The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Superman Returns (2006)

Yes, the last twenty minutes feels a little flabby at times.  Yes, there are a few plotholes (what? Lois Lane is the only one seeking the origin of that EMP?   Exactly what work does Clark do at the Daily Planet?  Certainly it isn’t reporting!).  And the last shot of Lex Luthor is just too jokey.  But…


Superman Returns works splendidly.  From the moment we grasp the emotional tenor of the film (one of profound alienation and decency) to the moment Superman (newcomer Brandon Routh) performs his first rescue…arguably the greatest Superhero moment in the history of film, it works.

From the moment we see Lex Luthor (a superb Kevin Spacey) sweet-talking his dying, elderly wife (played by Noel Neill, the original TV Lois Lane!) into signing all her wealth to him, we are home.  This is, after all, a comic book world, with absolute villains and heroes.  This is the world of Superman, and director Brian Singer (The Usual Suspects) has it down pat.  No, I don’t think that Routh was doing a Christopher Reeves imitation.  I think that both he and Reeves were playing Superman, and their interpretations were very similar.  Reeves nailed the impossible masculine beauty, the power, the yearning.  And Routh, bless him, is damned near as good in an instant star-making performance.

It’s a little long, a little weepy, a little childish at times…but also dark, exciting, violent, and, well, just terrific.  Wow.  A solid “A”

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