89 of 103 people found the following review helpful
A Superman we can root for,
I remember seeing Superman IV in the theaters when I was six, how there were so many people swarming all around, how there was excitement. Clearly it was a shoddy movie, but to a kid you just can't buy that kind of palpable movie madness.
Now I'm as old as my parents were when they saw the very first Superman, and I've got to say this must be what it felt like. I think Bryan Singer is fast becoming one of the most respectable directors in Hollywood, and what he did with this movie--on a far, far grander scale than either of his X-Men movies--merits SOME kind of award come Oscar time.
We all know the story--Kryptonian boy comes to Earth, saves man from the foibles of archnemesis Lex Luthor, woos Lois Lane. Singer and Co. decided to have this movie pick up after Superman II (wise move) but you never really get a jarring sense of chronology--no General Zod references here. Instead, Supe has just returned from a nearly five-year journey to see if anything remains of his homeworld; alas, the answer is no.
What's strange is that him being gone is such a small deal when it comes to the overall movie. But that's okay; there's plenty more fantastic things to keep the average moviegoer and Superman afficionado happy. What I love most about this sequel is that so much of it feels like home--Brandon Routh has moments where he looks exactly like the dearly departed Christopher Reeve, and his voice is dead-on most of the time. He quotes several lines from the first movie to great effect. Kate Bosworth as Lois isn't as quirky as Margot Kidder but she still can't spell, and she does the best job I've seen in a long time of playing the "strong female" role without ever drawing your attention to it.
The plot also feels familiar--Superman spends a night righting wrongs across the world; Luthor AGAIN gets hold of that Adis Ababa kryptonite, and Supe AGAIN falls prey to it; but there are intriguing elements dealing with Fortress crystals that take Luthor into land-grabbing madness like we've never seen.
The special effects are superb, of course; you can't spend almost $300 million and get it wrong! Here is where I thought Singer might overdo things, but his restraint is commendable. He allows Routh to do all the old Superman things and yet they don't feel aged at all. Singer was concerned with how to entertain a generation where flying is no longer the spectacle it once was, and yet, watching the movie, it's hard to believe that any kid, no matter how jaded, could scoff at what's on screen. The movie is that well done.
Don't let detractors fool you. This kind of movie only comes along...once every thirty years or so.
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Initial post: Nov 26, 2010 9:33:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2010 9:37:14 PM PST
You've got to be kidding! A Superman we can root for? This is the worst Superman movie of them all! Brandon Routh is THE WORST selection for this role ever! Chris ran circles around this poor excuse for an actor. And the plot? There is no plot! How about a stalker Superman who has a bastard child who kills people. That's about it! Christopher Reeve is rolling in his grave at this travesty of the Man of Steel who is a hero, not an ambiguous, dishonest stalker with demon seed! Even Kevin Spacey couldn't save this movie because they didn't give him a character worth anything. His lines were far inferior to Gene Hackman who will remain as THE Lex Luthor that all others must live up to.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2010 2:17:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2011 4:35:34 PM PDT
I promise it will all be okay... ;)
Wait a minute. I just read your overheated comment again. The worst Superman movie of them all? Really? Worse than Mariel Hemingway breathing in space? REALLY?!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2011 11:36:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 8, 2011 11:40:15 PM PST
I agree 'Superman Returns' was pretty pathetic. The overreliance on CGI (especially in scenes where CGI was not really necessary, like some closer shots of Superman) was an awful decision. You're sitting there watching the movie and suddenly your mind screams 'FAKE'!! You can't help it. A person can accept a certain level of cartoony CGI in big special effects sequences like lifting a continent out of the ocean but there was no reason to use CGI on so many closer non-action shots of Superman. You are right about the 'stalker' thing. Superman levitating outside someone's home using his x-ray vision and super hearing to eavesdrop on a private (non-criminal) conversation? Pretty ICKY. I seriously doubt Christopher Reeves would have agreed to something like that! As far as Roth being a bad actor... I've seen him in some other stuff where he was alright. I think he was just seriously miscast (or misdirected) in Superman Returns. Spacey didn't do much for me as Lex. He seemed flat and not very interesting. And Louis was dull as heck. About the only character that had any charm was Louis's bf, Perry White's nephew. Of course he was a fornicator but hey, it's the 21st century right. lol. TERRIBLE. Truth, Justice, knocking chicks up and... not just leaving town but... splitting from planet earth!! Yeah, it sucked.
In reply to an earlier post on May 6, 2011 8:44:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 6, 2011 8:45:23 PM PDT
Posted on Jul 4, 2011 1:30:03 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 4, 2011 4:07:20 PM PDT
Amy E. Barker says:
Nice review Sherrie. I also found the movie rather enjoyable.
Posted on Jul 13, 2011 9:07:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 13, 2011 9:11:12 PM PDT
Daniel Sweeney says:
I chuckled when you mentioned that this movie made Bryan Singer a respectable director. Ironically, this movie was actually the nail in the coffin of Bryan Singer's career, if anything. I mean, sure he directed Valkyrie with Tom Cruise, but that was more of a whimper than a triumphant follow-up. Then again, it was work. Warner Brothers aborted the planned Superman Returns sequel as well as their affiliation with Singer so he was probably happy to have something to do at that point.
To give you an idea of what the studio and audiences in general thought of this thing...the rule of thumb is that if a superhero movie is good, it will quickly be followed by a sequel with the same director. See: Batman Begins, Iron Man, Hellboy, etc. If it sucks, they reboot the franchise entirely with new cast and crew and wait a considerable period to distance it a far as possible from the previous bomb. (See: Hulk, Punisher, SUPERMAN RETURNS).
The fact that the next Superman movie is being shepherded by a new director (Zach Snyder) and new actors says it all. That, and the fact that it's taking Warner Brothers SIX YEARS to get it out because they need to distance it as much as possible from the preceding flop.
In your defense, you wrote your review five years ago, a mere week after the film opened. At that point, no mortal truly realized just how titanic Superman Returns' failure really was -- As bad as it was at the time, it has only gotten more horrendous over the years.
Posted on Aug 11, 2011 4:33:49 PM PDT
I had my joke about a crystal ball all ready...and then you defended me. Honestly, the movie still isn't bad, still isn't a failure - but you're right about success (especially with comic book movies) leading to a sequel. I think they were trying to get one together for a while, maybe called 'Last Son of Krypton' or something like that, but that obviously didn't work.
And I agree that we don't need any more. As bad as the movie industry has become now - resorting to old sitcom nostalgia, remaking movies just because it's been fifteen or twenty years, and doing their best not to leave a single superhero untouched - remaking Superman AGAIN just proves how much originality is lacking in Tinseltown.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2011 12:40:17 PM PST
Reference 54 says:
THOR?!?! You've got to be kidding?!?! Aside from SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE...THOR is the lousiest superhero movie ever made!
The Nolan Batman films are the best I've seen!
Posted on May 18, 2012 8:35:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 31, 2012 1:26:43 AM PDT
I enjoy how passionate you boys are about your superheroes.
For the record, 'The Avengers' just made my life.
And, I have to agree with Watcher...Thor was pretty freaking great.
Posted on Jun 1, 2013 1:10:27 AM PDT
These are interesting conversations, refreshing in the absence of personal attacks or foul language. What has lead me to this point is a desire to recall "Superman Returns", which was so terrible that I had completely blacked-out the facts that I had seen it, or that it even existed! No kidding! I love this kind of fantasy, and now remember having looking forward to Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane portrayal (I was even underwhelmed with that) as well as the rest of it, with enthusiasm. I saw it once and that will be it. I have no particular opinion of which parts stood out as disappointing, or why. It was all very, very bad. Yuck! Like the rest of you, I loved Superman I & II, but not III or IV.
I eagerly anticipate the coming "Man of Steel". An omen of what's to come will hopefully not be that awful Superman suit. 30-to-1 pics show odd colors (dark grey and muted red, rather than bright mid-blue and red) with an atypical design some will like and some not. I absolutely hate the darker colors and hope they won't translate that way to the big screen, but I think a trailer has shown them that way.
"Thor" was just an OK effort. It didn't bother me, but lacked pizzaz. I would never use it as a good exemplar.