Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Superman Returns

directed by Bryan Singer

Superman Returns poster  
In 1978 Christopher Reeve defined the Man of Steel for a generation. So when Brandon Routh comes along looking the absolute spitting image of the young Reeve, it's almost as though we are stepping back in time. Superman Returns is more than a little nostalgic, retaining much of the 70s look, as well as an uncannily Reeve-alike leading man.

Superman has been away from Earth for five years, attempting to discover what remains of his people and their civilisation. But on his return he finds that things have moved on, and people have become used to living without him. Even worse, Lois Lane has moved on. She now has a new man in her life, and she has become a mother.

Lex Luthor, however, hasn't changed all that much. He is at large once more, after a certain superhero failed to make a court appearance to secure a conviction for him. When he's not scamming dying old ladies of their fortunes, he is planning moves into real estate that will cost billions. Billions of lives, that is. Kevin Spacey's Luthor is urbane and softly-spoken, yet he still manages to be menacing and convincingly ruthless. It helps that he has some of the best lines in the film.

Some things remain the same. Lois Lane still has a knack for getting herself into dangerous situations that inevitably require heroic last-minute rescues. Superman Returns delivers these big, edge-of-the-seat moments in spades, all to the background of that stirring John Williams score.

The special effects are big, bold and flashy, from that bullet in the eyeball episode through to the scenes from space. This is a film that aims to wow you on every level.

There are also plenty of tear-jerk moments as Superman tries to make it up to Lois for leaving her. This is a movie that's rich in all the major emotions except disgust. As well as a compelling love story there are dashes of humour that keep it from descending into melodrama. Although the film is actually set in the present it is full of references, both visual and spoken, to the Superman movies of the past.

If you're after a film with a simple plot, clearly defined notions of good and evil, and plenty of action, then Superman Returns hits the spot. There's something in it for all the family to enjoy.

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Bryan Singer