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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bryan Singer has made it no secret that he was going to make this film
a sequel of sorts to the first two Superman films which starred
Christopher Reeve. Which I though was an interesting idea even though I
thought Superman 2 was lame. However, I thought the premise of Superman
returning after a long absence was a great idea, unfortunately Singer's
heavy reliance on the first two films really crippled this film.
Some minor film details are included in my comments below which may hint at spoilers...
I attended a screening of Superman Returns last night, and even though I'm not the biggest Superman fan, I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this film. I have to admit I had misgivings about the casting of Kate Bosworth and Brandon Routh because there were too young. However Brandon Routh was the BEST Superman yet and Kate Bosworth really did very well as Lois Lane. Kevin Spacey was GREAT as Lex Luthor, especially when he and Routh (briefly) shared the screen. However Parker Posey was wasted in a dull cliché.
The opening credit sequence was amazing. Hearing the original Superman theme gave me chills. The next 45 minutes of the film were awesome. Lex's reintroduction demonstrates at his ruthlessness even on a smaller scale. Clark Kent/Superman's return home was thoughtful and well done, as was the reintroduction to the crew at the Daily Planet.
However, because Singer assumes that we all saw the first two films he apparently does not feel the need to develop any of the characters outside of Superman and Lois. Lex Luthor's character is just a caricature of a mustache twirling villain, and even though Spacey does this very well, it's hard to take him seriously as a threat. His "evil" plan is nothing more than a rehash of Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor the 1978 film except using crystals instead of nukes. There is NO REAL logic behind his motives at all if you think about it. More importantly you just don't care if he succeeds or not. Lex Luthor's character is only validated in the very brief face to face confrontation with Superman at the end.
Let me say that Lex/Superman confrontation at the end is one of the BEST scenes in the whole film and further proof of wasted potential. Lex Luthor shows how truly evil he can be, and again Spacey does an amazing job here. The on screen presence of Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey together was SO good. Routh could really hold his own next to Spacey. Too bad Singer couldn't have found a way to elaborate on this scene or do something more interesting with the characters than just having Luther (figuratively) twirl his mustache and have Superman pine over Lois Lane the whole film.
Overall, this film is bound in a weak story with plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. The story relies too heavily on the Superman/Lois Lane love story so much so that the rest of the film, and the other characters, just feel like an after thought.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
First, let me just comment on what I liked about the movie. The special
effects were fantastic, and very rarely did I feel like I was watching
a video game. There, that is the last nice thing I have to say about
this film. In fact, I would just like everyone reading this to take
note that I can't even put into words how hard it was for me to write
this review without swearing.
I have innumerable complaints about the film, but four major complaints jump to mind. My first major complaint has to do with the incredible cheesiness of the "plot twist" (if you can call it that since most people probably saw it coming a mile away) where Lois's 5 year-old son turns out to be the super-powered child of Superman. When the crying super-child throws a piano at Lex's henchman to save his mother, I almost got up and left the theater. Singer could have made a much better Superman movie without resorting to cheap gimmicks like a seemingly fragile but latently super-powered illegitimate child. It's been 5 days since I saw the movie and I still want to vomit.
My next major complaint has to do with the fact that Superman lifts a continent made out of kryptonite up into outer space. It doesn't take comic book guy from the Simpsons to point out what's wrong with that. I don't know how many comic books Brian Singer has read, but when Superman is exposed to even a small amount of kryptonite he barely has the strength to stay on his feet. Whoever had the idea to have him fly a large island made out of his greatest weakness into space has no business being associated with any Superman-related projects ever again. The concept is as ridiculous as making a Dracula movie where the title character has a stake through his heart and still manages to fly a spaceship made out of garlic into the sun. Why not just have Superman eat kryptonite? He can eat it and then brush his teeth with it, and then go to sleep in kryptonite pajamas. That's not any more absurd then having him hoist a continent of kryptonite into space and then fall powerless through the atmosphere without burning up in re-entry or splattering all over central park when he hits the ground.
My third major complaint has to do with the fact that Singer slaps movie-goers across the face with religious symbolism the entire movie. I have to take issue with his characterization of Superman as the only son of a God-like Jor-el sent to Earth to be a savior. Jor-el wasn't all-wise, he was just a scientist. And he didn't send his son to earth to be a savior, he threw him in a rocket and hurriedly fired it into space because his planet was about to explode. I'll buy the Christ allegory if Brian Singer can show me the part in the Bible where God sends Christ to Earth because Heaven was about to explode, and then radioactive pieces of Heaven become Christ's primary weakness. Furthermore, the "crucifixion" scene where Luthor stabs Superman in the side with a kryptonite "spear" just makes me want to slam my face into a brick until I'm too brain-dead to notice the brazenly obvious and inappropriate symbolism that will be tainting the man of steel for the foreseeable future. They might as well rename this movie "Superman Returns: the Passion of the Christ."
And speaking of Luthor, my last major complaint has to do with Singer's depiction of Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor is a shrewd, cold-hearted business tycoon who is more apt to run for President (which he does in the comics) than try to destroy the world. The man wants money and power; he wants to be in charge, not wreck everything. Yet the Luthor we see Superman Returns, as well as all the previous Superman movies, is a wacky theatrical dunce who comes up with zany schemes to destroy the world. If Singer had the slightest loyalty to the characters instead of the (quite awful) previous Superman movies, this film might not be such an unbearable travesty. Maybe Singer's next project can be a Batman movie where he focuses on the interpretation of Batman from 1960s TV show. ZAM! WHAP! POW!!
To summarize, I don't know what I hate more, the movie itself or the fact that so many people seem to be giving it good reviews. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but if you don't hate this movie then your opinion is wrong. I sincerely encourage anyone who reads this not to see this movie if you haven't already. Don't see it, don't buy it when it comes out on DVD, don't rent it...basically don't contribute any money towards it in any way. This movie does not deserve to make any money. In fact, I think that for every person that sees this movie, Bryan Singer should be fined 45 billion dollars. If you're a Superman fan and you really want to see this movie, just bend over and have someone kick you in the balls and you'll get the same experience without having to waste 2 hours of your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After languishing in the disappointment that was Brett Ratner's X3, I
made it a point to walk into Superman Returns with low expectations.
They should have been lower. It isn't that the film is outright
terrible (though it has many glaring flaws); rather, I had unknowingly
outgrown the Superman myth. And considering that Bryan Singer offers
nothing original to the new installment, I think America will find its
timeless icon a little dated.
First, there is the castingthe most important part of any film attempting to match an original that has become so iconic, its actors have replaced the comic book characters in America's collective conscience. Newcomer Brandon Routh most definitely looks the part (besides being too young), but has half the screen presence of Christopher Reeve. Although Superman isn't known for his emotional instability, it seems that Singer played it safe by limiting Routh's range to avoid having the new Superman give a poor performance. Instead, we are left with almost no performance.
Kate Bosworth is equally as bland as Lois Lane (and again, too young for the role). And with her lifeless brown hair that left me aching for her typical screen blond, she isn't even much to look at. Kevin Spacey's performance as Lex Luther also left something to be desiredthough I'm not sure exactly what. He's hardly the lovable Lex that Gene Hackman played. The rest of the cast was decent, with the exception of Frank Langella. His dull portrayal of Perry White made me wish they had grabbed J. K. Simmons straight out of Spiderman to talk about his barber.
Though suspension of disbelief is required for nearly every comic book film, the plot of Returns is so illogically strung together I had trouble letting go. At first my mind started asking questions that shouldn't be asked of Superman. What did Superman eat while he flew around the universe looking for Krypton? Does Superman need to eat? How does he breathe in space (which, to be fair, is a question that applies to the original films as well)? Once Lex Luther's plan emerged, however, I moved past the (unfair) premise questions and asked some legitimate questions. Without spoiling the plot, I'll just say that there are ways for Lex to hatch his plan for world domination without killing billions people. I didn't buy into the "necessary sacrifice."
On the upside, Singer's direction is glossy and competent. The score works well thanks to a liberal sprinkling of John Williams' original theme song, the special effects are, of course, impressive, and the action sequences especially stand out. Overriding the tension generated by well-staged and edited action, however, is a lack of any real sense of peril. And surprisingly, the pace is rather slow throughoutwhich is only made tolerable by some scattered comic relief.
Singer takes an unexpected turn toward the end of the film when he emphasizes the parallels between Superman and Jesus to the point where the audience wonders if Returns is simply another allegory in the vein of The Chronicles of Narnia. While the comparison is interesting, one can only wonder how far it can be stretched considering the Superman in this rehash stands for truth, justice, and irresponsible romances (reflecting the plot's only surprise).
The bottom line for any resurrection of a classic film or series is there better be a damn good reason. In the case of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan ripped the decaying body of Batman from the grave, and gave him the breath of life. Batman became complex, raw, and 100% real. Although Superman is an entirely different beastone who is too busy saving people to reflect on his lack of flawstoday's audiences expect their superheroes to be tad more human. Unfortunately for Returns, in an overexerted effort to pay tribute to Richard Donner, a super-cautious Singer reanimates Superman like a puppeteer; but fails to give him life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was finally able to screen the newest adventure from Warner Bros. and
DC Comics Films, "Superman Returns," starring relative unknown Brandon
Routh in the role the late Christopher Reeve rode to stardom upon.
Now, some 28 years after Richard Donner's classic "Superman" hit the big screen, director Bryan Singer ("X-Men," "X-Men 2"), with a trillion dollar budget, tries his hand at helming the ultimate graphic novel adventure.
Sadly, Singer is no Donner.
While wonderful to look at, and sometimes interesting to ponder, this newest version of the saga of the Man of Steel leaves one with an impressive vapidity; a passive disinterest and an emotional detachment which overwhelms one with a cold, empty feeling.
In an effort to do what last year's "Batman Begins" did to the Caped Crusader franchise bring a new dark, brooding vitality to the series, "Superman Returns" succeeds only in making one wish for the deft hand of Donner, as well as the acting ability of Reeves, Margot Kidder (as Lois Lane), Ned Beatty (as a stupidly evil henchman, Otis) and especially Gene Hackman (as the best Lex Luthor ever).
The plot takes place supposedly five years after the action in Superman II (from 1981), when scientists discovered proof of such a world, Superman journeyed there (evidently without telling anyone of his plans) to find if it was possibly a living planet. It wasn't so now he's back but things have changed in his absence.
Mainly, that his love interest, Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth, "Win A Date With Tad Hamilton"), is involved with the nephew of Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White, Richard (James Marsden, who played Scott Summer/Cyclops in the "X-Men" films) and they now have a young son about five-years-old.
He won't let go, however, even flying to her mansion to spy on and stalk her in a very unSuperman-like scene.
Despite that last heartbreak, it's Lane's famous "Daily Planet" editorial, "Why The World Doesn't Need Superman," for which she will collect a Pulitzer Prize (huh?), that really stings Clark/Man of Steel.
That's one of the first problems I had with this version. In the first two films (nothing matters after part two), Superman saved Lane's life at least four times (from a helicopter plummeting of a skyscraper; from being buried alive in the desert; from a plunging elevator in the Eiffel Tower; and from going over the cliff at Niagara Falls. After all of that, she writes an article saying no one NEEDS him anymore?!
Then, in a nice bit of CGI work, the powerful hero rescues her again (from a plane plunging to earth), stopping the craft from crashing nose-first on the infield of a Major League baseball stadium. It's truly an awesome scene.
Meanwhile, in the frozen North, evil madman Luthor (Kevin Spacey, Academy Award winner for "The Usual Suspects" and "American Beauty") is out of prison and raiding Superman's Fortress of Solitude, making off which his collection of priceless crystals.
Routh is handsome all right, and looking close enough to Reeve (except his eyes are CGI'd blue from their natural brown) to keep us comfortable (his voice, though, is creepily similar to the late actor); so I have no real problem with him in the lead role.
Likewise, Sam Huntington as bumbling photographer Jimmy Olson, was adequately goofy in comic relief; while Frank Langella (as blustery Perry White) is good in just about any role he plays (see "Dracula" and "Dave" for proof of this).
The inclusion of Jack Larson (the original Jimmy Olson in the 1950s series), and Noel Neill (who played one of the Lois Lanes in that show) in cameo roles as a bartender and a rich, dying widow, respectively, was also a nice touch.
The other parts, however, do concern me. Bosworth is just too spineless and ineffective to be a hard-nosed reporter for a major newspaper, as well as the only real confidant our hero has in his life. To me, the spunky Parker Posey (who portrays Kitty Kowalski, Luthor's gun moll) would have made a much better Lois.
As for Spacey as Luthor, well, to me, he just is not evil enough. Gene Hackman had a deliciously devious demeanor, coupled with a madman's desire to rule the world with basically realistic plans to do so. Spacey seems more of an annoyance than a real threat.
Another crime this movie commits, is that it goes on and on at least 20 minutes after it should have concluded.
Now there will be fans out there who will no doubt blast me for this opinion, claiming how I dare I compare the 1978 and '81 films to this one.
To those detractors, I simply say that this new picture invites comparisons, utilizing the same opening credits, the same theme song, archival footage of Marlon Brando (as Jor-El, speaking dialogue from the original film), even the same scene where Superman flies Lois around New York (the only thing missing is Kidder's corny voice-over).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Superman Returns" is a competent movie, generally very well produced,
directed and cast. But it didn't quite gel for me. I thought it dragged
at points, as Superman got bogged down with pining over Lois Lane
instead of saving the day. Alas, I thought the dialogue just wasn't
sharp enough to sustain these heavy-handed emotional scenes; what sort
of catchphrase is "I'm always around," anyway?
Here's what I did enjoy. The flight scenes were beautiful; Superman cut a very majestic figure as he soared across skylines and starscapes. The set design was great, too, creating a modern feel with hints of the Art Deco style I associate with Superman. And I appreciated the performances of Spacey, Bosworth and Langella. Routh had a curiously small role, especially as Clark Kent, so I had trouble judging whether he was wooden or actually good at playing a modest hero.
Here's what I enjoyed less. Luthor's plan simply didn't interest me. I found the whole notion of growing a giant crystal island very surreal and not too threatening. Also, he poses a fairly boring threat to Superman. If Luthor's got Kryponite, Superman is helpless; if he hasn't got Kryponite, he's helpless. These two legendary antagonists can never really meet on equal terms. Thus, most confrontations between them must inevitably be one-sided. (Read: boring.)
I also had a mixed reaction to the CGI effects. Some were wonderful, and others looked artificial despite being very detailed. The soundtrack was great, of course, with the classic John Williams theme wisely reused - though maybe they trotted it out once too often?
The conflict involving Lois Lane's family life was pretty good, though I felt that the revelations about her son, which I'll avoid spoiling here, undermined much of the potential tension and drama in the story. I'm very glad, though, that Lois' boyfriend was depicted as a smart, handsome and capable guy instead of some dumb and unworthy "straw man" rival to Superman.
I noticed that Roger Ebert's two-star review of "Superman Returns" is already taking a lot of criticism on this site. Though I think he was perhaps a tad too harsh, I have to say that I agree with many of his criticisms. His headline for the review, "Atlas Yawned," provoked a sympathetic laugh from me. I guess I can only hope for a sequel with more action, more oomph, more...Super-heroism?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Special effects? Good.
Script? Terrible. No plot. No depth. No meaning. This film rendered Superman as a meaningless hero, a hero with no archetype. In the original film, he represented America in the Cold War. Here, he represented nothing but a Hulk.
Sure, the actors were fine. Kevin Spacey was a fine choice, among others.
This still does not resolve the problem that this film had no depth whatsoever. I cannot see how anyone can come away with anything meaningful from this film, when Superman was, and is, daily created to be a meaningful hero in not only comics but also in people's minds. This was a real waste of money considering how many directions this film could have taken.
Just a few instances: Lex Luthor could have been a villain of global corporatism, political domination, totalitarianism, and on and on and on. He was just another goofball Hackman incarnation.
And Superman? For what did he stand in this film? Nothing but another hack "savior" figure.
Wait until it comes to the dollar theater if you see it at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I guess this movie is a fitting tribute to the first Superman film,as
it is just as crummy and painfully long as the original.
After an opening scene consisting solely of murky intergalactic visuals, the credits pay homage to the even-crummy-looking-for-their-time futuristic sweeping credits of the original Superman film.
Then there is some more murky stuff. Ma Kent sees some kind of murky ruckus on the farm, and spends a good portion of my life slowly walking up to some debris in the cornfield. Then Superman sneaks up on her and faints.
Next we catch up with Lex Luthor in a scene about many murky close-ups of an old lady as she dies. We don't see Luthor's face until the end of the scene, an early instance of the film's drive to leave no hackneyed stone unturned. Lex Luthor is a guy who doesn't like Superman because he is not human. Also, he probably doesn't like humans either, as the movie occasionally features some kind of plot about Lex Luthor planning to kill most of Earth's population.
After a while, Clark Kent shows up back at his old job (I forgot to mention, he had been away on a five year trip where nothing happened). Then he finds out Lois Lane has an illegitimate kid and is dating Cyclops. It upsets him so much that he loses control of his super strength to such an extent that he accidentally breaks a picture frame.
At this point we see that Miss Lane is on some kind of jet attached to some kind of space shuttle. It is some kind of important event on account of it is on television. Then we learn that there are people in a control room monitoring this event. There are also people watching it on television and there are pilots in the cockpit. The film then reminds us that these people are involved by cutting between them for most of the summer.
As the events leading up to the inevitable disaster started to build, I excused myself to get a soda. I accidentally walked back into the wrong theater and watched that movie about Al Gore showing slides in its entirety. I tried to find my way back to Superman Returns, but I somehow wandered into Prairie Home Companion, which I watched twice in a row. Then it was time to stop messing around.
I walked back into the first theater, found my seat, and looked up to see that the impending Lois Lane space shuttle disaster was almost upon us. Still, it seemed to be taking forever, so I wandered around the theater, met a girl, got married, raised a son and sent him off to college. While attending my son's medical school graduation, I remembered that I should probably check in on Superman Returns, so I excused myself and raced back to the theater only to learn there was no need to hurry. It still took about another half hour before things went wrong for Space Shuttle Lane. When they did, Superman saved everybody, which was pretty cool.
. And then there is a a subplot where Superman turns really creepy and starts stalking Lois Lane and her family with his x-ray vision and super-hearing. Then he tries to get her to cheat on Cyclops, who seems like a good guy.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor is involved in some kind of contest to display every possible generic villain behavior before the end of the movie. I forgot to bring my scorecard home with me (they give you one at the door), but I think he scored damn close to one hundred percent. I hope he wins the million dollars.
At this point, things start to gear up for the big murky finale. I think maybe the projector was broken, on account of the movie seemed to be in some kind of loop for a while here. I remember seeing murky things growing out of the water, Superman getting sick, Superman getting better, back to the murky things, he's sick again, no wait, he's okay again.
Then Lex Luthor unleashed his final bad guy move: yelling at his girlfriend a little bit.
Then Superman died and came back to life. I thought the movie was over, so I left.
Ninety years later, the nursing home where I lived felt a little chilly. I realized I left my sweatshirt back in the theater, and I went to retrieve it. When I did, I was slightly surprised to find that Superman Returns wasn't over yet. I tried to ask some of the viewers what I missed, but most of them were only skeletons with long gray beards by now.
I sat back in my old seat and watched as Lois Lane puttered around her house for a while. Then Superman showed up and started quoting the beginning of the movie, and since I already saw that part I thought it was okay to leave.
So that is my review of Superman Returns.
Oh, also, if you like jokes about people eating dogs or jokes about one dog eating another dog, you will love this movie. On account of there are two jokes like that in it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw the movie last night and I really wanted to like it. My
expectations for the movie had been going up and down ever since I
heard it was being made. Some days I'd see something spectacular and
some days I'd be disappointed.
Yet being the kind of fan I am, I had high hopes for this movie but in the end I was sorely disappointed.
While I love the Richard Donner movies I didn't like their sometimes campy nature or the changes they made to Superman's character and his powers.
Singer however chose to take the worst elements of the Donner movies and put them in his version.
While his Lex Luthor is slightly darker he's still nothing more than a shyster, a conman and a common criminal. He's no more intelligent than when Gene Hackman played him. Kevin Spacey does his best to play Luthor well but ultimately he falls victim to shoddy writing and unremarkable dialog.
His henchmen are more two dimensional than even comic book henchmen. Most of them literally have no dialog in the movie.
****SPOILERS AHEAD**** Kitty Kowalski is almost exactly the same character as Ms. Tesmacher. She seems to be as evil and cold as Lex Luthor but she proves to be just an underling who melts after seeing Superman in trouble and quite predictably betrays Luthor.
The biggest disappointment in the movie was Frank Langella as Perry White. I wasn't a huge fan of the over the top Perry White in the Donner movies but at least he had a soul. He was after all said and done, a veteran reporter who cared about the truth and a good story. Langella's Perry White is nothing but a corporate stooge. He wants everyone to concentrate on the Superman related stories because they sell papers even though every other paper is doing the same thing. He doesn't care about the real stories, the real mysteries like the black out and what Lex Luthor is up to now that he's out of prison.
The worst thing about Langella is that he's DULL! Some actors can be quiet and sober and yet have an undercurrent that lets you know that still waters run deep. Frank Langella is puddle.
Brandon Routh is not a bad actor. He's OK but again there is not a single memorable line in the whole movie. Not the actor's fault. His movements are clearly meant to look graceful, like even the slightest movement of his fingers effects the way he flies. But it still looks choreographed and artificial.
Lois Lane while badly written was surprisingly well acted by Kate Bosworth. Unfortunately, again, for a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and writer, she is about as eloquent as any teenage on Dawson's Creek.
James Marsden was my favorite actor in the whole movie, mostly because he looks more like Superman than even Routh. Without any superpowers he manages to figure out Lois Lane's message, flies a plane to the location, gets on board Luthor's yacht and rescues Lois and her son.
The only moving moment in the movie is when they are all trapped pantry as it is flooding with water and the ship is sinking. You see them slowly going being immersed in the water. You know Superman's going to come by at the last moment to rescue them but still you can't help but feel sorry for them.
As I said before the plot is very haphazard. Unlike Singer has said, this is not a movie about a superhero returning and trying to find his place in the world. As soon as he returns the world welcomes him back with open arms. Lois is the only one who's not happy to see him back. Even Luthor is happy to have Superman back because it gives him a chance to settle the score with the man of steel.
Superman is shown to be probably one of the dumbest heroes in the universe. A big green piece of meteorite is stolen from a museum, Lex Luthor is out of prison, he now has knowledge about Superman's powers and weaknesses, and yet he's still not able to connect the dots enough to know Luthor would be using kryptonite against him.
According to the movie the only thing Superman is good for is lifting really, really heavy things. The action sequences are all incredibly predictable.
Like many other people, the character of Superman has always been a
firm favourite of mine dating back to my childhood. Christopher Reeve's
Superman made me believe a man could fly with the light-hearted 'Lois
and Clark' series seeing me through the Nineties. I was sceptical as
the next Supes fan when I heard they were to bring back the character,
recast and revitalised for a twenty-first century audience. But having
seen 'Superman Returns', those fears were instantly pushed back as I
now eagerly await a sequel.
'Superman Returns' is set five years after Christopher Reeve's 'Superman II' (thankfully ignoring the events in the lacklustre 'Superman III and IV'). Superman, after five years of searching for the remains of his homeplanet Krypton, has returned to Earth to resume his life as Clark Kent only to find things moved on without him. Lois Lane is now mother to five-year-old son Jason and engaged to Perry White's nephew Richard. She is also thoroughly disenchanted with Superman although it soon becomes clear there is much unresolved feelings between the two. But between juggling his conflicting emotions for Lois and his duties to protecting the population, Superman has to face his arch-enemy Lex Luthor, who has stolen the crystals from the Fortress of Solitude and is intent on using them to rule the world.
It was never going to be easy Brandon Routh to step into Christopher Reeve's shoes but he takes it in his stride, managing to capture the bumbling but kindly nature of Clark and the strong, reserved demeanour of a Superman who strives to find a balance between his alien heritage and the life he has made for himself on Earth. He both makes the role his own yet does well in succeeding where Reeve left off. Kate Bosworth was also another surprise. I was very disappointed in her casting initially but seeing her perform in the film left me realising that she was perfect for the job as she portrays the cocky and determined yet vulnerable Lois to a tee. Kevin Spacey was great as the obsessive, slightly unhinged Luthor who possesses a real hatred for our hero while Parker Posey gave us a nicely-portrayed 'shades of grey' character in Kitty, a villain with a heart. Even the little moppet who played Jason gave a decent performance without being wooden or grating.
What I loved most about the film is that it delivered an interesting storyline that didn't reject the first two 'Superman' films, which are classics in the heart of any Superman fan and had already done a good job in covering the origins story. But at the same time, it didn't shirk in giving us deeper insights into the character of Superman, the solitary hero and the man who just wants to fit in. What was a pleasant surprise was that the film also refused to dumb down to small children in the audience, which is a growing problem with many Hollywood films that over-dose on infantile humour to appeal to kids resulting in boredom for anyone over fourteen. There was humour, some on a level to make children laugh, but overall there was a nice mix of action, romance and darkness aimed more at an older audience. They even avoid the clichéd pitfall of portraying Lois' love interest to be a sanctimonious twit and instead he came across as a genuinely nice guy who shows that it's understandable why she has problems choosing between him and Superman
In fact, my only real problem was that there wasn't enough interaction between Lois and Clark, which would have been nice as Clark's jealousy towards his alter-ego and the attention Lois lavishes on him is a large part of the story yet in the film, you felt as if Clark and Superman really were two different people with Clark just being some rather random guy. However, it can be over-looked by the fact that Clark was so happy to just have Lois' attention that he didn't care whether it was projected onto himself in his real personality or on Superman.
For anyone who has yet to see the film, I do recommend it and don't allow yourself to be put off by nitpickers complaining about the actors' being too young (better they be a shade on the younger side than going the 'Smallville' route where you have adults in their late twenties and thirties prancing around pretending to be teens and just looking ridiculous for it) or that the film is too long (even the eight-year-olds in the audience sat quietly, glued to the screen, for the entire film) or that it's bland (no more so than 'Spiderman'). I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to a sequel. After a rather dull summer at the cinema, this film renewed my faith in the summer blockbuster!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw the original "Superman: The Movie" when it was released in
theaters. It was an epic event. It would be unfair to expect the same
from "Superman Returns" but the filmmakers are inviting comparisons
since they rely so much on certain events that occurred in the first
two films, even going so far as to reuse some of Tom Mankiewicz's
dialog. It's obvious when watching the film that a lot of money and
hard work went into making it...with the exception of the screen
writing which is where this film falls short. It insists on making
several characters dumber than they would appear. Take Richard,
concerned about an old article Lois wrote called "I spent the night
with Superman". Richard boy, she has a kid. She obviously spent the
night with SOMEONE before she met you. If you really stop and consider
it, every character in the film is basically commanded by the script to
do something kind of dumb in order to advance the unimaginative story.
Perry White assigns Clark Kent the task of looking into a mysterious blackout. At no time in the film is it remotely hinted that he has been doing anything of the sort (or anything at all, when you think about it), whereas Lois in defiance of White is seen in several scenes looking into it, and it becomes a major plot point. Meanwhile Kent (Superman, mind you) is doping around the office.
The powers of Superman are well known. And writers can have a lot of fun being resourceful with them. But not in this film. Everything Superman does is predictable. By comparison think back on the way Superman saved California after the bomb struck. Things like having the train run across his back in part 1 or freezing the lake with his breath then dropping it on an out-of-control fire in part 3 are what I'm talking about.
The music wisely incorporates John Williams classic score, but a lot of cues are overused, especially "Can You Read My Mind?" which has little place in this film considering the tepid relationship between Superman and Lois. It could have been used to great effect just once, when she visits an unconscious Superman in the hospital, where everything she feels for him comes to the surface. Instead, we're hit over the head with it practically every time they run into each other.
I thought Luthor's plot had interesting promise. But I find it puzzling that after his test run in the Atlantic Ocean Metropolis is basically now literally standing on shaky ground, and the skyscrapers all have questionable structural integrity after the shock-wave ran through them, shaking the foundations to the point that all the windows shattered in every building and even the Daily Planet's iconic sculpture topples from atop the building.
Director Singer certainly subscribes to Richard Donner's "verisimilitude" approach to the first film, the lack of which is what killed the series in the 80s. I like Brandon Routh as Superman and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. You could recast everyone else for all I care. Kate Bosworth is a walking pot of boiling water. Feisty and headstrong are one thing, but i think they pushed that too far in this film. Why in hell is Richard or Clark/Superman attracted to her?
I've noticed a lot of people, hungry for this film to come out, are satisfied with the product. If this review has a low "helpful" score it's because they are blindly supporting the film. This review was written for anyone who knows how to discern between quality and quantity, particularly when it comes to film. I so very much wanted to love this film. Hollywood studios have a way of systematically destroying every decent franchise they get their hands on. In spite of my relative disappointment of the movie, it's far from being horrible. It's just not great...like it should have been.
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