Ahh, another time where I had an opportunity to go see today’s movie and didn’t. This time, there wasn’t another movie that kept me from seeing it, but a whole lot of personal crap going on. Anyways, when this movie was first announced, I was actually a little bit excited to see it, as it had been a while since a Superman was in theaters and the recently rebooted Batman movie was really good. Unfortunately, I honestly never saw it in theaters and even when it came out on DVD, I never rented it. I would occasionally catch parts of it on TV every now and then but I didn’t get to see it completely until I got it for Christmas with the box set of the original movies. So let’s see how the new movie holds up as I watch Superman Returns.
The plot: On a stormy night, Lex Luthoris at the death bed of his wife, a wealthy old woman who helped get him out of prison. As soon as she finishes signing her will, leaving him everything, she dies and Luthor leaves the house with his associate Kitty Kowalski, who was acting as the maid. Travelling to the Arctic, Luthor, Kitty, and some of Luthor’s underlings travel to the Fortress of Solitude, where Luthor begins activating the crystals inside. Meanwhile, Martha Kent is at her home when she sees a meteor crash to the ground on her farm. Riding her truck out to investigate, she finds the burnt remains of a rocket and is surprised to see Clark there, who had been gone for 5 years since defeating General Zod, Ursa, and Non. In the morning, Martha asks Clark if he found what he was looking for but he says there was no sign of Krypton, which he had left Earth to find, and he feels more alone than before. Clark returns to Metropolis and Perry White is able to give him his job back due to another reporter having recently died. Clark tries to get himself situated and sees that Lois is on the launch of a space shuttle. Heading over to her desk, he sees that she won a Pulitzer Prize for her article entitled “Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman.”. He also sees that she has a son named Jason and is engaged to Richard White, Perry’s nephew. Luthor returns to his home with a crystal from the Fortress and has one of his underlings, Stanford, cut a sliver from the crystal, which he accidentally drops into the lake in Luthor’s model city. The crystal activates, and causes a blackout in the entire city, also affecting the 747 and the shuttle attached to it. The power comes quickly comes back on but it affected the clamps attaching the shuttle to the plane, causing them to malfunction so when the shuttle’s rockets ignite, the plane is still attached and is taken up into the upper atmosphere. Seeing the trouble occurring on TV, Clark quickly changes into Superman and flies off to help; severing the locks and helping guide the shuttle into orbit before heading down and preventing the plane from crashing, depositing it inside a baseball stadium. Ripping open the plane’s door, Superman asks if everyone is ok, then focuses his attention on Lois, who is staring at him in shock, before flying off. The world is abuzz with Superman’s return and Perry has all of his reporters focus on writing about him, upsetting Lois, who wants to focus on the mysterious blackout but Perry overrides her. As Perry and Lois argue, Clark is at his desk listening in when he is surprised by Jason, Lois’ son. Lois exits Perry’s office and speaks with Clark, then introduces him to Jason and Richard before they all head out. That night, Superman flies to Lois’ house and uses his X-ray vision to see her and Richard talking about him and her past relationship with him. The next day, Superman ends up stopping several crimes and saving some people, including Kitty in a runaway car, but Kitty’s rescue was meant as a distraction while Lex and his men rob the museum of a meteorite containing shards of Kryptonite. As Lois and Clark work on their stories through the night, Richard, Jason, and Jimmy Olsen go to get some food for them all. Lois takes the opportunity to go sneak a smoke on the roof when she is surprised to see Superman appear. Superman says he is there to answer any questions she might have and explains that he had left to go research rumors that Krypton had survived. He comments about her article and she said she wrote it as a way to move on from him and he takes her flying with him, explaining how he hears all the people’s cries for help and even though the world may not need him, he can’t help but try to help people. After taking Lois back to the Daily Planet and Lois heads downstairs to find Clark joining Richard, Jason, and Jimmy in eating the food that Richard had brought. The next day, Superman flies up to the Fortress of Solitude but discovers that several crystals were taken from the control matrix and he flies off to look for them. The next day, Perry congratulates Lois on her article and tells her to keep working on the Superman angle but Lois chooses to keep working on the blackout, tracking power grid surges to a house. Lois heads there with Jason and not getting any answer at the house, investigates the grounds and decides to head onto the yacht anchored in the back. As she looks around, she notices several toupees on stands and, realizing who owns the boat, tries to leave but runs into Luthor just as the boat leaves the harbor. As they head out to sea, Lois asks Luthor to let her go but Luthor refuses, then proceeds to explain his plan to Lois. Showing her the crystal, Luthor shows her a map of how the crystal will form a new continental mass in the ocean, which will proceed to wipe out the Eastern seaboard of the US due to the water displacement, with almost the entire US being destroyed before the continent finishes growing. Lois tells him that Superman will stip him but Luthor laughs, then shows her a tube of Kryptonite he has as a precaution against Superman. Suddenly, Luthor stares at Jason and asks Lois who his father is, thinking it might be Superman, but Lois tells him it is Richard and Jason has no reaction to the Kryptonite so Luthor leaves the room with Kitty, leaving one of his men to guard Lois and Jason. Back at the Daily Planet, Richard has no luck reaching Lois and he and Clark try using her computer to figure out where she might be. Back on the boat, Lois has Jason play the piano to distract the guard while she tries to send a fax to the Planet for help. On deck, Luthor places the crystal inside the tube of Kryptonite then launches it into the water, where the crystals begin growing and forming an island laced with Kryptonite. As the crystals cause another blackout and Lois tries to resend the fax when the power comes back on only to see the guard has pulled the plug on the fax machine. As the guard attacks Lois, Jason starts to hyperventilate and pushes away from the piano, which causes the piano to slam into the guard and crush him. As Lois stares in shock at Jason, two other guards enter the room and, seeing what happened, lock Lois and Jason in the pantry. They then tell Lex what happened, who asks about Jason before quickly boarding his helicopter and heading for the island. Back in Metropolis, the power comes back on and Jimmy notices the fax from Lois and shows it to Richard and Clark. Richard goes to get his seaplane so he can head out to rescue Lois while Clark quickly changes into Superman and flies off. As he heads to Lois, he notices the seabed breaking open and quickly flies back to Metropolis to deal with the the disasters that suddenly strike the city. As the new continent begins breaking through the surface of the water, Richard arrives on the boat and rescues Lois and Jason but the boat is suddenly pierced by one of the rock crystals and is lifted into the air before breaking apart and falling into the sea. As the three struggle to stay above water in the sinking ship, the pantry door slams into Lois, knocking her unconscious while sealing them in the pantry as the boat sinks. Superman arrives and lifts the damaged ship out of the water, then opens the door and rescues them. Taking them back to their plane, Superman helps them to take off, then heads to the continent to confront Luthor. As Superman approaches Luthor, Luthor suddenly punches him and knocks him down the rock formation. In the plane, Lois comes too and when she learns that Superman saved them before heading to the continent, she tells Richard to turn back as they have to save him. Back on the continent, Luthor mocks Superman about lacing the place with Kryptonite, then proceeds to beat him before letting his men proceed to beat him up. After a while, Luthor grabs a shard of pure Kryptonite and stabs Superman in the back with it, then snaps it off inside him. Superman staggers to his feet but eventually falls off the cliff into the ocean below. Richard’s plane shows up and Jason spots Superman in the water and points him out to Lois and they quickly land the plane, with Lois jumping into the water to save Superman. Richard helps Lois get him in the plane and as he works on taking off, Lois removes the Kryptonite from Superman’s body and quickly throws it out of the plane. Superman regains consciousness and after thanking them, he opens the door and says goodbye to Lois before leaving. Superman flies up into the sky, recharging his powers from the sunlight, and then flies down, using his heat vision to burrow down into the earth beneath the continent, then starts lifting it up. On the continent, Luthor feels the tremors and tells Kitty and his men to quickly get to the chopper (I couldn’t resist). As the continent starts crumbling around them, Luthor’s men are killed but Luthor and Kitty manage to get into the helicopter and start the engines. Before they take off, Kitty quickly drops the remaining crystals onto the island and Luthor tries to grab them but sees the ground splitting open and quickly leaves. Superman proceeds to lift the land mass out of the ocean and flies it into space but, weakened from the Kryptonite exposure, he loses consciousness and plummets back to earth, crashing into a park in Metropolis. Superman is taken to a hospital, where the doctors try to revive him but he falls into a coma. As Perry and Richard debate on what headline to use for the paper, they notice Lois sitting at her desk and Richard approaches her and offers to drive her to the hospital. Unable to park due to the crowd of people standing in vigil outside the hospital, Lois gets out and walks, with Jason accompanying her. They are escorted to Superman’s room and Lois goes up to Superman and, after staring at him for a bit, says she meant to tell him something, then proceeds to whisper in his ear. As Lois and Jason leave the hospital, they don’t notice Martha Kent standing among the crowd watching the hospital. Meanwhile, Luthor and Kitty find themselves stranded on a small, deserted island as their helicopter has run out of gas. That night, a nurse goes to check on Superman and quickly sounds an alarm when she finds his bed is empty. At her house, Lois is working on writing a new article titled “Why The World Needs Superman.” Meanwhile, Superman is up in Jason’s room, staring at the sleeping boy, and says the same words to him that Jor-El said to him years ago, as the secret Lois whispered is that Jason is his son. As he leaves, Jason wakes up and says goodbye, just as Lois had gone outside to smoke. Lois asks Superman if they will see him around and Superman says he will always be around, then says good night before flying up into the sky.
Superman Returns met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes, though several critics have since commented negatively regarding the length of the film. The critical consensus on the site is, “Bryan Singer’s reverent and visually decadent adaptation gives the Man of Steel welcome emotional complexity. The result: a satisfying stick-to-your-ribs adaptation.” Years before this movie came out, Warner Bros. made another attempt at a Superman film, with Tim Burton directing and Nicolas Cage playing Superman, but three weeks before they started filming, Warner Bros. forced the film into cancellation due to the poor performance of Batman & Robin. The movie was a box office success, earning $391.1 million off of a $$223 million budget, and a sequel was planned but Warner Bros., not happy with the poor worldwide gross, cancelled it and the franchise would later be rebooted as part of the new DCEU series with Man Of Steel.
You know, I like Bryan Singer as he has made a lot of good movies, but I will never forgive him for making this movie, as he ended up breaking his deal with Fox to make this, allowing Brett Ratner to absolutely ruin the Dark Phoenix story line in X-Men: The Last Stand. But that is a story for another day. As for Superman Returns, this was a decent movie but it really dragged out for way too long. The acting was good, with Brandon Routh doing a really good job as Clark/Superman, making a good enough difference between the two characters while giving each one their own personality. The story was pretty good, basically ignoring the last two movies (which is what most people try to do), and following after the events of the 2nd movie, but also helping keep it someone more modern. The only bad thing though is that they put so much into the story that it ended up being longer than really necessary. They could have cut a few of the non essential scenes without losing anything from the story and it would have been a lot shorter. The special effects were pretty good, with one or two over-the-top scenes but overall, they did the job in making the movie exciting to watch. It is long but still a good movie to watch and a worthy successor to Richard Donner’s original entries into the franchise.
Rating: 3 out of 5