CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

It is about time that "Superman Returns!"

In my old age, when I start swimming, I begin with
stretching to my full height when floating on top of
the surface. Since 1978, I can hear John Williams'
“Theme to Superman” every time I do this exercise
routine. The fact that Superman motivates me to
exercise reveals the positive impact that this
American mythological icon can have on one mere
mortal. John Williams theme music soars again in
“Superman Returns.”

Following an absence of several years, Superman
(Brandon Routh) returns to earth. Five years is a
long time for his old flame, Lois Lane (Kate
Bosworth), who has moved on with her life with an
engaged boyfriend (James Marsden) and son. In fact,
Lois Lane has pocketed the Pulitzer Prize for penning
the book, “Why the World Does Not Need Superman.” For
the first time in comic book lore, Superman, alias
news reporter Clark Kent, has become the other man in
this love triangle.

Things go from bad to worst for the Man of Steel when
it is revealed that his arch nemesis, Lex Luthor
(Kevin Spacey), has been released from prison.
Despite almost destroying the world, Lex Luthor is
paroled by the courts system. Lex Luthor resorts to
swindling widows and plotting his next scientific real estate deal.
With assistance of Kitty Kowalski (Parker Posey) and
her two dogs, Lex Luthor masterminds a foolproof power
grab that may kill Superman in the bargain.

Unlike the lightweight tone of the previous “Superman“ movies,
“Superman Returns“ strives for serious personal issues about truth, justice and
family responsibility. Pay attention to the running gag that reveals the dangers of smoking.
Director Bryan Singer does an excellent job consistently trapping Superman between a rock and a
hard place. Superman must constantly decide to either
save Lois Lane or preventing mass destruction. While
the movie drags a bit as Superman tries to make up
his mind, the action scenes that follow provide a payoff.

One of the best action scenes involves Superman's
public return. A jumbo jet plane (carrying Lois Lane,
of course) loses power and begins to crash. For
flight phobics, this sequence is claustrophobic to
watch, despite being on a 60 foot IMAX screen.
Superman saves the day, of course, but he really has
to work hard at it this time. The sequence ends with
self conscious humor that both celebrates and mocks
public heroism.

As Superman, 26 year old Brandon Routh shares the same
quality that served the late Christopher Reeve so
well, sincerity. Whether he is being goofy as Clark
Kent or noble as the visitor from the planet Krypton,
Routh never loses sense that Superman is an alien from
another world. As the villainous duo, Kevin Spacey
and Parker Posey underplay their stereotypical roles
and give funnier and more creepier performances. Kate
Bosworth creates the screens's most mature Lois Lane.
A veteran from Bryan Singer's “X-Men” movies,“ James
Marsden manages to portray a heroic man without any
super powers. Look for Noelle Neil and Jack Larsen
from the original “Superman” television series from
the 1950s in keynote cameo roles.

Last, but not least, “Superman Returns” is a film for
families, especially fathers and their sons. There is
a hint of Christian symbolism and this may be the
first “Superman” movie that will make you cry. It
took almost 20 years the bring the big guy back to
the big screen, but it is worth the wait. Especially
when one has a local IMAX movie screen at the Fort
Lauderdale Museum of Discovery. “Superman Returns” is
what Summer Movies are supposed to be about, a
positive, thought provoking big screen experience.
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