Superman Returns” marks the arrival of a superhero franchise that has been dormant for 19 years. After “Superman IV” killed off the series, it sat on the back burner, waiting for the right director to bring it back to respectability.
That director is Bryan Singer. After turning in two amazing “X-men” movies, he shifts gears and takes on another superhero. Now I must say that this man is a brilliant director, and he shows it off amazingly here, but he is working with a very weak script. This Superman feels so sub-dued. The wonder, curiosity, excitement, romance, and humour are almost vacant here. But that doesn’t mean I am not recommending it. I am kind of on the fence on this one. I enjoyed the action and effects, as well as Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.
The story involves Superman returning to earth after five years. Near the end of the last movie, astronomers thought they had found ruminants of his home world, Krypton. So he had to see for himself. Now he has returned to find that the world has changed. Lois Lane has a boyfriend and a young boy. Luthor has gotten out of prison by seducing a wealthy widower. The rest of the story basically follows Superman as he tries to re-integrate in to his role on earth, as well as his role as Kent Clark.
The problem is that everything that happens just lacks so much emotion. There are promising looks that never turn in to words. When Superman and Lois meet on the roof for the first time in five years. Their re-union is so subdued. When he takes her on a flight over the city, the scenery is beautiful, but there is no passion on the faces of the actors.
Brandon Routh has stepped in to the boots of the late Christopher Reeve. Now I have no doubt in my mind that Routh could be an excellent Superman. When the humour happens, he seems so natural. He has the perfect look as well. But here he is probably given the least amount of lines in the movie. It was strange.
Kate Bosworth steps in to the role of Lois Lane. To me, this was a big mistake. As good an actress as she is, she doesn’t have the right notes for Lois. She isn’t very plucky or peppy so to speak. Yes I know the world has changed and so have the characters, but do they all have to be such downers?
The one actor who really hits a home run here is Kevin Spacey. He is pretty much pure evil. His plan is diabolical. Spacey chews up the scenery like he is excited to be in a Superman movie. I couldn’t get enough of it. But do you know what was lacking about his character. There were not enough confrontations between him and Superman. When they do collide it gives Luthor the opportunity to insult Superman like only Luthor can.
On the flip side this movie has some top notch action and effects. There is a sequence where Superman rescues a plane that is about to crash and let me tell you, this is pure cinema joy. I was on the edge of my seat. Just stunning. And there are plenty of scenes where Superman catches giant objects that are about to crush hapless bystanders. This seems to be his specialty.
You know what would have made an interesting Superman movie? Everything that was discussed but not seen. If they want to make a Superman movie that is 157 minutes, then show his journey to Krypton, then show him re-integrate in to earth society. Now that would have been something.