Superman Returns (2006)

Filed under: — marisa on June 22nd, 2006 10:06:23 pm

Superman Returns is a quintessential summer blockbuster that turns out be very satisfyingly entertaining. To be completely honest, this is not my type of movie. I wasn’t even going to see it until I found myself on “the list” for a free Warner Bros. screening. Suddenly I knew my male friends would kill me if I didn’t take one of them. So into a testosterone packed theater I went seeking really nothing more than a nice over air-conditioned evening with a friend. But as soon as the Superman music started I actually felt myself getting excited. (Don’t worry … no spoilers!)

I had been worried about having Christopher Reeve nostalgia. I had also worried that casting a pretty boy, soap opera star just because he looks so similar to Reeve would mean having to endure painful acting. The thing is, the director handled Brandon Routh superbly by having Clark Kent/Superman be more of the strong silent types. Kent is obviously the clumsy doofus that we expect him to be, while Superman is clearly the handsome self assured super hero. Neither says very much, however, and frankly, I think this really works well.

The chemistry between Routh and Kate Bosworth (who plays Lois Lane) also made me realize how little chemistry there actually was between Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder way back when. Sorry to say it. Superman Return’s love story also has a bit more of a secret taboo feeling to it which makes the storyline feel a little darker than the 80’s movies.

Surprisingly, the only person I wasn’t really impressed with was indie heart-throb Parker Posey. I’m not sure why she chose this role to enter the world of mega-blockbusters. Her character is incredibly predictable and she gets very little screen time. I think the role was meant to be a bit of a comedic vehicle for her, but it was very two-dimensional.

One of the great things about Superman Returns is how all the classic comic book lines are worked into the script in fresh ways that literally had me cheering and clapping when they come up. There are also some plot twists that I remarkably didn’t suspect (let me qualify that by asking you to remember it’s really hot in NY right now so my brain is a little fried) .

The visuals are unbelievably appealing without being annoyingly over the top. Superman alternately looks deliciously larger than life and then at other times slightly fragile and vulnerably human. It makes for fantastic large screen viewing. My one suggestion is don’t wait for the DVD. If you are going to watch this movie at all ever … definitely see it in the theater!

author picture marisa (44 posts)
Lives happily in upstate Manhattan with a small dog and an amazing woman who weirdly doesn't watch movies very often. (I guess you can't have perfection.)


  • Wow great review. I will see it in a bit more than a week, which is soon for the Neths. Anyway, I am (re)watching the previous 4 films. I will miss the flat mirror square villain exiles… Which is really cheesy. I am now very eager to go see it. What kept me hopeful was Singer. Look at X3 and you get the point. Does this film continue where #4 left off?

    Comment by Arjan — Sat June 24, 2006 @ 2:10
  • Even thou I have watched all the Superman movies. I never really gotten into them. But I will be seeing this one. It does sound really good.
    Donna A.

    Comment by Donna A. — Mon June 26, 2006 @ 2:04
  • Just that pic above of him looking terribly surprised hovering above the floor makes me want to see this film sooooooo badly. I LOVE super powers and ‘normal’ people discovering they have them ;-). That’s why I loved the first half of Spiderman 1, it was such a ‘personal’ story. The second half all got a bit too green for my liking, but that’s another story / review.

    Comment by suzero — Mon June 26, 2006 @ 9:52
  • the storyline picks up after the second 1980’s movie. It’s like the last two (#3 and #4) never existed. Which, from what i recall is a good thing!!

    Comment by marisa — Mon June 26, 2006 @ 14:52
  • Mixed review here, kiddies.

    I loved the plane/shuttle sequence. I loved the John Williams themes and the homage to the first two film’s title sequences (always did). Kevin Spacey was great as Luthor. Routh was excellent. I even warmed up to Kate Bosworth..and you know something? The Jack Larson bit rules (the nod to Batman, however, does not) . I also liked the fact that Richard White (Marsden) was a nice guy and not cliched. It’s easy if the other guy is slime. It’s tougher to root for a Superman/Lois Lane rekindlement if the other guy isn’t a mean spirited fellow.

    And to Doug Nagy: the kid was fine.

    Yes, there are lots of things to like or love about the new film. Hwever, did I say ‘mixed review’? Why, yes I did. Three things nagged at me, and I film progressed…I HATED THESE THREE THINGS.

    In no order:

    1) The length of this Routh. Two hours and Twenty some minutes! I was fine at two. Fifteen minutes could have been taken out and I would not have missed a thing. The long winded ending, the entire bank heist/guy with the big gun, some other small diversions from the ‘A’ story and the ‘B’ story…

    2) While Luthor’s plot echoes close that of the Donner film, I was okay with it. I was even thinking that the “A’ story was a brilliant idea. There was, however, a story flaw which no one seems to mention. Here it is: “Superman was gone away for five years”

    Now, going into the film, it didn’t bother me. When the film progressed, it did, because the film does loosely embrace the Donner and Lester films. Now, my problem IS NOT “upping the timeline” or improving upon/creating new FX, so don’t go there. But what happened in Superman II? Superman “goes away” (he gives up his powers to be with Lois) after Luthor is recaptured and Zod defeated, he vows “what” to the President? That he’ll never “go away” again? Brando is still Jorel; Luthor’s been to the Fortress Of Solitude before, he’s met both Superman and Lois Lane before; but from where? Loosely, the first two films. We have the Williams score and the opening titles. So either the film is a continuation from these films or they are not. The former seems to be the case, just with an “upped” timeline (note: the James Bond pix have this element in them, where the times change, and Bond’s history -aside from the upcoming Royale- has never been changed) …so what it comes down to is, all the scenes that discuss this issue of Superman’s return, raises that question one too many times : “Where was Superman for five years?”, a question that for me, was pointless.

    3) The “island” of Kryptonite. It’s interesting, original, and nowhere near as exciting as the plane save. There, I said it. The second half of the film isn’t as “spectacle” and grand as the first half.

    I am not saying I hated the film. I am saying it’s not the masterpiece it could have been.

    rating: 8

    Comment by Darren Seeley — Thu June 29, 2006 @ 2:24
  • The bar has been raised so high, that this film could have never reached it. To truly enjoy this film, lower your expectations a bit and see it in IMAX 3D.

    I agree with everything that Darren has stated. I was more interested in seeing what Superman was doing in the past five years than watching him save people (even though those scenes were awesome).

    rating: 7

    Comment by Jose — Sat July 1, 2006 @ 7:06
  • I have not seen the first 4 Superman movies but I have heard that they were much worse than the previous two. I liked the entire Superman movie, it was good. I will admit that there were some uneccesary scenes but they were there for your enjoyment. Like the bullet scene, they just wanted you to see his fearlessness in the face of crime and courage aganist all wrongdoers.

    The parts where he just flew into the air, whether to just take a breather or to find where the trouble was literally took my breath away. I loved how beautiful the background scenery was.

    What was a little confusing to me was the whole Superman- has-a-son thing. If ‘Superman Returns’ continued after the first two and left out the 3rd and 4th movies after it, how did they conceive a child? From what I know Superman and Lois Lane spent a night together in the Fortress of Solitude in the 4th movie (I think)

    I read an article in Time Magazine about it and it said the child was indeed the son of Superman but that it wasn’t conceived in how you say the ‘normal’ way. Superman is said to be a god fallen from heaven so the baby just popped up in Lois Lanes’ stomach? Leaving our Lois to act the part of a Mary Magdalene?

    Comment by Ave — Sat July 1, 2006 @ 8:48
  • OK. I am disappointed!!! Big time. 4 words:
    Too Slow, Too Long.
    I agree with more or less everything that Darren said.
    To my surprise I liked Routh in his role as Supe… but this storyline was all over the place and the tempo was lost completely. I kept checking my watch during the film (not a good sign in itself) and realized that over 1 hour into the film Lex Luthor had still not posed any kind of threat. We don’t find out what he’s up to until about the 90 minute mark. And even then, I agree with Darren, the plane/shuttle scene was much more exciting than the whole island thing. And for me the similarities to Lex’s plan in Superman Returns and a previous Superman film (can’t remember which one) were too many.

    I didn’t like Kate Bosworth as Lois at all. And why does she look like she is 17 years old? She’s supposed to be 5 years older than in SII which should make her approx. 30 at least.

    Spacey was excellent, as always.

    Boohoo. I was soooo looking forward to this.

    Comment by suzero — Tue August 8, 2006 @ 23:50
  • This was crap. Really bad.
    There was no genuine drama, the storyline was jumbled and there were just too many unbelieveable things (yes, even in the Superman universe) that kept annoying me.

    It misses the real heroic feel of the Reeve movies and that cheesy little camp touch which the other ones had. It becomes more and more obvious that it’s not easy to make a good superhero movie and a lot of potential good stories get hopelessly squandered. Maybe it Kevin Smith would have had a go at it (beside submitting scripts in the early beginning) it would’ve been better.

    Let’s hope Nic Cage’s Ghost Rider will be a whole lot better.

    rating: 3

    Comment by paco — Thu September 14, 2006 @ 18:18

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