Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world's most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman's bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space. Written by
The knot on Lex Luthor's necktie changes throughout his conversation with Lois on the boat. See more »
You will travel far my little Kal-El. But we will never leave you. Even in the face of our deaths. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father, the - The son.
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Congratulations to Bryan Singer for making another film, under challenging conditions, that meets his own relatively high standards. Congratulations to Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth, who fill a couple pairs of sizable shoes very well. Congratulations to Kevin Spacey for proving, once again, his versatility and competence within an ensemble cast. And finally, congratulations to Michael Dougherty and the rest of the writing team for Superman Returns, who have done the seemingly impossible by blending together several elements taken from disparate Superman stories over seventy or so years of the character's development in several DC comics titles into a true-to-character, intelligently written and themed, blend of romance and wild world-saving action.
I can hear the film snobs now - "just what we need, another bombastic action flick loaded with CGI and cliché in place of a 'SERIOUS' human story." Yup, it's a bombastic action flick. Yes, it is crammed with special effects. And yes, if you consider simple and largely unexamined human emotions to be cliché, then Superman Returns is loaded with clichés. My advice to the film snobs is - don't review films you are predisposed to dislike. If you do not have a standard from which you are able to measure the worth of a certain genre, then you have no business reviewing in that genre.
Let's examine this rationally. The whole point of the character of Superman is to provide a fantastic superhuman persona who is so alien and so vastly superior in terms of physical being, knowledge, and morality, that he becomes a mirror through which we are forced to critically examine our own social, political, emotional, and health problems. What kinds of problems would such a vastly superior being trouble himself with? Well, guess what, he might not have time for the day to day subtleties of social and sexual intrigues and ambiguities, the role of the media in political rhetoric or other "SERIOUS" concerns plaguing the modern intellectual elite. Superman is concerned with more fundamental issues such as whether half the world's population is going to live out the day. Yet he still manages to find time to rekindle a dysfunctional relationship with love interest Lois Lane, and to be inspired to prove himself with a flourish of light-speed heroic antics to regain his esteem among a people whose cynicism and self-contempt have apparently gotten the better of them (film snobs all?). in fact, he even MAKES MISTAKES!!!!
Kal-El returns to earth just in time to confront his old arch-nemesis Lex Luther's plot to rebuild a chunk of Krypton off the coast of New Jersey as his own continent. He must also unexpectedly confront his own feelings for the people of earth and, in particular, for Lois Lane, now an unmarried mother with an asthmatic kid and a smoking habit. Lois is also engaged to a good guy, very competently acted by James Marsden, but the paternity of her son is suspect. Considering the fact that this is a "bombastic action film" a remarkable amount of time is taken up with developing the relationships between these characters and exploring their effects on one another. And at times, you even get the feeling that at least some of Superman's heroism is inspired by his feelings for Lois.
The bigger problem is that Luther has Kryptonite, and plenty of it, and so, Superman is mortally vulnerable and must fight for his own life as well as those of his adoptive species.
Ignore the geological inaccuracies (which are plenty), forget about the occasional continuity problems, and let yourself get sucked up into this very fine and well crafted example of the superhero action genre. If you're a hardened film snob, it's worth the effort of wriggling out of your fossilized suit of cynical armor just long enough to see what the value of a film with a positive, simple, message might be.
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