Though not any more special than the rest of the super hero flicks on our televisions, if there is only one thing to be said about this re-boot of an icon in the world of Comic Book crazes, it raises the bar higher than most feel-good movies.
In seven years, a great deal is bound to change and in fact does for the “Man of Steel.” His place of origin, Krypton was thought to be destroyed until scientists found what they thought was proof that pieces of it still existed. That was the only thing that would prompt Superman (Brandon Routh) to leave behind the people who have made his life on earth so special – including the woman who raised him as her own, his mother, Martha. Living in anonymity as Clark Kent, an eager, dedicated reporter, his return from a “trip” is a welcome one by co-workers and his boss (Frank Langella). Clark is most anxious to see again the girl he left behind without a good-bye, Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth). A reporter who knows no limits at the same paper, Clark is devastated to learn she has a family – a wonderful fiancé (James Marsden) and a young child. Lois’ stance on Superman has changed – no longer does she think the world needs Superman but with his x-ray vision and ability to hear conversations, Superman hears the people’s cries… every day.
Wanting to re-kindle something that cannot be undone in Lois’ mind, Superman continues to watch her from afar as Clark while she fights with her boss on covering Superman’s return. When the world is again threatened by Superman’s foe, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is a diabolical real estate scheme that will wipe out the entire United States Superman faces the battle of his life – in order to protect life.
Controversy was sparked by the casting in the newest take on DC Comics’ Superman flick (a film that is slated to open in theaters summer 2013), and the first that has piqued my interest because of the cast. Having never seen any version of Superman, it seemed only appropriate that I finally add Superman to my growing list of comic book superheroes to love. This was the only version of Superman that I was interested in renting. I wasn’t up for the sappiness of the nineties or eighties adaptations nor was I particularly interested in seeing Dean Cain’s grinning face playing the iconic larger-than-life champion of the people. Ironically, with the up-coming version, the controversy is being debated because the actors portraying these characters have an age gap. For me, that doesn’t mean that that they won’t play the roles will – and unless I am grossly mistaken, they will do just that (Amy Adams and Henry Cavill will do these characters justice and then some).
Though its characters were familiar to me, I didn’t know what made them tick. To my surprise, Clark (or Superman) is one of the most humble, likable heroes to ever grace the silver screen let alone the “super hero club.” Or that is how Routh plays the studious Kent. If there is one thing I found a bit ridiculous it is Superman masquerading as Kent while rescuing people without a disguise – it isn’t hard to make comparisons between him and his alter-ego. As the film progressed, it is perhaps easier to accept given what an unassuming presence Clark maintains. He goes out of his way to not attract attention to himself though I liked his constant reminder to Lois that he is “always around” – she doesn’t know how close he really is!
It was a lovely addition to the scope of the film, and the sets to see the film add touches of the fifties into its modern world. It was so prevalent in the first twenty minutes that I wondered what the time frame was even as my eye caught glimpses of modern television sets and camera’s. Everything in the background adds to the movie though I’ll confess, I could have done without Superman’s boyish curl in the middle of his forehead (perhaps I am the only one who associates it… but it is more reminiscent of “The Girl with the Curl” than it is a heroic man). Similarly, the costume he dons is a bit laughable but at the same time, even it is an icon in American pop culture. Though the pacing is slow and because of that, sometimes it needed a shove in the right direction and the special effects aren’t always up to par, the movie is a decently good time. Many have referenced its Christian parallels and while they are present, they pale in comparison to the sacrifice made by God. The fact that our hero is willing to sacrifice everything in order to protect the defenseless is more noble than most and in fact, his decision is a selfless one no matter if he had fear or not – he wanted to put an end to Luther’s evil, but he wasn’t paying for our redemption in as important of a way, though he was for our physical lives. When all is said and done, Superman Returns is one of the better comic book adaptations out there. A flop at the box office, it is likely because it actually has morals.
(What to know: Rated PG13 for a few instances of violence which is mostly off-camera. A man is stabbed and shot multiple times, three others are killed by heavy objects; a woman is slapped. There may be one or two profanities but they are rare. One couple has been living together without marriage for years.)