Sunday Slugfest - Superman Returns

A comic review article by: Keith Dallas, Ariel Carmona Jr., Jason Sacks, Ray Tate, Brandon Thomas, Michael Bailey
Director: Bryan Singer
Screenwriters: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Ariel Carmona Jr.

There’s a very touching scene in Superman Returns when after Lois Lane has grilled Superman about his long absence, “How could you leave us?” she tells him with a palpable anguish in her voice, the hero takes her up to the clouds and asks her, “what do you hear?” When she retorts that she can't hear anything, he says, “I hear everything, you wrote the world doesn’t need a savior, but I hear people asking for help everyday.”

I’m not sure I got the exact wording, but that’s the idea, and in essence, that is what the character of Superman boils down to. He can’t help but be a hero, everyone’s hero, and that is a burden the Man of Steel has to face all by his lonesome; it’s an awesome responsibility, but one he lives up to because he loves life. Marlon Brando’s voice-overs as Jor-El (integrated throughout the new movie through cinematic magic) remind the hero of mankind’s potential as a species.

Bryan Singer’s film is a cinematic triumph. Visually, it is a stunning thing to behold, the special affects are awesome, as we knew they would be. This movie also pays homage to the classic 1978 film and to Superman’s past (most notably in the tribute to the cover of Action Comics #1). The flight scenes are very well done, and the action is quickly paced and adds a fluidity to the plot of Superman’s unexpected return. If there is one flaw with the look of the film, it’s with the print, the tints and hues and the overall look seemed darker at times than it should have been, especially when great chunks of rock start sprouting from the ocean. Yet, there’s a great rush one feels seeing the big guy streak through the silver screen once more while John William’s now iconic score plays in the background building up to a crescendo, but there’s an inherent danger with invoking the past: the expectations become greater and the opportunity for failure is more evident.

Fortunately, I would not consider this new film a failure. Brandon Routh does a great job of channeling Christopher Reeve, but his performance seems to have taken the safe route. His bumbling Clark Kent is a carbon copy of Reeve’s take on the character and his Superman still delivers hokey boy scout speeches, but it all works beautifully because of the prior films, a testimony to Reeve’s interpretation and subsequent appropriation of the characters. Kate Bosworth’s portrayal of Lois Lane on the other hand, is more original. Lane acts more like the passionate and confident Lois of the comic book page and in one pivotal scene, is not even afraid to dive into frigid artic waters to save the hero.

The great Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey is given the chance of playing the prototypical evil genius whose plans of world conquest pale in comparison to his hatred of Superman, but the creators still feel the need to give him a comic foil to play off. This is all perfectly good since Parker Posey is very funny in the role of Kitty Kowalski, though you wonder how Luthor can be such a clever and calculating villain and still make the mistake of allying himself with such morons. Why not just bring Braniac and the Parasite along for the ride and make things tougher for the alien? Oh well, that is why sequels were invented.

This film seemingly owes as much to the early Superman films as to Alan Moore. The story is reminiscent of Superman #423 and Action Comics #583 in which an “imaginary” story called “Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” finds Superman dead and Lois married with a child who in the last few panels is shown to have remarkable powers of his own. Likewise, in this film most of the conflict stems from the fact Superman returns to a world which has adjusted to his long absence, but he also has to deal emotionally with Lois’s new married life. In the end, Superman may be able to overcome every foe in the galaxy, Kryptonite, and even death, but the fact he is still susceptible to love only serves to remind us of his human heritage and helps audiences identify with him even more.

Despite the changes to continuity which may prove problematic in terms of a possible sequel now that Superman has a son, the first and greatest superhero of them all deserves to star in a film where he is allowed to use his powers to accomplish great feats and overcomes all obstacles, while at the same time connecting with the common people he protects, and I think this film accomplishes this.

Jason Sacks:

Oddly, the main feeling I had after I saw Superman Returns was just how much I love the first Superman movie. Superman Returns stirred up nostalgic feelings for the Richard Donner original, which I just love from the point that Clark comes to Metropolis to the end.

For instance, I liked Kevin Spacey in this film when he was given the chance to overact, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about Gene Hackman screaming “Miss Tessmacher!” at Valerine Perrine through the first film. I thought Routh was okay as Superman, but again he reminded me more of Christopher Reeve, and Kate Bosworth was no Margot Kidder. I know that many fans dislike Kidder, and she was shrill and annoying at times in the first movies, but unlike Bosworth, Kidder seemed like she might have been a real reporter. Bosworth reminded me in a bad way of Katie Holmes in Batman Begins, and I never bought Bosworth as a hardboiled reporter in the same way that I bought Kidder.

On the other hand, I liked how the movie moved the characters ahead. I really enjoyed how Lois moved on with her life and ended up being involved with a guy who was actually in many ways more heroic than Superman. After all, he risked life and limb to save Superman with no thought of himself. In fact, at times, the movie seemed to be more about Lois’s new paramour than it was about the man in the blue tights.

I thought the Daily Planet set was wonderful. I really liked Frank Langella as Perry White, and Jimmy was spot-on. And the cameos by Noel Neill and Jack Larson were a terrific touch.

But about the kid, I’m really of two minds. When we first saw him, my friend leaned over and asked if I thought he was Superman’s kid. I said no because I couldn’t imagine Superman having premarital sex. He’s the most quintessentially conservative hero around, the embodiment of America as it likes to imagine itself. In that context, I have trouble seeing Supes as the boy’s dad. Maybe I’m denying what I plainly saw on screen in Superman II, but damn it, that just felt wrong. I was also frustrated with the kid’s vacillating powers. At one point he throws the piano at one of Luthor’s henchmen, but then couldn’t get himself and his mom out of a pantry when another henchman locked them in there? And later in the movie, why couldn’t he break the glass when the yacht was sinking? It just felt too inconsistent.

Overall, I liked the movie, but somehow found it a bit disappointing.

Ray Tate:

It didn’t suck. It didn’t suck. It didn’t suck. Oh, thank the cosmos! It didn’t suck! And most of it was actually....good.

I’m stunned.

I went into Superman Returns with the lowest possible expectations. Seeing the previews didn’t help at all. Those movies look awful. Ant Bully, some jock movie, Spider-Man 3 (Venom, damn it, why did they have to use Venom?), and then the lights died down, and I saw a short caption explaining that astronomers found what looked like a piece of Krypton. Superman went to investigate. That investigation took him five years. Okay. Fair enough, I thought. Let’s see what else you’ve got.

The death of Krypton. All right. That was interesting. Suddenly, the credits appeared on screen, and these weren’t just any credits, these were credits superimposed on the universe we do not know and the universe we do know, and here’s the important part: The John Williams theme! Now, some would say, okay, so what? Is that theme really important? Hell, yeah! In fact, this is the first moment that made me stare in awe at the big screen. The scope of the universe, the power of the theme gave me hope that this movie wouldn’t suck.

The story proper begins when Superman crash lands back at the Kent farm. This is an important opening scene because he arrives in a Kryptonian ship--probably jury-rigged from his own ship. This means that Superman was not capable of simply flying to the remnants of Krypton and back again in a heartbeat. That explains the travel time. That explains his missing five years. This Superman does have limits.

I should point out that when on the Kent farm, the scenes of young Superman seen in the trailer turn out to be Kal-El’s reminisces. The movie does not revisit Smallville and does not step on Smallville’s toes--something I feared it would do.

Superman tries to fit back into his old life and first gets comfortable with Clark Kent. Brandon Routh makes a spectacular Clark Kent: he’s warm, funny and yes, mild-mannered without being a dope. Routh also makes a good Superman. He’s most believable as Superman when actually cracking a smile and being human, so to speak. The costume is a hit and miss. I like the raised S, but I don’t like the dark reds. The reds should be much brighter. You need to see that cape flash behind Superman.

The CGI stunts for the first part took me out of the movie. The much-touted airplane save looked very fake, except when he actually lands the plane. That’s when I was impressed, and I think it was more that Bryan Singer in the end of that scene sets a more palatable mood. There are people witnessing the save. Superman’s save is broadcasted, and we get a reaction from the people he protects. They have not forgotten him--another fear of mine. We also get a close up of Routh doing the work, whereas in the air we just get to see a CGI enhanced Routh, a CGI plane and a really poorly colored cape flapping in the breeze. That scene would have looked a lot better with a brighter red cape and the gold S on the back and maybe with a few real plane parts. Come on, that’s not too hard to do. Christopher Reeve and Helen Slater acted with the brighter colors and took on some real objects tricked out by wires.

This is the scene where we meet the new Lois Lane, and Kate Bosworth makes an excellent Lois Lane. She’s sharp, and she’s sexy. Her son Jason isn’t annoying. Richard, the man she’s involved with, is as much the hero as Superman. James Marsden, who portrayed Cyclops in X-Men, plays Richard. He conveys great depth to what is essentially a thankless role. This is the guy unwittingly interfering with Superman’s love life.

Now, we come to Kevin Spacey. Brilliant. His Lex Luthor is such a logical extrapolation from the Gene Hackman starter kit. Not enough praise can be heaped upon him. He’s funny and cruel and petty, but he does not steal the movie away from Routh, who makes Superman likeable and Clark hilarious. One great scene has somebody wondering about Clark being Superman, and Routh shows how Clark pulls it off. It’s not just the glasses. It’s the entire personality.

Luthor’s plan, which serves as the main thrust of the plot, is pure mad genius, and it beautifully ties in with the first two films. Parker Posey as Kitty Kowalski replaces Valerie Perrine’s Miss Tessmacher, and she brings her quirky zaniness to the role, but in later scenes gives this character far more gravitas than would normally be expected. Even Luthor’s henchmen get some moments.

One of the really interesting things about Superman Returns is that Superman actually does more detective work than Batman did in Batman Begins. Lois and the Planet Staff provide the pieces. Superman in his guise as Clark Kent starts putting those pieces together. This is another asset Routh brings to the role. Unassuming intelligence. Michael Keaton’s Batman never hid his intellect and in fact displayed that intelligence to heighten his threat. Superman uses his Clark Kent disguise to be ignored while he quietly applies his brainpower.

Visually, the latter half of the movie really makes the film soar. The CGI in the first half was lackluster, but the sets and the CGI in the second half that contribute to the action were superior and really lent weight to the scenes--otherworldly and disastrous.

I went into Superman Returns expecting a train wreck of pretentiousness. Instead, I received a thoughtful fun action flick that had a brain and an extraordinary cast of actors that have terrific chemistry. Does this mean I have to turn in my medal for cynicism and snarkiness?

Brandon Thomas

Okay, let’s get this outta the way real quick…the movie is good. Pretty damn good, actually.

Bryan Singer can officially claim the cinematic “hat-trick,” for three incredibly successful comic adaptations, as Superman Returns
joins his two X-Men joints, the Spider-Man movies, Batman Begins, and Sin City, in the modern echelon of superior films, based on comics. Singer’s latest feels like somewhat of an amalgamation, the heart and pathos of Spider-Man, the intelligence and flash of X-Men, the artistry of
Sin City, and the unrelenting focus of Batman Begins, all spun around an intense reverence to the character, and to Donner’s original films. Beyond that, the overwhelming sentiment of the piece is there from almost frame one…Singer just wants you to love and respect Superman as much as he does, examining every single facet of the character, engaging in an almost three hour debate about why Superman is potentially “cool.” And through this, he and his team leave little doubt, or much room for competing arguments.

More a thematic sequel than a direct one, the movie picks up after the second Donner film, Superman having been away from Earth for about five years, in which time, the world, and more specifically Lois Lane, have moved on in his absence. Hence, you know, “the return.” Now, while much of the movie is about the damaged relationship between him and Lois, it operates on a significantly larger scale and emotional context. In the world of the super-cool X-Men, angst-ridden Spider-Man, and acceptably psychotic Batman, some will argue that Superman’s purposefully optimistic idealism is an outdated model that people just have no use for anymore. That the new breed of “hero” is successful not because of what they’re supposed to represent, but because their intense emotional baggage closely matches our own. Which is a definite possibility, and more a commentary on the jaded audience than the actual material, but thankfully, Superman Returns skillfully addresses that criticism by both accepting it and rejecting it, almost in the very same breath.

Despite the obvious drama, the technical bells and whistles, the rousing score, at its core, the movie is really about Superman fucking up, and doing everything he can to fix his mistake. Instead of admitting his feelings to the woman he loves, he flies off into space, and then comes back years later, expecting everything to be the same. It’s completely selfish, yet refreshingly human, especially from a character whose alien nature is emphasized each time he takes to the sky. Superman’s need to connect with people, from those closest to him, to those he’s committed himself to saving, is the emotional backbone of the piece, and that’s an idea almost anyone can relate to. The ultimate payoff is a massive, massive spoiler, that my mother was able to figure out from one of the trailers, but that pushes the title character and the franchise into the future, and gives the inevitable sequels an excellent starting point.

Visually, it’s an absolute beast, every set piece and image is just massive, and the effects are pretty fantastic. Brandon Routh’s performance is also another highlight, and despite some suspicion about his casting, Singer was absolutely right in saying this actor gave him everything he needed for the role. Routh’s Clark Kent borrows heavily from Christopher Reeve’s undeniable contributions, the clumsy and purposefully bumbling disguise at constant work, but his Superman is surprisingly confident and self-assured, which makes up for his somewhat young appearance. He’s much bigger on screen than in the initial promos and production photos, and once the movie gets crankin’, there is no question that he IS the Man of Steel. Naturally, most of the frames belong to him, but the supporting cast does well too, where they aren’t a bit underutilized. Spacey’s Luthor is appropriately menacing, though there’s a little more Hackman than I was expecting, and Kate Bosworth, while not an absolute slam-dunk as Lois, isn’t offensive by any means. You can accept that Supes might be off his game over this woman, certainly a lot easier than you could with Margot Kidder. Could just be me though. James Marsden finally gets some love after fading into the background in two X-Men flicks, and fading into nothing in the last one.

So, imagery and humanity are the primary draws, and while the airplane rescue has been hailed by almost everyone, I’m surprised there isn’t more appreciation directed towards the climax, where Superman does something that feels ripped from an issue of
All-Star Superman. A real Superman moment, of pure strength and raw determination that simply cannot be matched by any other on-screen superhero. And that has nothing to do with the Kryptonite element, and everything to do with making the impossible somehow routine. Not exactly spinning the Earth backwards, which was cute, but I was happy to see something of similar scope, and modern technology definitely suits the character, because even his flying scenes and the choreography involved, bring a sense of real wonder to the screen.

With my second viewing, the entire thing felt even stronger, and one of my main quibbles, the running time, wasn’t nearly as noticeable. I’m not a huge Superman fan to begin with, so I’m surprised I found so much to love about it, but it’s nearly as grand and expressive as Singer intends it to be. Like much of its comic-based brethren, there will be a few necessary nips and tucks to get things hittin’ every single beat, but if the very obvious and overwhelming difference we witnessed between movies in the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises happens here as well, Superman is in an incredibly good cinematic place. Which is quite an accomplishment, given how long he’s been away from theatres, the level of competition out there, and the very high margin for error. If there’s any justice (or good taste) left, this will eventually climb to be the highest-grossing comics movie of the summer.

Bring on Superman Lives, or whatever it’ll be called…

Michael Bailey

I have been waiting about nine years for this movie.

Okay, not this particular movie. It has been roughly two years since the first word of Bryan Singer’s Superman film started coming down the Internet pike. No, what I’m talking about is a Superman film in general. In was early in 1997 when I first heard that Kevin Smith would be writing a Superman movie, which would be loosely based on the death and return of Superman from the comic books. After that there was the announcement that Tim Burton would direct and that Nicolas Cage would play Superman. Then Burton dropped the Smith script in favor of another direction. Then Burton and Cage walked away from the project. Then McG was announced as director. Then there was the J.J. Abrams script, which from all accounts was more Star Wars
meets The Matrix than Superman. Then “Superman vs. Batman” was announced and subsequently dropped. Then McG was off the project and Brett Ratner was on. Then Ratner was off and McG back on again. Then he was gone because he is apparently afraid to fly and wanted to film in New York rather than Sydney.


It was enough to make this particular Superman fan wonder if this thing was ever going to get made. Finally in 2004 it was revealed that Bryan Singer had jumped the X-Men ship, took his two writers from X2 with him and they were going to make the next Superman film. Now it’s 2006 and on June 28th, after those nine long years, I took the day off from work to go and see the result of their efforts.

(I actually took a vacation day, so in a sense I got paid to see the movie. I thought about trying to sell it as a religious holiday but decided against it.)

The funny thing about being such a public comic book fan and especially about being such a public Superman fan is that just about everyone that I work and deal with on a day to day basis has asked me the same question: what did you think of it? It’s a perfectly valid question but one that catches me off guard. I have a lot of opinions about the film, and it is hard to distill that into a quick, back of a trading card answer. The best I could come up with was this:

I really liked it, but I have a few problems with it.

Three problems to be exact, and they all kind of tie into each other, but I’ll get to those in a minute. There was a lot to like about this film, and a lot that as a fan of Superman made me very, very happy. The opening credits were one of those things that made me very, very happy. After what was quite possibly the best visual representation of the destruction of Krypton, we were treated to a lovely homage to the opening of the original film. The John Ottman version of the theme was fantastic, and while it was abbreviated, I really dug it. It had a gritty quality to it and didn’t waste any time. Ottman did a good job of weaving the Superman theme into his original score, and I liked the music a lot.

This is one of the first comic book films where I thought the casting was nearly perfect. Brandon Routh did a fantastic job of playing both Clark Kent and Superman. I enjoyed his performance in the early scenes set in Smallville, but when he got to Metropolis, it became obvious that he knew what he was doing. Clark was mild mannered, but I think Routh gave him a determination that Reeve didn’t have until Superman III. His Superman was dead on even if there were times the S on his chest stood for Stalker.

Come on, I couldn’t have been the only one who thought that him watching Lois and family from the bushes was a little unsettling.

The important aspect of playing Superman is that the actor has to exude confidence. If Superman is on the screen the audience has to think, “Hey, there’s Superman. We’re saved.” Christopher Reeve had this. George Reeves had this. Dean Cain did not. When Dean Cain’s Superman came on the screen, my first thought was usually, “Hey, he certainly has a lot of gel in that hair.” Routh had the confidence and the presence that the character calls for. He was also very charming in places, especially after saving the 777.

Kate Bosworth is the first Lois Lane since Phyllis Coates that I’ve liked. Nothing against Noel Neil and Margot Kidder, but I never really liked their versions of Lois Lane. I really had problems with Teri Hatcher. Her Lois Lane seemed like she couldn’t wake up in the morning without someone calling her on the phone to make sure she was up and about much less be the single best investigative reporter on the Daily Planet. Bosworth had the challenge of not only playing an investigative reporter but a single mother as well. The writers gave her a lot to work with, and she did a wonderful job in my opinion. Bosworth played the character as capable but with a vulnerability that only showed when she was alone.

Rounding out the main characters was Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. There is no way on Earth this could have gone badly. I’m not being facetious here. Kevin Spacey was Lex Luthor. He walked the line of humor and horror effortlessly. There were moments of levity, but on the whole he was a very evil and bitter man. Right from the beginning, the movie reveals he was going to be different than Hackman. Here is a man who apparently slept with an old woman (played by Noel Neil in a really creepy cameo) to get her fortune. Spacey’s Luthor was brilliant, and he knew it. Just about every line had meaning to it. His scenes with Bosworth and Routh were great and emphasized the depth of this Lex Luthor.

The guy shoved a Kryptonite shiv into Superman’s back. That sure beats putting a rock attached to a chain around a guy’s neck and dropping him into a swimming pool.

The rest of the cast was great too. Sam Huntington played a very excited Jimmy Olsen, who was a competent photographer and had some weird man crush on Clark. Actually, I liked that Jimmy was the only one truly excited that Clark had returned. Frank Langella was a very interesting Perry White who is obviously color blind by the suits he chooses to wear. James Marsden surprised me with his performance as Richard White and played the new boyfriend having to deal with the old boyfriend well. Parker Posey’s Kitty was not too different from Valerie Perrine’s Eve Teschmacher, but I also think Posey did a much better job with the conflict she felt over her messed up relationship with Lex and her own conscience. Luthor’s henchmen were fun and at the same time dangerous, especially with beat downs they gave to Superman and Lois. They definitely deserved their fates, especially Brutus, who proved if you have a creepy clown tattoo on the back of your head you are probably going to get a piano thrown at you.

That, of course, leads me to the one aspect that I thought I was going to have a problem with: the revelation that Lois’s son was fathered by Superman. This was a bold move on Singer and crew’s part, and it could have gone badly. Singer played it close to the vest though, and it wasn’t really brought up until Lex Luthor started putting the pieces together. When he asked, “Who is the boy’s father?” I started getting this funny feeling and thought, “Wow, are they going to do it?” One piano toss later and the question was answered.

Then I really started thinking about the first scene where the kid and Lois interact. She goes through a laundry list of questions to make sure that Jason was doing what he was supposed to. Was she asking to make sure her ill son was taking his medicine or was she going through the list to make sure that her son was playing sickly so that no one would suspect that he might be the son of Superman? The question wasn’t really answered, but it’s pretty obvious that he is Superman’s son. The scene at the end where Routh is in Jason’s room and delivering Brando’s dialogue from the first film was a good way to have Superman accept his new responsibility. It also set up some interesting prospects for the sequel because now the genie is out of the bottle, and unless some fancy maneuvering is done, you can’t undo the fact that Superman and Lois have a child together.

It’s strange. The thought of Superman and Lois having a kid bothered me because of what it would mean to the characters. Now I like the concept because of what it would mean to the characters. Funny that

Now for the three problems I mentioned before. I didn’t want to have them, but after the final credits finished rolling, I realized they were there. I took a couple of days to digest the film, and I feel it prudent to mention the fact that I have only seen the film once and sometimes my opinion changes upon subsequent viewings, but for right now these are the things that bugged me.

Problem one: pacing. If this film had one big flaw, it was pacing. The films opens on Lex Luthor, which was great, but as soon as Superman’s ship crashes in Smallville, the story goes into double time. He lands. He has a moment with the dog (which upset my wife because she thought Clark tossing the ball that far was mean to the dog) and his mother (which I enjoyed, especially the photos of Glen Ford on the mantle) and then he’s back in Metropolis. Then, within ten minutes or so he’s Superman again. There was no time for real character development here. The 777 rescue was wonderful and the scenes that followed played very well, but the beginning was too fast.

(Also, while I loved the scene where Clark realizes there’s trouble and thought that Routh nailed the expression Clark should have before changing into Superman. It kind of irked me that there was no shot of him in the costume right after opening his shirt to let us know he’s back. He rips open the shirt; we get a half look at the S and the next we see of him he’s in the air. It was decent and the music was great, but I was put off nonetheless.)

If the beginning went by too quickly the ending went on and on. Superman confronts Luthor and is stabbed. Lois saves him and then he saves the world by launching the rock into space. Visually it was great, but then Superman is down for the count again. So in the space of twenty minutes Superman is on death’s door twice. The scene in the hospital was well executed, but it dragged and by this time, I was wondering what Singer was going for. There was no real climax to the film, and it felt more like the end of a television series pilot than a big budget movie. This isn’t meant as a shot against the director or writers, but with a movie this big I thought that a huge ending would have been more appropriate, and it wouldn’t have detracted from the scene in Jason’s room.

Problem two: the deleted scenes. I know there was some discussion about the fact that Singer took out the big return to Krypton scene at the beginning of the film, but I never thought that so much of what was presented in the trailer would have ended up as DVD extras or part of an extended cut. I know that sometimes there are scenes and bits of dialogue from the trailer that don’t end up in the movie, but there were so many here. Lines that Ma Kent deliver, images of young Clark looking at the crystal and standing before his ship, Clark meeting with Ben Hubbard. All of these bits of business were in the advertising but not in the film, and I think the pacing at the beginning of the film suffered for it.

See, I told you the problems were connected.

I honestly believe that Clark’s dilemma about returning after being gone for five years would have added some emotional weight to the opening. It seemed like he went back to being Superman too easily. There didn’t seem to be any kind of hesitance that the trailers and such led me to believe there were, and the first act suffered for it. I think that if the Smallville scenes had remained we would have gotten some more insight into Ma Kent as well, but maybe I think that because I thought Eva Marie Saint did such a fantastic job of playing the character.

Problem number three: Superman didn’t get to bring Luthor to justice. This may seem like a small problem, but it really bugged me after the movie was over. Luthor (along with his henchmen) not only beat the living snot out of Superman but also stabbed him in the back. It wasn’t like I wanted Superman to get his get back but to have Luthor’s men killed as the result of Superman lifting the giant chunk of New Krypton into the air and Lex and Kitty stuck on a desert island didn’t play well either. One of the best things about the ending of Richard Donner’s film is that Superman brings Lex to justice. While there is some justice in Lex being stuck in the middle of nowhere, it wasn’t satisfying at all. This threw off the flow of the film (there’s that pacing thing again) and left me wanting more.

Other than those points, I was very impressed with this film. The problems didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment of the film, but it did keep this movie from getting . Singer and his writers gave us a very introspective Superman film while still having the big action scenes that a character like Superman needs. The plane rescue, the bank robbery (which had an abrupt ending but was neat nonetheless), the car rescue (echoing the cover to Action Comics
#1) and the destruction of Metropolis provided the necessary “super-feats” to satisfy me. Singer may not be the best director when it comes to action scenes, but he came through where it counts in that regard. In all honesty, I think that the problems I had with this film were part of Singer getting his feet wet as far as a Superman film. Anything I had against this film will probably be fixed in the sequel.

And I hope there is a sequel because this movie has a lot going for it. As a Superman fan, I’m happy. The direction, the writing and the performances were all great and even with the misgivings I have, I keep telling myself one thing: “It could have been McG. It could have been McG.” After repeating that little mantra a few times, I realize that it could have been a lot worse.

Besides, what other Superman film had a cannibalistic Pomeranian? Man, that was creepy.

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