Superman Returns
Starring:
Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey
Directed By:
Bryan Singer
Grade
B+

Much like the Batman series, the Superman series of movies have featured two excellent films followed by two sequels that pretty much killed the series. But, also like Batman Begins, Superman Returns looks to revitalize the iconic superhero. Set five years after the second movie (which is likely to make us forget the third and fourth flicks), the world has moved on without Superman, who has gone on a trip to visit the remains of his homeworld.

When he returns, he finds a world that believes it no longer needs Superman. That is, until a failed shuttle launch forces Superman to save both the shuttle and the jumbo jetliner it was carrying off into space. Of course, Superman's love, Lois Lane, is on the jetliner. It's not long before Superman realizes that Lois has a five year old boy and a new boyfriend.

And, what's a Superman movie (or TV show) without the appearance of Lex Luthor. This time around, his plot is take kryptonian crystals that he steals from Superman's Fortress of Solitude, throw in a little green kryptonite for good measure (what's a sinister plot without some green kryptonite?), and use it to grow his own Krypton-like continent off the Eastern US coast. This, of course, means that billions of people will be killed as the Kryptonian island emerges and grows in size. Kevin Spacey's take on Luthor is far more sinister and maniacal, as if Luthor has finally snapped.

One of the more interesting plot elements is Superman's role in the world. While he's universally loved, he feels so unbelievably alone. At times, he has to get away as he can hear everything. The problem he finds himself in is that despite hearing everything, he still has no one to call his own.

It's obvious that Brandon Routh was cast as Superman because of how much he looks like a younger Christopher Reeves. This really isn't too much of a stretch as a lot of the movie pays homage to the first two movies. The music is largely redone pieces from the originals and a hefty part of the script drops lines from both the comics and the first two movies. Despite the fact that Routh is picked for his resemblance, I thought he did well in the role. He plays a emotionally vulnerable Superman that feels more human than he actually is. Bosworth was good, showing more range than I expected from her, but the chemistry between her and Routh wasn't strong enough. James Marsden as Lois' boyfriend is one of the stronger parts of the story as he's far more likeable than most directors would make him.

I will say I enjoyed a lot of the movie. There are more than a few sequences that just feel like classic Superman and really move you to want to cheer for the overpowered boy scout. With that said, there are certainly parts of the story that stretch and leave minor plot holes. Luthor's scheme is pretty farfetched. Also, the end tends to drag on way too long and probably could have been trimmed down.

While Superman Returns spends a little too much time standing in the shadow of the first two movies and drags on too long in the end, it's still a fine film that features more that a few energizing sequences and a fine enough story to keep the average viewer well entertained.

- - Kinderfeld

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