Tuesday 18th January 2022

Superman Returns (12A)
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

There has been much talk lately about which film is better, Superman Returns or the new Pirates film, and more importantly, which will do the most business. Well, the answer is that Superman Returns is an excellent film, but it's not quite as enjoyable as POTC2, and is therefore not making as much money. Let's face it, it's entertainment that sells, not necessarily the quality of the film.

To get the best Superman experience, don't watch the trailer!
To get the best Superman experience, don't watch the trailer!

Bryan Singer has lovingly resurrected the Man of Steel franchise, following on from the earlier instalments starring Christopher Reeve. Newcomer Brandon Routh dons the cape this time, and puts in a great performance as Supes whilst managing to look astonishingly like Reeve.

The story picks up after Superman has been absent from Earth for five years. It seems he wanted to pop back home to Krypton to see what was there (not much since it got blown up) and then popped back in time to find that the world is actually doing pretty well without him. Even the Superman-smitten Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on and is about to marry Cyclops (James Marsden), which probably explains his absence from X-Men: The Last Stand.

Lex Luthor (played superbly by Kevin Spacey) is also back and no longer behind bars. He's up to his old tricks of trying to get richer by taking over land and stuff, which brings me to one of the reasons Superman Returns isn't going to earn a higher score and more money than Pirates 2. Despite all its strong points, this film does not have a very good storyline. It's nice to see all the old characters back (in their new incarnations) and it's nice to see a comic book film with some emotional depth. The action sequences in this film are breathtaking and have restored my faith in big budget set pieces, and it's so easy to be wowed by all this and not notice that the story is not very interesting at all!

This film also treats Superman and Clark Kent as the same person, which has resulted in Clark having very little screentime, and when he is on screen, he's just Superman in disguise. The humour and the day-to-day life that came with Clark in the original films have been lost, leaving this version with a more po-faced view than I would like. This could be one of the factors that will cause you to wonder if each scene in the last fifteen minutes of this two and half hour epic is the final one. It's not that the film drags on, it's just that the story can't really support the length of the film and without being as downright entertaining as Pirates, the length certainly doesn't escape your notice.

Overall, though, this is an extraordinary film that is absolutely worth seeing. Singer has the Midas touch as far as I'm concerned, and he has created another superb film that is only toppled from a higher rating by a few minor gripes. It might not be as enjoyable as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, but it's a much better film than X-Men: The Last Stand.

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Length: 154 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 14th July 2006

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
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