Why Superman Returns Sucked

I never got around to seeing Superman Returns in the theatre for several reasons, and now that I'm seeing it on cable, I'm glad I didn't bother.

Let me first be clear that I'm, like, the world's biggest Bryan Singer fangoober. I love Bryan Singer. The Usual Suspects is one of my favorite movies of all time, and Apt Pupil and X-Men and X2 are right up there as well. Even Public Access was worth seeing, though deeply flawed.

But Superman Returns isn't impressing me overmuch.

First of all, Kate Bosworth is catastrophically bad casting. She is, by far, the worst Lois Lane in the history of Lois Lanes. Since a large focus of the movie is the Superman-Lois Lane dynamic having half that dynamic be played by the overwhelmingly dull Bosworth kills a lot of the interest.

Secondly, Brandon Routh isn't much better than Bosworth. He's adequate, but no more than that. I find myself reminded of Anthony Ainley trying to be Roger Delgado, but not really capturing it, on Doctor Who -- or, to give another example, George Newbern doing warmed-over Tim Daly as the voice of Superman on the Justice League cartoon. Routh is Christopher Reeve Lite. He should've tried to make the role his own.

Thirdly, Singer should've done likewise. He's so busy paying homage to Richard Donner that sometimes it's like he forgets that he's a talented director in his own right who doesn't need, to be crude, to be spending so much time sucking Richard Donner's cock.

Fourthly, Superman leaving Earth for five years is just one big WTF. Leaving everything behind without saying anything to Lois or anyone just doesn't make any sense. Neither does the fact that nobody notices that Clark Kent's disappearance and return coincide with Supes'? Shouldn't somebody have picked up on it.

Fifthly, there's something seriously wrong with your Superman movie when the character who acts creepy and unpleasant and scary and stalker-like is Superman and the most heroic character in your movie isn't Superman (it's Richard White -- and hey, it was nice to see James Marsden's eyes!).

Sixthly, Luthor's plan was remarkably stupid.

Finally, it's at once trying too hard to be a sequel to a 26-year-old movie, and also trying too hard not to be. If it's only supposed to be five years after Superman II, where'd the digital cameras and cell phones come from? If it's only supposed to be five years after Superman II, why is Lois Lane so obviously younger? And where are Otis and Miss Tessmacher? And worst of all, Superman II ended with Superman assuring the President of the United States that he'd never let him down again, and then we're supposed to believe that our hero then buggered off for five years, in essence breaking his promise to the leader of the free world. Nice.

[First posted in my LiveJournal on 17 June 2007.]


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