Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's yet another Hollywood remake! Warner Brothers, taking a cue from last years "Batman Begins" dusts off its definitive superhero from DC Comics once more with "Superman Returns". To its credit, the modern adaptation dedicates itself to the memory of Christopher and Dana Reeve, however I wonder what the Man of Steel from the seventies would think of his family safe legacy being turned into a movie that requires a PG-13 rating.
"Superman Returns" is definitely NOT a movie for the entire family to enjoy. Despite being advertised to children everywhere, the dark violence that creeps into certain scenes of "Superman Returns" makes the entire film questionable to show anyone under 13 years old. Whereas with Batman, you expect to see the darker side, street thugs being vicious and mean is what Batman is about. However, Superman has always seemed to represent the lighter side of the Superhero conflict. Sure Superman has his kryptonite to deal with, but the brutal ugliness of crime seemed to escape its pages until now.
"Superman Returns" tries to have it all. It wants to be dark and edgy and yet cash in as it presents itself as a family movie. Perhaps Bryan Singer's former stint with the teenaged "X-Men" series, led him to believe that it was okay to steer Superman towards this darker line, but the scenes where Lex Luthor and his thugs are beating our hero to a pulp goes too far. Or perhaps I should say, not far enough. If the "Superman Returns" moviemakers wanted to create a brooding Superman story, then why not go for it, and adapt something like the graphic novel "Kingdom Come", about superheroes and the apocalypse or take a page or two from Frank Miller's portrayal of the man of steel in the "Dark Knight Returns" series.
And then there's the scene with the dog. Not sure who in the Warner Brothers food chain let this scene go out, but in the early part of the film, the audience is led to believe that one dog, left behind when its master passed away, has eaten its partner pooch, as it gnaws on a boney leg surrounded by dog fur, and one of the villains comments that didn't there used to be two of them?. Gross out humor like this does not belong in a family friendly Superman movie. It's not funny and embarrassing to endure.
As for the rest, "Superman Returns" is an expensive piece of cinema, that lets itself drag on its special effects shots about twenty minutes longer than needed. The cast of Lois and Clark are flat nerds whose uninteresting portrayals gives you time to consider how loathsome their characters are. In the "Superman Returns" universe, the independent Lois Lane is an opportunistic woman who latches onto her bosses? nephew as soon as the S-man splits the scene, and Superman ends up being the world?s greatest deadbeat dad. At least Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor isn't a direct rip off of Gene Hackmans' however it's Parker Posey's Kitty Kowalski that saves the day and steals the show.
Wondering if Superman is less offensive in the gimmicky IMAX 3D version, for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2006 - Purple - Air Date: 7/5/06
USA - 2006