Superman Returns – a movie review

Did you ever believe that another Superman movie would ever hit the big screen again?

When I started to hear rumours of a new Superman movie, I was
excited. I’m a big fan of Superman and without getting into the
symbolism of the character and what Superman means to me, news of
Superman’s Return was more than welcome.

But as the hype grew, excitement was replaced with dread. I felt that too much hype = big budget but poor movie. And so, despairing for our hero, I took my wife to see Superman Returns.

Stop. Fast Forward 3 Months.

OK, the bit above was written just after I’d seen Superman Returns
in the cinema. I walked out mightily impressed, thinking Bryan Singer
had done a great job and Brandon Routh had managed to bring continuity
between his role and Christopher Reeve’s.

Anyway, I rented it out last night and watched it again. It’s not quite the masterpiece I imagined.

Let’s start with the supporting cast. Forgettable. Kate Bosworth is
an asexual Lois Lane, not attractive, not actually anything. I detest
movies where you can’t empathise with the main cast members, and Kate
Bosworth is lame as Lois Lane.

Then we have Kevin Spacey. To all intents and purposes he’s
reprising his spoof role here as Dr. Evil crossed with Gene Hackman’s
Lex Luthor of old. The problem is, I don’t recall Lex Luthor in the
comics I’ve read being a comic turn, surrounded by buffoons. They could
have created a much more formidable opponent for Superman.

Next, and this really bugged me, what decade was the damned film set
in? In the Smallville scenes, nothing is more recent than the 1940’s:
Martha Kent’s truck, the kitchen radio. The whole setup is rooted in
the past, in Superman’s early years. Initially, the Metropolis scenes
take the same approach – you first see the Daily Planet building,
drowning in Art-Deco, then you realise there are plasma screens
everywhere, Lois is on a state-of-the-art shuttle craft and Luthor is
heading for the Fortress of Solitude in a very modern-looking yacht.

Hell, you might want to see what PopSyndicate says about the movie, because they also make some valid points.

Positive Points: Superman Returns

Well, Brandon Routh makes a passable Christopher Reeve clone
(although he looks like he’s wearing a wig at certain points). The
early airplane rescue scene is amazing, and helps to establish Routh as
a credible Superman.

The effects are stunning, although Superman looks a little rubbery
where he’s displayed as a CGI character. A little like Neo in the
Matrix movies. The movie is overall a lot darker than the previous
Superman films.

I also loved and hated in equal measure the storyline involving Lois
Lane’s son. While it didn’t fit with my ideas about the Superman story,
it was a nice twist and left a juicy cliffhanger that needs to be resolved in a future movie.

In Summary

Given the talent that Bryan Singer brought to the X Men movies, I’m
surprised that Superman Returns wasn’t a better movie. He didn’t kill
it stone dead, but after 20 years, thousands of rumours about a new
movie, I expected better than this.

Brandon Routh could go another couple of rounds as the Man of Steel,
but the supporting cast needs a cattle-prod up the ass and a better
storyline next time – how about Doomsday and the Death of Superman? Or
maybe one of those stories where Superman gains 21st Century powers?

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