Rayzor’s Retro Review: Superman Returns

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It has been nearly 10 year since the release of the long waited Superman Returns film.  When it was released, I was there, opening night and ready to see Superman again for the first time since 1987.  When the opening credits rolled and we heard the iconic John Williams theme, we were back and so was Superman.  But the movie turned out to be less than most fans desired.  What happened?  I remember leaving this film thinking, we waited 19 years for that?  Superman the creepy stalker/deadbeat dad?  I also think Bryan Singer was wrong for this movie, he gets such high praise for the X-men films before, but honestly, they are kind of a bore at points.  Of course X2 is considered the best of the series.

I have one answer to what went wrong.  It had been 19 years since Christopher Reeve played Superman.  Why man a direct sequel to the Richard Donner cut of Superman II?  Why not follow what Nolan was doing with Batman and reboot the series.  I think this could have been a lot more successful.  Also, a different story all together would be good.  There are too many things in this story that just don’t work.  This movie has some really good moments and there is humor and good acting.  Some of the cast is also a question mark for me, notably Lois Lane played by Kate Bosworth.

Superman-returns_796484aThe best part of the movie could be Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, possibly perfect casting.  But Brandon Routh was phenomenal as Superman and even better at playing Clark Kent.  I remember reading somewhere, Christopher Reeve studied Cary Grant’s performance in Bringing Up Baby for Clark and if so, nailed it.  Brandon Routh was great at bringing Clark and his quirks back to life.

As Superman he did a fine job, but we never really got to see him in action.  Again he was faced off with Lex Luthor, we did not see another Alien threat.  There some great scenes when he is flying through the Metropolis, catching the Daily Planet’s globe or the airplane in the baseball field.  That is some iconic Superman stuff.  Not to mention saving the speeding car with bad breaks, strait from the comics.  But where is Brainiac or Metallo?  I also wish he would have bulked up a little more and the costume was slightly different, bright red cape and a larger symbol.

Superman Returns offered nothing new.  New Krypton created by Lex maybe.  But Kittie worked as a kind of Miss Teschmacher.  Superman gets his ass beat on New Krypton by Lex and his thugs and stabbed with a little kryptonite shiv.  But, again there are many cool Superman moments.  Overall, this movie was stale and did not need to be made.

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Kate Bosworth was terrible, she was by far the worst part of this movie.  She lacked the fire we have seen from other Lois Lane’s.  Erica Durance from Smallville killed it as Lois and Margot Kidder was very good as well.  Why was she some kind of brooding…bitch.  I understand she was upset he left and didn’t say good bye, but come on.  Besides that, she does not look the part and does not have the demeanor to play Lois Lane.  I hated this casting more than Amy Adams for Man of Steel.  I would have loved to see someone like Rachel McAdams as Lois.  If this were a remake, she would have been perfect.

Overall, Superman Returns is not too bad.  I do not understand to this day why we couldn’t get a Superman film with classic comic book villains, like Bizarro or Metallo, Brainiac.  There are so many, but we continue to get Lex and Zod.  Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is offering up Lex and Doomsday.  We will see how this pans out.  But if Warner would have done this right the first time around, we could have gotten a Batman vs Superman movie in 2010 maybe.  Think about it.  Superman Returns should have been a remake.  It would be Christian Bale as Batman and Brandon Routh as Superman.  I think they could have fit into the same world.  The Dark Knight in 2008 and then Superman 2 in 2009 and by 2010 Batman vs Superman leading into the Justice League.94260412sf9

But of course we are going to see the first Batman/Superman film, today or tomorrow.  I am excited, but looking back on this film and actually watching it today was fun.  Brandon Routh is now Ray Palmer/the Atom in the DC Arrowverse in the show The Legends of Tomorrow.  He is good and they changed the character to update him and make his suit make sense, pretty cool.  But every time I see him, I think he was wasted as Superman in Superman Returns.  I would have loved if we would have gotten a live action Superman show along with the Flash and Arrow and Routh as Superman…or even Tom Welling.

Superman Returns is kind of an after thought these days.  With Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and the coming Justice League, it is easy to put aside the Donner universe’s final chapter.

While I loved Routh as Superman, I think Henry Cavill isn’t too bad either, although I am not a fan of his costume, way too dark for Superman.  I hope somehow in BvS, he becomes less of the monster he is viewed as and can don a brighter costume.  DC seems to love to put their red costumed heroes in maroon these days, the Flash is no different.  So, who do you think looks the part, Brandon Routh or Henry Cavill?

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