Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Superman Returns


The movie I’ve been eagerly anticipating for more than a year has finally arrived. Was it worth the hype? Mostly yes.

There’s no way Superman Returns can top the 1978 masterpiece, and even if it could, I’m not seven years old anymore, and this film won’t affect me in the same way. And it didn’t…though i really liked the film, it’s in no way a replacement for the original, and that’s fine.

But what Superman Returns does do quite well is expand upon and show respect for the original film, whether its including quotes from Marlon Brando, sneaking in little references, or using the old-school swooshing opening credits. It gets all those little touches just right, and you can see that Superman: The Movie was as important to director Bryan Singer as it is to the thirty-something nerds in the audience.

So what about the new stuff? Well, everyone in the cast has big shoes to fill, and they all do so admirably. Brandon Routh does a great job as the new Man of Steel, sometimes doing a dead-on impression of Christopher Reeve and sometimes taking the role in new directions. Kevin Spacey does good work as Lex Luthor, which he plays with more vanity and menace and less humour than Gene Hackman. If there’s a weak link, it’s Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane; she’s pretty generic Hollywood fodder, and seems a little out of place.

Some geeks have referred to Superman Returns as the Lord of the Rings of superhero movies…it’s good, but it ain’t that good. In fact, I’d say the two Spiderman movies are slightly better, though they don’t have the legacy to carry around that this film does. So if I had to give this movie a rating, I’d say it’s a B+…maybe even an A-. I’d like to see it again without hype and without childhood baggage to skew my opinion.

And speaking of the Spiderman films, a sweet trailer for Spiderman 3 ran right before the main event. Check it out.

Warren Frey is a journalist, freelance writer, podcaster, video producer, and all-around media consultant currently based in Vancouver, Canada. His written work has appeared in such publications as Metro Vancouver, the Westender, Mac | Life and the Japan Times.

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