Official Superman Returns Review Thread (SPOILERS)

New movies! Old movies! B-movies! Discuss discuss discuss!!!

With 10 being the best and 1 being the worst, how would you rate Superman Returns?

10
20
16%
9
18
15%
8
35
28%
7
19
15%
6
12
10%
5
4
3%
4
3
2%
3
0
No votes
2
1
1%
1
5
4%
I will not be seeing this
6
5%
 
Total votes : 123

Official Superman Returns Review Thread (SPOILERS)

Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:57 pm

Look, up in the sky!

It's a bird!

It's a plane!

No, silly! It's the Superman Returns Review Thread!!

Image

(Lame as that was, it gets me in the proper mood.)

Arguably the biggest movie of the summer, Superman Returns to theaters--see what I did there?--on June 28th.

Some early reviews have begun to creep up from the select screenings Warners has held. Below are the links to posts in the News thread with reviews:

You Know My Name links to the first two HERE.

Teh Balm has one HERE.

Kirk has Latino Review and Dark Horizons HERE.

The most exciting quote, which has already been discussed a bit, comes from one of You Know's:

Stephen Schaefer wrote:Even better, Singer has transformed Superman, the alien from another planet with his extraordinary powers, into a majestic, awe-inspiring figure, not a kiddie comic book guy in tights. Like Apollo come to earth, like Atlas holding the world in the great Rockefeller Center sculpture, Brandon Routh’s Superman has a gravity that enobles this entire two-and-a-half hour picture.

If that is even half-true, we're in for quite a treat.

A brief note on decorum: Let's try to keep this debate somewhat civilized. Argue the points, not the person.

AND PLEASE REMEMBER SPOILER TAGS AND TINY TEXT!!

DON'T RUIN THIS ONE FOR FOLKS WHO WANT TO BE UNSPOILED!!
Last edited by MasterWhedon on Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:06 pm

I have to ask, are any of the reviewers Superheroes? I just don't trust those guys to be fair minded about other Superheroes, they are bound to say it's good even if it's not, you know what they're like.





































If you know what I mean? :wink:
Last edited by TonyWilson on Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:12 pm

I scrolled down for a winky face?!! Fuck that shit!

Where was my, "If you know what I mean? :wink: "
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Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:51 pm

Merrick has Sponge Man's review up HERE with links to other reviews (possibly the same ones I linked above).
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:51 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:I scrolled down for a winky face?!! Fuck that shit!

Where was my, "If you know what I mean? :wink: "




Everything I do, I do it....
























If you know what I mean? :wink:
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Postby RogueScribner on Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:59 pm

I get the feeling this movie is going to divide people more than X3 did. I think some people are going to be disappointed it isn't wall to wall action.
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Re: Official Superman Returns Review Thread (SPOILERS)

Postby Al Shut on Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:00 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:Look, up in the sky!

It's a bird!

It's a plane!

No, silly! It's the Superman Returns Review Thread!!

Image

(Lame as that was, it gets me in the proper mood.)



Now all we need is a proper mod.

Image

sorry couldn't resist :oops:
Note to myself: Fix this image shit!
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Re: Official Superman Returns Review Thread (SPOILERS)

Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:01 pm

Al_Shut wrote:Now all we need is a proper mod.

Image

sorry couldn't resist :oops:

I've got a rimshot for you...

:evil:
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Re: Official Superman Returns Review Thread (SPOILERS)

Postby Bob Samonkey on Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:05 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:
Al_Shut wrote:Now all we need is a proper mod.

Image

sorry couldn't resist :oops:

I've got a rimshot for you...

:evil:



Um................................................ .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ......................EWW!!
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Postby MasterWhedon on Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:48 am

Three new reviews up on the main page HERE.

THEY CONTAIN MASSIVE, MASSIVE SPOILERS!!

DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW EVERY MAJOR PLOT POINT OF THE FILM!!

I'M SERIOUS!!!


And if you do choose to read and wish to discuss back here, I promise I will ban you if you don't use tiny text and SPOILER warnings!!

I want no one getting spoiled on this sucker unless they want to be.
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:56 am

Wow, I admire your faith in people reading entire threads before they post, MW. ;)
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Postby RogueScribner on Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:01 am

HOLY SHIT! LEX LUTHOR IS SUPERMAN'S FATHER???!!!
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Postby TonyWilson on Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:06 am

Any negative reviews at all yet?
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Postby tapehead on Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:14 am

RogueScribner wrote:HOLY SHIT! LEX LUTHOR IS SUPERMAN'S FATHER???!!!



no no, you're totally misinterpreting the scene where Lex is spanking him and asking 'Who's your Daddy?'



I'm starting this new thing - Dumbledore Superman jokes.... hilarious, no?
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Postby JackKnight on Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:37 am

Does anyone know if this flick is kid friendly? They've been advertising the hell out of it on Nick and other channels and my kids are all hyped to see it but none of the reviews I've read so far say whether or not it'll be too dark for kids. It's PG13, but then so was HP4 and they saw that. Any of you in-the-know types have any info?

Thanks.
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Postby havocSchultz on Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:42 am

JackKnight wrote:Does anyone know if this flick is kid friendly? They've been advertising the hell out of it on Nick and other channels and my kids are all hyped to see it but none of the reviews I've read so far say whether or not it'll be too dark for kids. It's PG13, but then so was HP4 and they saw that. Any of you in-the-know types have any info?

Thanks.


I'm not really in the know - but I don't think it would be as dark as the Potter films - which actually seem to stretch out their PG-13 ratings - at least as far as scary/intense scenes go...

I believe there is some darkenss to SR - but from what most of the trailers I believe say: It's rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of action or something like that...

I don't really know your kids - so I can't say for sure - But I'm sure if the Potter films are fine - I couldn't see this really being that much worse.
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Postby JackKnight on Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:46 am

Thanks Havoc. That helps alot. I just wanted to make sure Lex isn't ripping the heads off of puppies or anything. I've tried to stay somewhat spoiler free, but needed a bit more info before I could tell the kids if they could see it or not.

Thanks again
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Postby havocSchultz on Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:55 am

JackKnight wrote:Thanks Havoc. That helps alot. I just wanted to make sure Lex isn't ripping the heads off of puppies or anything. I've tried to stay somewhat spoiler free, but needed a bit more info before I could tell the kids if they could see it or not.

Thanks again


Not a problem...





...and I'm glad I did mention the cool puppy-head ripping scene...


































cause it's just soooo cool to see Superman's hands wrap around those puppies' lil necks and then...

:lol:
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Postby You Know My Name on Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:47 pm

TonyWilson wrote:Any negative reviews at all yet?


Apparently there is one so far:

http://www.moviecitynews.com/columnists/poland/2006/060615.html
MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:57 pm

You Know My Name wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:Any negative reviews at all yet?


Apparently there is one so far:

http://www.moviecitynews.com/columnists/poland/2006/060615.html

The fact that this guy lists the best movies of the summer so far as this:

1. Poseidon
2. The Da Vinci Code
3. Mission: Impossible II (listed as such, a sign of quality journalism)
4. The Break-Up
5. Superman Returns
6. X-Men 3

...and remarks about how much he hated Cars earns him a MAJOR :roll: in my book.
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Postby You Know My Name on Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:02 pm

The "reviewer" doesn't have any suspension of disbelief. He makes the stupid assumption that since Kate Bosworth is 23, Lois Lane in SR is also 23.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:26 pm

You Know My Name wrote:The "reviewer" doesn't have any suspension of disbelief. He makes the stupid assumption that since Kate Bosworth is 23, Lois Lane in SR is also 23.


We all know that actors never portray a character who's age differs from their own... :roll:
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Postby unikrunk on Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:17 am

I am totally fucking myself with this movie, as always. I am getting way too hyped, and my expectations are already becoming unrealistic. Fuck you unikrunk, seriously.

/but knowing is half the battle
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Postby TonyWilson on Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:20 am

Yeh, I keep seeing all this positive word of mouth and very positive reviews, but I'm constantly having to remind myself not to get carried away. If it's spectacular than wahoo, but really don't want to go in expecting that.
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:49 pm

Damnit I missed the beginning of Look up in the Sky again. Not on again till Jun29th.
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Postby RogueScribner on Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:02 pm

I'm trying to keep my expectations in check, too. After all the glowing reviews M:I3 received up through the weekend it opened, I was expecting something really special, but it such a standard product of middling Hollywood spectacle that it seemed barely worth my time. I hope I don't feel that way about SR!
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:07 pm

I heard it's fucking useless and ridiculously flat. In fact it's worse than the first films in terms of narrative and being able to tell a decent free flowing cohesive story. It really needs General Zod and Miss Tessmarker's wet top to make it a decent film.


Does that help balance up your expectations?
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Postby tapehead on Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:28 pm

Hope Parker Posey raunches it up a bit
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Postby You Know My Name on Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:02 am

Another positive review, this time from Hollywood Reporter:

http://tinyurl.com/jqn2r
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Postby Kilgore on Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:11 am

I;m totally lookng forward to this flick...more than I can say for any Marcel stuff.
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Postby RogueScribner on Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:14 am

Image


What did he ever do to you?
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Postby RogueScribner on Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:14 pm

Main page has another two reviews up here. They're both favorable, but with reservations. Mild spoilers.
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Postby Adam Balm on Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:34 pm

It's like Singer keeps dialing Donner's phone number just to hear him breathing on the other end.


Okay, I actually came close to literally pampilashing right there...

brilliance.
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Postby RogueScribner on Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:10 am

SPOILERS!!

Harry just posted his review.

[quote="Harry Knowles"]I love that this is a personal story with huge developments personally and globally. At the end of this film, where we go from here is limited only by the imaginations of Singer and his writers. Just as BATMAN BEGINS relaunched an ailing Batman, SUPERMAN RETURNS sends Superman into the stratosphere.

The film is filled with love for more than just the previous movies, but the comics and even the classic George Reeves television show. This honors them all, while doing its own wonderful thing.

I see this one again on July 26th… and again on the 28th. I couldn’t be happier. As I left the theater – there were a few geeks leaving at the same time wearing Superman shirts and Superman memorabilia… “It was worth the wait.â€
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:11 am

I am percolating with anticipation.
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Postby RogueScribner on Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:18 am

Image

Now I am as happy as a little girl.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:31 am

RogueScribner wrote:Harry just posted his review.

Very, very nice review. Gets me soooooooo friggin' excited.

BEWARE MASSIVE SPOILERS IN H@RRY'S REVIEW!!
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:28 am

I'm mildly interested.
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Postby RogueScribner on Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:39 am

What gives me hope for this movie is Harry didn't go all insane with hyperbole like he is wont to do when he overreacts to a film. He seemed sane, so I'm inclined to believe him. :)
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Postby MasterWhedon on Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:38 pm

Newsweek has a rave review up HERE. Love this quote:

Next to Singer's champagne, most recent superhero adventure movies are barely sparkling cider.
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon Jun 19, 2006 1:44 pm

I think we are all deluding ourselves. Peven's review is the only one that won't have a shred of bias in it.
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Postby Nordling on Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:18 pm

I am overwhelmed with anticipation. The fantastic score isn't helping, either.
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:20 pm

RogueScribner wrote:What gives me hope for this movie is Harry didn't go all insane with hyperbole like he is wont to do when he overreacts to a film. He seemed sane, so I'm inclined to believe him. :)


Yeah, we tend to do that sometimes. Last time he stepped on a childs head and I killed a granny with a kitten.
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Postby DennisMM on Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:28 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:Newsweek has a rave review up HERE. Love this quote:

Next to Singer's champagne, most recent superhero adventure movies are barely sparkling cider.


I've always liked David Ansen. :D
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Postby Nordling on Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:48 pm

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Postby Eric G on Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:06 pm

Adam Balm wrote:Good review Eric. Could you be a lamb and post it here instead?



Superman Returns - Reviewed!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… probably just one of those whopping promotional banners for “Superman Returnsâ€
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Postby RogueScribner on Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:00 am

Eric G, you light up my life. You give me hope. To carry on . . . and see this movie!

Great review! :mrgreen:


My favorite bit from Massawyrm's review:

The question was, would Singer take two films to get everything fine tuned like he did on X-Men, or had the two comic films under his belt taught him everything he needed to know to make a perfect Superman movie? Could this actually be any good?

Yes. Hell yes. Hell fucking yes. The movie is insanely good – dare I even say great. I don’t believe I am slipping into the realm of hyperbole when I say that Superman Returns is the Lord of the Rings of superhero films – in both scope and emotion of the story. Singer wasn’t simply content with making the prettiest Superman film ever made – he had to make the most tear jerking, heart-rending superhero film we’ve seen to date. Right from the credits this film grabs geeks by the balls and begins to squeeze. The credits. The fucking credits.



Gawd, I can't wait for this movie!!!
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:39 pm

HERE WE GO!!

The big reviews are starting to roll in and they're ALL looking, well, SUPER!!

Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter wrote:The Superman who returns in "Superman Returns" is a different Man of Steel than we are used to seeing. In "Superman: The Movie," the film by director Richard Donner in 1978, the late Christopher Reeve rescued the iconic superhero from high camp with the sincerity and warmth of his acting. His Superman was a romantic charmer. Director Bryan Singer positions this new film as a sequel to Donner's film, and his Superman -- played with winning fortitude by newcomer Brandon Routh -- is less a Man of Steel than a Man of Heart.

While Routh is the same age as Reeve when he played the role, Routh's Superman is older in spirit. His Superman has known heartbreak and loss. He thinks about his late father and must consider the possibility that he might have a son. He even faces his own mortality. In other words, Singer wants to put human emotions into his alien superhero, and for the most part, he succeeds.

Not that the other kind of Superman movie turns up missing. The hero's rescues are spectacular thanks to the marvels of digital effects. And its villain, Lex Luthor, and Luthor's female companion, Kitty Kowalski -- deliciously played by Kevin Spacey and Parker Posey -- spice the film with extravagant comedy. So old fans can rejoice even as this "Superman" wins new fans from among those who normally don't care about superheroes.

Singer and writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris imagine that the superhero has vanished for five years. During that time, he has searched the far reaches of space for his home planet of Krypton and has determined that, yes, it is a destroyed planet. Now, returning to Earth, he discovers that absence has not made the heart grow fonder.

His mom (Eva Marie Saint) is overjoyed to see him, of course. But Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has won a Pulitzer by penning a story, "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman," and the world has more or less forgotten its savior.

Superman in his Clark Kent guise gets his old job back at the Daily Planet from editor Perry White (Frank Langella). Day 1 on the job, Lois is in deadly peril when a space shuttle launched from the back of a jet fails to disengage and rockets into space with the jet still attached and Lois onboard. Fighting through fire and molten debris, Superman brings the disintegrating plane in for a soft landing in a crowded baseball stadium before he and Lois can lock eyes for the first time in five years. Well, he certainly knows how to get the girl's attention.

But Superman can't overcome the obstacles he faces in the new realities in Lois' life: Not only is she still angry at him for disappearing without a word, but she has a son, Jason (Tristan Leabu), and a fiance, Richard White (James Marsden), the editor's nephew.

Meanwhile, Lex, newly sprung from prison, plots to use Superman's own "crystal technology," married to Superman's Achilles' heel, kryptonite, in an ingenious scheme to ignite a new land mass in the Atlantic that will swamp North America while creating a gigantic real estate venture for him. These evil machinations barely leave Superman and Lois much time to reflect on their relationship. But clearly, Superman must wonder who Jason's father is even as he adjusts to a role reversal that sees Lois and her fiance coming to his rescue! Times have indeed changed.

To underscore the link to Donner's film, designer Guy Hendrix Dyas borrows here and there from John Barry's original design elements, composer John Williams' "Superman" theme is woven through the film, and Singer incorporates footage of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Superman's long-dead father, into the early segments. However, this Superman does represent a new generation of flying. Superman doesn't so much fly as float. He can levitate a few feet or thousands of feet in the air. He's a Michael Jordan who never comes down. His nighttime excursion with Lois in the skies above Metropolis is reminiscent of the romantic moonlit ride Reeve gave Margot Kidder, his Lois, a ride that thrilled female viewers a generation ago.

This high-wire act would have gone for naught if Routh had not so capably filled the Man of Steel's costume. Like Reeve, he is just right physically, looking at times like the old comic book drawings of Superman. There is honesty in his acting where the emotions that play across Superman/Clark Kent's face and body come from deep within. Bosworth's Lois is a torn woman, highly ambivalent over the return of a man she has tried to hard to forget. And young Leabu does a nice job in conveying the innocence and curiosity of a boy with a new hero/authority figure in his life.

The oh-wow technical wizardry behind "Superman Returns" accomplishes two things: It makes you appreciate the huge advances in visual effects since 1978 but also appreciate the considerable accomplishments of Donner's team back in the day.

Todd McCarthy, Daily Variety wrote:"Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" reads the title of a piece that wins Lois Lane the Pulitzer Prize in "Superman Returns," the latest bigscreen revival of comicdom's strongest and fastest hero. Not only is she wrong in the context of the story (not to mention real life), but she'll be wrong in the court of public opinion once the world gets a look at this most grandly conceived and sensitively drawn Superman saga. Sure to rate with aficionados alongside "Spider-Man 2" and, for many, "Batman Begins" on the short list of best superhero spectaculars, pic more than justifies director Bryan Singer's decision to jump ship from the "X-Men" franchise, and will pull down stratospheric B.O. around the globe.

What is it about the current climate that has produced three major releases within a month's time that hinge on the hitherto unsuspected offspring of legendarily childless figures -- Jesus in "The Da Vinci Code," Satan in "The Omen" and the title character here? It's an odd development, although it does provide a promising springboard for future series entries, something not enjoyed by the three increasingly dispiriting sequels to Richard Donner's entertaining Christopher Reeve starrer.

New version tips its hat to the 1978 picture in numerous ways; it's dedicated to Reeve and wife Dana; it recycles John Williams' main musical theme; Marlon Brando once again appears, albeit mostly vocally, as Superman's father; and newcomer Brandon Routh bears a conspicuous resemblance to Reeve.

Nonetheless, Singer imprints his handiwork with its own personality. Despite its acute awareness of what's come before, "Superman Returns" is never self-consciously hip, ironic, post-modern or camp. To the contrary, it's quite sincere, with an artistic elegance and a genuine emotional investment in the material that creates renewed engagement in these long-familiar characters and a well-earned payoff after 2½ hours spent with them.

After an opening credits sequence devoted to an explosive illustration of the tremendous energy forces in deepest outer space, screenplay by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris ("X2: X-Men United") returns Superman, briefly, to the farm where he was raised (memory flashbacks neatly recall his learning to fly) after a five-year absence. Soon turning up in Clark Kent guise at the Daily Planet to reclaim his old job, he's nonplussed when he learns his beloved Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has a son, Jason (Tristan Lake Leabu) and a good-looking significant other, Richard White (James Marsden), the editor's nephew, and has made her name as banner-carrier for the anti-Superman lobby.

But the Man of Steel nonetheless proves he's worth having around. Old nemesis Lex Luthor (a shaven-headed Kevin Spacey) is up to no good again, harnessing power from a perfect crystal and announcing his return by causing power outages and creating mayhem on an intended airborne space shuttle launch (yes, that's Richard Branson on the shuttle crew) that sends the plane carrying the shuttle and reporters, including Lois, out of control. Arriving a half-hour in, sequence is a doozy, as the burning jet eventually plummets straight for the ground (unavoidable shades of "United 93") until being gently stopped at the last second by the Caped One.

As far as the public is concerned, Superman has made a triumphant return. But Lois remains unimpressed, to the point that a rebuffed Superman takes a lonely flight to Lois' waterfront home (with its gorgeous view of Metropolis) in order to use his X-ray abilities to eavesdrop on her seemingly enviable family life.

Sequence, and all that comes after, renders rubbish all the uninformed pre-release media stories about a Dumbledore Superman, as what Singer and his writers are offering here is an elaboration on the theme of Superman (or most any superhero) as an outsider. Brando's Jor-El is heard to tell his son (in dialogue from the Donner version) that he'll always be "different," an "outcast" who can pass as a human being but will never truly be one.

For quite some time, Lois maintains her resistance to Superman, while he can't help but do what he does best -- save the day for those in dire jeopardy (in a truly internationalist, although markedly nonpolitical, spirit, as TV news reports testify). Pushed by editor Perry White (Frank Langella) to get an interview with her old flame, Lois finally meets him on the roof of the Daily Planet's splendidly retroretro office building, whereupon Superman takes her on a nocturnal flight that beats Howard Hughes' airborne date with Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator" any day.

By this point, it is clear Singer's take on the impossible love between the two has nothing to do with the old joke that Lois doesn't see the resemblance between Superman and Clark Kent (something picked up on quickly by her son) or the problems of finding a place to change into tights and cape, but perhaps quite a bit to do with themes of loss and the tragedy of fate as classically expressed in opera or ballet. There are dramatic passages where, in another context, one could easily imagine any of the three leading characters breaking out into arias of regret, confession, desire or intent, just as Superman's incredibly graceful and often slow vertical ascents and landings, as well as his moments of reflective isolation, create the frissons of expressive dance movements.

Topping off these aspects is the evocative, darkly lyrical score by John Ottman, continuing in his unique dual role for Singer as composer and editor (with Elliot Graham). The sometimes ethereal qualities of Ottman's work, amplified by significant choral strains, provide an emotional dimension -- and show up Williams' "Star Wars" thematic variation for the bombast it is.

Luthor's dastardly plans involve kidnapping Lois and her son aboard his sleek boat, giving Spacey a big scene in which he can really rock and roll with some very choice line readings. The villain really does seem to have Superman on the ropes at one point, but after a somewhat distended final stretch, the real climax comes in a touching scene between Superman and little Jason, who may or may not be super himself.

Regular Singer cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel has contributed significantly to giving the film a fantastically clear, clean and stable look; "Superman Returns" is an unalloyed pleasure simply to behold. Production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas and costume designer Louise Mingenbach have anchored their work in the '50s -- an old-fashioned newsroom with modern accoutrements, coats and ties for the men, sharp professional wear for Lois and other women -- but without any cloying self-consciousness. Visual effects are super throughout.

One can praise newcomer Routh very highly indeed simply by saying that he carries this giant film with apparent effortlessness. Thesp possesses a winning, appealing personality that nicely complements his rangy, black-haired, blue-eyed good looks. Parker Posey has a bit of a field day playing Lex Luthor's sassy floozy.

The only semi-disappointment in the cast is Bosworth. First off, she seems too young to have been working for the newspaper for more than five years and to plausibly have had her kid for the same length of time. More significantly, she comes off as flinty and cold for too long, denying Lois a beating heart beneath the brusquely professional m.o. You never get a strong sense of the woman inside the newshound with an unrivaled inside connection to the most famous man in the world.

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine wrote:The Gospel of Superman
The Man of Steel goes godly in a mythic parable that--don't worry--delivers the action-film goods
By RICHARD CORLISS

A big summer action movie! About the very first comic-book hero! From the director of X-Men! The arrival of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns is exciting news to three groups: the very young, the perpetually adolescent and those cautious folk in the film industry who believe that the best way to make a box-office bundle is to clone the old Man of Steel story for a new generation of consumers.

It turns out that Singer and writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris had excellent reason to re-create the Superman saga, dreamed up in the '30s by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and elaborated on in countless comics, movie serials, TV shows and feature films. Singer, Dougherty and Harris went back to the story's premise, reviving it by revising it. Beneath the artifacts of camp and cape, they located a rich lode of myth. Just as important, they resolved to take it seriously. The result is an action adventure that's as thrilling for what it means as for what it shows.

The film is a kind of stepchild to the Superman movies of 1978 and '80. Superman (Brandon Routh) has been away from Metropolis for five years, searching for remains of his home planet, Krypton. He's back on Earth just in time, since his very arch enemy, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey), has been sprung from prison and has a plan--diabolical, of course--to debilitate Superman using kryptonite crystals and, with the big guy out of the way, make the world miserable and profit from it.

Returning to his cover ID as Clark Kent, Daily Planet reporter, our hero has an awkward reunion with Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), who loved him as Superman but not as Clark. Lois has three new acquisitions: a Pulitzer Prize for her editorial "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman" (clearly, she was in deep denial over the fellow who deserted her), a boyfriend named Richard (James Marsden) and a young son, Jason (Tristan Leabu).

Who is Jason's father? If you don't want to know just yet, read no further.

But we must discuss it, for this is where the movie displays its impressive ambition and cunning. Earlier versions of Superman stressed the hero's humanity: his attachment to his Earth parents, his country-boy clumsiness around Lois. The Singer version emphasizes his divinity. He is not a super man; he is a god (named Kal-El), sent by his heavenly father (Jor-El) to protect Earth. That is a mission that takes more than muscles; it requires sacrifice, perhaps of his own life. So he is no simple comic-book hunk. He is Earth's savior: Jesus Christ Superman.

Using snippets of Marlon Brando's performance as Jor-El from the 1978 Super-man movie, in which Brando passes on the wisdom "The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son," Singer establishes his own film's central relationship. It is not romantic, between Lois and Clark. It's familial--the bond of two sets of fathers and sons: Jor-El and Superman, then Superman and Jason. Each parent tells his child that he must surpass the old man's feats, improve on Dad's legend. Poignantly, this strength, this divinity, isolates Superman from Earth's humans. He can save them but not be one of them. Lois can love him but never understand him.

The movie cogently ransacks elements from all kinds of myths, classic and modern. Superman is the god who fell to Earth, enduring a cycle of death and transfiguration. And since he has sired a boy who is part human, he could be the Jesus of the Gnostic Gospels. And Lois? Mary Magdalene!

"O.K., O.K.," we hear you saying. "The thing is profound. But is it a good movie?" You bet. Made with precision and vigor, the film never forgets to entertain, packing its 2-hr. 33-min. length with cool visions (like Krypton's crystal cathedral) and spectacular set pieces. Want some pure exhilaration? Check out Superman's midair wrangling of an Air Force jet, maneuvering it back to terra firma to make a gentle belly flop onto a baseball field during a game. And for an intimate intensity not often found in action films, stick around for the creepy encounter involving Superman, Luthor and a stiletto of kryptonite.

The best Hollywood movies always knew how to sneak a beguiling subtext into a crowd-pleasing story. Superman Returns is in that grand tradition. That's why it's beyond Super. It's superb.

David Ansen, Newsweek wrote:Movies: The Big Guy's Back. We Missed Him.

June 26, 2006 issue - There was headscratching and second-guessing when director Bryan Singer announced he was abandoning his wildly popular "X-Men" franchise to make "Superman Returns." Would the Man of Steel fly for a new generation of moviegoers? Could Singer resurrect the series Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve revitalized in 1978, which sputtered out in 1987, three sequels later?

Singer did the right thing. From the start of this gorgeously crafted epic, you can feel that Singer has real love and respect for the most foursquare comics superhero of them all, as well as a reverence for the Donner version, which serves as his visual and emotional template. In "Superman Returns" (written by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris from a story they cooked up with Singer), the caped crusader for truth, justice, etc. (Brandon Routh) returns to crime-ridden Earth after a five-year detour amid the remains of his home planet. Back in Metropolis—where, as Clark Kent, he gets his old Daily Planet job back—he learns that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has a nice, good-looking live-in boyfriend (James Marsden) and a son, and, to add insult to heartbreak, has won a Pulitzer Prize for her article "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." Also back from a stint behind bars is master criminal Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) with heinous plans to create a new continent (don't ask) at the expense of several million lives.

Singer aroused a feeling that I, as a victim of Chronic Summer Superhero Fatigue Syndrome, wasn't expecting: I felt happy to have Superman back, as if I'd actually missed the guy. You know that you are in the presence of kitsch of a very high order when a comic-book romance can actually produce a lump in your throat. Newcomer Routh may or may not be a real actor, but he effortlessly lays claim to the iconic role, just as Reeve did. Indeed, he virtually duplicates Reeve in the way he plays Kent as a diffident, awkward Midwestern colt. Singer cleverly doles out his hero in small portions, so that we're left, like all those awestruck admirers in Metropolis, wanting more glimpses of him than we get.

The movie follows form by making Lex Luthor a comic menace. Spacey, who can do ironic megalomania in his sleep, has a decidedly lighter touch than Gene Hackman. Both he, and Parker Posey as his moll, are great fun to watch. But Luthor's evil schemes are the most nonsensical and forgettable aspects of the movie. Singer's real forte is lyricism. This "Superman," which infuses its action with poetry, soars as a love story filled with epic yearnings, thwarted desires and breathtaking imagery: Lois, spied on with her lover's X-ray vision, ascending in a skyscraper's elevator; Superman, zapped with kryptonite, descending silently and helplessly through space. (If Jean Cocteau had directed $200 million action movies, they might have looked a little like this.) Next to Singer's champagne, most recent superhero adventure movies are barely sparkling cider.

Currently running an 88% on the Tomatometer.
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:53 pm

Oh yes yes yes. YES YES YES.

*crosses fingers until he's seen the movie*
Elitism is positing that your taste is equivalent to quality, you hate "Hamlet" does it make it "bad"? If you think so, you're one elite motherfucker.
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