.”

Song Soo-jung is a long-time TV show producer who has grown bored of the mechanics of her job. Doing the same thing years after years has removed all sparks from her. Furthermore, she hasn’t been paid in awhile. The reason wasn’t explicited stated, so I am assuming it’s because the studio hasn’t got a hit yet. Soo-jung decides to take the company’s camera as payment and go to Africa for a shoot. She lazily steps out of the office without a wave to her co-workers. As she waits for the train to come, she falls asleep and wakes up to find her camera (i.e. company’s camera) is stolen. She tries to run after the crook but can’t match his speed. Suddenly, a color bullet comes rushing by. It’s a man in a colorful Hawaiian printed shirt. He flies by everyone and quickly catches up to the thief. Scared, the thief runs off leaving his chaser exhausted on the ground and the camera too. When Soo-jung finds him, she checks for her camera first, then pour water on her savior to wakes him up. He quickly comes to and identifies himself as Superman. Apparantly, he’s well-known throughout the neighborhood to help out everyone and everything he sees. He explains he has lost his superpower because a piece of kryptonite is lodged in his brain. Soo-jung is puzzled but interested, this could be her next documentary and a big hit at that. Is this man really Superman? If not, what’s his reasons for helping out everyone at the expense of himself? Yet still, should there really be a reason to help out others?

Superman jumping out from under the cover to question why this lady is leaving her trash on the road?

Superman jumping out from under the cover to question why this lady is leaving her trash on the road?

A Man Who Was Superman (henceforth Superman for short) takes a look at how the common man treats his fellow man in the face of danger. Do we quickly step in to help the injured and helpless? Or do we become collectively known as the “bystander” who standby and looks on? Superman in the movie is naturally not a real Superman. His name is later revealed as Lee Hyun-suk. However, there really is something lodged in his brain and resulted to his current dilusions and heroic actions. At first, Soo-jung is a bit skeptical about his intentions and wary of his overall state of mind. However, after recording him for her documentary and spending more time with him, she realizes he really does practice what he preaches. He helps out others because it makes him happy. He explains the happiness will eventually get the kryptonite out to which will gives him his powers back. He also adds that by helping others, it is reminding him who he really is — Superman, someone who risks his life for others. His enthusiasm and strong believes sometime convince even Soo-jung herself that maybe he is capable of what he says. However, as the movie progresses, viewers will learn with Soo-jung of the real identity behind this modernday Superman. His name is Lee Hyun-suk, but who is he? What is his story? And how did he become Superman?

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Superman almost flying off the roof.

This was truly one of those bittersweet movie that I’m so in love with. The story will definitely leaves an imprint on your mind after viewing it. There is a tie-in to the current global-warming crisis the Earth is in, but the tie-in actually works with the story and not just something added on later to make the movie “green.” Superman will cause viewers to think about themself and their actions toward others. Why are there always more bystanders than heroes? What do heroes usually get beside a hearty thank-you and a hug? People have always look toward someone to be the savior of the day. Superman points out that everyone can be the hero if they work together. Our fear of danger upon ourselfs refrains us from helping someone 5 feet infront of us. Society creates an artificial Superman to save the day, when really anyone can be this Superman character. The quote at the beginning of the review talks about this and is the main theme of the movie. Both leads in the movie also did a superb job. Jun Ji-hyun, who most people know of from My Sassy Girl plays a loud-mouth girl. Here she plays a bit of a quiet person whose job is to record and not intervene with her subject. Hwang Jeong-min is new to me, but he plays the over-the-top Superman with enthusiasm and never seem fake or too force. The movie is a bit sad, but not morbidly depressing either. Definitely a great watch.

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A close encounter between Superman and Soo-jung.

WARNING: Do Not read the Wikipedia article on this movie. The writer, whoever it is, is a big spoiler who practically reveals everything. Lucky for me, I read it after I watch the movie to gather info for this review.

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7 Comments

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, do check this movie out. It’s a slow-paced movie but with every minute you’re learning something new about the characters and nothing seem unnecessary. Great movie.

      Reply

  1. Hey I just watched this movie and I have to agree that it was awesome. There is just one thing that confuses me. The lines at the end make it sound like it was a true story. I was just wondering, do you know if this is the case or am I just misunderstanding the lines?

    Reply

    1. Hi Dave. Yes, I do remember seeing the same thing before the credits roll. From what it says, it sounds like the movie was inspire from a real life story of a man who survived a you-know-what and live with a you-know-what in his head for many years. It doesn’t sound too far-fetch so I’m gonna go ahead and believe it. lol As for whether this real-life guy was anything of a Superman, that I do not know (I highly doubt it though).

      Reply

  2. I loved this movie!

    Hollywood could learn a thing or two from everyone who worked to make this excellent film….

    Surprised Holywood hasn’t stolen the story.

    DeAnna

    Reply

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