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Superman Returns (DVD) (WS)
While old enemy Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) plots to render him powerless, Superman (Brandon Routh) must face the heartbreaking realization that Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth), has moved on with her life. Or has she? From the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space, Superman blazes an epic journey of redemption to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction. Director Bryan Singer takes the helm in this superpowered epic action-adventure that reunites Superman with a world that's almost learned to live without him.
If Richard Donner's 1978 feature film
Superman: The Movie made us believe a man could fly, Bryan Singer's 2006 follow-up,
Superman Returns, lets us remember that a superhero movie can make our spirits soar. Superman (played by newcomer Brandon Routh) comes back to Earth after a futile five-year search for his destroyed home planet of Krypton. As alter ego Clark Kent, he's eager to return to his job at the Daily Planet and to see Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth). Lois, however, has moved on: she now has a fianc? (James Marsden), a son (Tristan Leabu), and a Pulitzer Prize for her article entitled Why the World Doesn't Need Superman. On top of this emotional curveball, his old archrival Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is plotting the biggest land grab in history.
Singer, who made a strong impression among comic-book fans for his work on the X-Men franchise and directed Spacey in The Usual Suspects, brings both a fresh eye and a sense of respect to the world's oldest superhero. He borrows John Williams's great theme music and Marlon Brando's voice as Jor-El, and the story (penned by Singer's X-Men collaborators Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris) is a sort-of-sequel to the first two films in the franchise (choosing to ignore that the third and fourth movies ever happened). The humorous and romantic elements give the movie a heart, Singer's art-deco Metropolis is often breathtaking, and the special effects are elegant and spectacular, particularly an early airplane-disaster set-piece. Of the cast, Routh is excellent as the dual Superman/Clark, Spacey is both droll and vicious as Luthor, and Parker Posey gets the best lines as Luthor's moll Kitty. But at 23, Bosworth seems too young for the five-years-past-grizzled Lois. It's nice to see Noel Neill, Jack Larson (both from the classic Adventures of Superman TV series), and Eva Marie-Saint on the screen as well. Superman Returns is one of those projects that was in development for seemingly forever, but it was worth the wait -- it's the most enjoyable superhero movie since Spider-Man 2 and The Incredibles. --David Horiuchi
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