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Superman Returns (2006)

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 154 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

I have always felt the only Superman for me was Christopher Reeve. I mourned his death as that of a great actor, all-round wonderful person and human personification of Superman. With this in mind I watched “Superman Returns” with some trepidation. Would it feel right? Would they able to do Superman justice without its iconic lead? The answer, surprisingly, was yes. Could this be the start of a Superman movie franchise for the next generation?

Superman’s been gone for five years looking for his home world, all he found were tiny pieces, so he returns to Earth thinking he can pick up where he left off. While he is able to step back into his job and Lex Luthor’s pathological attempts to kill him and rule the world have not changed, his one true love Lois Lane has changed. She has moved on and is now “almost” married (to Perry White’s nephew) and is “mommy” to a little boy. She has tried to hide her hurt at being abandoned by Superman without even a goodbye, by writing a Pulitzer Price winning article entitled “Why the world doesn’t need Superman”. Of course Superman immediately sets about proving why the world does need him, while trying to come to terms with the new Lois. Lex Luthor is back to his evil plans to rule the world, this time he has found a way (using technology from Superman’s home world) to make his own continent. A continent which has Kryptonite as it’s bedrock leaving Superman powerless once he arrives to stop Lex killing billions when the adjusting sea levels flood half the world.

All the key Superman elements were present, a perpetually grumpy Perry White ( Frank Langella), a perpetually perky Jimmy Olson (Sam Huntington), a truly nasty Lex Luthor, given much more bitter vindictiveness by Kevin Spacy than Gene Hackman ever mustered, a silly “girlfriend” for Lex, (Parker Posey) who cries over Superman much as Miss Teschmacher did before her and a love affair between Lois (Kate Bosworth) and Superman, which neither seems able to admit to or deal with. There are some lovely set “action” pieces, Superman saving Lois from a plane wreck is wonderful and the effects throughout Metropolis of an earth tremor started by Lex Luthor are very well done, but it’s Brandon Routh as the man of steel who totally steals the show. The first time he turns round and smiles at Jimmy Olson I got chills. It’s as if he is channelling Christopher Reeve, the same voice, the same smile, the same mannerisms, Routh does a remarkable job of carrying over the continuity from Superman’s previous incarnation.

This was an enjoyable movie, a fairly exciting no-brainer, a little slow to get going and you do feel like forcing Lois and Superman into relationship counselling, but entertaining enough to hold the attention.

It's Got: An uncanny portrayal of the man of steel, a really nasty Lex Luthor, some exciting action and an interesting revelation.

It Needs: To get going a little quicker and Superman to show a little more courage in his love life.


For the most part an exciting and entertaining no-brainer, could this be a new franchise for the next generation?