‘Superman Returns’ Sinks Faster than a Speeding Bullet

July 28, 2006

Finally, the last son of Krypton is back to fight for justice – Superman flies again. Directed by Bryan Singer, “Superman Returns” is based on a vague history established in “Superman” (1978) and “Superman II” (1980), starring the late Christopher Reeve.

After several years away from Earth, Superman returns to a world that apparently doesn’t need his help anymore; even his beloved Lois Lane has moved on to a new relationship and has a son. Only his nemesis Lex Luthor – played in a big way by Kevin Spacey – recently released from prison, refuses to forget his hated enemy. Now Superman must adjust to this new reality and stop an evil plan that could destroy Earth – sound familiar?

It took Hollywood a long time to bring this mega project to fruition; rumors about the actors and scripts circulated throughout the Internet and on entertainment news sources until Warner Bros. Studios finally put together a remarkable group of people to bring back the man of steel.

The performances are fine, but not great. The unknown Brandon Routh, who quit his job as a waiter to don the blue uniform and red cape, won’t disappoint fans as an acceptable Superman. Kate Bosworth, on the other hand, is never believable as the workaholic journalist Lois Lane. However, Oscar winner Kevin Spacey definitively transmits the essence of the fiendish Lex Luthor – if it were true that a movie is as good as its villain, this one would have been a smash. And the late Marlon Brando returns from the grave as Jor-EL, Superman’s father, thanks to archive footage and computer technology to recreate Brando’s voice.

Though Singer has experience directing successful big-screen comic-book adaptations, such as “X-Men,” it would seem that the setting of Metropolis did little to inspire his creativity, because he never achieves the magic that captivated audiences in the 1980s films starring the late Christopher Reeve. With a weak plot lacking any originality, the movie offers nothing new, neither in the story nor in the action scenes. The last minutes of the film look like a cheap soap opera and seem an unfortunate way to close a movie that promised to be an epic film – a promise that ended up broken.

However, as long as Hollywood needs something to rescue the box office, it’s likely we will continue to see sequels of this profitable franchise. Let’s hope they find different and new ideas with which to deliver them to us.

 

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