Superman Returns is wrong on so many levels (do not read if you don’t want your fun spoiled):
1- First, the title is a total sham. Returns from what? It turns out that the Man of Steel had left Earth — and Lois Lane — five (5) years ago to see the Planet Krypton — or what remains of it — for himself. And now, he’s back. And, that weak excuse of a reason apparently warrants the title? I don’t think so!
2- The movie is long for no good reason. At certain parts of the film, it was painful to sit and endure the useless footage that did not add anything to either the plot or action. How long does it take to create a disaster on an airplane and to save it? Why is the car driven by Kitty and careening down busy streets without hitting anybody and eventually stopped by Superman of any consequence to the advancement of the plot? Interesting flashback to the early days when he was a kid and discovered his powers — but trigerred by what? Nothing apparently more innocuous than looking at the Kansas cornfields. Every sequence could have probably been cut in half without hurting the movie.
3- 3D on IMAX screen: it looked painfully like toy barns and toy airplanes and toy ship. There was no wow factor, no oohh and ahhh surprises, only Superman flying in-your-face. And cheesy with the 3D glasses symbol flashing on screen when it came time to put them on and take them off. And, the huge IMAX screen does not add in anyway to the enjoyment — or lack thereof — of the movie.
4- No humor. The only comic relief came when the boy threw the piano at the bad guy trying to harm his mother. Otherwise, everything is expected. Simply no surprises, no cool footage, just boring conversations.
5- The Lois-Superman-Clark 3-way tension is never developed satisfactorily in the movie. Instead, a “husband” shows up as a 4th complication that never gets resolved. And the child is a 5th complication that does not belong in this movie, maybe in a sequel.
6- Superman never tries hard enough in the movie. He lands on the new “continent” [ROTFL] and becomes weak enough for Lex and his goons to kick around. But next thing we know [never mind the “unbelievability” of Lois plunging into a roaring sea to rescue Superman, sigh] he is lifting the “continent” full of Krypton pieces and throwing it into space, and then falling down to Earth and dying. [Yawn!] And, then coming back to life, how’s that again?
7- Perhaps the worst part of the movie is that the characters are not who we have come to love and expect them to be. Perhaps the writers, director, actors have not taken the time to read the comics and think through the characters?
Martha Kent is old, too old and never plays a believable role in the movie.
Clark is supposed to be that bumbling reporter who is also super honest and never uses his power to take advantage of anyone. But the Clark of Superman Returns is neither bumbling nor reticent about using his X-Ray vision and superhearing to spy and pry into other people’s lives and conversations, never mind break into their homes.
Lois is just not the confident Lois who spurns Clark and gets herself into problems as a snooping reporter (walking into Lex Luthor’s billion dollar yatch because she heard some classical music playing does not count).
A child from Superman? Just where did that come from? A child with asthma and other health problems? What, was the director trying to send us a red herring? Aww, come on!
And, Lex Luthor. Lex is never believable, is never on screen, is not in the movie. What we do have is Kevin Spacey acting as Lex. When I look at the character who is supposed to be the evil and dark Lex, all I see is Kevin Spacey pretending he is Lex — and not coming close. The Smallville Lex Luthor does a better job. In fact, the actors on Smallville do a much better job than the movie actors do.
Kevin Spacey [American Beauty] and Kate Bosworth [Blue Crush] are great actors, but simply miscast in this movie. And where is the real Jimmy? Where is the telephone booth? Where is the push on the glasses up the nose?… There is a disconnect. It’s like the James Bond movies that did not succeed because the character was wrong and the plot was not typical James Bond.
This movie is a perfect example of how a weak plot and storyboard just cannot be salvaged by special effects — that were not even cool.
Sorry, I say, Cut! And back to the storyboard.
Move along, nothing to see here, it’s just a bird flying by.