Hi there and welcome to the second installment of Fanboy Action Theater. This time around, we’ll be reviewing Superman Returns, which features DC Comic’s iconic character. So now, up, up, and away!
WARNING!!! THE PLOT HAS SPOILERS!!
Superman (Brandon Routh) returns to Earth after a 5 year absence, spending those years searching through the remains of his home planet, Krypton. After Superman returns, he learns that things have changed radically since he left. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is engaged to Richard White (James Marsden – he also was Cyclops in the X-Men movies), the nephew of Daily Planet editor, Perry White (Frank Langella). Even more surprising are the facts Lois Lane has a young son and that her belief that Earth does not need a Superman. In addition, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) has been released from prison after serving his time for his misdeeds.
The movie follows two plot lines. The first is the relationship between Lois and Superman and the fact that Superman is the father of her child. The second is of Superman working to stop the scheme of Lex Luthor to create a new continent using Kryptonite even though the new continent’s creation would kill billions of people by destroying other landmasses. Eventually, Lois and Superman reconcile (as friends) and Luthor’s scheme is thwarted. The movie ends with Superman reciting the speech to his sleeping son that his father, Kal-El (Marlon Brando) spoke to him as he traveled to Earth as a baby.
I really, really wanted to love this movie. Superman is THE ICON for superheroes. Simply put, he is the yardstick by which all other superheroes are measured. I didn’t read the Superman comics on a regular basis back in my comic collecting days, but I would pick his titles up from time to time. He is the ultimate boy scout – honest, virtuous, and brave, all the hallmarks of a great hero. So again, I really wanted to love this movie. However………………
Let’s start off with the good points. The cast is superb, with one glaring miscasting. Kate Bosworth plays Lois very well, but she is way too young for the part. She looks like she’s 18 to 20 years old. I kept asking myself, “Did Superman knock her up when she was 15?” There’s no way that she could have a 5 year old son. (I know that some of you may consider this nitpicking, but hey! I’m a fanboy and I’m going to gripe about fanboy things!) 🙂 The other good thing in the movie is the effects. The special effects are really good looking and top-notch, however………………..
The effects lead to my first bad point. While the effects are great, it would help that something interesting would happen. There is very little action in the movie. There’s a lot of scenes of Superman catching a plane, catching chunks of debris, lifting heavy things, but where’s the fighting? I totally agree with Kevin Smith when he commented that, “It would have been nice to see Superman punch something.” A superhero movie without great brawls between hero and villain? Yawn…… There should have been giant robots with buzz-saw hands and laser-beam shooting eyes or something for him to fight. A superhero movie that makes me nostalgic for the fight scenes in The Incredible Hulk makes me a very sorry fanboy indeed. (“Hulk Bore!”).
The other greatly irritating thing was the sensation that I had seen this movie before. Let’s see…. Superman works to stop Lex Luthor’s diabolical plan to get rich using real estate during which millions of people would die. Hmmmmm……… oh wait! I know. It’s called Superman, the original movie starring Christopher Reeve that was released in 1978. I know Hollywood is lacking in original ideas, but c’mon! The original movie isn’t that old.
My last fanboy rant was the mutilation of Superman’s mantra, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.” I know that the studio execs wanted to placate the global audience, but the transformation of that line to “truth, justice, and all that” was a slap in the face to Superman fans. What’s next in the sequel? Will Superman be a latte-drinking hippie? Man, I so hate political correctness crap!
Overall, Superman Returns is a decent movie. The acting and effects are good, but I can’t help thinking that I had seen the movie before and I constantly wished for some action to take place. I would give the movie a C, but the scene in which a weakened Superman is beaten up by Luthor’s thugs was incredible. It honestly bothered me to see Superman so helpless and worked over. It was close to watching John Wayne getting shot in the back in The Cowboys. Therefore, I give Superman Returns a……………………… C+.