Superman Returns...Why?

december 24, 2006

Bryan Singer did a bang-up job with the first two X-Men movies, what happened with Superman Returns? The movie was a huge disappointment. It is inevitable that I compare Superman Returns with the two other movie franchises that got restarts: Batman and James Bond. In Batman Begins and Casino Royale, the producers took characters steeped in fantasy and stuck them square into reality. In Superman Returns, it seems like the writers, director and producers could not make up their mind. Sure, it is hard to take a guy like Superman and stick him in a world that is near reality, but it can be done -- take a look at what a great job Sam Raimi did with Spider-man. Singer and crew took Superman and stuck him in a dull, drab and dreary world. Then they added to the mix sets, automobiles, and costumes from previous eras. The movie cannot seem to figure out what century it is in. This is the first thing that messes up the movie. The second thing that messes up the movie is the absurdity of the plot and the contrived action sequences. Sure, this is an action movie, but the action sequences in Superman Returns seemed shoe horned in. That would not be bad if the action sequences were spine-tingling good -- but, unfortunately, they are not. The action sequences in Superman Returns feels a lot like the stuff from the prequels for Star Wars; they are technically brilliant, they are mind-numbingly good special effects, but they lack any excitement.  A good example of this is the whole airplane/shuttle sequence (which is the big action set piece for the movie).  Lois is on the plane.  There is a shuttle strapped to the plane.  Things go wrong and Superman comes to save the day.  What of the shuttle?  Nothing, we don't hear anything about it anymore.  It was there as a way to get a plane to move at a really quick pace...that is it. It is hard to make a movie about a guy who is indestructible (well, not counting that whole Kryptonite thing). It is even harder to make a movie with a cast who aren't that great. I loved Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush. In that movie, she didn't have to have much in the way of acting abilities. She was fine in that movie. In Superman Returns, she just does not have the acting chops to play Lois Lane. Brandon Routh, who plays Superman seems to have been cast because he looks like Christopher Reeves -- not because of his acting abilities (which do not really exist). This is completely unlike what the producers of Casino Royale did. They cast Daniel Craig as Bond because he can act and not because he looks like a Bond. And there is the problem of chemistry. There is absolutely no chemistry between Bosworth and Routh. The only bright spot in the movie is Kevin Spacey, who is always good. Just some notes I took away from the film.  Why does Superman strain when he is holding a plane or pushing a land mass away?  Does this mean that Superman has his limits?  What did Lex Luthor plan to do with his crystal land?  Nothing can grow on it and it would take more than his lifetime to make the land good enough to habitation.  Do glasses and ruffled hair really make for a good disguise? I hope that there will be another Superman movie, but I hope that they can make it better. Get a better cast, a better script, and unfortunately, a better director. Superman deserves better than this.