Review: Superman Returns

Superman Returns

Year: 2006

Director: Bryan Singer

Rating from : PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)

ID in Amazon.com: B00005JOQS

Having read my colleague Bill’s review of Superman Returns, I decided it was about time I got my review together, having seen the movie three times!!!

First of all, you should know that I am a huge Superman fan so my review may be slightly biased. I must admit that I wasn’t expecting as much as I may have wanted from this film. I love Bryan Singer’s movies: Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, but I wasn’t so sure about the period setting for the film or the casting of Brandon Routh as the main lead. I think that this was partially because I was so used to seeing Tom Welling as Clark Kent in Smallville, and Routh just didn’t look right – something about those eyebrows! I’ve heard a lot of people say that he is the image of Christopher Reeve – I’m not sure it matters but I always thought that Welling looked more like Reeve, something to do with when he clenched his mouth, the cheek bones I think… It was only when I saw Routh on David Letterman before the film release, when he talked and smiled (check out that upper lip!), that I realised he too had a striking similarity to Reeve. I also wasn’t too sure about the casting of Kate Bosworth… Too young, mayhap? When Hugh Laurie was replaced by Frank Langella for the Perry White role, again I was unsure about the casting – Langella always plays the bad guy.

Despite all my misgivings, I really enjoyed the film on the first viewing. The second time, I think I was just taking in the stuff that I missed the first time, so didn’t enjoy it as much. The third time, I enjoyed the film all over again! Read on for more about what I liked and didn’t like…

Things I liked:

  • I loved Singer’s attention to the details of the original films, which began with the opening credits. I had known that he was going to reuse the John Williams theme – good move – but the film started with a wonderful opening sequence, the same lettering (with Star Wars-style letter joinings), the Superman shield zooming in, and a great galaxy fly through…
  • The links back to the original film and Superman franchise throughout were great. The first scene with Lex Luthor and a dying wealthy old lady featured Noel Neill, who starred as Lois Lane in the Superman TV series – a nice touch I thought (that I only noticed after seeing her talk on a Superman TV documentary before a repeat film viewing), and one of many Superman saga references in the film (two Jimmy Olsens in the bar scene).
  • I liked Eva Marie Saint as Martha Kent, and seeing the photos in the Kent house of Jonathan (Glenn Ford I think?) from the original movie.
  • Brandon Routh – yes, he WAS Superman – I got tingles in the scene where he lands the airplane in the baseball stadium (well, in two of the three viewings!). Brilliant!
  • Frank Langella was quite good as the gruff Perry White, probably a better match to the original role played by Jackie Cooper than Laurie might have been, and Jimmy Olsen was well cast too.
  • Richard White / James Marsden was suprisingly good – I hadn’t expected much from X-Men’s Cyclops, and this may be because he suffers from Geordi LaForge syndrome when you can’t see his eyes. It was hard to dislike him, even though you may want to if Lois and Clark are supposedly meant to be together.
  • Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane – yes, she’s young, but she did good and I have a feeling she can do better next time as she grows more into the role.
  • The Kryptonian crystals are still dumped somewhere on that floating city in space – perhaps Superman or a shuttle can retrieve them for a sequel!
  • The Daily Planet building and newsroom looked great!
  • I loved the bullet and the eye sequence – wow!

Things I didn’t like:

  • I had some problems with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane – aha, I hear you say, you just said you liked her in the role. Well, I think there were some moments where she proved herself as Lois Lane, but I think there was a bit of confusion as to when her character should be soft or tough. I know she was angry with Superman for leaving but it would have been better if she showed that hard side in the newsroom rather than using the softer version with Clark. This may have been bad scripting, I don’t know…
  • What’s with the missing scenes!? We see a man (Martha’s new partner?) driving away from the house just before Superman’s ship crashes – strangely, I saw a scene in the TV advertisement for the film that didn’t appear in the film at all, where the man is in the house talking to Clark and makes some comment like “Oh, your Mom said you flew in last night?”.
  • I didn’t like what I may term the “Patrick Stewart” shots of Lex Luthor, where he’s looking into the camera with that supposedly deep-in-thought look. A few too many of those I think…
  • It was a pity that the young Clark (in the sequence where Clark reminisces back to his childhood days when he first learned how to fly / levitate) didn’t look more like Routh, I thought he was a young Ethan Hawke.
  • There was a terrible CGI version of Superman in the second last flying sequence of the film – he seemed more like Christopher Moltisanti from the Sopranos than Routh.
  • Wasn’t too sure about the “menacing metrosexual” aspect of Superman, especially with him using his x-ray vision to peep in on Lois and family.
  • The music midway through the airplane sequence – it changed from a nice dum-dum-dum building up tension thing to some kind of theme from a financial services advert.
  • I didn’t like realising that Richard Branson had a cameo until the end credits of the third viewing – doh – missed it!

If I seem overly critical, the above list of negative things are really just small gripes that would have made it a perfect film for me (but perhaps not for others). Overall, I’d highly recommend Superman Returns, and I will certainly be buying it on DVD.

****

Tags: irishblogs,superman,supermanreturns

PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)B00005JOQS<p>Having read my colleague <a href="http://worldbehindtheglass.blogspot.com/2006/07/superman-returns.html">Bill’s review of Superman Returns</a>, I decided it was about time I got my review together, having seen the movie three times!!!</p>
<p>First of all, you should know that I am a huge Superman fan so my review may be <em>slightly</em> biased. I must admit that I wasn’t expecting as much as I may have wanted from this film. I love Bryan Singer’s movies: Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, but I wasn’t so sure about the period setting for the film or the casting of Brandon Routh as the main lead. I think that this was partially because I was so used to seeing Tom Welling as Clark Kent in Smallville, and Routh just didn’t look right – something about those eyebrows! I’ve heard a lot of people say that he is the image of Christopher Reeve – I’m not sure it matters but I always thought that Welling looked more like Reeve, something to do with when he clenched his mouth, the cheek bones I think… It was only when I saw Routh on David Letterman before the film release, when he talked and smiled (check out that upper lip!), that I realised he too had a striking similarity to Reeve. I also wasn’t too sure about the casting of Kate Bosworth… Too young, mayhap? When Hugh Laurie was replaced by Frank Langella for the Perry White role, again I was unsure about the casting – Langella always plays the bad guy.</p>
<p>Despite all my misgivings, I really enjoyed the film on the first viewing. The second time, I think I was just taking in the stuff that I missed the first time, so didn’t enjoy it as much. The third time, I enjoyed the film all over again! Read on for more about what I liked and didn’t like…</p>
<p>Things I liked:</p>
<ul>
<li>I loved Singer’s attention to the details of the original films, which began with the opening credits. I had known that he was going to reuse the John Williams theme – good move – but the film started with a wonderful opening sequence, the same lettering (with Star Wars-style letter joinings), the Superman shield zooming in, and a great galaxy fly through…</li>
<li>The links back to the original film and Superman franchise throughout were great. The first scene with Lex Luthor and a dying wealthy old lady featured Noel Neill, who starred as Lois Lane in the Superman TV series – a nice touch I thought (that I only noticed after seeing her talk on a Superman TV documentary before a repeat film viewing), and one of many Superman saga references in the film (two Jimmy Olsens in the bar scene).</li>
<li>I liked Eva Marie Saint as Martha Kent, and seeing the photos in the Kent house of Jonathan (Glenn Ford I think?) from the original movie.</li>
<li>Brandon Routh – yes, he WAS Superman – I got tingles in the scene where he lands the airplane in the baseball stadium (well, in two of the three viewings!). Brilliant!</li>
<li>Frank Langella was quite good as the gruff Perry White, probably a better match to the original role played by Jackie Cooper than Laurie might have been, and Jimmy Olsen was well cast too.</li>
<li>Richard White / James Marsden was suprisingly good – I hadn’t expected much from X-Men’s Cyclops, and this may be because he suffers from Geordi LaForge syndrome when you can’t see his eyes. It was hard to dislike him, even though you may want to if Lois and Clark are supposedly meant to be together.</li>
<li>Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane – yes, she’s young, but she did good and I have a feeling she can do better next time as she grows more into the role.</li>
<li>The Kryptonian crystals are still dumped somewhere on that floating city in space – perhaps Superman or a shuttle can retrieve them for a sequel!</li>
<li>The Daily Planet building and newsroom looked great!</li>
<li>I loved the bullet and the eye sequence – wow!</li>
</ul>
<p>Things I didn’t like:</p>
<ul>
<li>I had some problems with Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane – aha, I hear you say, you just said you liked her in the role. Well, I think there were some moments where she proved herself as Lois Lane, but I think there was a bit of confusion as to when her character should be soft or tough. I know she was angry with Superman for leaving but it would have been better if she showed that hard side in the newsroom rather than using the softer version with Clark. This may have been bad scripting, I don’t know…</li>
<li>What’s with the missing scenes!? We see a man (Martha’s new partner?) driving away from the house just before Superman’s ship crashes – strangely, I saw a scene in the TV advertisement for the film that didn’t appear in the film at all, where the man is in the house talking to Clark and makes some comment like "Oh, your Mom said you flew in last night?".</li>
<li>I didn’t like what I may term the "Patrick Stewart" shots of Lex Luthor, where he’s looking into the camera with that supposedly deep-in-thought look. A few too many of those I think…</li>
<li>It was a pity that the young Clark (in the sequence where Clark reminisces back to his childhood days when he first learned how to fly / levitate) didn’t look more like Routh, I thought he was a young Ethan Hawke.</li>
<li>There was a terrible CGI version of Superman in the second last flying sequence of the film – he seemed more like Christopher Moltisanti from the Sopranos than Routh.</li>
<li>Wasn’t too sure about the "menacing metrosexual" aspect of Superman, especially with him using his x-ray vision to peep in on Lois and family.</li>
<li>The music midway through the airplane sequence – it changed from a nice dum-dum-dum building up tension thing to some kind of theme from a financial services advert.</li>
<li>I didn’t like realising that Richard Branson had a cameo until the end credits of the third viewing – doh – missed it!</li>
</ul>
<p>If I seem overly critical, the above list of negative things are really just small gripes that would have made it a perfect film for me (but perhaps not for others). Overall, I’d highly recommend Superman Returns, and I will certainly be buying it on DVD.</p>
<p>****</p>irishblogs,superman,supermanreturns

4 thoughts on “Review: Superman Returns

  1. Way more thinking about the movie than I did. I’m glad you liked it, though. I DID notice Branson on my first viewing but I missed the Glenn Ford as Jonathan picture…I am always very appreciative when directors remember and link back to those sort of things.

    I think we have essentially the same problems with the casting…but all in all a very well told story and that is what makes it for me. I can forgive a lot of little things if the story is big and solid and well told.

    Bill

  2. Yes, the story was solid but wasn’t overly complicated – I think that is a good idea if a new series of these films is to be established over the next 5-10 years…

  3. I hated it with a passion.

    Reasons: **SPOILERS BELOW**

    1. Superman spieing on a family through walls. Charming.

    2. Superman fathering a child and then leaving for 5 years. Asshole.

    3. Superman having a son, and having such an important part of the story ‘implied’ off screen.

    4. Very little interaction between lois & clark, which is central to superman lore.

    5. He looks stupid. Any close-ups he looks made of plastic and the S is too small.

    6. The whole having a son thing. It’s never been part of main Superman lore. And it’ll force them to deal with it in all sequels.

    7. A lot of the effects were way below par. In fact, some shots are high quality, and then shots following on immediately are completely below par, very jarring and all over the place.

  4. can you fly with superman or bizzaro in to the galaxy…?

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