Movie Review – Superman Returns

Superman Returns

Directed by Bryan Singer

Starring Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington and Eva Marie Saint.


Superman.  With the recent surge in superhero films, we knew it was just a matter of time.  Ever since I started following movie news online, I’d been following development of a new Superman film. I was there for the Kevin Smith draft.  I was there for the failed Tim Burton film.  And then, I cheered when Bryan Singer signed on.  Singer, of course, has proven his superhero cred with the first two X-Men films.  But some of what Singer said frightened me.  Singer said that he never read the comics, but he was a huge fan of Richard Donner’s original 1978 film, and his film would be based more on Donner’s film.  While Donner’s film has interpretations of the Superman mythos I like (i.e.  Christopher Reeve’s performance as Superman), it has interpretations I don’t like (i.e. goofy Lex Luthor).  So, it was with a healthy dose of cautious optimism that I walked into Superman Returns.


Astronomers discover what they think are the ruins of Krypton, so Superman heads into the cosmos looking for them.  Five years later, Superman returns to Earth.  Kal-El comes home to an Earth that’s moved on without him.  This is personified in Lois Lane, who’s now engaged and mother to a 5-year old son.  Superman – and Clark Kent – then head out to find new purpose in this world, and perform lots of superheroics along the way.  Meanwhile, while Superman was gone, Lex Luthor broke into the Fortress of Solitude and swiped some Kryptonian technology, which he’s going to use in his latest evil plot.  And once again, it’s Superman vs. Lex Luthor with the fate of the Earth in the balance!

What I Liked

The acting. Brandon Routh does an amazing job as Superman, and Kevin Spacey is absolutely SPECTACULAR as Lex Luthor. I’m glad he made Luthor less goofy and more sinister. And the special effects are just amazing. We’ve come along way since 1978. Some of my friends lamented a lack of Superman spectacle in the trailers, but there’s some great moments in there, specifically Superman rescuing the space shuttle.

What I Didn’t Like

This film made TONS of references to the 1978 film. Once the film sank in a bit on the drive home, I started wondering: did I enjoy it because it truly is a good film, or did I just get off on all the references? And plus, there’s a big plot twist about 2/3 of the way through the film. I won’t get into it here, and granted, it’s been done in about a dozen “imaginary tales” in the comics. But those “imaginary tales” were always about the end of Superman…I have no idea how it’ll affect a sequel or Superman continuity in general. From what I’ve read online, this plot twist has divided a lot of people…put me down on the side that thinks it was a bad idea

Final Assessment

Singer delivered the goods. Granted, he focuses a little more on character than Superman doing what he does best, but what is in there is really good. Bring on General Zod Returns. Or, maybe Singer will finally crack open a comic and we’ll get Superman vs. Doomsday.

3 Nibs

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