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Superman Returns the Extended Edition DVD Review

April 4, 2010
by Kate Blake, OSCK and Multipleverses.com
I resisted watching Superman Returns for a long time because the reviews from my fellow Superman fans were so bad. Last weekend I decided to pull it out of my deluxe Ultimate Superman Movie collection and watch it for myself. I figured that if people had problems with the theatrical release- maybe they were managed with the extended directors edition. I had seen the assorted Bryan Singer behind the scenes videos before. He is enamored with the Silver Age vision of Superman and his view of Supes is purely based upon the Christopher Reeve movies. This is ok but as a fan who likes the modern age comics this was one of the things holding me back. I like married Lois and Clark- Clark is so much more confident and Superman is not only a hero but a leader in modern age comics. Superman is only a hero in this telling of the Superman story.
Casting:
Brandon Routh plays Superman/ Clark Kent
Kate Bosworth plays Lois Lane
Eva Marie Saint plays Martha Kent
Kevin Spacey plays Lex Luthor
Frank Langella plays Perry White
Sam Huntington plays Jimmy Olsen
James Marsden plays Richard White ( nephew to Perry White and Lois’s fiance)
Parker Posey plays Kitty Kowalski ( Lex’s annoying moll)
Tristan Lake Leabu plays Jason White ( Lois’s son)
Kal Penn has a minor role as one of Lex’s henchmen
Plot Summary:
Superman flew away from earth five years ago when scientist thought they had found Krypton. He set out on a journey to find his roots and possibly his people. He presumably left without saying goodbye to Lois Lane who was recently mindwiped as at the end of Superman II- after he had told her his secret and they made love. When Superman returns to earth he initially visits his mother. Martha as always is thrilled to see her son Clark. Clark Kent heads back to Metropolis to resume his life.
Lex Luthor was in prison when Superman went away but when he has an appeal come up and Superman is not available to testify, Lex goes free. We see him with an old bedridden woman who has helped him get out of prison and on her death bed she leaves him- her much younger husband – her fortune. Lex leaves as soon as she croaks along with his bimbo du film Kitty Kowalski. First thing Lex does? He takes his big shiny new yacht and heads to the arctic where he finds Supermans crystals and decides to use them to build a new continent and become the richest man on earth. In the fortress we see archive footage of Jor-El as voiced by Marlon Brando.
Back on the mainland- Clark returns to work at the Daily Planet to find things changed. Lois has a Pulitzer to her name- for an article titled “Why the world does not need Superman”. Jimmy tells her she is engaged and she is a mommy. Clark is crushed and heads to a bar with Jimmy to drown his sorrows. Lois is on a plane that is part of a new Space Shuttle program to launch from high altitude, when the city is plunged into a blackout and things go haywire everywhere including on Lois’s plane. Cut to Superman in action rescuing the shuttle, the plane and announcing he is back.
Some welcome Superman – some do not. Lex goes on with his plan and a sappy Lois and Superman story commences. She is with Richard White- they live together and are engaged and they are raising her son as their own. Little Jason is sickly and kind of wimpy. Lois is happy to see Clark but he is not a priority for her. Richard tells Clark that he has heard so much about him- from Jimmy.
As the story moves along Superman has to rescue Lois, Jason and Richard from Lex and in a twist they have to rescue him too after Lex incapacitates Superman with kryptonite. In the spirit of true Lex Luthor women in all incarnations, Kitty betrays Lex by dumping the precious starter crystals so he cannot build more earth. Story ends with Lex and Kitty stranded on a desert island – a tiny desert island- Clark back at work after Superman has to be treated for massive Krypto poisoning. Superman watches over Lois but lets her lead her life while he is on the outside protecting others. END MOVIE.
What worked:
  • Great visual effects. The fortress was amazing, the plane save was breathtaking.
  • Brandon Routh as Superman and Clark Kent. Brandon had the bumbling humble Clark down and the weary lonely Superman down as well. He filled out the suit nicely though he would look better in it today without the additional padding.
  • Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. Kevin held up his end of making Lex into both a despicable and likeable character. I liked him calling Superman selfish for flying around with his little red cape and keeping his powers for himself. His seeing Superman as an alien who needs stopping is an iconic theme.
  • Jimmy Olsen as Clark’s best friend. I thought Sam Huntington played a sweet and believable Jimmy Olsen. I liked that he was not just Superman’s fan and photographer but he LIKED and MISSED Clark Kent.
  • Richard White- I know I will get pinged here but I thought James Marsden did a great job with his orignal character. Richard was an admirable man who was taking care of Lois and her son and loved them both. He risked his life and limb to save her along with Superman even though he was jealous of her relationship with Superman. He is an adult in the story.
What did not work:
  • Superman mooning over Lois and the unrequited/ unfinished love affair. His spying on Lois and her family was creepy and a definite mis-use of powers.
  • Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. In every version of Lois Lane whether it has been comics, tv or film- Lois always has a bit of an edge to her. There was no bite or spicy burn from Kate Bosworth. She was bland and boring. She might have well as been blond. I am not a Kate hater- I loved her in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and thought she was good in 21. She did not have the oomph to carry this off. She was only 23 when the movie was made and was supposed to be in her 30s which already put her at a disadvantage as an actress.
  • Poor script. There was very little life in the dialog that came to the screen. No snappy banter. Frank Langella as Perry White tried to inject some life into his lines but the rest of the film was very flat. Brandon’s very sweet bumbling Clark mannerisms were wasted without Lois Lane bouncing witty quips off of his mighty chest. The most real scenes for me were the ones with Clark and Jimmy. That is only one part of the Superman story and should never be what is most memorable.
My overall impression of Superman Returns is that it is not going to ever be remembered as a great film. It did no service to the legacy of Superman and his love for Lois Lane. As a love story it did not have resolution and made Superman the other man which he never is. I look at this chapter very much like the George Clooney Batman film. Entertaining enough to watch but not memorable and not important to the ongoing mythos. This was disappointing to me because I love X-Men 2 which Singer brought brilliantly to life. I thought X2 was the best of the three X-Men movies and I look forward to seeing X-Men : First Class which he is working on. I do not want him near Superman again.
What is on the horizon for Superman fans? I am personally waiting on pins and needles to hear more about Chrisopher Nolan and what his plans are for a new Superman movie. He has said it will be modern and new. No more retelling the same old stories. I am personally hoping we see him cast Tom Welling as Superman and let him fly with a great script and awesome story. A new twist would be for Smallville to end not just with Clark donning the cape but married to Lois and then in a film we see the modern Clark Kent/ Superman fighting crime while his homelife is just fine. Might we see Darkseid or some other big Supes villain? We will have to wait and see. Brandon Routh will not be Superman again- his contract with Warner Brothers has expired. He is doing well on TV with a stint on Chuck. I am hoping he can land something juicy where he can show his comedic skills as well as his heroic ones too.

Head to our forums for tons of HQ promo photos from the film HERE.

Head to our video channel for interviews, clips and scenes from the film HERE.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 4:29 pm

    I had no idea there was an extended edition… good to know!

  2. Erik Estrada permalink
    June 24, 2013 8:44 pm

    OK. So lets rewind the tape here, folks and go back a little bit. In Bryan Singer’s version, we have to assume that Superman has had to made love to Lois Lane before he leaves for space, which would calculate the age of Lois’ son and why Lois is probably so pissed with the Man of Steel. Make love and disappearing for 5 years would probably piss me off too. Why is everybody confusing that with the “love making” scene in Superman II? Can I remind everyone that Superman did not sleep with Lois in the movie until AFTER he had willingly given up his powers to be mortal and human. Am I the only one who remembers this or am I missing a deleted scene somewhere?

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