Superman Returns Review

I've been looking forward to this movie for a while. There's been a lot of speculation and shit talking about this movie over the last year or two, and a lot of bullets dodged. I never thought I'd be glad that Bryan Singer left X-Men 3, but after this afternoon's viewing of Superman Returns, the X-Men can go fuck off for all I care.

This move is supposed to be a sequel. The premise is that after the events in Superman 2, scientists think they've discovered the remains of Krypton, Superman's homeworld. Superman takes 5 years trying to discover if Krypton does indeed remain. When Superman comes back to Earth, he finds things have changed, including Lois Lane engaged for 4 years or so, with a 4 year old son.

Superman Returns is the most amazing comic book movie to date. I watched every second of the Two hours and Forty-five minutes, waiting for what would happen next with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning. Branden Routh played the role of Superman/Clark Kent to a "T." Now, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've never completely seen Superman or Superman 2. If you're thinking about giving me shit about that, hold your breath. No knocks on the great Christopher Reeve, but Branden Routh IS Superman. He's perfected the benevolent Superman demeanor. Also, His Clark Kent is what Kent should be. Clumsy, bumbling, average. And funny. The first scene where Superman saves the day was one of the most amazing in the film. I nearly cheered during the scene, and I was almost brought to tears when it was over. Seeing my childhood hero on the big screen, becoming more ingrained into the very fabric of modern American mythology, was more emotional to withhold than I could've ever anticipated. The effects looked REAL: flight, heat & X-ray vision, strength, breath. There wasn't one time where I thought "oh, that looks animated." The acting was very, very good. Much better than your standard comic book movie. Kevin Spacey was great as Lex Luthor. There's a time or two where he lays the bastard act on a little thick, but for the most part, he's spot on. Kate Bosworth portrayed very well the working woman who's too busy for her own life, and she now has a family to make time for. Parker Posey (Kitty), James Marsden (Richard White), and Sam Huntington (Jimmy Olsen) were outstanding as auxiliary cast members. I would've liked to see Kal Pann (Stanford) say a little more, tho. If I were to rate this mmove out of Ten, I'd give it a Nine-Plus (9+/10), but since I like smaller numbers (and stealing other people's images, I happily give Superman Returns Five S-Shields out of Five:


Kevin Sole said...

I was going to give this a review in my blog, but I.. um.. didn't?

I left the theatre thoroughly impressed. But I had to hold myself back from tearing it apart. It's a strange feeling I have towards this film. Perhaps it's just so deeply rooted in my fanboy nature, but it ...

... It was a 10/10, and, it was a 5/10.

Not 7.5/10.

Somehow, it garners both.

Everything about it, was right. Routh IS Superman, as you said. He is also Clark Kent. Every scene with Superman involved was just fantastic. The heat vision, the plane. Drop dead amazing. My heart swelled. I could help but think, "This is how it would be if Superman was real."

Spacey does an excellent Luthor. But he was either held back, or too over the top. But he still did an excellent job.

Kate is HOT as Lois. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. As an actress, I don't find her overly attractive. As Lois? Hell yes. That dress she wore? Still trying to find pictures of that. :)

So, it was an amazing, 10/10, movie.

But it had plot holes you could drive a semi through. Parker Posey was a whiny irritating .. whiner. Whomever the brat they got to play Jimmy was.. a brat.

And I don't know that it would've moved me as much if I wasn't a comic fan. Of course, I'll never know.

If I wanted to, I'd tear the movie apart, and give it that 5/10. But I was so moved, so enthralled with it, I can't give it less then 10/10, despite it's flaws.

Pia said...

I was going to buy a pirated version of this movie, but I think I'll shell out the big bucks for it.

As long as it isn't as bad as X3 (which has lowered my standards considerably), I'll be happy.

Thanks for the review, Jeff! (And you too, Kevin.)

barbie said...

yeah, you definitely want to see these fx on the big screen, and to hear it on good speakers.

DaProkah said...

Warning! There are spoliers below!!

You have been warned.

After the dismal piece of cinematic shit they had the nerve to call X3, all my faith lay in Bryan Singer (who directed the first two impeccabley crafted X-Men movies) to deliver us with Superman Returns.

Superman Returns ignores 3& 4 and talkes place after Superman 2-itseklf kinda sketchy, but still fun.

Superman hads been gone for 5 years beacuse scientists have found remains of Krypton floating in spaced. Superman takes a trip to see if anyone survived. In the meantime the world's gotten along without Superman (except that Bush happened) and Louis Lane got engaged and had a kid.

I've been following the progress of this film since I first heard Singer would direct. Ironically, Bret Rattner, the schmuck responsible for destroying any integrity X-Men had, was supposed to direct Superman. Let it also be known that Rattner didn't think the Phoenix story (the biggest story in X-Men history) had enough meat to make a movie-which is why he threw the mutant cure idea in-whereas Singer said he would have made it a two-parter.
But I suppose the chance to direct the world's greatest superhero was too irresistible to pass up.

And he does a bang up joib.

However, Superman Returns is not without its flaws, and it took the keen eye of Blog Monkey to point out a few of these glaring problems.

Let me start off by saying that Singer took great care to create this movie and that it's quite clear that there was a lot of love for the material and respect for the first two Superman movies with Christopher Reeves and Margot Kidder-who by the way are still the king and queen of the Superman interpretations. I liked the Louis & Clark as they took a new approach and thought Dean Cain & Teri Hatcher were a respectable second. Haven't seen Smallville much, but what I have seen is bloody impressive.

The Good

Frank Langella was perfect as Perry White, wise, confident and even funny. He wasn't a charicature. He re-interpreted Perry White and it worked perfectly.

Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen was perfect. The way Olsen should be. He was the funniest thing in the movie and had great presence. He really balanced out the newsroom and was the only one sympathetic to poor Clark-who still gets treated like shit and was never missed-which is probably what Kal-El wanted.

Kevin Spacy was a great pick for Lex Luthor, but I think he could been more of a
prick. His intro was probably the best intro to an antagonist I've ever seen. Ah Gertrude...Strangely enough-and I think Singer did this on purpos-when Lex was holding his 'wife' Gertrude's hand in her death bed, it seemed as though that was an old Louis Lane in bed holding a still young & vibrant Kal-El's hand. I interpreted it as a flash into the future.

I loved how Superman's flight looked like it took a bit of concentration-notice his flight pattern when he lands...

The little touches like 'Look chief, it's a bird, it's a plane, no look it's...', the orginal Jimmy Olsen (Jack Larson) playing a bartender, Luthor bumping into Louis Lane while brushing his teeth. Great stuff.

The Bad

Not all that bad really. I loved the suit. I just thought the S was a bit small and that the neck wasn't open enough. Other than that i thought it weas great

Yeah yeah yeah Kryptonite, enough already, something else please?

Uhm...no one noticed that Clark and Superman were gone for the exact same time? Kal El should have used his superbrains and made it so that Clark shows up even a couple weeks later.

The Ugly

Kal Penn! Remember Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle? Penn as Kumar was hilarious and Singer didn't even give Penn a speaking role as one of Lex's henchmen! What a waste!! The comedic element-so sorely missing, and I'm not talking campy here-would have been helped by a little more Penn.

Singer fucked up on casting Kate Bosworth as Louis Lane. Just from the commercials I could tell she was wrong for the part. Margot Kidder was bang on and although I'm not looking for clones, my preference after she dealt with Louis Lane is that she's plucky, has attitude and is pretty strong. No disrespect to Kate Bosworth, but she was wrong for the part, much like Kirsten Dunst was wrong to play Mary Jane in Spider-man (what about Kate Winslet? Don't belive me, rent Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind)

Bosworth had no depth, didn't interest me and was way too young. It's been five years since Superman was gone people! Even Brandeon Routh as Superman was too young.

Singer should have went with a comedic actress, someone with great timing and presence. Why not Janine Garofalo? or most likely a reletive unknown, but someone who could excude the independence and wit that Margot Kidder did?

There were a bunch of silly little things that went on too.

-Superman's in the hospital for weeks-Uhm...where's Clark? If I were his boss I'd have fired his ass (thanx for the observatipn Blog Monkey)

-Superman floats up to the strato to hear all sorts of shit going down on the planet then bolts down to stop a serious situation...That would be a bank robbery where the cops are out-gunned. Ooh! Horrible! Forget about the genocides happening around the planet or gang wars, two men in blue-oh, I get it- are about to be shot down. They knew the risks when they joined the force!

I would have bought the scene if Supes where floating over just his home town, but to prioritize a bank robbery over everything else going on in the world is just bad writing.

-Brandon Routh. Solid, but not enough presence. And no jokes-except for the flighhjt thing, but Reeves delivered it better. Christopher Reeve had this magic about him, Superman was even a bit cocky, aloof. Remember that interview with Louis in the first one? Holy shit!

Again, I'm not asking for a clone, in fact I'd like something a little different, instead I got plain bread, no butter (and a glass of water for diippin'!)

All in all I enjoyed the movie and will se it several more times but Singer could have taken a few more chances. Louis's kid was a bold move indeed, but in all other areas I think Singer played it a bit too safe. Let's hope a few things can be tightned up on the sequel.

Jeff said...

Thanks for that review, dude.

I'm with you on the Kal Penn thing. He's a great actor, and his role in Superman Returns was the caliber of roles that Vinnie Jones used to get in the mid-90's.

The more I read other reviews and hear other opinions of this movie, the more I see the inherent flaws and problems, but they honestly don't bother me at all. I personally wouldn't change anything about this movie, given the amount of pure enjoyment I had when I left the theater.

And with all the problems in the world that Superman passes over, it's just a comic movie, after all. If Superman kicked the shit out of "the terrorists" or "Al Qaeda," it'd be great to see, but it'd be too contrived, and leave us feeling more depressed about all that other shit than we were when we started. That's part of the reason I thought Azzarello's run on Superman last year was very overrated. Superman's become a mythological figure, and with that, myths need that stock/standard "save-the-day" story to please the average Joe. And Superman Returns was just perfect for that.

I do expect the sequel to be better, though.