Superman Returns (2006) mini review

based on a comic book

Superman Returns wasn't what I had hoped. After The Usual Suspects, X-Men, and X2 (and even the TV show House), I expected a lot more from Bryan Singer. While watching it, I realized that it had a lot of the same sensibilities as the original Superman films, but didn't realize until later (after reading a few things on-line) that it was intended to be sequel, of sorts, to Superman II. Kevin Spacey was excellent, if too reminiscent (in my opinion) of Hackman's Lex Luthor (for example, being constantly exasperated at the incompetence of his henchmen). Parker Posey plays Lex's girl, but, while I love her in just about any role she's in, again, her Kitty isn't far from the Miss Teschmacher character in Superman. Personally, I was hoping it would fully divorce itself from the other films (a la Batman Begins). Marlon Brando (or, rather, his disembodied voice) even returns as Jor-El, with a few new lines to boot.

When this film starts, Superman has been gone a number of years, looking for traces of his home planet, Krypton (duh). He returns only to find that Lois has a family - she has a son and is living with him and the boy's father (James Marsden - Cyclops from X-Men). Lex Luthor then hatches another genius plot, rather similar to the one in 1970s Superman, and once again, Superman is the only thing that stands in the way of Lex's diabolical scheme.

Brandon Routh's Superman (and Clark Kent) are definitely reminiscent of Christopher Reeve's, so if that's the direction Singer was going, he did a good job. Especially without any real direct references to the first two Superman films (though there were a couple scenes and lines that hinted at the originals). I wondered why some of the set design (e.g., the Fortress of Solitude) was so similar to the first couple movies. But even disregarding my misgivings of the continuation of the series, the sense of awe that should have been a part of a Bryan Singer film just wasn't there. It was good, but not Amazing. Guess I'll have to wait for the next Spider-Man film for that.

Finally, I do have to say that I was a bit put off by what seemed like a play for Lois on Superman's part when she was obviously involved with a family (even though she wasn't married). It seems like Superman would be more honorable than that. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned (or maybe I just think that's the way Superman should be played).

See it if you've been looking forward to the next incarnation of Superman on the big screen.

Don't see it if you're comfortable waiting to rent the DVD.

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