Movie Review: Superman Returns
Movie Review: Superman Returns
The iconic American superhero once again soars into theaters to the giddy anticipation of friends and fans of the man of steel. This most recent incarnation of Superman follows on the great success of Hollywoods recent comic/superhero re-imaginings. In fact, we even got treated to a little bit of Venom before the main feature. Superman Returns has our hero disappearing for several years on a quest to rediscover his home world. He finds that it is truly gone and returns to earth a bit jaded but more resolved then ever to help humanity achieve its full potential.
The characters are well written and more importantly, amazingly cast. Brandon Routh is an excellent Superman, bursting with the pride and strength of the hero as well as the bumbling awkwardness of Clark Kent. It was great to finally get a strong and forceful superhero love interest in Kate Bosworth . She played the role extremely well and proved that a leading lady could hold her own in a modern day superhero film, unlike the cardboard cutout Katie Holmes in Batman Begins or the ditsy and selfish Mary Jane Watson we got from Kirsten Dunst. Lex Luthor was also perfectly cast with Kevin Spacey . One of the most versatile and progressive actors working in Hollywood today, Spacey pulls the Luthor role off superbly. His contempt for Superman oozes off the screen and the glee he shows when destroying a huge model train display would have been disturbing had it not been so amusing, Luthor slinking away when its obvious his test has gotten out of his control.
There were a few scenes that just didn't fit with the film. One in particular was an elevator scene where Clark tries to catch Lois's eye across a sea of people all holding their copies of the daily planet reading about Supermans return. In our modern world, which this film embraces throughout the story, an elevator full of newspaper readers just feels wrong. I understand what the scene was trying to do, but it just didn't sit right for me. The other scene which felt hanky involved Superman laying in a coma in the hospital. Again, I knew what this was trying to accomplish, but I felt it just didn't deliver. I got much more of an emotional punch from the Spiderman train scene for the Superhero weakness angle. The hospital scenes were just too distant and removed.
This movie has a ribbon of darkness to it. Something that is very subtle and subdued, but present none the less. A feeling of loss and emptiness fill the characters in this movie. Superman missed his homeworld and his "kind". Lois Lane missed Superman, the man she fell in love with and who abandoned her on an almost selfish quest for personal discovery. Clark Kent missed Lois Lane, who had moved on in her heart and even had a child. Richard White who loves a woman that loves another. While these help create some deep and identifiable characters, it brought a somber note to an otherwise amazing film. In the closing scenes of the movie, Superman is hovering above Lois and she looks to him and says "So I guess we will be seeing you... around." And Superman gives her a smile and a nod and says "Ill always be around". While that smile does lighten the heart, it also has a sadness to it. A defeated heart that is more accepting then empowered.
This movie is a well done re imagining. Updated for a new generation, it passes the Superman litmus test and has added some new dimensions to the lore. I would like to think that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster would be proud to have this movie represent their Superman.