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Overall Rating
3.32

Awesome33.09%
Worth A Look: 17.09%
Average: 14.91%
Pretty Bad: 18.91%
Total Crap: 16%

13 reviews, 197 user ratings


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Superman Returns
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Moviegoers don't need a savior. And neither do I."
4 stars

We begin with Lex Luthor. Why does he surround himself with idiots — Miss Teschmacher and Otis in the original Richard Donner/Richard Lester films, and now Parker Posey as a fashion-victim ditz and various grunting minions? Because, for all his criminal-mastermind preening, he's a second-rate intellect who has to feel smarter than anyone around him. Remember that, because it's the key to why "Superman Returns" may work for some and not for others.

After almost twenty years, and about ten years of false starts, director Bryan Singer has rebooted the Superman film franchise with an occasionally rousing but surprisingly sedate and reflective movie. Superman (newcomer Brandon Routh) has been away from Earth for five years — poking around the galaxy looking for clues to himself in fragments of his long-dead home planet Krypton — and so has his dweeby alter ego Clark Kent. They both return at the same time, though nobody connects the dots, not even fearless reporter Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) or the aforementioned genius of hate Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey).

When a real director (as opposed to a hack-for-hire like Brett Ratner or Tim Story) takes on a comic-book hero — Christopher Nolan with Batman, Ang Lee with the Hulk, and Singer with the X-Men and now Superman — they generally want to burrow underneath the invulnerable skin and probe the anguished psyche within. When possible, they also want to take the character back to the basics — the nucleus, if you will, of the character's appeal in the first place. Some don't like Superman because he's just too perfect, too noble, and too powerful (he gained a ludicrous number of specialized superpowers in the comics over the years before John Byrne did his own reset in 1986 and pared him down). Others see him as an ideal. Bryan Singer bypasses all that and recasts Superman as the ultimate outsider — the Last Son of Krypton, to borrow the title of Elliot S. Maggin's 1978 novel. If you discount the various familial detritus of the old comics (Supergirl, Kandor, Krypto the super-dog) there's nobody more alone — not even Batman.

Singer brings a satisfying sense of weight and consequence to the big action numbers. The plane rescue is probably going to go down in some kind of set-piece history — the tremors of danger, the spike upward into chaos, the tension and release, all suggest Spielberg in his freewheeling prime. Singer's becalmed version of the Superman/Lois night-flight trumps the one in the 1978 original (and benefits from not being marred by that awful Leslie Bricusse "Can You Read My Mind" drivel). Technically, this Superman is firing strong on all levels. The plot threads, however, are the idiots that Singer the mastermind surrounds himself with. Luthor wants to...build his own continent? And kill billions of people in the process? Who's going to be left alive to "pay through the nose" to live on Luthoria, or Otisberg, or whatever he decides to call it? Luthor has been festering in prison for five years and he has nothing more diabolical in mind for his όbernemesis than a kryptonite shiv between the ribs?

The Clockwork Orange-style pummeling of the weakened Superman stings us as it's meant to. Since we know he won't die, though, it's hard to feel alarmed — just offended at the indignity. Superman Returns brings up mere-mortal resentment of costumed gods that the movie isn't quite equipped to deal with (besides, Singer already did that to a fare-thee-well in his X-Men movies). A great deal of the final hour feels tethered to a creaky plot, and though Brandon Routh's Superman gets better as the movie goes along — more soulful for having tasted his own blood — Kate Bosworth's Lois doesn't, and the rest of the cast, including Kevin Spacey off on his own Planet Of Amusing Myself, barely connects with the material.

What recommends the movie are the golden threads of subtext. Singer takes his superhero mythos seriously, though not with the emo pomposity of Batman Begins. Superman has landed in a chaotic world filled with bodies that burst like tomatoes. Yet the people in those bodies live life and get on with things. The world has survived, and moved on, in the wake of Superman's five-year hiatus, though not without tasting its own blood. (Unspoken very loudly is the notion that Superman might've averted 9/11 if he'd been here. There's a nicely judged scene with Clark on Ma Kent's farm numbly scanning the TV news and seeing that things have pretty much gotten worse globally.) Superman Returns is about how the eternal above-it-all loner decides to rejoin the vast, fucked-up, self-destructive human family because of (cue Brando) our capacity for good.

Were you expecting Superman to save your summer after one disappointment after another? I wouldn't jump off a dam to see if he'll catch you — the movie is solid and emotionally direct but not the concussive powerhouse many will be hoping for. And it has too many cheesy summer-flick narrative beats to be considered anything near great. But if you enjoy subtle moments like Superman using his super-breath to blow out Lois's lighter as much as you enjoy his employing the same power to beat back exploding gas mains, this might be your movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14733&reviewer=416
originally posted: 06/28/06 15:45:40
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User Comments

8/25/14 zxcdqanq USA 3 stars
7/23/14 yaltvoufj USA 2 stars
7/12/14 wrqazygmbhp USA 4 stars
1/20/14 reptilesni Superman is a deadbeat. Real hero is the dad who stuck around. Routh is boring. 1 stars
7/19/13 Joe Snoozefest. 1 stars
12/11/12 Linda Boring. I didn't like it. 2 stars
2/05/11 Roy Smith Bosworth badly miscast, Spacey is Dr Evil, plot is recycled garbage 2 stars
1/12/11 James <a href="mailto:elvin44E29559@fireden.net">email</a> <a href="mailto:lou44E29559@fireden.ne 5 stars
9/15/10 marwinkowa scientists pattern due half 1 stars
6/21/10 Sarah Worst Superman movie. 1 stars
7/25/09 Jimmy Zatoichi! 4 stars
3/04/09 lewis davies Campy, schmaltzy retread of I and II, with Christ imagry tossed in a cheap device 1 stars
1/04/09 RECCERS Superman never had a son, so they just pulled that out of there arse. To long too. 3 stars
11/08/08 Abby Meyer your crazy if you don't like this! 4 stars
9/14/08 hannibal I was expecting a big masterpiece. I think you need to love Superman in order to get it. 3 stars
9/03/08 Shaun Wallner The Action was Amazing! 5 stars
7/21/08 the dork knight Just so.......so........blah. 3 stars
7/09/08 Kevin Spacey Hey Bryan Singer, leave Superman alone and return to Keyzer Soze instead! 2 stars
6/30/08 hiperbolha loved the original. this one was incredibly lame and boring 2 stars
6/25/08 J. Wolf Best comic book movie of all time. 5 stars
6/21/08 David V Best Superman movie. 4 stars
5/21/08 sebastian rea Superman is a shitty hero anyway. 1 stars
5/03/08 Arthur Better than the boring Spiderman films, but not as good as Superman: the move 5 stars
4/27/08 Totir Alexandru I hope to see more Superman movies in the future. The character and story are worth it. 4 stars
3/22/08 Kenny Good movie, but it lacked inspiration 4 stars
3/16/08 Stephen C Not as good as the first Superman, but beats most of the sequels out there 4 stars
2/22/08 Badge For kids only. 1 stars
2/20/08 mrsinister Worse than Hellboy, better than Daredevil. 2 stars
11/05/07 Schweinstein Rubbish film, boring, lifeless. Insult to all who loved the first two superman films 1 stars
10/08/07 Dan Halberg You have no right to say this film is BETTER than X-Men. What bullshit. 1 stars
10/01/07 Andrew Kercher Brandon Routh made me believe a man could fly again. But nobody can outdo Kidder's Lois. 5 stars
9/25/07 Bitchflaps A decent effort, better than X-Men or Spider-Man, but the bland leads let it down. 3 stars
8/22/07 Jubei A solid homage to Richard Donner's Superman but Singer should find his own vision of Supes. 4 stars
8/07/07 iZoe The BEST Superhero movie ever made. But not for action-obsessed "Brain-Dead" fanboys. 5 stars
8/07/07 Frazier G bad storyline and cast. such a disappointment. Hulk was better 2 stars
8/05/07 Kelly Whitekiller How could anyone give this a good rating? Effects were good, thats it. 1 stars
7/20/07 The Golden Martian Worst comic book movie EVER! 1 stars
6/20/07 simmy Honestly, I didn't enjoy one second. 2 stars
6/19/07 Matt Huge disappointment. 1 stars
6/14/07 Lance The only good thing about this movie was the costume, beyond that it sucked on every level 1 stars
5/30/07 ebert great movie 5 stars
5/21/07 NHK Great film. Better than the first movies for Spiderman, X-Men and Batman 4 stars
5/15/07 967 Overrated and overhyped, like most superhero films. 2 stars
5/15/07 movieman loved it 5 stars
5/12/07 Fudd Poor on every level. 1 stars
5/09/07 Kevin Mecham The greatest Superman to date. A wonderful Return. Superman has a heart! 5 stars
5/01/07 Tracey Chambers very disappointing. This piece of crap killed a great franchise 1 stars
4/05/07 Dave Best Superman yet 5 stars
3/09/07 Simm I don't get what's so great about it. 5 stars?? 2 stars
3/08/07 man great comeback to a great series 5 stars
3/07/07 dude great movie 5 stars
3/07/07 dprodigy Too simplistic. Loony villain. Lois is a bitch. Take your pick. 1 stars
2/20/07 Todd M Not bad. The main characters seemed way too young though. 3 stars
2/18/07 JM Synth Good, but you think they could have come up with a bit more in the last twenty years! 3 stars
2/07/07 Meekay Bad casting, boring plot. Horrible excuse for a Superman movie. 1 stars
2/02/07 Anthony Feor Spectacular film, if only the Batman series could have this much intelligence 5 stars
1/09/07 Indrid Cold Not bad, as good as 1 and 2. Too cartoonish to be a real masterpiece though. 4 stars
1/05/07 Matt C REALLY? The kid just HAPPENED to be looking in the water 10 MINUTES AFTER THEY LEFT? REALLY 1 stars
12/30/06 Austin Wertman ONE OF THE 5 BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIES I'VE EVER SEEN 5 stars
12/29/06 Todd Bring on Doomsday goddammit! 1 stars
12/26/06 johnnyfog They should have JUST STARTED OVER! Luthor is too cartoony in this setting. Singer die!!! 2 stars
12/17/06 Jen in Denmark Awful, just awful and disappointing. No story, no content, just a pile of poo. 1 stars
12/06/06 David Pollastrini great action with a few comedy bits 5 stars
11/18/06 Quigley WHAT HAPPENED?!? Bryan Singer was a good director! Too bad. Good Brandon Routh, lame action 2 stars
11/15/06 chris f exellent movie dont listen to the freaks who say its bad they no nothing 5 stars
11/15/06 Zaeem D Movie does not depict Superman. Crap dialogue & characters & costume & plot. Truth, Erik! 1 stars
11/05/06 MP Bartley Routh is good, Spacey is great, Singer does a good job...a good job all round. 4 stars
11/05/06 Sven Harvey Not bad. Horribly miscast. Perhaps the movie should have been a follow on from Smallville. 4 stars
10/20/06 Robyn Jamil-Walid Not bad, despite making Lois Lane not particularly likeable & Spacey making a lame villain. 4 stars
10/20/06 Henry Superman Returns fue del carajo 5 stars
10/18/06 Adrian This movie reflects our culture in society; the need for a hero. 4 stars
10/17/06 David I loved this film.Great special effects and story. 5 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Exhausting escapist entertainment, for better and sometimes for worse. CGI is top-notch. 4 stars
10/04/06 Baldeadly Wanted to leave half way into it.It was so BAD! 1 stars
9/24/06 Farnsy great movie with good story but it didn't leave me in awe 4 stars
9/20/06 Jami W. reminded me of an old boyfriend 1 stars
9/16/06 Aldo Actors were good but the story was BAD...Luthor never seemed threating enough 2 stars
9/05/06 The Maz Bad. Only the shitfest Clerks2 was a worse movie in 2006. 2 stars
9/03/06 Christopher Stucky Pleasant to watch, and I've already forgotten what happened in it. 3 stars
8/31/06 Matt Waterhouse Heartfelt, visually stunning, better than Pirates! Too much nitpicking going on. Fantastic! 5 stars
8/26/06 michael first one was better but still worth seeing 3 stars
8/26/06 james burke Singer likes the Donner film, but hasn't read many superman comics. He doesn't 'get' it. 2 stars
8/24/06 Chad Thomas Best movie of the summer! 5 stars
8/22/06 G Sherfy SuperLONG; could have edited out 30 minutes; 3 stars
8/18/06 Alexander Firestone Give Routh an OSCAR now!!! Fabulous performance! 5 stars
8/17/06 Pn. Spacey impoves on Hackman. End of story. 2 stars
8/15/06 Rohit Loved it! Worth for a sequel 5 stars
8/15/06 Don Paco Enough crappy superhero movies already. 2 stars
8/15/06 sweetgrrl1972 Really really boring. 1 stars
8/08/06 Michael Makes Ben Afleck's Daredevil seem like a masterspiece. 1 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant The only good film this summer. Tragically ignored by people who see 'Pirates' repeatedly. 5 stars
8/02/06 Alexander Firestone Give Brandon Routh an OSCAR right now. 5 stars
8/01/06 Michael Worst superhero movie since Batman and Robin 1 stars
8/01/06 Benjamin Meh. Chop an hour off and it would've been better. 3 stars
8/01/06 Chuck Where were the feel of greatness when you see Super? He is another hero not our Super 2 stars
7/28/06 moops Spacey disappoints, inane plot and action scenes are a bore 2 stars
7/26/06 Koitus Disappointed with ending (and green K; he would have sensed / felt it!). Also, a lame Lois 4 stars
7/26/06 Ricardo leave your brain at home to watch this film 1 stars
7/23/06 Doc Holliday Mediocre and Wooden at Best. Very miscast Lois Lane. 3 stars
7/23/06 ES Had a joygasm watching this. We all missed the Man of Steel 5 stars
7/22/06 RealDeal2006 Absolutley superb 5 stars
7/21/06 Alexander Firestone Routh is wonderful; getting the essential loneliness of the savior perfectly. 5 stars
7/20/06 Dick Shatternacker A step up in the visual effects department but life had been drained out of this super hero 4 stars
7/19/06 Michael Luthor was good. Why must lois have a kid? Cyclops should have been Superman! 5 stars
7/18/06 chris f ignore the movie nerds its a great mocie 5 stars
7/17/06 Charlie O. Smith My God -- you're all such pretentious jackasses! It was a genuinely good movie!!! 4 stars
7/16/06 Swellman I was checking my watch - not a good sign 2 stars
7/15/06 Alejandro Luna First Catwoman, then Electra and the FF. They only paved the way for this turkey. 1 stars
7/14/06 alice First part: BORING Second part: Ok 3 stars
7/14/06 harry junk 1 stars
7/13/06 Ole Man Bourbon Pointless, plotless, soulless, and BORING AS FUCK. Awful. 1 stars
7/13/06 mr. mike the '78 movie was better 3 stars
7/13/06 John S Dismal. How many millions and we get THIS for a script? Pure crap. 1 stars
7/13/06 Guy Smiley This movie sucked in spades. I saw a free bootleg and I got ripped off. 1 stars
7/12/06 Colin McEvoy Jon Peters is the only person to blame for this movie. Not the filmmakers, only Jon Peters 4 stars
7/12/06 Mike V Borrrrrrrrrrrring!!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
7/11/06 Roy Excellent movie, with Fantastic effects , but it didn't leave me in Awe 4 stars
7/11/06 Joseph P. Hughes Akin to Morgan Freeman's plane crash analogy - a series of misssteps. Great SFX. 3 stars
7/11/06 Alexander Firestone Superb portrayal by Brandon Routh emphasizing Superman's essential lonliness. 5 stars
7/11/06 James Fluker This movie was boring beyond all measure. Routh and Bosworth were miscast! No action!!!! 2 stars
7/11/06 Dez An Exceelent ComeBack! Brandon Routh did an awesome job!! 5 stars
7/09/06 Trevor Simply Amazing 5 stars
7/08/06 Jiz "Boring" about sums it up. I've seen Seagal movies with better plot too. 2 stars
7/08/06 Terry Upp In a word: Boring 1 stars
7/07/06 peter arajs this movie is useless 1 stars
7/07/06 Zaw Wow! really take me back to frist time I saw Superman! Looks like remake at first isn't! 5 stars
7/06/06 Mase For suge a long big movie, it felt somewhat vacant and small. and the casting wow horrible. 3 stars
7/06/06 Seanboy A popcorn masterpiece, sits along side batman begins and spidy 2 as the best of its kind 5 stars
7/05/06 areon didn't live up to "Superman: The Movie" but still -----INCREDIBLY AMAZING 5 stars
7/05/06 R.W.Welch Not quite up to the Chris Reeve original but as close as they're likely to get. Snazzy FX. 4 stars
7/05/06 Mike Didn't meet my expectations but still was a decent flick. It seemed a little slow paced tho 4 stars
7/05/06 Alfonso Affinito An incredibly brilliant and even spiritual movie. I loved itl 5 stars
7/05/06 ajay it was okay... still a little campy and over-the-top, needs to be about 20 minutes shorter 3 stars
7/05/06 John Boring, the "character development" didn't ammount to anything. 2 stars
7/05/06 Steve-O Like Christ, Superman will die of crucifixion - at the hands of bitchy nitpicking fanboys 5 stars
7/05/06 BJaq right up there w/ "Hellboy", as the the stupidest superhero movie i've seen 1 stars
7/05/06 stingerman Puny, Stalker, Deadbeat Dad Superman 1 stars
7/04/06 Bob Boring? I thought it was ok. Not sure it was cast right, but the story was fun. 3 stars
7/04/06 LYR So very bad that it actually made me mad that I'd paid to see it! 1 stars
7/04/06 nick movie was sooooo boring 2 stars
7/04/06 phil About as bad as Childress says, and about twice as boring 2 stars
7/04/06 Dan Disappointing. The screenplay wasn't very good, and Luthor's entire plotline was stupid 2 stars
7/03/06 millersxing Too long, overhyped, the human drama is stale, & the action is dissapointing. 2 stars
7/03/06 Roy Smith Did Lex think a nuke or sniper bullet wouldn't come his way ASAP?! He is a total retard. 2 stars
7/03/06 tx2030 this is great movie! 5 stars
7/03/06 Uncle Salty Hot Molten Shit 1 stars
7/03/06 manosteelbars Awesome movie 5 stars
7/03/06 Logan Horberg what the hell? this was the best superhero movie i've seen since v for vendetta 5 stars
7/03/06 Jeff Botting The dialogue was half-baked and Lex Luthor's character was Dr. Evil.. basically. 2 stars
7/03/06 Sean D Very very good. 5 stars
7/02/06 jcjs i'm going all the way with this..rather stunned i like it much more than i expected 5 stars
7/02/06 M Franck No script. A shell of a film. Empty - yet deeply disappointing. 1 stars
7/02/06 The StarWolf This is by the same guy who gave us X-MEN and X-MEN 2? You just be joking. 2 stars
7/02/06 erick A depressed, souless Superman...great summer fun indeed. 2 stars
7/02/06 Nick Supercrap. Childress speaks the truth. 1 stars
7/02/06 steve Childress has it right word for word. 2 stars
7/02/06 George Fantastic effects with great suspense, but it didn't leave me in Awe. 4 stars
7/02/06 cpbjr loved it; HIGHLY entertaining 5 stars
7/01/06 rob Childress had completely the wrong expectations it would seem. 5 stars
7/01/06 Brian Mckay This movie was goddamn amazing. Been trying to nitpick it all night and CAN'T 5 stars
7/01/06 Obi Wan Routh was excellent choice, Singer did a very good job..but too long. 4 stars
7/01/06 phil Childress is completly right, boring as hell 2 stars
7/01/06 Jambi Such a shame, Routh was great, but the movie around him was merely "Meh"...too bad. 3 stars
7/01/06 David LeRoy Don't let others judge it for you...... See it for yourself 5 stars
6/30/06 Peter Has Childress ever read a comic book? I don't think so. 5 stars
6/30/06 Davad Childress is wrong. This movie treats Superman with a wonderful reverence. 5 stars
6/30/06 Ellen This movie was awful. It would have been so easy for people to find out Superman was Clark 2 stars
6/30/06 Scott Wow is all I can say - action with heart - who could ask for more 5 stars
6/30/06 KingNeutron Make your own judgement, but to me Routh *is* Teh New Superman. 4 stars
6/30/06 Nashberg What an epic! Everything Spiderman 2 was, only on a much bigger scale! 5 stars
6/30/06 Mark W I wanted to love this. It was weak. Clark drinks a beer? Has a child? Slow and wrong! 2 stars
6/30/06 Michael Borge The movie was poorly casted and boring 2 stars
6/30/06 Rex To long, slow, and dull. Nothing special about this movie. 2 stars
6/30/06 Mitch Terribly slow-paced and not much fun at all. Donner's is still the best. 3 stars
6/30/06 Melanie Well done! 5 stars
6/30/06 Adrien Some slow parts but still a great movie for a superhero movie. You're way too geek Erik! 4 stars
6/29/06 eric sledge IT WAS EVERYTHING I HOPED FOR AND MORE WELCOME BACK SUPER MAN CANT WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL 5 stars
6/29/06 Bruce Wayne The best SuperHero Movie!!! 5 stars
6/29/06 Steve Martin Boring and overworn. Nothing original, nothing exciting. No real reason to watch. 2 stars
6/29/06 Ricky David Tripp The costume sucked. The movie was only marginally better. 3 stars
6/29/06 Frank Walker This movie reminded us of what makes Superman great and builds a foundation for great sequa 5 stars
6/29/06 Darren Shea Despite some flaws, it is a superb comic book movie. 5 stars
6/29/06 Sam Hozman Interesting take on representing "The American Way" 2 stars
6/29/06 Quiggs Fantastic Film! 5 stars
6/29/06 Reignofjerm I think Erik nailed it. I liked it for the fact that it was Superman, but it was very slow 4 stars
6/29/06 John Stone Erik Childress is an idiot, even for a movie critic. 5 stars
6/29/06 uncle bob childress nailed it. save your money for spidey 3 1 stars
6/29/06 Tswc Can I have my money back so i can use it for Spider-Man 3 please 1 stars
6/29/06 Tony Bussert I thought this was the best of the superhero movies yet. 5 stars
6/28/06 Ole Man Bourbon Beyond boring, plotless, heartless, pointless. Torture session. 1 stars
6/28/06 Doug Are you retarded? Ditching III and IV was the smartest move they could've done. 5 stars
6/28/06 Ron G This was needed to restart the series. But need to be more original and fun from here. 4 stars
6/28/06 BrianWilly Awesome movie, don't miss it. 5 stars
6/28/06 Jord Alexander very very very boring, avoid like the plague 1 stars
6/28/06 Jeremy Swank Sequel to two films made in the friggin 70s? Was looking for an new take on the franchise. 2 stars
6/28/06 Jimmy This just did not make sense, too long and not enough action - Hulksyndrome strikes again 3 stars
6/28/06 Josh Tetreault Erik Childress is a jerk, the movie was superb, possibly the best superhero film ever 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Jun-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Nov-2006

UK
  14-Jul-2006

Australia
  29-Jun-2006




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