Superman Returns (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Superman Returns (2006)



Critic Consensus: Bryan Singer's reverent and visually decadent adaptation gives the Man of Steel welcome emotional complexity. The result: a satisfying stick-to-your-ribs adaptation.

Movie Info

The Man of Steel returns to the big screen with this continuation of the icon's film legacy that picks up after the events of the first two Christopher Reeve films. Some time has passed since the events of Superman II and the world has gotten used to life without Superman (Brandon Routh) ever since his puzzling disappearance years earlier. Upon his return, he finds a Metropolis that doesn't need him anymore, while Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on with another young suitor Richard White (James Marsden) in the meantime. As the hero begins to tackle the fact that life on Earth has continued without him, he is forced to face his old arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) and restore the life that was once his. Directed by Bryan Singer from a script by the writing team of X-Men 2, Superman Returns marks a return to the screen for the man in tights, whose production history has seen many failed attempts including a famous near-miss from Tim Burton and Kevin Smith with Nicolas Cage in the lead role, along with another from director McG and writer J.J. Abrams (Lost). Singer eventually won the prestigious gig when he pitched the idea to not tackle the origin story again, but continue with director Richard Donner's original vision.more
Rating: PG-13 (for some intense action violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Daniel Harris, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 28, 2006
Box Office: $200.0M
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


Brandon Routh
as Clark Kent/Superman
Kate Bosworth
as Lois Lane
Kevin Spacey
as Lex Luthor
James Marsden
as Richard White
Parker Posey
as Kitty Kowalski
Frank Langella
as Perry White
Sam Huntington
as Jimmy Olsen
Eva Marie Saint
as Martha Kent
Kal Penn
as Stanford
Tristan Lake Leabu
as Jason White
Peta Wilson
as Bobbie-Faye
Jack Larson
as Bo The Bartender
Noel Neill
as Gertrude Vanderworth
James Karen
as Ben Hubbard
Stephan Bender
as Clark Kent (15 yrs. ...
Ian Bliss
as Shuttle Commander
Ansuya Nathan
as Shuttle Pilot
Warwick Young
as 777 Co-Pilot
Richard Branson
as Shuttle Engineer
Bradd Buckley
as 777 Navigator
Bill Young
as Mission Control Flig...
David Webb
as Mission Control Offi...
Thomas W. Stewart
as Mission Control Offi...
Patricia Howson
as Museum Guard
Thomas Stewart
as Mission Control Navi...
Mirren Lee
as Vanderworth Relative...
Stephen Ostrow
as Vanderworth Relative
Steve Ostrow
as Vanderworth Relative...
Hank Roberts
as Vanderworth Relative...
Raelee Hill
as Hospital Nurse
Lee James
as Doctor No. 1
Michael Duggan
as Doctor No. 2
Karina Bracken
as Hospital Ward Nurse
Frederique Fouche
as French News Anchor
Julian Pulvermacher
as German News Anchor
ReBecca Barratt
as German Reporter
Keegan Joyce
as Boy With Camera
Ted Maynard
as News Anchor No. 1
Ed Wightman
as News Anchor No. 2
Prue Lewarne
as News Anchor No. 3
Paul Shedlowich
as News Anchor No. 4
Barry Quin
as News Anchor No. 5
Francine Bell
as News Anchor No. 6
Penelope Heath
as Sydney Reporter
Genevieve Davis
as Reporter At Deli
Robert Meyer Burnett
as Cape Canaveral Repor...
Terrell Dixon
as Hospital Policeman
Kevin Fisher
as Security Guard No. 1
John Lucantonio
as Security Guard No. 2
Robert Flanagan
as Bank Gunner
Rob Flanagan
as Bank Gunner
Darin Rossi
as Home Plate Umpire
Phillip Henry
as Police Sharp Shooter
Henry Browne
as Taxi Driver
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Superman Returns

Critic Reviews for Superman Returns

All Critics (259) | Top Critics (50)

Would have benefited greatly from Singer trusting his talent and assembling a Superman movie that attempted to soar beyond the heights previously achieved decades ago.

Full Review… | June 12, 2013
Lyles' Movie Files

For all the mountains of kryptonite ranged against him, you never fear for Superman or Lois Lane, never experience anything more intense than the fret of mild peril.

Full Review… | July 12, 2010

Superman Returns is a great kick start to a potentially knockout new franchise, which ultimately leaves the audience, like the people of Metropolis when its greatest hero returns to the skies, brimming with hope.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010

One of this summer's best action movies.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Film School Rejects

The movie runs nearly half an hour longer than it should, with a new plot strand introduced in the third act that has questionable vitality in the presumed sequel.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Reverse Shot

More stolid than awe-inspiring

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Audience Reviews for Superman Returns


Superman is always fun to watch, and I didn't mind the new Clark Kent and Lois Lane.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer


Oh the contention, after the classic Donner/Reeve films came the rather dire third and fourth films followed by this, the sort of ignored and forgotten reboot. Since then of course we have had the much hyped 'Man of Steel' which has set up two camps, the camp that loves the new approach and the camp that prefers this 06 approach. Fans have been well and truly polarized betwixt the two.

The plot continues from 'Superman II' (ignoring III and IV) and sees Supes returning to Earth after a five year spell searching for Krypton and survivors. Whilst away Lex Luthor has been released, nabbed some old birds money from her deathbed and gone to the Fortress of Solitude to steal some Kryptonian crystals, busy week. He intends to use these crystals to create a new continental landmass in the Atlantic to control as his own, problem is it will kill lots of Americans at the same time with massive flooding, we can't have that!.

So its not too long before we see Supes in action saving various people (including Lois) upon his return, its back to business. Straight away I gotta say the effects in this film are still quite marvellous to this day, you could be forgiven for thinking it was made just recently. CGI is of course abundant and it works in places whilst in others its a bit more obvious, naturally. But I am surprised at the quality and how it holds up against the new MoS film, seeing Supes fly around is still a thrill, looks just as good with all the sonic booms and reentry effects from space/orbit.

There are plenty of lovely money shots throughout, maybe too many actually, at times it seems like this film is simply all about making Supes look slick n sexy in airspace. But I simply can't deny that this film looks sumptuous in almost every scene, some of those skylines, atmospheric weather events, the Kryptonite landmass, the way Supes cape flaps and reacts, slow motion hovering in space and in the air...its all beautiful, a real visual treat.

I guess the main issue that many have with this film is simply the fact its basically a love letter to the original two films. Now yes of course the film was meant to be a homage to those films...the plot carries on from them, it includes Marlon Brando and uses the classic John Williams score even! so no mistakes there. But at the same time the film feels way too much like a copy of those original films, as if they are just trying to copy that late 70's feel by doing virtually the exact same stuff. Most of the action set pieces are wonderfully done but feel too familiar, too safe and a little dated really.

At no point in the film do you really feel anyone is in danger because Supes manages to rescue EVERYONE just in time, he's too good!. While the recreation of that classic aura is fantastic and Singer did a fantastic job directing it, it doesn't help the plot because it just doesn't feel risky enough, plus nothing really happens in the main plot either. Lex creates a landmass, Supes digs it out and shoves it into space and that's it, did we really need such a long film for that?. Again the idea also rings too many bells with the originals, outcome is too similar.

I did love the shot of Supes holding a car aloft above his head, a recreation of the classic Action Comics comic book issue 1 cover, nice touch.

This leads to Routh as Supes. Again straight away you can see why he got the gig, he looks like a young Chris Reeve (accept for the straight hair which doesn't work with the 'S-curl'). Thing is he clearly imitates Reeve, he tries to be Chris Reeve, he tries to be Chris Reeve's 'Clark Kent', he even tries to speak in the same manner. There are some sequences in this film that are almost shot for shot remakes of certain scenes in the originals, admittedly I liked this but at the same time I just felt there needed to be some more creative thinking here.

Also must comment that this particular Supes outfit wasn't quite right for me. The colours seemed slightly off, a little too dark and his 'S' badge looked a tad too small also...or is that just me?. Should have been a bit wider across the chest no?. Plus the cape seemed to look to thick and heavy?.

Everyone else felt kinda drab really, nothing special really. Spacey as Lex was a surprise for me, he really nailed the character and I found myself liking the guy. I never liked Hackman in the role, he looked the part but I just didn't like his sniveling, arrogant, flippant comedic tone, just annoyed me. Spacey felt more straight laced and outrightly evil, more cynical, less smarmy and he can throw a punch if needed, he felt more gutsy.

Definitely an effects film and definitely made to show Supes can look good in CGI, and it does just that perfectly. Its just a shame the film is too much of a homage, there's too much romance/dialog with Lois and the fact Supes has a son isn't really explored enough if you ask me (didn't like the fact Supes kinda ignores it at the end despite Lois knowing. I realise he can't let news like that out but I thought he would at least stay with Lois at the end to sort it out). I also think Supes is shown caring for humans too much, yep that's what I said. In the new MoS film he isn't shown doing this at all really but here there is just too much of it, there needed to be more powerful tension, we needed to think something bad really could actually happen and Supes might not get there to save the day.

But it is refreshing not to see masses of destruction porn everywhere. Metropolis could have had some major CGI wreckage sequences but its nice that they only hinted at it, although it could of been a time/money constraint. I liked how the cracking seabed eruptions caused problems and tremors but didn't 'end the world' as we are so used to seeing these days.

Yet despite everything I have mentioned I found myself loving this film way more than the new MoS entry. This film is a soft dated approach through thick rose tinted specs but it works so damn well, they really got everything spot on, in fact its possibly the best homage to a franchise I may have seen. From those glorious opening credits to the slightly corny reused finale sequence of Supes flying in space and breaking the fourth wall by looking right at us as he flies by, all accompanied by that classic legendary Williams score. It makes the hairs on the back of your neck tingle, but I think the older generations will appreciate this homage more, people who recall seeing the originals for the first time upon release or not long after. Certainly brought a lump to my throat with memories of watching them as a kid back in the day with my dad.

End of the day this feels like a remake of the original but with up to date effects, what the Donner classic would of looked like with modern technology. Now this isn't a problem for me as such but I can see why many didn't run with it. But for what they intended you get exactly that, maybe not what everybody expected, maybe not the right way to go, but its definitely a heart warming flick, a great feel good flick and a classic Superman adventure.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Okay, so I'll just say right off the bat that, despite this movie's flaws, Singer should be applauded for being allowed to make the film he wanted to make, even if it's not the film the public was hoping for.

Designed as a contemporary update, yet also a bridge to the older Superman films, this is part retelling of the origin/a sequel to the first two Superman movies, completely ignoring parts 3 and 4. That's pretty ambitious, and rather admirable. They stick so much to the past that they reuse the original music and opening credits/font.

As a result of all of this, the film is pretty heady, but, like I said, admirable.

The main issue with the film, aside from sticking too much to the past, is the fact that it's sadly really boring. It's long, slow, largely uneventful, and drags on and on and on. That they made an arthouse-style Superman film is unique, but come on! He doesn't even punch anyone! He's just a whiny, mopey, angsty stalker for a lot of the time, and that's far from what people expect when they think of this character.

The casting is alright though. Routh looks the part, and has the charisma, but he really doesn't do much to make the role his own. I thought Bosworth was okay as Lois, but the ignorance the character displays doesn't fit with the character supposedly being a bright journalist. What I mean is, it takes her forever to realize who the father of her kid is, when the answer is painfully obvious early on. Spacey is fun, if perhaps a tad too hammy as Lex, but I'm sure they could have found someone worse.

All in all, I appreciate this film trying to mix old and new, but I just think they could have done a far better job making it entertaining. I'd say that the ideas were sound, but the execution, especially the writing (tons of plot holes and flaws) kept things from being as great as they should have been.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Superman Returns Quotes

Superman/Clark Kent: I'm always around.
– Submitted by Dan K (3 years ago)
Jason White: Fajitas!!
– Submitted by Dan K (3 years ago)
Lex Luthor: [after seeing Lois and her son on his yacht] Miss Lane?
– Submitted by Lorenzo V (4 years ago)
Lex Luthor: Come on, let me hear you say it, just once!
Lois Lane: Your insane-
Lex Luthor: No! Not that, no, the other thing!
Lois Lane: Superman will-
Lex Luthor: WRONG!
– Submitted by Braden W (4 years ago)

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