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!
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