July 4, 2006

Movie Review: Superman Returns

Posted in Movies at 12:21 am by Captain Morgan

© Warner Bros. and DC Comics

I am a Superman fan. I have been since I was a kid. I grew up on Dean Cain as my Superman, and Tom Welling as my Clark Kent.

Honestly, this movie could’ve been crap and I’d still sing its praises from the rooftops. Thank God it isn’t. All my fears were calmed. Can Bryan Singer succeed at a different comic book franchise? Can Kate Bosworth play someone at least 10 years older than herself? Can Brandon Routh not only look good in the suit, but act as well? Will I like the maroon cape? Would Kevin Spacey rock the house like we all hoped he would?

Yes.

I expected at least a couple no’s out of all those questions. But it was yes across the board.

One moment in the film stands out to me. After Superman made his return known to the citizens of Metropolis, they showed masses of people cheering. At a stadium, a bar, on the street, and in offices. To be honest, I got a bit misty. In a world of division and exclusivity, to see something bringing throngs of people together was a welcome change.

Much was made among conservatives about the dropping of “American way” in Superman’s “slogan.” While I agree that we should never be pressured to stifle patriotism, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. The line doesn’t even come from Superman. It comes from Perry White.

All in all, Superman Returns is a good movie. If you love Superman, it’ll be a great movie. If you’re impartial to Superman, but feel like a good action/effects movie, go see Superman.

My rating: A

Calico Jack adds: I didn’t like Superman Returns as much as the Captain, but it was still a good–not great–movie. I think the plot is a bit lightweight; Lex Luthor seeking a prime piece of real estate doesn’t quite provide much gravitas, “billions of casualties” notwithstanding. I also wish Bryan Singer had gone back to Superman’s roots instead of picking up after the first two Christopher Reeve films; after seeing the conceptual reimaging of Batman two years ago, I would have been thrilled to follow Clark Kent as he leaves Smallville and discovers his calling in Metropolis.

Apart from a few other minor issues, however; I enjoyed Superman for what it was: a visually stunning, slightly lengthy spectacle. The most exciting sequence occurs fifteen or twenty minutes into the film; Singer does a deft job at giving the audience a visceral thrill as we first see Superman doing what he does best. Unfortunately, the rest of the film never quite reaches that same high point. However, this is an entirely competent film. It isn’t a classic, and I wonder how the producers will be able to pull off a sequel, but as summer entertainment Superman Returns is quite enjoyable.

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