Superman Returns Review

*So let me start by saying that we here at Earth-9 think that both Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer are deplorable human beings and no other mention of them by name will be made in this review other than this statement, however a film is not just made by a director and one actor so it would be a disservice to all the other actors and crew who worked hard to make this film, so out of respect for those people we will continue with this review.*

So I have a bit of an affinity with this film, of course I do with most Superman films but this one a little more, when I did my first review I mentioned how Superman The Movie was special because it came out the year I was born. Well this movie came out the year my son was born, he is named Reeve after Christopher and so this film ties in with a big part of my life, so it’s a bit more special than maybe it would’ve had it been released at another time.

Ok now this film is technically a sequel to Superman II, with Lex’s obsession with land and revisiting the Fortress of Solitude, Marlon Brando being featured as Jor-el, and with Superman, well returning! But lets talk about the elephant in the room that is Jason White, Lois and Superman’s son, now when this first came out I was not a fan of this plot point it seemed odd and out of place. Now while it still creates issues, like does Lois remember sleeping with Superman in Superman II and if she does why doesn’t she know that Clark is Superman? Or does she think it was some kind of immaculate conception? I actually don’t hate this idea anymore, I think because we’ve had Superman’s son in the comics for a while now it had made me more used to the idea.

Brandon Routh is great as Superman and Clark Kent, obviously he styled his mannerisms after Christopher Reeve but there’s still enough scope that he’s able to add his own elements to the character, his earnest yet clumsy portrayal of Clark is perfect and his quiet confidence and strength of Superman really shines through and it was absolutely amazing that he got to reprise the role in the recent Arrowverse crossover event Crisis On Infinite Earths.

The problem with this film being a sequel is unfortunately you are constantly being reminded of the original actors to play these exact roles, while Routh may not be Reeve his portrayal is enough of Reeve to get a pass, however its very difficult to pick up after Margot Kidder and Kate Bosworth for me just doesn’t have the grit that Lois needs and falls short. Also Gene Hackman will always be the best Lex Luthor period.

Visually this film is stunning, the art deco style of Metropolis is amazing and works so well, this Daily Planet globe is my favourite! The Fortress of Solitude looks incredible and the aeroplane crash sequence still holds up now 14 years later and is probably the best action scene in the film, the bit where Superman is above the earth, cape fluttering, listening out for cries of help is everything and the bit with the bullet to the eye is just epic. What this film does well is show how much Superman cares, how he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the rest of the world.

I think where this film falls down is the story, there are so many good elements that had they been put together in the right way this film would’ve been a success, this is a Superman film but the threat is essentially a big rock that he doesn’t even get to punch! The action scenes while they are great they are few and far between, far too much time is spent setting up the world that we already know, they could’ve hit the ground running and people would’ve got it, this film feels more like a set up for a sequel than a stand alone film, which is a problem when you don’t get the sequel that apparently would’ve involved Brainiac, Bizarro and possibly more, with the new krypton land mass being a big plot point too. Now that all sounds great but you can’t under deliver in one film hoping to fix it in the sequel, that’s not how it works unfortunately and that sequel was cancelled.

Overall I do enjoy this film for what it is, a love letter to the Donnerverse with stand alone action pieces and a visually attractive setting, but it could’ve been so much more and that’s whats a real shame but it gave us Brandon Routh who I have met on numerous occasions and is just a wonderful human being so that’s more than enough to help me enjoy this movie.

(Photo Circa 2007)