Sunday, July 16, 2006

Superman Returns

Year: 2006
Dir: Bryan Singer
Screenplay: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris

Stars: BRANDON ROUTH, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Sam Huntington

Yes, Superman is back. Farm boy Clark Kent has returned to the silver screen, and as every arch-criminal and psychotic-villain knows, it’s not going to be easy destroying Metropolis now!

The S on his chest may be a little smaller but that’s about all that’s small about this picture, for director Bryan Singer’s homage to the Superman movies he grew up with deserves huge respect. As soon as the music starts, and the opening credits roll, you can’t help but feel the enthusiasm poured into it, resurrecting a franchise with an attention to detail that can’t really be appreciated by a younger audience.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that S stands for something else – Singer, no amateur when it comes to the genre, with two block-busting X-Men movies under his belt, loves Superman, and it shows! He turned down the director’s chair on X-Men 3, started to remake Logan’s Run, and ended up giving us a revamped Superman.

This is could be described as a 'boys own' fantasy film. There are airline pilots, astronauts, baseball players and of course THE ultimate superhero. But with the added torrents of emotion and romance, it’s beyond any 10 year-olds’ comprehensions, and very much a personal film, touching on a myriad of issues, loss and alienation being primary.

As you’d expect, it can’t have been easy for newcomer Brandon Routh either, donning that cape and standing aloft, recreating a role that Christopher Reeve iconically made his own. This time around, Routh’s spooky portrayal of a melancholy and tortured soul is very much a lost kind of hero, and a far less comic one.

Kate Bosworth is too fresh-faced to be a convincing ‘Lois Lane’, compared with Margot Kidder’s harden reporter, still in love with Superman, while Kevin Spacey’s ‘Lex Luthor’ is more intelligently maniacal than Gene Hackman’s, in his dapper suits and array of tragic toupees.

But the lack of a decent showdown between Superman and his archenemy may disappoint some, the SFX and CGI render this piece of celluloid a well deserved place in the annals of Superhero-lore, and leaves the door wide open for a sequel. After all, everyone knows the world is a lot better off now Superman’s back in town!

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