How excited was I to see “Superman Returns” in the Summer of 2006? Let me put it this way: I followed Laneit, his wife, Laneit’s work buddies and some other friends, all the way from Boston to Rhode Island, just se we could all watch the movie together on opening night.
I ignored the fact that I had to get up at 3:30 the next morning for work, because dammit, it was a Superman movie. Turned out the joke was on me, because not only did “Superman Returns” suck, but I had to ride back to Boston with Laneit’s then wife and another buddy’s girlfriend who spent the hour plus ride home discussing… lady issues. But that’s not what this post is about, so let’s get back to the movie, shall we?
The first two Superman movies worked, because Christopher Reeve could play the character straight and then let us know he was kidding. He a generation of fans, he was Superman. Also, both films had just enough action and humor to satisfy the masses. “Superman III” in 1983 was of course a disappointment, and the less we say about “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,” the better.
It took 19 long years before the Man of Steel made another appearance on the big screen in Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.” Sadly, fans never got the Superman movie they were hoping for. Instead, we got a glum, lackluster movie that leaves you depressed rather than hopeful.
Even the big effects sequences were dull instead of exhilarating. There is the plane sequence that looked good in 2006. But when you compare it to action scenes in comic book movies today, it just doesn’t hold up.
Clark Kent’s world doesn’t fare much better either: the newsroom of the Daily Planet lacks any substance. Jimmy Olsen is there, but he’s not given anything to do but give exposition. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has lost her spark, and is actually kind of annoying. Bosworth didn’t add anything to the role, and she looked bored the entire time.
Her fiance, Richard White (James Marsden), is just there for a love triangle I guess. Of course it would have helped if there was ny chemistry between Lois, Richard, and Supes. Even the Planet’s bigger than life editor, Perry White (Frank Langella), comes across like the manager at your local post office.
Crap, I almost forgot about Lois’ kid. Here’s what I still don’t get: does Lois know Superman is the daddy? and if not, you’re telling me that after she discovered the truth she didn’t think to herself “When the hell did I boink Superman?”
Then there’s Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), who is out of prison and plotting to rule the earth. Back then, casting Spacey was Luthor seemed like perfect casting. But then the screenplay happened, and we’re left with Lex’s plan: use crystals from kryptonite to raise up a new continent in the mid-Atlantic and flood most of the surface of the populated world. Then he’ll own all the real estate.
Yup, Lex Luthor’s big plan is to own all the real estate in the world. Should his plan wor, he’ll probably run for president in four years. His campaign will be run by Parker Posey and Kal Penn.
It should be noted however, that none of the movie’s problems were Brandon Routh’s fault. The guy certainly looked the part, both as Superman and Clark Kent. I guess the problem was that Bryan Singer had Routh play Christopher Reeve instead of having him bring his ow voice to Superman.
Come to think of it, all of the problems with “Superman Returns” happened because of Bryan Singer. The director should have started from scratch, the way he build up the X-Men movie universe.
Regardless of how much Singer loved the original “Superman,” there was no way he was ever going to top what Richard Donner did in the original Superman film, so why even try?