Andy GoughIn the Picture

Superman Returns

Directed by Bryan Singer

Rated M

You will believe a man can fly was the tag line for Superman the Movie back in 1978. With an iconic portrayal of the Kryptonian by then unknown actor Christopher Reeve, as well as groundbreaking advances in special effects, they delivered the goods. I watched it again on DVD just prior to seeing the new film and its amazing how well it holds up today. Superman II continued to deliver, but Superman III and IV were widely hailed as duds, and with good reason.

Fast forward to 2006 and the release of Superman Returns, helmed by capable superhero director Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2). I went in with great expectations, especially considering my disappointment with the Singer-less X-Men III. Unfortunately, I found myself leaving the cinema rather disappointed in this re-working of the story. Singer has held onto some elements of the first films (the music, Marlon Brando as Jor-El, the Kryptonian architecture) but strangely, Lois is again unaware that Clark and Supes are one and the same. It gets worse, but I wont spoil any surprises here.

I was disappointed with the casting. Brandon Routh serves capably in both roles as Superman and Clark Kent, but sadly hes not got Christopher Reeves charisma. Kate Bosworths Lois Lane seems far younger now, despite five years having passed and having a five-year-old son (?). Kevin Spacey seemed a perfect choice for arch-nemesis Lex Luthor, but his performance ended up falling a little flat.

The story is quite convoluted and long (at 157 minutes running time) which left me exhausted as well as disappointed. There are some incredible effects to behold, but strangely none of them seemed quite as dramatic as Lois Lane hanging from a helicopter in the first film. But then Im older now and have perhaps gotten a bit blas about todays CGI effects. There was not enough chemistry between the cast to get to a point where I cared about any of the characters, and of course we can always rely on Superman to save the day, cant we?

Despite all this, I expect younger viewers will be bedazzled and enjoy all the action. As for me, I just wish Singer had left Kal-El alone and stayed on with the X-Men.And another thing how come when I comb my hair a little differently and wear a pair of spectacles everyone still knows that its me? Not fair.


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