: Superman Returns
I had little interest in seeing this film. I didn’t understand the point. Hasn’t Superman been done to death? This film didn’t sound like any new take on the superhero, so why bother? Better special effects? Who cares? But as the release date (and hype) grew closer, I decided I needed to at least see what all the fuss was about. Perhaps it would surprise me. Well, it did. I was surprised at how pathically awful it was. It’s truly one of the most uninspired films of the century. Everything in it we have seen before. Oh, sure, there are some “new” things — like the crystals Lex Luther steals from Superman’s “Fortress of Solitude” that can grow entire continents, and the ridiculous modern addition of Lois Lane as a single mom shacking up with a boyfriend and raising a son that might be Superman’s — but these new things are not particularly tasteful or interesting, and the implementation so poorly done that we really don’t care much either way. Everything else is stuff we’ve seen before — why rehash it? The concept of the plot was not bad: Superman has left earth for five years and suddenly returns, back to save the day, but the method of his leaving and his reasons (when finally revealed), are unbelievably lame. Apparently he beds Lois one night and disappears the next, without a word of explanation, when he hears astronomers might have discovered parts of planet Krypton still intact. He heads there hoping to find a trace of his ancestors (he doesn’t, of course). Granted I can see why he might be curious about his past, but it’s not like it’s urgent and he can’t take two minutes to leave a note! And why didn’t the world fall apart while he was gone? Shouldn’t Superman have been wracked with guilt when he returns at all the lives he didn’t save while he was gone? The producers could have done some neat things, like have 9/11 happen while he was gone and the world is angry at Superman for not preventing such a tragedy. Or perhaps his adopted parents, the Kents, could have died while he was away, and that causes some turmoil. Instead it’s all about Superman/Clark Kent, who’s shocked that Lois Lane has moved on, won a Pulitzer, and has a boyfriend and a kid.
This is a film that could have led us into a new era of Superman. I’d have loved to see a film that explores his dark side. For instance, have him fail to save someone he loved and that’s why he leaves earth for a while. Perhaps he returns and tries to be a regular guy, just ordinary Clark Kent. Maybe as Clark he’s tempted to use his powers for evil, like playing pranks on Lois’ boyfriend. He’s bitter, angry, and depressed. But some experience changes him and realizes his duty, like Peter Parker’s mistake costing his uncle’s life in