Superman Returns (2006)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 53%
Overall Rating
Ranked #522
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Connections: DC: Superman

Superman returns to discover his 5-year absence has allowed Lex Luthor to walk free, and that those he was closest to felt abandoned and have moved on. Luthor plots his ultimate revenge that could see millions killed and change the face of the planet forever, as well as ridding himself of the Man of Steel. --TMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 06, 2006
As a child, the original "Superman" film starring Christopher Reeve was one of my absolute favorites films to watch on a regular basis. I remember wearing out my VHS copy of the film to the point that it would not even play anymore. There was just something magical about the film, and though Superman was one of my least favorite comic book characters to read about, he just came alive on the big screen in a way that Batman and others were unable to do. "Superman" was the very best comic book adaptation until "Spider-man" came along. It had this excitement and cynicism and amazing sarcastic wit that was aided by stars like Gene Hackman, Marlon Brandon, Jackie Cooper, and Margot Kidder, not to mention Christopher Reeve. Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" is somewhat of an enigma. You don't know whether Singer wants to attempt to re-create the legend or merely give us an updated version. Whatever his motives for directing the film, he has crafted one of the most beautiful and gripping films of the year. "Superman" fans the world over should be thrilled to have the Man of Steel back saving the world. I know I couldn't be more delighted.

After a five year absence from Earth, Superman (Brandon Routh) returns to Metropolis to find things slightly different from when he left. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is now engaged and has a small child, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) has been released from prison on a technicality, and is of course planning to take over the world once more. The world doesn't seem to need him anymore. The film follows Superman's quest to reclaim his role as the savior of the world, as well as his love story with reporter Lois Lane, who still harbors feelings of love for the Man of Steel. Sam Huntington co-stars as wisecracking reporter Jimmy Olsen, Parker Posey as Lex's right hand gal Kitty, and Frank Langella as editor Perry White. So, essentially, the storyline is not very complex. It is far easier to understand than the sequel with Richard Pryor, or the sequel with Annette O'Toole.

What sets this film apart from the other "Superman" films is the visual style. You can actually believe that Superman is flying here. Other than the occasional obvious CGI-Brandon Routh, these effects are pretty flawless in depicting his flights over the world. Bryan Singer has a definite visual style and it takes on a whole new shape with this film. The colors are gorgeous, some of the camera angles are clever and inventive, and the cinematography is some of the best of the year, very similar in significance to "Batman Begins" from last year. It adds a whole new dimension. There were occasional CGI problems, but every film has them. Until CGI is totally perfected, no film is going to be able to escape the problem of having those moments on screen. The trick is to minimize them, and that is just what "Superman Returns" did. I also had some problems with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. She is just not the actress for this role. Margot Kidder had this certain kind of vulnerable sarcasm about her that made Lois strong, yet tentative. We needed that here. We needed something other than Kate Bosworth all doe-eyed and looking like a breeze could break her into pieces. But, the biggest problem I had with "Superman Returns" was the endless onslaught of sequences that could have been removed from the film altogether. This picture was about twenty minutes longer than it should have been, and I know Singer was wanting to add substance and depth, but it just came across as excessive, especially when some of the CGI looked bad and could have been cut from the film completely. I wish Bryan Singer would have sent that twenty minutes to the third "X-Men".

Now, for the biggies. Contrary to what just about everyone was saying and predicting, newcomer Brandon Routh made for a fine Man of Steel. His mannerisms and facial expressions and were eerie reminders of the late Christopher Reeve, but Routh also found a way to make the character his own and take the bumbling nature of Clark Kent into a whole new direction. As Lex Luthor, Kevin Spacey pretty much steals the show, as most predicted he would. Gene Hackman's Luthor was not altogether different from Spacey's, but what Spacey manages to do is make Luthor far more menacing, while maintaining that humor and that trademark stupid wit. Parker Posey also delivered more than her share of laughs, replacing Ned Beatty from the original franchise. Posey gets the best material and her character is definitely the most entertaining on screen. Frank Langella was perfectly cast as editor Perry White, as was Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen. But, out of all of the performances, I was probably most surprised with Routh. He just is this role, and I can see what Bryan Singer was thinking when he cast him. Routh has this charm about him that comes across even when his character isn't saying a word. He is Superman, in more ways than one.

With my few problems aside, "Superman" is back, and in fine form. I cannot say that I enjoyed this latest reincarnation more than the Christopher Reeve original and sequel, but I do think it shows where the new franchise could head, if nurtured the same way as this film. There have been so many quality Summer blockbusters this year, it has made it very difficult for me to find the indie gems that I normally rely on to supplement the costlier fare. "Superman Returns" is not the best film of the Summer,but it is right up there, and would have been if not for the lengthy scenes of Routh flying around in the sky for no apparent reason other than to show off how much money the film took to make. There is something about making a person fly that costs quite a bit of money. "Superman Returns" is a wonderful film, a gorgeous film, and a return to form for the comic book genre. "Look, up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Oh no - wait - it's dollar signs."

Chad #1: Chad - added 07/06/2006, 02:38 AM
In 1986, the last scene of Superman Returns was filmed. In it, Superman says to Luthor "See you in twenty." Twenty years later, this movie comes out. Haven't seen this one yet and probably won't until it hits DVD, but that was a pretty odd factoid that I picked up.
Edd #2: Edd - added 07/06/2006, 01:07 PM
LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie.
The only thing that really stood out as a bad part was Kate's performance of Lois Lane.
I think Erica Durance would have been a much better choice. Still though, for me, 10/10.
BuryMeAlive #3: BuryMeAlive - added 08/16/2006, 08:20 AM
Lois Lane's son Jason White is really the son of Cyclops. After X-Men 3, Cyclops didn't die, he just became "normal" changed his name and moved to Metropolis to live a normal life, there he met Lois Lane.
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 12/21/2006, 12:09 AM
I've never liked Superman. He's quite simply the most idiotic comic-book hero of all time... I really didn't like any of the movies either... Waited for this one to come out on DVD. Wow... not to shabby... Still no peice of celluloid gold or anything... but 'tis alright. 6.6/10
Rik #5: Rik - added 07/27/2008, 09:21 AM
Son of Cyclops?

He's Cable?! lol
Rik #6: Rik - added 07/27/2008, 09:27 AM
I never ever liked Superman, EVER. But I love this movie. The sequence where Superman saves everyone from that doomed plane was awesome.
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