Superman Returns Reviews
Director Bryan Singer revived Superman on film after the classic Superman and Superman II movies were massive hits, while Superman III and Superman IV were abominations to the character. Superman Returns is a colossal return to form for the character on the big screen. While Singer rehashes the original story over and makes numerous callbacks, he generally maintains Superman's heroic nature and goodwill. It just feels like a hollow tribute that contributes nothing new. Strange edits that elongate scenes make the movie feel much longer than it really spans, that I am certain audiences will lose engagement after awhile. Superman Returns is a nice Superman flick, but an average film in the end.
It is worth noting that Superman Returns sadly feels quite dated. The CGI and special effects look completely fake due to the heavy use of green screen and old graphics. In the 12 years since I first saw Superman Returns, it has already aged poorly in the visual department. Odd direction and half-baked cinematography really detracts from the nice story and enjoyable performances herein. Superman Returns especially feels dated as characters repeatedly pull out flip phones, type on ancient computers, and Lois Lane even uses a fax machine at one point. It is all technology a modern younger viewer would have no connection to and older audience members will laugh at surely.
Overall, the tone and visuals of Superman Returns are the problem. We get to see Superman save lives and be a hero, but he is often just depressing and moping about throughout the majority of the movie. Singer chose a far too serious tone giving this film a familiar, yet fleeting feeling of heroism. It's too dark and shrouded in shadows and not in a good way. The shadow play and dark lighting makes you unable to see a lot of the action on screen instead of delivering a more mature atmosphere. Superman Returns leaves you more bored than inspired and wishing this movie were better.
The standout of Superman Returns is the acting as Brandon Routh gives his best Christopher Reeve impression. He feels sincere, but still too serious for the role. It definitely feels more like he is trying too hard to be like Reeve instead of his own take on Superman. That really sums up this whole film: trying too hard. Kate Bosworth is nice as Lois Lane, but she is given little to do. Kevin Spacey delivers a scary Lex Luthor that leaves you shaken, but delighted at his jokes. Spacey too, however, feels like he is doing his most admirable attempt at recreating Gene Hackman's legendary Lex Luthor. I absolutely adore Parker Posey as the sweetly sincere and misguided Kitty Kowalski character. I am delighted to see Eva Marie Saint appear as Superman's mother for a scene or two as she is an excellent actress. The entire ensemble plays their parts well enough. In all, Superman Returns can claim a solid cast that suits a Superman movie's likeness.
Finally, I must mention the score composed by John Williams is a cute touch. Singer knew he could pull at your heart strings just by playing Williams' classic score once more. Sure enough, it works wonders as dreary scenes are lightened by the joyous sounds of Williams' symphony. Superman Returns' most heroic moments are elevated to new heights thanks to Williams and his inspiring score. The music is a nice choice to endear you to this film that future Superman films like Man of Steel tragically lack.
In short, Superman Returns gives new life to Superman after two brilliant films and two awful sequels. This movie may be hated to this day, but it remains entertaining for a watch. At the very least, I can say that Superman Returns respects the sanctity of the source material and tries to awe, but merely amuses.
It fails to update the character for a new generation in any meaningful way.
With advancement in vfx you have to do more than simply making us believe a man can fly - you have to make us believe a man can be truly super. Super, this film is not.
This movie is epic and has a huge cast [which delivers], has superb writing with both heart and unbelievable Superman action, has forbidden love, and infinitely more comic book fun!
If you don't like the movie you simply don't like the 50s style Superman an that is you baggage not mine. The bizarrely fantastic strikes again and the alien of our democratic-republic honesty dreams is back in all its glory.
Too bad the new, "real", Man of Steel had to take this man's place in the "Justice League/Bat V Super", which many of us remember from the 80s, and wonder out loud..."WTF WB is thinking?"
I guess all great things must pass in time: even truth, justice, and the American way.