Superman Returns gets back to the heart of what superhero comics are all about.
Lately, (in no doubt due to popular demand) there have been superhero after superhero films to come out, whether they be in the Marvel or DC universe. And within these universes, each film is intricately connected in some form or fashion. Superman Returns is a sequel, in a way (except it’s not really a sequel to any particular film; rather, it’s simply an untold sequel to the Superman story).
It starts off with Clark Kent (Brandon Routh) returning to earth after mysteriously vanishing previously (and without giving girlfriend Lois Lane ((Kate Bosworth)) fair warning). When Kent returns, Lane is engaged and has a little boy with her fiancé. Of course, this takes Kent back a little bit because I suppose he expected Lane to wait on him. Obviously she didn’t, but when Superman reappears, she starts to wonder if maybe she should have waited for him.
While this unusual love triangle is going on, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) has a plot to destroy the world, and only Superman (with a little help from Lane, her son and her fiancé) can ultimately stop his odd real-estate plan to build his own empire.
For a 2006 film, Superman Returns has some astonishingly good special effects. In fact, at the 79th Academy Awards, it was nominated for best Visual Effects, losing to Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. In comparison to today’s best, and the most recent superhero 2016 film Doctor Strange, it does not fall far behind in this category. Compared to some of today’s films, it even exceeds in the visual effects area. Really the cornfield scene is one of the only places I found lacking in believability. Nevertheless, special effects over the years have truly improved with the increase and access of computer animation, evident in Doctor Strange.
Superman Returns is clearly a superhero film. No extra drama and no unnecessary dry wit. Just a superhero film, similar to the simplicity of the comics. Superman is simply out to to defeat Lex Luthor and perhaps win back Lois Lane, and the simplicity is actually delightful.
In reality, no, Superman Returns is not a better-made film than Doctor Strange, but it does prove to be quite entertaining. Compared to 2013’s Man of Steel, it is definitely a better film since it does not force complicated theories and story lines and unnecessarily long battle sequences on viewers. From my view, the ending of Superman Returns was a little disappointing, but that doesn’t make the ending an unacceptable one.
Overall, for someone who is particularly in to watching superhero film, Superman Returns is a fun watch. It allows viewers to sit back, relax and watch a fun, entertaining film that does not require too much thought, getting back to the heart of what comic books were intended to do. Superman Returns has a lot of heart, and its viewers will honestly sympathize with Clark Kent’s plights while still feeling involved in Superman’s fights.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures