did you leave us?"
After five years the Earth had got used to not having a superhero
to save them but a spaceship crashes into the Kent farm's field and Superman
has returned. Heading back to Metropolis, Clark Kent (Routh) returns to his
old job at the Daily Planet and discovers that everyone has moved on, especially
Lois Lane (Bosworth). She is engaged to Perry White's (Langella) nephew Richard
(Marsden), has a son called Jason (Leabu) and is about to collect her first
Pulitzer prize for her article 'Why the world doesn't need Superman'. Someone
else has also moved on and formulated new plans that could change the world
but Lex Luther (Spacey) isn't going to make changes for the benefit of the
people of Earth.
After nineteen years away from the silver screen the Man of
Steel returns but does he have the powers to be super or have they been taken
away by kryptonite?
After the disaster that was 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace'
back in 1987 Christopher Reeve hung up his cape and Superman headed to the
small screen again. 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman', 'Smallville'
and various animated series, Krypton's last son was very busy but fans and
DC Comics wanted him to return to the big screen.
The development of Superman's return had been just as long or
even longer than the return of the Dark Knight but after Batman began again
in 2005 with amazing results, fans couldn't wait to see what the Man of Steel's
return was going to be like. After various actors and directors were attached
to project, it took some wheeler dealing from Warner Bros. to get a director
who had already established himself in the comic book genre as one of the
best, Bryan Singer. With the first and second 'X-Men' movies, Singer proved
that his Oscar winning, character driven background was equally well suited
to breathing life into those uncanny mutants, so Warner Bros. and DC knew
that they had chosen the right man to make you believe a man can fly again.
As he did with the 'X-Men' movies, Bryan Singer and his creative
team have thrown their heart and souls into truly capturing the essence of
this iconic character. Richard Donner's 1978 film is rightly considered one
of the finest comic book adaptations to ever grace the silver screen and was
always going to be a hard act to follow. So instead of starting the franchise
again as Christopher Nolan did with 'Batman Begins', Singer decided to continue
Superman story after the end of the second film and keep most things that
these films set up such as Marlon Brando as Jor-El and most importantly the
John Williams theme tune.
After discovering that he wasn't the only Krypton survivor and
that astronomers might have discovered that his home planet might still be
there, Kal-El left to see if there is anyone else left. Five years later,
he returns to Earth and discovers that the world had got used to him not been
around. As he makes a dramatic return as Superman and reveals his arrival
to the world, he finds out that some people might not be that happy to see
him back. They are the woman he left behind, Lois Lane and his arch-nemesis
Singer and his 'X2' writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris
use this plot outline to show how lonely Superman actually feels. Now knowing
he is the last son of Krypton, he is struggling to find a reason or purpose
for this life other than been seen as the planet's saviour of truth and justice.
With Lois moving on with her life and his mother and friends at the Daily
Planet doing the same, he is really feeling his solitude. This storyline is
key to the film's success and what gives the movie its heart, as everyone
knows that everyone needs someone to share their life with.
Stepping into and filling the rather large red boots left by
the late, great Christopher Reeve was always going to be a enormous task for
any actor but when you are an unknown the challenge becomes even greater.
With many a big name actor been linked with the role, Bryan Singer's decision
to cast an unknown in the role was always going to be a risky one but as Christopher
Reeve did before him, it is Brandon Routh's turn to announce himself to the
world and the good news is that he does a magnificent job. Where Reeve brilliantly
mixed the bumbling Clark Kent with a Superman that was the embodiment of good,
Routh's interpretation of the character reflects the more modern age and the
trails and tribulations that the character is going through. He has to produce
a more dramatic performance, with Superman been persona that the world sees
and Clark Kent been the man he really is. As a breakout performance in a major
motion picture, Brandon Routh makes a real impact but whether he can play
anyone else but the Man of Steel we will have to see.
The rest of the cast are equally as strong. Bryan Singer and
his creative team have taken the brave decision of casting up and coming actors
and only one really big star. Kate Bosworth has proved that she is a talented
young actress in films after starring in 'Wonderland' and 'Beyond the Sea'
and is no stranger to popcorn movie fair with hits like 'Blue Crush' and 'Win
a Date with Tad Hamilton!' Margot Kidder made the role of Lois Lane her own
and was always going to be a hard act to follow but she tries to bring something
new to the character. With Bryan Singer thinking about possible sequels, he
has cast both Superman and Lois quite young but while Kate Bosworth does a
good job, she does feel a little too young for the part.
The big, established star of the show is Kevin Spacey as Superman's
arch-nemesis Lex Luther. The brilliant Gene Hackman played the evil genius
in a quite comedic way but Spacey's approach verges on madness. Purely motivated
by power and greed, his superior intellect and complete lack of conscience
mean that he is much more of a threat to the world and Superman than Hackman's
interpretation ever was.
The supporting cast is also very good but slightly underdeveloped,
even with the film's overlong 154 minute running time. Both Frank Langella
and Sam Huntington are underused as Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. Parker Posey
is crying out for more screen time as Lex Luther's moll Kitty Kowalski and
why comedic actor Kal Penn was cast as a henchman, anyone can guess.
The action sequences are absolutely stunning and mix in well
with the character and plot development. As with the first two movies we get
to see Superman saving the day on more than one occasion but you have not
seen the Man of Steel like this before. From the stunning space shuttle disaster
to the dramatic finale, the visual effects are quite simply stunning and you
will believe a man can fly.
Successfully re-igniting a franchise was always going to be
a difficult but 'Superman Returns' succeeds magnificently. While it might
not have the same impact as 'Batman Begins' because of the lack of character
development for some of the supporting characters, its continuing saviour/Christ
comparisons and duration of the film, it is a movie that is made real dedication
to the character and the source material. This is how movies should be made
and Bryan Singer proves again that he is a brilliant director of superhero
movies. Superman has returned.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack,
the transfer is good.
Requiem for Krypton: Making Superman Returns (2hrs 53.42 mins)
Director Bryan Singer, screenwriters Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, producers
Gilbert Adler and Jon Peters, executive producer Chris Lee, director of
photography Newton Thomas Sigel, costume designer Louise Mingenbach, production
designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson and stars
Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella,
Tristan Lake Leabu, Sam Huntington, Eva Marie Saint and Kevin Spacey take
you behind the scenes of the return of the Man of Steel to the silver screen.
Split into five parts entitled 'Secret Origins and First Issues: Crystallizing
Superman', 'The Crystal Method: Designing Superman', 'An Affinity for Beachfront
Property: Shooting Superman', 'The Joy of Lex: Menacing Superman' and 'He's
always around: Wrapping Superman', the documentary covers every aspect of
the film's pre-production and production. Starting July 6th 2004, we see
the concept drawings, storyboards and set designs and then go behind the
scenes of the production. Here we see the Kent Farm, Daily Planet, Fortress
of Solitude, Mansion, boat, hospital, jet and seaplane sets, and watch the
cast and crew work to bring Superman back. This is an exceptionally good
behind the scenes documentary but it is missing the post-production parts
so we do not discover how they created the visual effects.
Resurrecting Jor-El (4.01 mins)
See how the original 1978 footage of Marlon Brando as Jor-El is transformed
using CG to say the words needed to convey the information in the Fortress
Deleted Scenes (14.04 mins)
Entitled 'The date', 'Family photos', 'Crash landing/X-Ray Vision', 'Old
newspapers', 'Are you two dating?', 'Martinis and wings', 'I'm always right',
'Jimmy the lush', 'Language barrier', 'Crystal feet' and 'New Krypton',
these deleted scenes suffer from the lack of a commentary track or introduction
to reveal why they were removed. Trailers View the teaser, theatrical and
EA Superman Return video game trailers
The two-disc edition of Superman Returns is a little strange. While the
almost three hour documentary on the production of the film is exceptionally
good, you get the feeling that this is just a stop gap until a special edition
is released in the future. The lack of commentary track, missing documentaries
on the visual effects and a few major deleted scenes (a pre-credit sequence
with Superman visiting the remains of Krypton), this is not the release
that major fans would have wished for. It is still a very good DVD package
all the same.
Usher Home | Hush,
Hush... | The Big Story | The
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links
| Contact the Usher