Superman Returns

Dan Movie Reviews

Yes, I know, it’s the review everyone wants to know about. The truth is, I saw the film two weeks ago but didn’t write about it because I wanted to wait until my “official” press screening tonight. So, here’s the deal:

Superman Returns takes place five years after the events that occured in Superman II. Superman, having learned from astronomers that remnants of his home planet Krypton have been discovered, has left Earth to go see what he can find. In the ensuing five years that he’s been gone, the world has learned to live without Superman. Lois Lane, once his flame, now has a kid, is engaged, and even penned an article “Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman”. She’s is going to recieve the Pulitzer Prize for it, when Superman returns. At the same time, Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor – let out of prison because Superman didn’t show up when the parole board called him as a witness – now has an evil plan that will not only get rid of Superman, but also destroy much of the USA.

I don’t want to get into too many plot details, but I will instead talk about my impressions. The film is a really good film – but it’s not great. They had the potential to do so, as well, which makes it all the more frustrating. The first 45-minutes or so will seem mis-paced, mainly due to the sheer amount of scenes they cut. (Most of them were the scenes involving Clark and Martha.) This makes things a tad confusing for the beginning, but once Superman returns to save Lois (and others) in a dizzying plane accident, the pace starts to pick up steam.

This is a softer, kinder Superman, with a lot of introspective and emotional sequences, mainly involving Lois and the kid – a big question of course is, whose son is he? Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor seems underused, and there are a lot of logic and even common sense issues that I take umbrage with. However, that doesn’t make the film any less enjoyable, and I’ve found that both comic book geeks and women alike will all enjoy the film. It covers the spread nicely, and even with a lenthy running time (about 2.5 hours), it never gets boring.

The visual effects are great, and the music is a blast. (Yes, I’m obviously somewhat biased.) Be sure to keep an ear out for the first half of the “Heart and Soul” duet – that’s me playing the bottom part and composer John Ottman playing the top part. Speaking of which, if you get the soundtrack, I do get a credit as “Additional Videography” for the enhanced content section – but if you buy it on iTunes, the digital booklet you get includes lots of my photos from the scoring session. Yay!

So to sum up, Superman Returns is a ride, and a good film. It’s not as good as X2, but it’s certainly a better film than X-Men: The Last Stand. I suppose the big question will be, with the long running time, will it be able to blow away the box office before Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest knocks it off? We’ll just have to wait and see!