Something odd and familiar is happening this week. In fact it makes you feel like its 2006 all over again.
Back then, the world was waiting for the man from Krypton to return. Bryan Singer, fresh from making X-Men have the X-FACTOR, was on the crest of a wave. Every film fan and comic book lover was highly excited when his take on the whole Superman saga was due for arrival. If the director who had given the world a Wolverine that fans all over the world would love and cherish, could you imagine what he could bring to the world of Smallville and Clark Kent!
Seven years later though, Superman Returns has been largely forgotten. Its like a film that fans have tried their best to ignore. Its not loved by many despite the best intentions of Singer to more or less make a film much in tune of that of the 1978 Richard Donner Original. Even the casting of Brandon Routh (above) was purely made to get as close as possible to the late Christopher Reeve who will always be for many people, the only Superman!
So what went wrong?
I am not going to go into the religious overtones that engulf the film. Singer has said so much of his reasons why he done that and if you reading this then there is no doubt you have read enough to know the ins and outs as to why the film caused a bit of a ripple with fans on how Singer portrayed the lead character. This look back is more to do with the other aspects as to why it flopped and why for some its considered the worst of the franchise, especially when you have Superman IV -The Quest For Peace- in its ranks, a film so bad that even watching it now make me weep with tears of anger and despair. So why is Superman Returns up there with Nuclear Man.
For a start, Singer is too much in love with Donner’s original, a highly flawed approach into making this movie. You can not help but see why Singer done what he did. Making Returns a follow up sequel was a brave move but as soon as you hear John Williams iconic score, you can not help but think of Reeve and Margert Kidder in the signature roles.
I will defend Roth here and say he done a pretty good job trying to ape the performance of Reeve, but by coping his every move, the film falters to be its own and it suffers from it. Less said about Kate Bosworth though the better. Lacking the hard edge of Kidder, Bosworth is a poor version of Lois Lane, failing to stamp her own authority and becoming just an unwelcome distraction. Lets not forget though the awful decision in giving her a young son who turns out to be…..
The sheer stupidity of that plot decision is one of the sole reasons into why the film is hated by many. Its not the fact he has a child, but its the logic behind it. I mean if this film continues from the events of Superman 2 or say the 4th…..then what we need to believe is that Superman not only shagged the brains our of Lois, but then wiped her memory clean (remember the kiss) and then left her one day, waking up, no idea how she got pregnant, while the Man Of Steel pissed off for a few years.
Its one of the most baffling and stupid plotlines that borderlines the fact that Lois could feel raped and violated, especially when she realises her son has got powers, yet she cant remember even going to bed with Superman.
The other problem that Returns suffers from is Lex Luthor
If you going to cast anyone in the role then you must admit and say Kevin Spacey back then was great casting. Spacey doesn’t do much wrong, its just the material he was given was awful. Re-watching this the other day, I still cant work out what he was trying to achieve in his world domination. Yes, there was a good moment when he stabbed Superman and showed hints of darkness that this sequel surely needed, but kryptonite continents and all that shit was just very blah………
Basically, Superman Returns suffers from being nothing more than just a love letter to the adored original. It failed to take its blueprint and offered something different! There was nothing wrong with Singer’s attempt to relieve the past and to be fair there are a few good moments, but the balance between old and new just wasn’t there. You cant help but feel that the movie is lost and doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Maybe if this was made many years before with Reeves, Kidder and Hackman all in the roles, then perhaps this would be looked at in a different light, but seeing other faces in the roles just doesn’t quite work.
What the Man Of Steel needed was a new take, to forget the past and give us fans something new to get our Kryptonite buzz into. What it needed was a man called Wayne from Gotham to show the way and on Friday, we may just get it……