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July 22, 2006
Just saw Superman Returns today – and I gotta say, I was suitably impressed.
The film is set about five years after Superman 2 – with Superman coming back to Earth after having left due to astronomers reporting they had detected remains of his home planet, Krypton. The two main stories are Superman dealing with the news that Lois is in a stable relationship and has a kid, and Lex Luthor returning to create more trouble for the man of steel.
Having watched the first two Superman movies (which I will refer to in this review as 'the originals') again recently, I was intrigued to see if Brandon Routh would be able to do as good a job as the late Christopher Reeves did, and I'm glad to say Routh does a pretty good job. His portrayal of Clark Kent as the mild–mannered, slightly clumsy reporter brings back memories of Reeve, as does his confident, heroic portrayal of Superman. This is not to say that Routh is merely a copy of Reeves; indeed I believe Routh will be a great Superman for this generation (as Reeves was for the last); instead just that the similarities between Routh and Reeves are uncanny.
The effects needless to say, are fantastic. You do almost believe that Superman exists in our world – they are that good.
I also thought Kate Bosworth did a decent job – she wasn't as feisty or gritty as Margot Kidder's portrayal, but perhaps Lois Lane's role as a mother may have had something to do with it. Indeed, the kid aspect is an interesting development, and something that will be intriguing to follow.
Bryan Singer has to be praised for his decision to build on the 1970s movies, instead of trying to cut all links with the films that defined Superman to so many. Choosing to use John Williams' original score as well as the credits so reminiscent of the original, right through to lifting lines such as air travel statistically speaking being the safest way to travel, Singer's acknowledgements to the Reeves' movies are a very nice touch.
Kevin Spacey does a good job as Lex Luthor – although at times I felt like the character was a cross between his serial killer from Seven, and Kaiser Soze from Usual Suspects. As with Gene Hackman, the comedic element and arrogance inherent to Luthor was plain to see.
Personally, I didn't think the movie was too long – although some that are not familiar with the Superman mythology or the original movies may disagree. As said earlier, the throwbacks to the original movies and seeing how this new film ties in with them, were a source of great enjoyment.
So, overall – this film is definitely well worth watching. Bryan Singer has succeeded in bringing a superhero to life for a new generation, much in the same way Batman Begins did. Superman has returned, and with a bang.