Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006). Director: Bryan Singer.

Hearing reports that astronomers have discovered a planet that may be Krypton, Superman sets out to find it -- and doesn't return for five years. Which is understandably upsetting to Lois Lane, as he has left her with child. We never really find out why it took so long for the faster-than-light Man of Steel to return to Earth after discovering Krypton was -- as we all already new -- a shattered husk, but the real problem with the film is that it's lacklustre, disjointed, and slowwww. There are some good rescue scenes however, such as the business with the space shuttle and a tense scene when Lois, her son, and her boyfriend, Richard (James Marsden) are nearly drowned in a tight compartment. Brandon Routh is excellent as Superman, however, as is Kate Bosworth as Lois and Frank Langella as Perry White. Kevin Spacey sort of plays Luthor in the same quasi-camp mode as Gene Hackman before him -- has no one read the comics or seen the cartoons, where Luthor is a much more imposing presence? Parker Posey is even more irritating as Luthor's bimbo, Kitty. The plot has something to do with Luthor using kryptonian crystal technology to create a new continent, which will bring about the demise of everyone else on Earth. (There is no real sense of impending doom or even urgency to this.) The scene when a tough hood plays Heart and Soul with little Jason (the likable Tristan Lake Leabu) is charming, but in the wrong movie, but it does lead into a startling revelation. In trying to be all mythic, Singer (who did a better job on the X-Men films) forgot to be entertaining.

Verdict: Some magical moments, but overlong. **1/2.

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