Superman has been a popular character for many years, first in comic books and then later in television shows, cartoons, and movies. I remember seeing cartoons when I was a child and also the first two Superman movies. The third and fourth Superman movies weren't very good at all, which ended the series at that time. After nineteen years, Superman is back on the big screen in Superman Returns, one of the most anticipated movies of 2006.
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In the last several years, many very successful movies based on comic books have been made. Superman and Batman had been featured in a series of four movies that went downhill and seemed to end the chances of any more movies for either character. In 2006, the Batman series was successfully restarted and updated with Batman Begins. When I first found out that there was going to be a new Superman movie, I thought it was going to be something like that and would be restarting the series. I later found out that I was wrong. Superman Returns takes place after the second Superman movie, making it like the third and fourth movies hadn’t been made.
In talking about the plot of Superman Returns, I am only discussing things that were shown in the trailers. Anyone that has avoided seeing the trailers so they wouldn’t know too much about the plot may want to stop reading now.
Superman left Earth to search for any remains there might be of Krypton without telling people where he was going. When he returned after being gone for five years, he found that the world had adjusted to his absence and didn’t seem to need him anymore Even Lois Lane had moved on with a new relationship and she had a young son, Jason. She won a Pulitzer Prize for an article she wrote about why the world didn’t Superman. As Clark Kent, Superman returned to Metropolis and got his job back at the Daily Planet. Lex Luthor managed to get out of jail while Superman was gone. Lex had a new plan that he believed would give him the power he craved.
I have seen the first two Superman movies several times and I think I saw the third movie at least once. I have no memory of ever seeing the fourth movie. It has been a long time since I last saw the first two movies, so I can’t remember everything that happened in them. Superman Returns definitely built on what had been established with the first two movies and there were a few references to events from those movies. One short flashback scene showed a teenage Clark when he was first getting his powers. Since I can’t remember everything from the first two movies, I do have a few questions, like exactly how Lex knew something. Most people probably known at least a little bit about Superman even if they haven’t read any of the comics or seen any of the movies, television shows, or cartoons. For that reason, I do think that people that haven’t been previously exposed to the character will be able to enjoy this movie and not be confused by the characters or what was going on.
Superman Returns made it clear that Superman had been gone for five years. It wasn’t said exactly how long after the events in the second movie that Superman left and I did wonder about that. Before seeing the movie I wondered about how his absence would be explained. It did make sense, though it didn’t seem right that he would have left without saying anything to Lois given their complex relationship. It seemed out of character for Superman to have left the Earth unprotected after what he had done to protect it previously. Since Superman and Clark are the same person, Clark had been missing for five years as well. There really wasn’t much of an explanation given for why he had left Metropolis. When he got back to the Daily Planet, there were very few questions and Clark really didn’t offer many details. I would have thought that Clark would have needed a better explanation for where he’d gone.
Superman made his return to Earth very early in Superman Returns. The pace of the movie was a little bit slow at the beginning since it was establishing his return and also showing the beginnings of Lex’s new plan. It really didn’t take long for the pace to pick up with a scene involving an airplane that Lois was on for a story being in trouble. There were action scenes in the movies without it really being action packed. That didn’t bother me because I was interested in the other things going on. I felt like there was enough action in the movie and I wasn’t bored with the slower parts of the movie. Those parts helped to explore the characters more. There was some violence in a few scenes that I didn’t think that too graphic. The movie was rated PG-13, so parents should keep that in mind when deciding about taking children to the movie. The movie was two and a half hours long, so it is really long for a young child to sit through.
I thought that the plot worked well for the movie. Lex’s plan wasn’t exactly the most original, but you have to remember that kryptonite is really the only thing that can harm Superman, so Lex is a bit limited with what he can do to try to get rid of him. One part of Lex’s plan was a little different. He had started on the main aspect of his plan before he knew that Superman was back. I thought that Lex added in the kryptonite just because Superman was back. Lex is one of the better known villains that Superman has had to deal with. I think that made him a good choice for this movie even though he’s been in previous movies, cartoons, and television shows. It would be interesting to see a different villain if there is another movie.
Superman had several super powers and he used them all over the course of the movie. He’s really the only superhero character that I know of that has that many powers. I don’t know about every superhero there is, so I might be wrong on that. Special effects were used throughout the movie to show Superman’s powers. This movie wouldn’t have worked without some sort of special effects for those scenes. The effects were wonderful throughout the movie and helped to create some amazing images. Superman looked wonderful when he was flying, especially in the one scene when he was just sort of hovering above the Earth before he took off to help someone. A couple of slow motion shots were used in one scene. Those types of shots tend to bug me anymore because they have been very over used in the last several years. They worked in this movie. The shot of a bullet bouncing off Superman’s eyeball was cool. I really liked the way his x-ray vision looked when it showed what he saw. I did notice one goof during a scene. Lois’s ring kept jumping back and forth between her ring finger and middle finger. I would notice it changing fingers after the camera returned to her after having been on another character in the scene. That wasn’t anything major, but it was a little distracting for the ring to keep changing fingers like that.
Lois and Clark/Superman have had a complicated relationship since the characters first appeared in the comic books. Lois was drawn to Superman when she first met him while kind of overlooking him when he was dressed as Clark. He had very strong feelings for her and had been conflicted over what to do about them in the past. His leaving without talking to her first really hurt her and caused her to be distant when he did return. The fact that she had moved on with her life and was involved with another man just added more complications to their relationship. Clark/Superman was shocked to find that out. He still had very strong feelings for her but he didn’t try to mess up her relationship. The fact that Lois was with another man bugged me before I saw the movie. That just didn’t seem right to me because I think she is supposed to be with Clark/Superman. That might make me sentimental or a sap or something, but there it is. I was fully prepared to hate Richard before seeing the movie because his presence was going to muck up everything with Lois and Clark/Superman. That didn’t happen because Richard was a really nice guy who truly cared about Lois. That didn’t change my mind about Lois and Clark/Superman being together. Once Superman was back and he turned up to talk to Lois, it was very clear that they still had strong feelings for each other. Lois had a connection with him that she just didn’t have with Richard.
After I saw the longer trailer for Superman Returns, I started to think up some questions that I hoped the movie was going to explain. I’m being vague here so I don’t accidentally spoil something for people who haven’t seen the movie yet. Some of the questions I thought up were answered while some others weren’t. The main question I had was answered, which did make me happy. The answer to that one could have been left up in the air for any possible future movies in the series. Frankly, I would have been really annoyed if that had happened. More than one thing was resolved by the end of the movie. I did feel like there were still a few unresolved things that could turn up in future movies.
For many people, Christopher Reeve is who they think of when they think of Superman. He was the first person I ever saw play the character, and it was hard for me to imagine someone other than Reeve in the part for a major movie even though I hadn’t seen his movies in the theater. There had been talk of a new Superman movie for many years and that talk included possible actors to be Superman. Once Bryan Singer was definitely directing the movie, he went with an actor that wasn’t already well known, just like Reeve had been when he was cast. Brandon Routh did a really good job with the part. He looked a lot like Reeve and even sounded similar in some scenes. I thought Routh was believable as both Superman and Clark. His Clark was still shy and somewhat awkward without being nerdy. He didn't talk up a storm and instead relied on his expressions to show his feelings in several scenes. I read that Singer wanted Reeve to have a small part in this movie. Unfortunately that became impossible. Singer then decided dedicated the movie to Christopher and Dana Reeve.
I did have some concerns about Kate Bosworth playing Lois Lane when I heard she’s been cast. She seemed too young for the part and I just didn’t think she could pull it off. I was wrong. She handled the part very well. The way she said a few of her lines sounded a little strange, but overall I think she made the character work. Lois was still a strong, independent woman who was now a mother. Her relationship with her son did add a new dimension to the character. Lois didn’t always think things through when she was working on a story and that caused her to do something very stupid that put Jason in danger. Jason didn’t say or do that much in the movie. Tristan Lake Leabu was fine in the part without being annoying like some child actors can be. I don’t know everything about the world of Superman and all the stories done in the comics, but I do know enough to know that new things were added connected to Lois.
Lex Luthor has been plotting to get rid of Superman for years. Lex blamed Superman for the five years he spent in jail which was a major reason why he wanted revenge. Lex would do anything to get what he wanted. I think Lex was more evil than he’s been in previous movies, though I may be remembering wrong. Kevin Spacey was wonderful in the part and really made it his own without going over the top in his portrayal. He provided the voice for a character in A Bug's Life. Lex surrounded himself with a group of people that were willing to do his bidding. Kitty Kowalski was always around. She seemed to be an air head because of the things she asked a few times. She fit well with Lex even though she didn’t always agree with what he had planned. Parker Posey was really good in the part. I don’t remember Kitty being in the previous Superman movies, so I think she was a new character. The other people that were around with Lex really weren’t developed and didn’t do much.
Martha Kent, the woman who found Clark as a baby with her husband and raised him, was in a few short scenes. Eva Marie Saint had a much bigger part in North by Northwest. I had thought she would have been around a bit more. Jimmy Olsen was a photographer at the Daily Planet. He was glad to see Clark back. Sam Huntington was good in the part. Perry White was the editor of the Daily Planet. He kept insisting for Lois to do a story about Superman even though she wasn’t interested. Frank Langella fit the part well. Richard White, Perry’s nephew, was a new character created for this movie. He was the man that Lois was involved with. Richard also worked for the Daily Planet and a really nice guy. James Marsden’s part was bigger in this one than it was in X-Men: The Last Stand . Bryan Singer was able to use some footage of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, Clark’s real father, in one scene as well as use some recordings as a voice over. That, along with the fact that Singer was also able to use themes from the score that John Williams originally composed for the first movie, really helped to connect this movie to the first two.
Kate Bosworth - Lois Lane
Marlon Brando - Jor-El
Sam Huntington - Jimmy Olsen
Frank Langella - Perry White
Tristan Lake Leabu - Jason
James Marsden - Richard White
Parker Posey - Kitty Kowalski
Brandon Routh - Clark Kent/Superman
Eva Marie Saint - Martha Kent
Kevin Spacey - Lex Luthor
Bryan Singer - Director
Bryan Singer managed to create a wonderful movie with Superman Returns. He had already shown that he could handle comic book movies with the first two X-Men movies. With this movie, he built on what had been established in the first two Superman movies while also adding his own twist to the story. Singer added more of a human touch to the movie, showing Superman dealing with problems that normal people have. I know some Superman fans aren’t happy with certain things in this movie, but I thought they worked and opened up some interesting possibilities. I have read that Singer wanted to do at least three Superman movies. If he is able to make another one, I will definitely be seeing it. This is a movie that should be seen at least once in a theater. I’ll be seeing it at least once more in the theater. There is something magical about hearing that score in a theater and seeing Superman soar across the big screen.
Lois & Clark: The Complete First Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Second Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Third Season ~ Lois & Clark: The Complete Fourth Season ~ Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman ~ Superman: The Movie ~ Superman II ~ Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut ~ Superman III ~ Superman IV: The Quest for Peace ~ Superman Doomsday ~ Superman and the Mole Men ~ Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel ~
Super Hero Reviews
Batman ~ Batman Returns ~ Batman Forever ~ Batman Begins ~ Batman: The Ultimate Guide to The Dark Knight ~ Elektra ~ Fantastic Four ~ The Incredibles ~ Sky High ~ Spider-Man ~ Spider-Man 2 ~ X-Men ~ X2: X-Men United ~ X-Men: The Last Stand ~ X-Men: The Legend of Wolverine ~ Ultimate X-Men ~
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